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Healthy Caramel Popcorn

Almost instant healthy caramel popcorn that is salty and sweet and just plain good.

No corn syrup here!

This is a healthy caramel popcorn recipe without corn syrup. It’s salty, sweet, and just plain good! As the original slogan for Cracker Jacks says:

The more you eat, the more you want.

healthy caramel corn

You can even add roasted peanuts for a healthier version of Cracker Jacks that tastes pretty authentic. (Yes, I bought a box to compare. Cracker Jacks might not be healthy, but they are vegan.) Or stir in dark chocolate chips or broken-up healthy chocolate bars.

I’m not saying it’s as healthy as broccoli and quinoa, or that you should quadruple the recipe and call it lunch. But as far as snacks go, this caramel popcorn is a terrific healthy option: whole-grain, high in fiber, vegan, and completely free of the hydrogenated oils, refined sugar, and trans fats found in so many commercial brands of popcorn. If you use the xylitol option, it’s even good for your teeth. Can’t get much better than that.

With the Calorie Control Council estimating that Americans eat about 3.8 million pounds of popcorn on Super Bowl Sunday, this weekend is a great time to… get popping!

healthy caramel corn    Healthy caramel popcorn

This can be a 5-minute recipe if you use the Microwave Popcorn Trick.

vegan popcorn

Healthy Caramel Popcorn

(or homemade Cracker Jacks)

  • 4 tbsp unpopped popcorn (48g)
  • 1/4 cup xylitol or sucanat (or regular brown sugar or coconut sugar) (54g)
  • 1/4 cup agave or honey (55g) (Molasses might work; I haven’t tried.)
  • scant 1/4 tsp salt
  • optional for a richer caramel flavor: 2 tbsp buttery spread, such as Earth Balance (30g)
  • optional: roasted peanuts, dark chocolate chips, etc.

Pop the kernels, either on the stove or using the Microwave Popcorn Trick.

Then transfer to a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, combine the two sweeteners (and the butter spread, if using) and heat on low—stirring occasionally—until the dry sweetener is completely dissolved. Pour this mixture over the popped corn and stir to coat. Much of the sauce will fall to the bottom of the bowl, so be sure to scoop it up and keep stirring for a full 2 minutes. Sprinkle on the salt (don’t forget!) and add chocolate chips, or nuts, or dried fruit if you wish.

View Caramel Popcorn Nutrition Facts

healthy cracker jacks

What’s your favorite: Buttered popcorn or caramel corn?

I’ve always loathed buttered popcorn: the smell, the artificial taste, the way it gets all over the movie theater floor and in your seat… Does anyone even know what’s in that butter syrup with which they drench movie theater popcorn until it turns a very unnatural shade of neon yellow? I guess I could google it, but I would probably rather not know!

Link of the Day:

healthy butterfinger candy

…….Healthy Butterfingers

Published on February 1, 2013

Meet Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
featured on The 
Today Show, CNN, 
Fox, The 
Huffington Post, and 
ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day.

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  1. Grace says

    Oh my gosh! Popcorn! I am a popcorn fanatic! I just might have to try this! If I can figure out where to buy a small bag of kernels at a local store lol 😛

    I don’t really know…. I like all kinds of popcorn.. And movie theater popcorn is sooo good though it’s definitely AWFUL for you! 🙁 Caramel and butter.. hmm.. choices, choices. 😛 How about a mix of both? hehe 🙂

    This recipe looks amazing! Do you think you will ever make a butter version? But without actual butter? 🙂

    -Grace 🙂

    P.S. I made your chocolate pumpkin pie brownies, pumpkin cream cheese bars, and crustless pumpkin pie over the weekend… And I ended up making 2-3 batches of each!! LOL! They’re so good! And as for the chocolate pumpkin pie brownies, if you put 1/2 can of pumpkin instead of 1/2 cup (at first I read it wrong! So I made another batch the right way after haha), it’s super good! It’s like fudge and a brownie in one! It’s a fudgie! 🙂

      • trajayjay says

        I bet the butter in popcorn is pretty much partially hydrogenated soybean oil. English please? TRANS FAT, plus a little artificial butter flavoring. I try to avoid movie popcorn now that I know what trans fat is. Plus, I always liked home popped popcorn better, movie popcorn with synthetic butter always tasted like vinyl coating to me. Still, CCK you’re right, microwave popcorn can have some pretty nasty stuff in it. Some brands have up to 5 grams of trans fat. That’s pretty icky, and should be fricking illegal. That’s like putting lead or arsenic in our popcorn. Fortunately, some brands are trans fat free, and only contain oil. I though, prefer to pop my own kernels, and I don’t use the paper bag method that you described. I warm a shallow dish of water in the microwave for 1.5 min. I take a glass bowl that doesn’t have a flat rim and put the kernels in it. I cover the bowl with a plate and nuke until all the kernels seem popped. It’s probably unnecessary to nuke the water first and use a bowl without a smooth rim, but i always got better results the way I did it.

        • Violet says

          I use a microwave-safe bowl with a plate on top to pop my popcorn kernels too – you don’t have to waste paper bags this way AND your popcorn is already in a bowl ready to eat when you pull it out of the microwave. I always get better results doing it this way compared to the paper bag method.

          • N.B. Stolz says

            I have tried to make popcorn by the paper bag method. I have a hard time getting all of the kernals to pop. Do you lay the bag on it’s side in the microwave oven or stand it up on the bottom? I’m anxious to try the caramel popcorn recipe.

            Thanks for your reply

      • Grace says

        Wow! I must be the only person that likes butter popcorn on here! LOL 😛 Have you ever tried the popcornopolis (or something like that!) popcorn? It comes in a bag shaped like a cone? Well, have you ever tried the zebra, strawberries and creme, cheddar, and pretty much all other flavors? Do you think you will ever make cheddar (vegan of course since you are a vegan!) or zebra/strawberries’n’creme/cookies’n’creme popcorn? Or kettle corn?!?!?! :O

        Thanks again!
        -Grace 🙂

        P.S. Do you know where I could buy coconut flour? And do you know if it’s expensive or not? Do any of your recipes call for coconut flour?

    • alloyjane says

      I think the movie theater stuff is made from coconut oil. And while I don’t love the fake butter junk that goes on top, I love making popcorn using coconut oil mixed with grape seed or peanut oil. It’s delicious. My family will eat any kind if popcorn but they love it when I use coconut oil.

  2. Hannah says

    This looks delicious! My mother and I love popcorn, in a serious there’s-no-way-we-could-do-a-month-without-it sort of way. I actually had it instead of cake on my last birthday, and my mother is having popcorn and your chocolate brownie cookies (which I’ve made, like, six times in the past two months) instead of cake!

    I like buttered popcorn, but only if I butter it myself at home with real butter. I’m not a movie theater popcorn girl. I haven’t even had it in years. One of my favorite popcorn toppings is chocolate chips!

    By the way, you are an awesome photographer. Do you do all your pictures yourself?

    Thanks for this awesome looking recipe!

  3. Patty Allread says

    I so agree that fake butter at the theater smells disgusting! So does microwave fake-butter popcorn. Your recipe looks really good and I’m going to adapt it by using whole grain barley malt instead of agave or honey. Great pictures too!

  4. Vanessa says

    Hi Katie, is the nutritional count different if you use real sugar? I assume so, right? I used xylitol in one of the recipes and found I really didn’t like the flavor it added. Do you have any other sugar substitution recommendations? I will look into sucanat…

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      It will be more, but probably not much. Xylitol is actually not calorie-free. Xylitol is something like 30 cals/tbsp as opposed to 45 for sugar (if I remember correctly).

      Sucanat is awesome. It has an almost-gingerbready flavor.

      • Grace says

        Where can I buy xylitol? I’ve looked at all my local stores and I can’t find it! So it’s not calorie free?!? :O What other (healthy!) sugar substitutes are there that are low cal or calorie free and sugar free but can keep volume like sugar does? (I use stevia but when recipes use sugar as bulk, then it doesn’t quite work the same…)

        And what’s sucanat? :O

        -Grace 🙂

  5. Jessica says

    Oh wow def making these this weekend!!

    I think I am with CCK about the movie theater popcorn…not really my thing lol. I would def go for the caramel corn! 🙂

  6. Olivia says

    Yay! I never thought I’d see the day where “healthy” and “caramel popcorn” would sit so closely in a sentence!
    Thanks Katie, you rock! Can’t wait to get home tonight, veg out to some Planet Earth and eat popcorn (cause Friday nights are meant to be spent alone…right? Right?? Otherwise I’d have to share my delicious vegan food! psh) 🙂

      • Grace says

        Omg! Kelly @ Foodie Fiasco! You’re here too! Love your blog also!! Your blog and Katie’s blog are literally, no joke, my life! haha 😛

        -Grace 🙂

        P.S. Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies, I LOVEEEEEE popcorn too!!! 🙂 That caramel popcorn brownie sound yummilicious!

  7. Mandie says

    I too have always detested the buttery movie-style popcorn – it always stuck to the roof of my mouth & left a weird taste and feel. Yuck!

    My FAVORITE is Kettle Corn – but Caramel is great too – but the kinds of Caramel Corn I have tried are SO unhealthy!
    I like Kettle Corn best because is isn’t too sweet, nor too salty – just right 😉

    I hope to try this recipe soon!

  8. Rachel says

    Hiya Katie, here’s a wee message of appreciation from Scotland! Felt as if today would be a good opportunity to finally leave a comment, as popcorn has got to be one of my favourite snacks in the world! Can’t believe it’s taken me ages to do this, but this is to say: thanks so much for your lovely blog! I’ve been a veggie since I was 15, and am now vegan most of the time due to a uni student budget. As a medical student, avid runner and veggie–but with a wicked sweet tooth–this has been a godsend. I really appreciate the fact that you often include substitutions; I love that I can still make loads of your recipes without needing to run out and buy posh ingredients!

    So I just wanted to say thanks so much for your lovely blog and recipe ideas; it makes my day so much sweeter (couldn’t resist, sorry!)

    Cheers from Auld Reekie. xx

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Thanks, Rachel! I think I’m probably sensitive to the substitution thing because I lived out of the US too… I know how frustrating it can be when you go to make a recipe and can’t find any of the ingredients where you live! 😕

  9. Anna says

    I love caramel corn. I wonder if my mom’s trick for perfectly coated caramel corn will work for this…you put the popped, de-kernaled corn in a paper bag, drizzle the sauce on, close the bag up tight and get to shaking. It prevents you from breaking up the popped corn with a spoon and to clean up you just throw the bag out.

  10. Sarah says

    oooooh this looks fantastic. i used to work at a theater and couldn’t believe how much people were like OBSESSED with the fake butter- which is legitimately oil, salt, and butter flavor. gross. it got EVERYWHERE too, left this nasty residue and smell on your hands. def not something i wanna put it in my body!
    this popcorn on the other hand…yes please.

  11. kinsey says

    Yay! I recently found a “healthified” caramel corn but it looked too high maintenance and had 1 too many steps. I will have to pop some of this up soon! P.s I am on the hunt for a healthy, low calorie, whole grain pound cake. Might you have a link for one or may I see a future recipe for this on your blog? 🙂 🙂 I love anything with “sneaky ingredients” and was thinking a recipe that uses beans to possibly make it more dense would be a good addition!

    • trajayjay says

      Poundcake has 5 main ingredients: butter, sugar, milk, flour, and eggs. I suppose that you could sub butter for coconut oil, sugar for stevia or xylitol, milk for almond milk, flour for whole wheat pastry flour, and “flax eggs” for eggs. I don’t think this would be low calorie, but if you keep portions small, then the result won’t have many calories, I think nutrition is more important than caloric content anyways.

      • kinsey says

        I definitely agree with you on the calorie/nutrition part. For most of my clients though I try to teach them how to eat high nutrient foods that naturally have little calories. Therefore, it would be great if I could show them how to have their cake, and eat it too!

  12. Kim says

    Hello Katie. I am new to your site. Great recipes that I’m excited to try! I did just make this popcorn and OMG. This is yummy! So good that I cuold not stop myself & at the entire thing 🙁 Rats!! I had planned to have my serving, then save the rest for son & hubby. Next time I will be sure to make it when they are home so they can enjoy with me, or if I’m alone only make 1/3 of it. That was about 10 WW points. Yikes! Veggies rest of the day…lol.

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Thank you so much for making it already!
      I hear you on the serving-size thing… when I looked at a box of cracker jacks, it was–at 28 grams–half the size even of the one I listed. I don’t know why they make serving sizes so small.

  13. Lisa says

    I used to love popcorn as a kid, like obsessed. Even in college, I sometimes I ate it for Lunch or Dinner. Oops. It’s so good with coconut oil and nutritional yeast! Even though now, I have to lay off it a bit because I’m a little sensitive to it sadly.

  14. Sharla says

    Disappointed to see no mention of the fact that using honey makes so that this is not vegan. I understand you like to provide substitutions, but it would be nice to see you standing up and mentioning some of the ideals behind veganism.

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Hi Sharla,

      I really do understand your point… and I always wonder about whether or not I should include honey in my posts. But the truth is that I’m a vegan for ethical reasons… so my main goal is not to live up to a definition, but to cause as little harm to others as possible. I’ve researched it many times and I just don’t see how eating honey is harmful to the bees; more bugs are killed to make organic broccoli. Personally, I won’t go out of my way to consume honey, but I don’t have a problem with anyone who does eat honey. After all, no one is 100% vegan all the time (I’m thinking of things like leather steering wheels or book bindings). We’re all just trying to do the best we can, and my goal is to make veganism seem do-able and mainstream.

      But don’t worry: you won’t be seeing me listing options for eggs or butter or anything like that in future posts. Becoming a vegan was the best decision I ever made, and I don’t see myself changing anytime soon (read: ever).

      • Sharla says

        It’s just disappointing that beyond the “no one gets harmed” idea (which is not true), you’re okay with commodifying sentient beings, which is different from not being able to be 100% vegan all the time. That goes against the fundamental ideas of veganism.

          • Grace says

            Hello there! I personally do not think that Katie was down right promoting honey… And making honey is what bees do.. It’s in their nature! And I think she was just giving extra options to her viewers since not everybody is vegan! (I’m not even vegetarian! I eat EVERYTHING!! Hahah but I definitely respect other people’s lifestyle choices.. maybe one day I will become vegetarian.. or vegan! who knows?!) And I can tell you one thing, Katie definitely does all that she cans on her blog to make veganism an achievable thing.. And you can tell that she totally supports veganism. So I think she was just trying to help us non-vegans out by giving us more options rather than just one!

            So yeah, if you don’t like honey, then just don’t use it! Use agave… That stuff is the bomb 🙂

            Love ur blog Katie!!!

            -Grace 🙂

          • E says

            I am a vegan, and I have to agree with Grace. I think Katie, with the approachable and more mainstream way she highlights veganism on her blog, has probably changed hundreds of people’s lives and views on veganism and gotten them to see it as something that maybe they could do. I was a vegan already when I found her blog, but I’ve seen other commenters on here in the past say that they were inspired to go vegan or eat fewer animal products because of this blog. On the other hand, I don’t think a preaching approach where you condemn others for their views will win ANY converts to the cause that we (you, me, and Katie) all hold dear.

          • Donna says

            Some vegans go a little over-the-top with what is “do no harm.” In fact, I overhear, or read things that are such a stretch in the support of veganism, that I wonder how these folks can even walk across a lawn where they may step on a bug, or walk at all for that matter. I can’t think of anything we do that isn’t potentially harmful.

            The idea of being vegan should never include banning the enjoyment, and appreciation of byproducts that animals create as part of our natural eco-system process. As long as you buy your honey from a reputable source, it’s all in line with compassion, and grace.

        • bee lover says

          not everyone goes ‘vegan’ to save the animals. some people just don’t like eating animal products and might be allergic to milk as well. honey is a bit on the fence. personally, people are more likely to try saving them (which they should do because bees are very very important) if they realize they will run out of honey. eat the honey. save the bees, our trees, and our lives.

          • May Bambina says


            Everyone who is a real vegan does it for the sake of sentient beings (animals). If you do not eat animal products because you don’t like it or are allergic, then you are following a plant based diet. Vegan is not a diet, it is a way of life that is inseparable from ethics, morals, and values.

            Definition of Vegan by the man who coined the term “vegan”:

            Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

      • Danielle says

        I’ve researched it too, I thought this was a good reference-

        That stated, I am bothered that your statement appealed to hypocrisy; “no one is 100% vegan all the time”. Its a logical fallacy, and I like veganism to be logical.

        Some people, like Jack Norris or Virginia Messina, should be considered vegan 100% of the time in the sense that they are doing the most practical job possible to help animals and to reduce suffering. Anything less than that shouldn’t be castigated, but I don’t think vegans using leather is doing the best they can, it seems selfish considering the obvious cruelty, they can at least buy second hand..

        PS, excited to try the cake-batter doughnuts!

  15. Melissa says

    Buttered popcorn all the way over here! 🙂 With REAL butter, not the fake stuff (I’m not a vegan…can you tell? LOL). My husband loooooves caramel corn, though, so I’m going to have to try this recipe!

  16. Christi says

    Hi! Huge fan, excited to try this recipe. Thank you!

    Thought you might be interested- FDA says its not safe to microwave brown paper bags. I’ve read about using a bowl and plate instead, I’m going to try that.

    Check it out: ” Do not use brown paper bags from the grocery or other stores for cooking. They are not sanitary, may cause a fire, and may emit toxic fumes. Intense heat may cause a bag to ignite, causing a fire in the oven and possibly contaminating the turkey. The ink, glue, and recycled materials in paper bags may emit toxic fumes when they are exposed to heat. Instead, use commercial oven cooking bags. ”

    Source:, under Do Not Cook in Paper Bags

  17. Karsten says

    I just made this with molasses and we love it!! Very similar in taste to “regular” caramel. I have been craving sweets all day and this was tasty and quick. Thanks!

  18. Alanna says

    I love this idea! I’ve never been a big fan of the nasty stuff they call butter at movie theaters… it doesn’t even taste good! Until a friend introduced me to kettle corn several years ago I only liked it salty/cheesy, but I think I like sweet popcorn better now, haha. And for anyone worried about microwaving paper bags, they make special microwavable bowls for popping popcorn! I’m sure there are other brands, but this is the one I have:

    The bowl gets pretty hot, but it works really well and you can easily add seasoning after popping by holding down the lid and shaking to mix. (Note: I’ve not tried that with thicker/sweet toppings, but for salt and seasoning it works well bcause you can add oil to the kernels pre-popping and toss to season after.)

  19. Sonya says

    PERFECT! I just made a huge batch of this and my whole family loves it. I doubled, almost tripled the amount of popcorn going into my air popper and stuck with the original recipe for the coating because I thought it seemed like alot of coating for just one batch. It turned out great! Every piece of popcorn is deliciously sweet and salty. This is going to be my go to recipe when I want something other than plain popcorn! 🙂

  20. Natasha says

    Hi. First time viewer. I used to work for a movie theater in my highschool years. The butter at the theater is REAL butter. It was stored solid in a huge plastic jug which we had to melt in warm water and then pour into the butter warmer. The butter warmer has a button to dispense butter on top of the popcorn. Watch them prepare your popcorn at the theater. Or just ask. They won’t mind. Oh the weird yellow color….its from the salt that goes into the kettle with corn when heated to pop. Must be dyed salt to enhance your visual pleasure?

    • Kristall says

      It’s good you brought this up. Really highlights how everywhere is different and simply saying “movie theatre popcorn is evil” and “homemade popcorn is better” is over-simplifying things. I’m so tired of this black and white view on food, demonizing one and raising another atop a pedestal. Moderation is key! I personally love theatre popcorn…I also love homemade popcorn.

  21. Sabrina says

    I googled it and some pages said they use beta carotene, weird. I just made this and my mom ate almost half the batch! It’s delicious!!!!!!!!! My only problem is it won’t harden and its all sticky, is there any way to fix that?

    • Hannah says

      Beta carotene? That sounds kind of like something you’d put in a car, or something… 😉

      If I didn’t live in a travel trailer with eight other people, I’d make this, like, right now, and my mother and I would eat the whole batch and feel sick and probably blame Katie for being so awesome. 😀

  22. Laura Miller says

    Reading online, the butter just seems to be hydrogenated soybean or coconut oil, butter flavor, and artificial colors. Some use canola shortening. All is full of trans fats and hydrogenated fats that are bad for us. So thank you for posting this recipe!

    It looks really good, and I have all ingredients! Hmmm…

  23. Melissa says

    I just made this using coconut sugar and honey, and twice the amount of popcorn.
    It was soooooooo good 🙂
    It is a little sticky, but I think that’s because of the honey.
    YUM!!! Thanks for the recipe

  24. Rachael says

    Hi Katie! I didn’t know how else to ask you this but by commenting, but I found this recipe that looks like heaven, but heaven with tons of fat and calories! I was wondering if you could work your magic & see if there’s anyway you can re-do it, to make it just a tad healthier? Please let me know!

    If not, it’s okay. But I figured, it’s never hurts to ask. 🙂 Thanks!

  25. Beth says

    Just made this, and it is so good! I love the salty and sweet together. My kids will love this, too. I will have to make it for dessert soon.

    I love REAL buttered and salted popcorn. Like, the kind I make at home. The movie theater stuff is gross, but the fresh stuff is delicious! Also, it brings back lots of happy memories of my dad making a huge bowl of buttered popcorn for us all to share when I was growing up.

  26. Jan Johnson says

    YUMMY! I just read this a few minutes ago and now I’m eating it! I made it with butter – oh it is so good! My sister gave my kids some in a tin she bought and I wouldn’t let myself look at the ingredients. They actually didn’t eat all of it, but I’ll bet they like THIS caramel corn! Thanks for the recipe Katie – such an easy snack that you don’t have to feel too guilty about – especially since we have organic popcorn!

  27. Nicole says

    Did anyone else’s come out more like kettle corn rather than caramel corn? It just didnt have that rich, caramelly taste that I was hoping for. I’m not sure what went wrong–I followed the recipe perfectly. Even added the butter. Womp:(

    • Lynn says

      What did you use for your sweeteners? I made it with Sugar Leaf (4 tsp.) and vanilla agave nectar. I barely put even 1/8 tsp. of salt. It was very close to caramel!

  28. Tara says

    Yum. I love all kinds of popcorn! It is one of my most frequent cravings! I also love your recipes-I am pretty sure I could spend all day perusing your site! I just made your cashew cookie larabar recipe and they taste just like the real thing!

  29. Mina says

    I basically only like white cheddar popcorn D: Or caramel chocolate popcorn. Not plain caramel or plain butter though. I might be stoned for saying this but kettle corn is THE WORST for me!

  30. Hilly says

    Just made this and subbed Truvia for the dry sweetener and used half honey, half maple syrup. Tastes more like kettle corn but so delish! Thought I would share these good substitutions.

  31. Melissa @ Fit 'n' Well Mommy says

    I can’t wait to make this! I LOVE popcorn, but since we are in the middle of our Paleo Challenge, I have to wait to make this, ugh! I’ve been craving popcorn, so I think this will be one of the first things I make once our challenge is over.

  32. Emily says

    I made this just then! It was very delicious indeed, however I would also suggest to lastly add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bi-carb soda) to it and stir until foamy, and then pour it onto the popcorn to spread the caramel more consistently throughout the popcorn 🙂

  33. Tania says

    As usual this is DELICIOUS!!!!!! We made it the recipe way first using coconut palm sugar honey and butter, then tossed in carob chips. Then we made it with coconut palm sugar honey pure maple syrup vanilla cinnamon and carob chips.. Crazy good!!!

  34. Heather says

    Hi, Katie! I just made this for my son to have an alternative (he is allergic to dairy/eggs) while his siblings ate some “regular” popcorn that was a gift to them by others. I used honey because we don’t have any agave and I didn’t want to run to the store. We aren’t vegan or vegetarian, but have food allergies to dairy/egg/gluten and LOVE your blog. Anyway, I came on here to ask you whether you think agave or maybe brown rice syrup would give this caramel corn a more “authentic” taste. Using honey made it taste like, well, a bowl of honey covered popcorn. I’d like to try making it again and was wondering if I should buy agave or brown rice syrup. I’m not worried about the calories, it’s for my 3 year old, he burns them off! Lol! I scanned through the comments to see if anyone else had the same question/comment and I was really sad to see that some people were being harsh on your choice of ingredient substitutions as well as your replies. Don’t take it to heart. You are doing an amazing thing by sharing your talent with others and I love how versatile the recipes are. That’s what makes them so popular and so useful to others, whether they are vegan or special diet/allergies, or just wanting to find something lower calorie. You shouldn’t have to watch your P’s and Q’s as closely as you already do and still endure such harsh criticism. After all, your blog title isn’t “How to be 100% Vegan”, but it is “The Healthy Dessert Blog,” and you do THAT with excellence, which shows by the huge success of your site and your upcoming book will do well. Thanks for what you do. 🙂

    • Mandy Mreat! says

      I added ~1 T of molasses to the recipe and used organic cane sugar and it turned out great. My kids thought it tasted just like the caramel corn in the bag that they sampled at Costco today, and it was MUCH cheaper!

  35. April says

    Sounds great! But is this a make-and-eat-right-away snack? Does it need to dry? How long will it keep? Thanks for the help!

  36. Corina says

    I have an air popper where you just put the kernels in and the hit air pops it. I agree that the movie popcorn is blah:P But if I do it in the air popper, then you can melt your own butter or other sauce and add it to the popcorn. Then its OK.And yum! I love caramel corn, but its always really unhealthy . I love this blog!!!!!!!!:D

  37. Christine Selby says

    I’m a self-proclaimed caramel corn snob. I’m not a vegetarian of any variety and I’m not interested in making my deserts “healthy” – I just eat the “high test” ones sparingly; however, this recipe is quite good. I used honey, brown sugar and real butter. I stumbled upon it looking for a recipe for caramel corn I could make on the road. Still couldn’t make this one, but I was intrigued. So when I finally returned home I tried it. I like my tried and true recipe better, but this is quite good and will remain in my recipe files. Thanks!!

  38. Carol says

    I just finished making this and realized that I need to put it into the oven to crisp up and dry out. Did you have to do that to yours? Its delicious but messy & wet.

  39. Liki says

    Just made this tonight as a test run for a batch I need to make for a work “Sweet Exchange”. It is really good and tasty. I used white popcorn kernels and used an air popcorn popper to make the popcorn. I purchased sucanat from Whole Foods for $4.99 for 1 pound. I made the butter version using real butter.

    I did some research on glycemic levels and minerals/vitamins on the different cane sugars and decided to also try using rapadura aka panela because it is the healthiest of the sugar cane sugars. I am not sure where I am going to find this locally.

  40. Cheryl says

    This may seem like an odd idea, but I was wondering it the “melted banana trick” might possible work for this recipe, instead of the agave/ honey. Although this recipe is much healthier than others, I would like to cut down on added sugars as much as possible and I thought this might possibly work. I’m okay with my popcorn tasting slightly like banana 😀

  41. Dina Dee says

    Hi! I tried this, but had to add cocoa powder to the pan when melting the ingredients together. It was YUM! I used coconut oil instead of the Earth balance butter stuff, and sprinkled Himalayan pink salt on it at the end. I toasted up some almonds and put them in with the popcorn so they got some coating, too. Your website is a resource I keep coming back to, thanks, Katie!

  42. april says

    i really really like popcorn. I use it to curb munches. Most often I stove pop mine with either olive oil or coconut oil. I go with one of three options for flavoring: 1 – salted, 2 – spicy (cayenne pepper, garlic salt, and hot sauce. sometimes hot sauce mixed with a butter to make a buffalo wing flavor), or 3-sweet. i throw in a packet of trivia with the oil before adding corn and make a kettle corn out of it. tastes great with coconut oil. often sprinkle with a little salt and cinnamon. tonight i really really want chocolate. chocolate anything. so i was seeing if i could find a healthy sweet chocolate popcorn recipe. but i might do this one instead!

  43. Angelica says

    Here’s what I found out about the Cineplex popcorn from the website. I got it from a file called ” Nutrition & Allergen Guide”…

    Ingredients in Cineplex popcorn:
    Soybean Oil, Water, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Soy Protein, Soy Lecithin, Potassium Sorbate, Mono & Diglycerides, Artificial Flavour, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3

    A really good recipe! I just finished making it. I have a question though… When I was mixing the caramel sauce together on low heat, the sugar never really dissolved. I kept tasting it and I would always feel the graininess of the ( brown ) sugar. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind that at all, but I was stirring it for a good 20-30 min and it still turned out grainy. I finally stopped because I didn’t want the honey to burn ( that’s happened before ). Is this normal? Otherwise this is SOOO delicious! Oh my gosh!

    • Unofficial CCK Helper says

      Hmm it should definitely dissolve unless the sugar was old? Maybe try white sugar? I’ve never had a problem with sugar not dissolving.

  44. Julie says

    Hi Katie,
    I am very excited to discover your site & look forward to trying out more of your recipes! When I searched for a healthy caramel corn recipe, I didn’t really think I would find one! I made the recipe with the spread and with peanuts. I have made the old-fashioned kind many times. I was a little disappointed that the popcorn didn’t get that hard coating on the outside, instead it was soggy and limp. I cooked the sauce until it boiled, then took it off the heat. I tried pouring the mixture out on a parchment-covered cookie sheet to dry & hopefully harden, but it didn’t. Did I do something wrong? Thanks for your help, Julie

    • Unofficial CCK Helper says

      Hi Julie, I haven’t had this problem with the recipe, so I’m guessing climate might be an issue here. If you’re in a humid location or it was a humid day, that could definitely throw things off! Also, baking at a higher heat could help. Have you looked at Katie’s Recipe FAQ page at the top of her blog? It has a troubleshooting section.

  45. Theresa says

    I made this recipe this afternoon when my kids brought some friends over! I used honey and coconut sugar and worked like a charm. I did find it a little bit soggy so I baked it for 15 min. at 250′ and it was perfect! A new go to recipe!

    May I link to your website on my blog?

  46. Kitty says

    Oh, my GOSH, Katie!!! My 14-yr.-old daughter and I just made this for her friend’s 13th birthday today, and it was WAY BEYOND YUMMY!!! We expanded the recipe to fill a popcorn tin we had saved from a gift someone had given us and added about a cup or so of ENJOY allergen-free chocolate chips to the end product, and our whole family decided it was SOOO MUCH better than any other popcorn of that type we’ve had, AND, most importantly, without all the super-unhealthy ingredients. It was fun for us to make, too! Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe!!! I can see the long list of gift recipients forming now!!! ;))

  47. May Bambina says

    Hi fellow popcorn lovers,

    I have bought one of these popcorn poppers ages ago for under $25 (they have it in stores like Amazon and Walmart). It is fantastic, you do not need to pop the corn in any oil, it is completely air popped, and you rarely have a few kernels left! Very easy to then make into different popcorn based recipes, and a good way to reduce the calories!


    PS Your recipes are amaaaaaaaazing!

  48. Charity L. Boisseau says

    Caramel corn is my new addiction, but making it the traditional way has too many calories. This looks just about right. The last time I made caramel corn, I used molasses, which gives the corn a very rich, strong flavor. I liked it, but my son didn’t. I will try yours! Looks delicious!

  49. Lindsay says

    I have been making this recipe for years. It is my favorite go-to sweet popcorn recipe. I tried molasses and loved it–definitely makes it a more robust caramel-y flavor, but delicious!!! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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