We’re on to Day 2 of popcorn week and I’m excited to share this Salted Caramel Pecan Popcorn with you because this recipe got the most votes in my Facebook poll. Honestly, I can’t blame you, this popcorn is pretty addictive.
Buttery dark caramel with a touch of salt makes the perfect candy coating for popcorn and pecans. Even though this popcorn is pretty cheap and definitely easy to make, I think you’ll agree it definitely tips the balance to full gourmet popcorn.
First things first, the popcorn.
Yes, you can make this recipe with microwave popcorn. I don’t know why you’d want to, because I’ve got an easy tutorial on making Dutch oven popcorn and making it from scratch is so much cheaper and better. Plus, I love cooking in my Chantal Dutch oven which you can find available here on Amazon. But if you do go the microwave route, use the most plain or lightly seasoned microwave popcorn you can find.
Up second, butter.
Use unsalted butter. It’s important for how your finished popcorn will turn out. Different brands of butter have varying amounts of salt in them so if you’re using salted butter you could inadvertently end up with very salted caramel pecan popcorn.
Less expensive pecan pieces or chopped pecans are where it’s at. The bigger the pieces, the more likely they’ll sink to the bottom of the popcorn bowl. You could also substitute toasted sliced almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, your favorite nuts…
And last, the brown sugar.
You can use light brown sugar or dark brown sugar depending on what you have on hand. I prefer dark brown sugar, because I think it has more depth of flavor, but they will both work great!
- To make salted caramel pecan popcorn you’ll start with 12 cups of popped popcorn. Take the time to sort out any unpopped kernels. By the time the popcorn is coated in the caramel they’ll be hard to pick out and you don’t want to hurt your teeth.
- In a Dutch oven or pot, you’ll melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the pecans and brown sugar and bring the mixture to a boil, allowing to boil 3 minutes.
- Quickly stir in the baking soda and salt until dissolved and remove from the heat.
- Carefully stir in the popcorn taking care not to break apart the popped popcorn kernels and also taking care not to burn yourself. It’s hot!
- Spread the coated popcorn out on a parchment covered cookie sheet and allow it to cool and dry completely. It’s important that you let it dry completely before you store the popcorn or it won’t stay crunchy. Store it in a large ziplock bag!
This pretty popcorn also makes a great gift. Just package it up pretty and they’ll never know it was a cheap and easy DIY gift instead of $15 popcorn from the specialty shop!!
- 12 cups popped popcorn or 1 batch of Dutch oven popcorn
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup pecan pieces or chopped pecans*
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Before beginning, sort out and discard any unpopped popcorn kernels.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a Dutch oven or large pot, add the butter, pecan pieces and brown sugar.
- Over medium heat bring the mixture to a boil. Allow to boil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- After 3 minutes, stir in the baking soda and salt and immediately remove from the heat.
- Stir the popcorn into the caramel mixture taking care not to break the popcorn kernels or burn yourself.
- Spread the caramel coated popcorn onto the prepared baking sheet and allow to cool and dry completely.
- Store in an airtight container.
*Feel free to substitute your favorite chopped nuts in place of the pecans.
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