Caramel corn has always been a staple in our household since I was little. Every year, my mom would make batches of it. We would package up little bags to give to friends at school, some for the neighbors and then a bunch for us to have around the house for when friends and family would come over to hang out.
This stuff is magical! Let me explain a few reasons why…
It’s a super fun treat to give out in goodie bags or serve at a party because people are always really surprised that you made it yourself. Caramel corn is not as common of a homemade item as let’s say, chocolate chip cookies.
Caramel corn also lasts a little longer than other baked goods. You can put them airtight containers or ziploc bags and it will last for a few weeks.
And most importantly…it tastes amazing.
This is why there was no question whatsoever that when I went vegan, I would be “veganizing” my mom’s recipe to make Vegan Caramel Corn.
- Always have the popcorn popped before making the caramel coating. Place it in a really large bowl so that you can easily pour the coating on top and stir it before baking.
- Making the caramel coating is basically like making candy and it gets VERY hot and VERY sticky. Be careful with this mixture because if it gets on your skin it burns like hell!
- Set a timer when you’re boiling the caramel mixture so you do not cook it too long. The purpose of this step is essentially to completely dissolve the sugar and cook it enough to give it a caramel taste. So you want to cook it long enough BUT if you cook it too long, you will see it start to get too dark and burn.
- Have all of the ingredients measured and ready to go before you start boiling the caramel mixture. Things move really quickly at the end so you want to be prepared.
- When you add the baking soda, it will start to puff up and look really foamy. Don’t worry, this is normal.
- Use two large, shallow baking sheets lined with foil. Make sure they have edges so that when you stir the caramel corn during baking, it doesn’t easily fall of the edges. But you want it shallow enough so that it all gets crunchy around the edges.
- 2/3 cup popcorn kernels (about 12 cups popped)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup agave syrup (or vegan honey)
- 1/2 cup vegan butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
- **Please read the important notes in the post + all directions before beginning this recipe so you know what to expect**
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Prepare popcorn according to directions on bag using a pot or popcorn popper.
- Combine brown sugar, vegan butter, salt and cream of tartar in a medium saucepan.
- Bring to a rolling boil, stirring often.
- Boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add baking soda. Stir, then quickly add the orange juice concentrate.
- Immediately pour over hot popped corn and stir until evenly coated.
- Bake in a large, shallow pan for 20 minutes, stirring every 6-7 minutes.
- Spread out on foil to cool. Let cool completely before eating or storing to let the candy coating harden.
- You can make it more like Crunch 'n Munch by adding peanuts.
- Add bacon bits(vegan) for a creative savory twist.
- Drizzle chocolate over cooled caramel corn.