With fall flavors of hot apple cider, this Apple Cider Caramel popcorn is the most delicious, crunchy, sweet and apple flavored seasonal snack.

A silver bucket filled with Apple Cider Caramel Popcorn

Just pop your favorite popcorn and make your own, easy apple cider caramel with flavors of orange and cinnamon. So much better than store bought.

I go through about 1 bottle of apple cider per week at this time of the year. It’s not only my favorite drink, but I also like to use it in recipes.

Last week I used it in the butter glaze for herb roasted Cornish hens that are perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. I’ve even used it in this delicious, seasonal cocktail apple sidecar. Apple cider is so good for adding natural sweetness to so many sweet and savory dishes.

A closeup of Apple Cider Caramel Popcorn

I knew I wanted to make a caramel popcorn recipe recently, but wanted to make something a little different and hot apple cider was my inspiration. To achieve the concentrated apple flavor, the apple cider is reduced by half then brown sugar, butter and cream are added, then simmered until thickened.

Caramel popcorn needs to be baked for 2 reasons. 1 it helps soften so you can coat the popcorn well, and 2, it keeps the popcorn from absorbing the caramel and getting soggy.

You can enjoy this Apple Cider Caramel Popcorn all fall and winter season. Great for Halloween, a cosy night with a movie as well as it makes a wonderful holiday gift for neighbors, friends, teachers or the mail man. Just add to cellophane bags and add tie with gift tag.

Chefs tip

You will need a candy thermometer for this because there is no way to tell if the caramel is at the perfect temperature to achieve the best crunch.

The caramel needs be just below the soft crack stage. This means, when the caramel cools, it is the perfect crunch and is not too hard (which would be a hard crack stage).

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Yield: 11 cups

Apple Cider Caramel Popcorn

A silver bucket of of apple cider caramel popcorn

Freshly popped corn is coated in a caramel sauce that tastes like hot apple cider.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (473 ml) apple cider
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 1/4 cups (450 grams) light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/3 cup (78 ml) corn syrup
  • 12 cups (130 grams) freshly popped popcorn

Instructions

  1. Add the apple cider to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until it is reduced to 1 cup, 15-20 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon, orange zest, sugar, butter and corn syrup. Stir, bring to a simmer until thickened to 250°F/121°C, about 20-30 minutes.
  2. Cover 2 large (12 inch/30.5 cm x 17 inch/43 cm) baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat. Preheat oven to 250°F/121°C.
  3. Spread half of the popcorn into an even layer onto one baking sheet. Drizzle half of the caramel over the popcorn and quickly mix. The caramel will firm quickly, making it hard to mix, but don’t worry, it will soften in the oven. Just mix as much as you can and smooth to an even layer. Repeat with the other baking sheet, popcorn and caramel.
  4. Transfer them to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and carefully mix the popcorn into the softened caramel until evenly coated. Return back to the oven for 10 more minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven, it will immediately start to harden. Use a rubber spatula to create the size pieces you want and once it is cool enough to handle, you can use your hands.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1 cup

Amount Per Serving Calories 228Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 4mgSodium 202mgCarbohydrates 34gSugar 17g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.