Homemade Microwave Caramel Corn

How to make homemade caramel corn in the microwave with no more than a few ingredients and a paper bag. (No mess, no fuss!) Just add some shake-it-up energy for some good family fun!

Homemade Microwave Caramel Corn | no mess, no fuss thanks to a paper bag | Weight Watchers PointsPlus 4 | Kitchen Parade

A few years back, my book club read Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season.

We were a group of mostly young mothers, some at home, some working outside the home. Many of us were caught up with creating memorable holidays for our families.

We’d wanted it all! The shopping, the gifts, the wrapping, the food, the parties, the decorating, the tree, the concerts, the church programs, the special outfits, the … you get the picture.

We had become “Christmas Machines” and had lost the real spirit of Christmas.

The book and our discussion helped us think about the holidays in a new way. Many of us decided to pare back our holiday activities to those we found most meaningful.

For families with children, making caramel corn some afternoon just might make the list. No special equipment or big expense is required. You can plan ahead or just wait until the right moment arises. Just imagine the fun of the kids (and the grandparents?!) dancing around the kitchen shaking their paper bags!

ALANNA's TIPS Do not double the recipe – if you want more, make multiple batches. It may take a grown-up's touch every so often to give the bag enough 'shake' to distribute the caramel.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a special activity with the kids around the holidays? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Total preparation time: Take off your watch, round up the kids and have a good time!
Makes 16 cups
  • 1 cup (200g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 113g) butter
  • 1/4 cup (79g) light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

CARAMEL Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt in four-cup Pyrex measuring cup or a container of similar size that can go in the microwave. In the microwave, heat the mixture for a few seconds and stir well to combine, repeat if needed. Bring the mixture to a boil, this will take 2 – 3 minutes on high, depending on your microwave’s power. Once boiling, boil for 3 minutes, stirring each time the mixture boils up and begins to overflow, do watch carefully so that it doesn't boil over. Remove from the microwave and stir in the baking soda (the mixture will bubble up). Mix well.

Meanwhile, place popcorn in a large paper grocery bag. When the caramel is done, immediately pour it over the popped corn in the bag. Close the bag and shake well, distributing the caramel throughout the bag. Cook 3 minutes in the microwave on full power, shaking the bag thoroughly every 30 seconds to distribute the caramel onto the popcorn and to prevent burning. If your microwave revolves, make sure that it can turn. Pour onto cookie sheet to cool, breaking apart the pieces with your hands as the popcorn cools.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup when made with air-popped popcorn: 145 Calories; 6g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 15mg Cholesterol; 124mg Sodium; 23g Carb; 1g Fiber; 16g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 3 & Weight Watchers PointsPlus 4

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. We love making caramel popcorn! It's just one of those fun family things that we do.

  2. look at us with our sweet popcorn makin'! I made some kettle corn (with BACON!!) this week. I've yet to try caramel corn, but your's sounds easy enough. I do love caramel...and popcorn...

  3. What? Wait a minute - you mean after you shake it, you put the bag and all back in the microwave for 3 minutes? I've never made caramel corn so I don't know. But this would be a fun thing to do with the grandson.

  4. Andrea ~ With three little boys, the excitement must be huge!

    Stef ~ I saw that, you had me drooling. I accidentally made 'bacon caramel' before Thanksgiving, in the cast-iron skillet my dad uses to cook his morning bacon. It was gorgeous. And yes, this is easy-easy, there's no going wrong.

    Sally ~ You've got it. When the caramel cooks first, it's in a liquid-y state, thick but definitely pourable. And so it needs to cook a bit more and adhere to the popcorn, hence the paper bag that yes, goes back into the microwave. Take pics of you and your grandson, shaking it up!!

  5. My mother made caramel corn every year - it was/is her favorite Christmas treat!
    Wouldn't go near a microwave, though.

  6. I'm excited to make this, looks so yummy! However, I have a very small microwave and I don't think that a large paper bag full of popcorn will fit inside. Should I half (or quarter...) the recipe and do it in batches??

  7. Maryanna ~ A full-size grocery bag fills my microwave, too, the bag touches the wall all the way around, though without scrunching the bag. So I think you'll be okay as long as you don't scrunch the bag. Or you can consider this an 'opportunity' and do multiple batches ~ more dancing in the kitchen!

  8. I love it!!! We made it today and my kids are very very happy.

    I'm very happy too - they sugar-crashed and went to bed early.


  9. Anonymous8/30/2008

    this popcorn was wonderful!! it was easy to make. it didnt take a lot of time and my parent and i loved it!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna