Take your caramel corn game to the next level with this homemade caramel corn with bourbon and bacon. You’ll love the salty sweet combination of this irresistible snack.
About This Homemade Caramel Corn Recipe
- No candy thermometer: Similar to my rum spiked caramel corn, this homemade caramel corn requires no candy thermometer and no time in the oven.
- Salty Sweet Deliciousness: Popcorn + bacon + bourbon + caramel. I’m clearly in the business of making dreams come true.
Tips for Success
Preheat your popcorn popper: You’ll want to let your air popper preheat so it’s nice and hot (I usually let it go 3-4 minutes). This reduces the number of un-popped kernels.
Watch it closely: Keep a close eye on things as the sugar mixture goes from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds. Trust your gut with this one and you’ll be fine. Once it reaches the perfect light golden brown color and it is no longer grainy, work quickly to pour it over the popcorn and bacon and stir to incorporate. Spread it out on parchment paper lined sheet pans, let it cool, and dig in.
Get a good air popper: This is the air popper I have. It’s super reliable, I’ve had it for years and years and I eat popcorn, ummmm….at least 3 nights a week?
Removed the unpopped kernels: Once you have the popcorn popped, you’ll want to remove the un-popped kernels. It’s pretty easy, just shake the bowl to let them settle to the bottom and then transfer the popcorn to a different bowl or to your sheet pans. Dump out the hard kernels and return the rest of the popcorn to the bowl. Once they’re covered in caramel, you’ll only find them the painful way.
More Popcorn Recipes
Okay, I’ve admitted I eat tons of popcorn. You won’t be surprised that I have more recipes that star popcorn. I love them all and I think you will too!
- Kahlua and espresso bean caramel corn
- Peanut butter popcorn
- Cinnamon Toast Crunch popcorn
- Blueberries and cream popcorn
- 1/2 cup unpopped Bob’s Red Mill yellow popcorn kernels
- 3 cups granulated white sugar
- 1/4 cup bourbon or whiskey
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 slices thick-sliced bacon, cooked until crispy and cut or crumbled into pieces
- Pop the popcorn using an air popper (or on the stove with oil if you don’t have an air popper). Place popped popcorn in a large bowl. You’ll want enough room for stirring after you pour the caramel over it. I had to separate the popcorn into two bowls. Sprinkle cooked bacon over popcorn.
- Cover one or two sheet pans with parchment paper (I used two pans).
- In a large saucepan, combine sugar, bourbon, butter, vanilla, and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring very often (I stir nearly continuously). Continue to cook until sugar melts and caramel becomes a pretty brown (caramel) color. If you’ve never made caramel, you’ll think you screwed this up. It gets sort of dry-ish before it melts. This will be super confusing if you’ve never done anything like this before. It might even freak you out. Just keep stirring. Good things will happen. It takes about 15-20 minutes. Once it melts and turns a dark caramel color and is no longer grainy, trust your gut and act fast because it scorches quickly.
- Remove from the heat, add the baking soda (I measured it first and put it in a little bowl so I could add it all at once) and keep stirring. Be careful as it bubbles up quickly and almost doubles in quantity. Quickly pour over the popcorn and stir quickly to coat all the corn.
- Spread the caramel corn out on parchment paper lined sheet pans and allow to cool at least ten minutes before digging in.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.