Cracker Jacks Caramel Popcorn with Peanuts is a sweet and savory treat that has become a tradition at our house. If you follow my keys to success, you’ll have a new favorite recipe to make and to share. Be sure to check out my tip for sharing these Cracker Jacks with friends and family.
Table of contents
- 🔑 Key to Success #1 – Proper Popcorn Proportions
- 🔑 Key to Success #2 – Keep the Kernels Out
- 🔑 Key to Success #3 – Perfect Peanuts
- 🔑 Key to Success #4 – Make the Delicious Caramel Sauce
- 🔑 Key to Success #5 – Bake Low and Slow But Stir Well
- 🔑 Key to Success #6 – Wait for the Singing
- 🔑 Key to Success #7 – Perfect for Sharing
- 📌 Get the Printable Recipe for Homemade Caramel Popcorn with Peanuts
Introducing my cherished Thanksgiving tradition: the Cracker Jacks Caramel Popcorn Recipe.
Our family has been indulging in this homemade caramel popcorn for the past two decades, and it never fails to delight.
It’s the perfect snack to munch on while you’re watching ball games all afternoon.
I’m thrilled to pass on this beloved recipe, so you too can savor the magic with your whole family for your Thanksgiving celebrations, movie night, or any other occasion.
Disclosure – I may get a small commission for purchases made through affiliate links in this post.
🔑 Key to Success #1 – Proper Popcorn Proportions
Popcorn is an essential ingredient in making delicious Homemade Cracker Jacks Popcorn with Peanuts.
The good news is that you can use any type of popcorn for this recipe.
Personally, I love using a popcorn maker that I’ve had since the 80s and Orville Redenbacher Gourmet White Popcorn Kernels, which is a classic.
If you prefer using microwave popcorn, that’s totally fine too.
Unflavored popcorn is recommended, but I’ve tried using butter-flavored popcorn and it turned out great.
Just make sure you have around 2 standard-sized bags of microwave popcorn handy.
For those looking to take their Caramel Popcorn to the next level, I highly recommend giving Gourmet Mushroom Popcorn a try.
It’s the perfect shape, similar to that classic Cracker Jacks texture.
You can find a fantastic selection of gourmet popcorn to experiment with at JustPoppin.com.
🔑 Key to Success #2 – Keep the Kernels Out
Tired of ruining your caramel popcorn with unexpected hard kernels?
We’ve got a foolproof solution! Simply lift your popped popcorn by loose handfuls and transfer it to another large bowl.
The pesky, unpopped kernels will be left behind, making them easy to get rid of.
Enjoy your delicious popcorn without any surprises or broken teeth!
🔑 Key to Success #3 – Perfect Peanuts
Introducing the ideal peanuts to enhance your caramel peanut popcorn experience – raw red-skinned Spanish peanuts.
You can usually locate these gems amidst the snack section of your nearby store, or perhaps even stumble upon them in the produce area or baking aisle.
In the unfortunate event that you can’t find the raw Spanish peanuts, fear not. Roasted peanuts can serve as a suitable substitute, albeit with caution regarding salt levels.
If you’re using salty peanuts, you might want to consider reducing or omitting salt in your delectable caramel sauce.
🔑 Key to Success #4 – Make the Delicious Caramel Sauce
It takes a gentle approach to make a crunchy caramel glaze.
Begin by heating butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup over medium to medium-low heat until it reaches a boiling point.
Once it’s boiling, set a precise timer for 5 minutes – no more, no less.
Remove the pot from the heat and add baking soda, vanilla extract, and salt (if desired).
Watch as the caramel foams and changes colors.
Continue stirring until the color stabilizes, then pour the mixture over the popcorn and peanuts.
🔑 Key to Success #5 – Bake Low and Slow But Stir Well
To simplify the process and ensure that the peanuts are evenly coated with caramel, I recommend using two large bowls or pots.
Start by putting about 1/3 of the popcorn into one bowl and then pour all the peanuts over the popcorn.
In the second bowl, add the remaining popcorn.
This technique will make it easier for you to cover the peanuts with caramel.
Keep in mind that the caramel will cool and harden rapidly, so it’s important to work quickly.
Don’t worry about achieving absolute perfection in the distribution of the caramel.
Once you’ve combined the popcorn and peanuts, transfer them into a large roasting pan and place it in a preheated 250 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and give the mixture a good stir to ensure that the caramel is coating all the pieces.
Be sure to break up any large clumps of popcorn as you are stirring.
Return it to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Repeat this process of cooking and stirring until your caramel popcorn has baked for a total of 1 hour.
🔑 Key to Success #6 – Wait for the Singing
Once the popcorn has been baked for one hour, transfer it onto a heat-proof surface to cool down.
During the cooling process, you’ll hear a delightful crackling sound, affectionately referred to as “singing”.
This singing is a clear indication that your popcorn will turn out perfectly.
Make sure to let your Cracker Jacks Caramel Popcorn with Peanuts cool down entirely before storing it in an airtight container.
🔑 Key to Success #7 – Perfect for Sharing
Looking for a delicious and easy gift idea?
Caramel Popcorn is always a crowd-pleaser.
With just a few simple steps, you can create a beautiful treat that anyone will love.
Whether you opt for a classic treat bag or a more festive tin or box, the options are endless.
Last year, I surprised my co-workers with a couple of batches of my homemade caramel popcorn.
I packaged it in cone-shaped treat bags and they arrived in perfect condition after a long journey.
With a bit of planning and the right supplies, you can create the perfect treat to share with friends and loved ones.
If you’re looking for another snack recipe to try, consider making our Cookie Butter Muddy Buddies.
They bring a unique twist to classic Muddy Buddies for those cookie butter fans out there.
📌 Get the Printable Recipe for Homemade Caramel Popcorn with Peanuts
Save this Homemade Cracker Jacks recipe to your favorite Snack Food board or your Popcorn recipes board.
- 6 quarts popped popcorn
- 2 cups raw Spanish peanuts
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Heat oven to 250 degrees F. Spray a large roasting pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- Add baking soda, salt, and vanilla extract. Stir until the mixture stops foaming and changing colors.
- Pour over popcorn and peanuts, stirring well to coat. (Be careful - the caramel mixture will be hot!)
- Pour popcorn into the prepared roasting pan. Bake at 250 degrees F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and pour caramel corn out onto heat-proof surface covered with wax paper to cool to room temperature.
Store popcorn in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.
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Orville Redenbacher’s Original Gourmet White Popcorn Kernels, 30 Ounce, Pack of 6
Presto 04821 Orville Redenbacher's Hot Air Popper
Cone-Shaped Treat Bags (200 Bags + 200 Twist Fastens); Clear Cellophane Goody, Treat & Popcorn Bags (15-Inch x 7 Inch)
Green Direct Chinese Take Out Food Boxes with Metal Wire Handle White Pack of 50 Containers, (16 oz. 1 Pint)
Reynolds Kitchens Heavy Duty Aluminum Pans for Roasting, 16x13 Inch, Pack of 3
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 194Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 194mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 2gSugar: 21gProtein: 4g
Nutrition Information Provided For Educational and Informational Purposes Only.
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