Aunt Val’s Caramel

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Okay folks, this is my go-to caramel recipe. I almost want to keep it a secret. It is that easy and delicious. If you haven’t figured this out about me yet I am a sucker for things that are awesome and easy. Does that make me lazy? Probably. Will I ever change? Doubt it.

Also, like all the other recipes I’ll post on this blog, it is cost effective. I always have all these ingredients on hand (granted, the Karo syrup is only on hand for this very recipe, but still). You can use this caramel in a multitude of ways. My two favorites are caramel popcorn and caramel sundaes. Not your thing? Cake? Brownies? Dip for apples? Yes, yes and yes.
So, without further ado.
1 C. Brown Sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 C. light Karo syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
It really is that simple.

All you do is melt all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Once caramel is boiling cook for approximately two minutes stirring constantly. 
If using for caramel popcorn pour over popcorn immediately (this recipe will cover three bags of microwave popcorn thoroughly). 
As a side note, don’t you think my sweet mother could use a new sauce pan? I think she got it for her wedding. Way to be frugal though mother dearest. 
Get yourself a spoon and enjoy!
*I think it would be so cute to put this caramel in the baby canning jars to give as gifts, just enough for a few bowls of ice cream once opened. 
  • Anonymous

    This caramel corn IS delicious. It is MY real Aunt Val’s original receipe!!

  • Stephanie

    Ohhh caramel corn is delicious but I’ve never made it at home, will have to try this!!


  • Michelles Tasty Creations


    Thanks so much for linking up to Creative Thursday this week. I don’t know what else to say except oh, my! This is so delicious looking and Caramel Corn is my Favorite! Can’t wait to try this recipe.

    Hope to see you again next week. Have a wonderful weekend.


  • Alyssa

    I never realized how easy it was to make caramel, I will have to try this! The popcorn looks really good too. Thanks for sharing at Showcase Your Talent Thursday. I hope to see you there next week!

  • Bridget

    Oh yum caramel! whats not to like :)

  • Heidi

    This looks and sounds heavenly!! This is being featured today at {Junk in their Trunk}, thanks for linking up!!

  • Anonymous

    How much is 1 “cube” of butter? Like 1 whole stick?

    • Jessica

      Yes, one whole stick! I’m sorry I should have been more specific! :)

  • Anonymous

    I want to know what a cube of butter is also and how did you “can” the caramel sauce.

    • Jessica

      I don’t actually process the cans typically, since it lasts so long in the fridge! If I give it as a gift I just leave a note saying to make sure you refrigerate!

      Also, yes, a cube of butter should read 1/2 cup! I’m sorry, I should have been more clear on that.

  • Kimberly

    So by three bags of popcorn….are you using microwave popcorn that is salted and buttered or is it something different??

    • Jessica

      Yes I use microwave popcorn! I have tried it with salted, buttered and plain and they all work great! Whatever your preference is, will work.

  • The Farm-Marm

    I think I just gained 5 pounds…..
    I am on my way to the store for some popcorn!

    • Jessica

      Haha yay! I hope you love it :).

  • Bonnie the Boss

    This is the recipe I have used for years! It is awesome!

    • Jessica

      Isn’t it delicious?? And the best part is how easy it is to make!

  • Anonymous

    On canning the caramel do you water bath or pressure cook the jars? If pressure for how long and what pressure? For water bath process time?

    • Jessica

      I don’t actually process the cans since it keeps so long in the fridge. I just pour it in the cans, and if I give it as a gift I would just leave a little note saying that it needs to be refrigerated!

  • Anonymous

    Is a cube of butter a stick?

    • Jessica

      Yes, 1/2 cup!

  • BA

    Is the popcorn good after storing or does it need to be eaten right away?

    • Jessica

      It will store well for a few days, (maybe 48 hours) in an airtight container. After that I personally don’t like it as much!

  • Rosalia Solis

    blah don’t know what I did wrong but when I poured my caramel on top it completely shrunk my popcorn n made it mushy.. Yuck!

    • Jessica

      Oh no! I don’t know what to tell you, I have never had that happen to me before. It is a soft caramel recipe though, so it shouldn’t be crunchy or brittle afterward, it should be soft, but not mushy!

    • Anonymous

      My guess would be that maybe you used “light” margarine or butter, which has water in it…I have done that before and my popcorn totally shrunk too. Wonderful recipe!

    • Jessica

      Thanks so much! And thanks for the heads up, now I will know how to answer that question!

    • Anonymous

      Mine was a mushy mess too, I did not use light butter either!! Super bummed, my kids LOVE caramel popcorn!!

    • Anonymous

      Maybe it wasn’t boiled enought to thicken or maybe it should be cooled for a bit to thicken just enough not to soak the popcorn?

  • KelleyS

    The best! Thanks for this post! Awesomesauce!

    • Jessica

      You’re so welcome! I hope you love it.


    Nice easy recipe…and as a cook I have my favorite pots and pans and some are not that pretty anymore….so its okay for a pot to be Seasoned any true cook would understand…thanks for sharing

    • kerri-anne Forsyth

      To True thats a pot with character, and you know how much we all love a character.

    • Jessica

      You are so sweet, thanks so much! It’s true, I totally have favorite bowls and cups so I understand :).

  • Anonymous

    Could you then squish them into popcorn balls? Think the soft kind would hold together? I love the portability of popcorn balls.

    • Jessica

      Hi! They would definitely mold to a ball, I just don’t think they would hold their shape very well. My favorite thing about this caramel popcorn is its softness, I don’t love crunchy popcorn balls, but I agree they are super cute and portable! I would put a scoop of this popcorn in the clear small cups and then cover them with cellophane or something! Good luck ;).

  • Tina

    this looks so yummy! Might have to try it for Halloween nite snack. As far as the pot goes, a lot of my favorite kitchen things are the ones that look the worst…they are just well-loved – just like an old teddy bear. LOL

    • Jessica

      You are so sweet! It’s true, I use my same favorite appliances all the time :). We are making this caramel popcorn for Halloween too, it’s tradition and i’m already so excited! I hope you enjoy yours.

  • kerri-anne Forsyth

    Thanks for posting Jessica. This is the easiest recipe for caramel pop corn I have ever seen, I’m Australian and you have a lot of different terminalogy for products to us so please could you explain what karo syrup is, I would think it to be corn syrup would I be right or wrong.?

    • Jessica

      Hi Kerri-Anne! So sorry for the delayed response. You are exactly right, Karo syrup is just a brand of corn syrup, its just what I have always called it! So sorry for the confusion and good luck with your caramel… it’s delicious!

  • Cher

    I can’t wait to try this! If I use a hot-air popper, do you have any idea what measurements of unpopped kernals, OR about how many cups of popped popcorn would equal the 3 bags of microwave popcorn?

    • Sarah

      Cher, I was wondering about that too so I looked it up! According to Pop Secret, one bag of microwaveable popcorn contains 3 tbsp. of unpopped popcorn. This translates to 4 cups of popped popcorn. So – for three bags of popcorn we would want to air pop 9 tbsp. of kernels to make 12 cups of popped popcorn! :)

    • Cher

      Thanks Sarah :)

  • Amber

    Wow, that was so easy and so dang good. Thanks for sharing. It was a perfect after church snack.

    • Jessica

      Amber, thanks for coming back to let me know how it went, you totally made my day! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. All the best! :)

  • Bobbi

    Do you think you can use hulless popcorn>

    • Jessica

      Honestly, I have never tried, so I can’t say for sure. I imagine it would work? Let me know if you try it! Good luck :)

  • Anonymous

    hi sarah.. you said that this popcorn recipe is a soft one. but after a while the csramel will harden right? it wont be sticky?

    • Jessica

      Hi! Actually no, it shouldn’t harden! To me, that is what makes it so darn delicious! I hate popcorn that feels like its cracking your teeth, but it’s completely personal preference. If you want a hardened popcorn ball type recipe this isn’t the one for you. Good luck!

  • Mom on a mission

    Did you use light or dark brown sugar?

  • Melissa

    What size can of sweetened condensed milk did you use? This sounds delicious!!

  • Miranda Grimm

    Thanks for sharing! I found this on Pinterest and tested it out for a get together! Here are my results:

  • Christy

    What size can for condensed milk?

  • Michelle

    Mine shrunk up as well. I am assuming that I used to much condensed milk. I use 1/2 of a 12 ox. can. How big of a can are you talking about?

  • Anonymous

    Could you add marshmellows to this recipe?

  • Kristen

    I made this for my son’s 1st birthday party (carnival theme). It got RAVE reviews. My cousin has since made about 15 batches for the nurses she works with. I am about to use the caramel in teacher gifts too. We can’t get enough!!Thanks for the fabulous recipe!!

  • Tameria Solorzano

    I made this super simple and yes delicious treat for myself and my kids last week… Needless to say I have bought enough ingredients to make 6 two gallon buckets for Christmas family gifts!!and another batch for home…. Yummy

  • Jamee

    I just made this with my four year old daughter. We added peanuts and m&Ms and it’s super yummy. Thanks for the great recipe.

  • Anonymous

    Love the recipe and so easy! My only suggestion (and maybe you have it there) is to pick the seeds out BEFORE you poor the carmel. Darn me! :) Amazingly good though! :)

  • Kara

    This is our new favorite recipe for caramel corn. Thank you for sharing!

  • Anonymous

    Could someone let me know how much or size can of condensed milk

    • Jessica

      I’m so sorry! It is the regular 14 oz can! Good luck!

  • Casey Gragg

    I plan on making this recipe BUT I’m going to used AIR popped popcorn (don’t have a microwave)and I’m going to go with MORE popcorn than what your recipe called for!! I’m not looking for a thick covering of the popcorn but just enough to give me the taste and maybe lower the intake of tons of lovely caramel (honestly I could eat tons of this) but I have to cut the calories some way!! just my thought!! Thanks I’ll come back and give you feedback!!

  • [email protected]

    Hi, Jessica. I just came over from pinterest, and I didn’t even realize it was your site until I went to pin it myself! I think I’m going to make some of this right now!

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure what I did wrong, but after pouring the caramel over the popcorn and mixing it never hardened enough where you could eat it with your hands. We literally had to use a fork it was so sticky. Not sure why. We save the rest to use to dip fruit in. It tasted pretty good!

  • Angleyes74

    Hi there! This recipe is AMAZING!! I use the PUFFCORN and it is wonderfull.. I also save some of caramel for dipping apples!!! I just put in the fridge in a covered dish!!! It lasted almost a month in the fridge before I finished it!!!

  • Anonymous

    Very good and easy

  • mlcowan

    I used about 15 cups of air popped popcorn and I poured about half of the caramel over it. It covered it sufficiently and I was able to save the other half of the caramel for later. Delicious!

  • mlcowan

    I used about 15 cups of air popped popcorn and I poured about half of the caramel over it. It covered it sufficiently and I was able to save the other half of the caramel for later. Delicious!

  • Michelle Clark

    The end of the recipe says to grab a spoon, so I think for the popcorn it isn’t supposed to really harden. Either way, if I have to use a spoon or my fingers, this stuff is delicious. I have an entire jar left over for ice cream and whatever else my little heart desires.

  • Michelle Clark

    The end of the recipe says to grab a spoon, so I think for the popcorn it isn’t supposed to really harden. Either way, if I have to use a spoon or my fingers, this stuff is delicious. I have an entire jar left over for ice cream and whatever else my little heart desires.

  • skyvixen

    Mine tasted great as well, but it was a tad on the soggy side. I must not have boiled it long enough. Regardless, it was a hit.

  • Ronniered

    Is the microwave popcorn you use the buttered kind or plain as the picture looks like its buttered.

    • prettyprovidence

      Mine are buttered but either works great! I just use whatever I had on hand.

  • Carolyn

    If making it for strictly caramel corn, add about a 1 teaspoon of baking soda. it will foam up, but should harden a little.

    • penny

      would you add the baking soda at the end before pouring over the popcorn ?

  • susan

    I think if after you put the carmel on it, spread it out on a cookie sheet and put it in a low temperature oven for about half an hour. Turn everything once. I agree with another reviewer about mixing in 1 tsp of soda.

  • Loie Lowry

    I made this for a New Year’s Eve party and it was fabulous. I was just looking at the recipe again and thought: “I wonder if chopped cashews would be awesome mixed in with the popcorn?” I think I will try it! Any ideas??

    • GrammaRetta

      I think deluxe mixed nuts would make it like PoppyCock.

      • prettyprovidence

        Great idea!!

  • Nikita

    Mine was delicious tasted like a popcorn ball and wasnt sticky at all

  • Anna

    I made this but didn’t realize until I had started that I was out of sweetened condensed milk, so I substituted a can of cream of coconut and it was AMAZING!!! Easy and delicious recipe. Thank You!

  • Teena

    Bet some added pumpkin pie spice would be good!

  • happy baker

    Would honey, brown rice syrup, or some more natural syrup work in this recipe????? I do not use corn syrup. Thanks!

    • Ag Educate

      BTW- Corn Syrup is “natural”. Corn is not a manufactured man made product. It is a plant that exists in nature much like brown rice. Brown rice syrup is also processed from a plant like corn syrup. I just love the way media and others can cloud things…. and the way people buy into it.

      • Jessica @ Pretty Providence

        Thanks for the info! I am definitely no expert on the nature of foods etc! Appreciate you sharing!

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  • Ramona

    save yourself time and energy use the microwave and the largest microwavable glass bowl, stirring every couple minutes until soft ball stage….so much easier…and if you know where to get puffed buttered corn instead of popcorn it is amazing

  • Shelly

    I have made this many times and put in oven @250 for 40 minutes and then it isn’t gooey. I also add a teaspoon of vanilla and nuts to the caramel before pooring over popcorn.

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  • Carla

    Who needs a new pot? Tried and true always works best! The recipe sounds wonderful. My grandson will love it!

  • Karna

    My kids LOVED it. By the way, it also works GREAT in Coffee for extra flavor!

    • Jessica @ Pretty Providence

      Hooray! So glad everyone liked it! And thanks for the sweet tip!! Xo

  • Sandy Soldner Sorola

    another great option. 1 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar and 9 large marshmallows… that’s it.. melt butter and brown sugar together, stir in Marshmallows until melted pour over large bowl of popped corn.

  • Sandy Soldner Sorola

    oh and this one i posted below this comment is not one that hardens… besides that takes away the yummyness!