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Caramel Corn in a Paper Bag

Spread the popcorn out on baking trays to cool (Susan Mintert/Indiana Home Cooks)

Since most of the cooking for this recipe happens in the microwave, it’s quicker and a lot less mess than traditional caramel corn recipes. Once you’ve got the popcorn popped, golden, sweet, crispy, caramel corn is just minutes away. You can pop the corn on the stovetop, in an air-popper or in the microwave. Just make sure it is unseasoned.

Caramel Corn in a Paper Bag


  • 8 quarts of popped popcorn (unseasoned)
  • 1 C. brown sugar
  • ½ C. butter
  • ¼ C. light corn syrup
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • One paper grocery bag


  1. Put popped popcorn in paper grocery bag and set aside.
  2. Have 2-3 large baking pans ready to cool caramel corn.
  3. Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl. (1-2 qt capacity)*
  4. Set aside the baking soda.
  5. Microwave caramel ingredients together for 2 minutes.**
  6. Stir mixture, and then microwave for 2 more minutes.
  7. Add baking soda and stir. Mixture will become foamy.
  8. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn in paper bag. Fold closed and shake bag to distribute caramel. Keep bag closed at all times during cooking and shaking. Place bag in microwave oven. If your microwave does not have a turntable, pause a few times during cooking to move bag around.
  9. Microwave for 1.5 minutes, then shake bag.
  10. Microwave for 1 minute, shake bag.
  11. Microwave for 45 seconds, shake.
  12. Microwave for 30 seconds, shake.
  13. When done, open bag carefully away from your face. Pour caramel corn out onto baking pans to cool.

*Note: caramel mixture will expand and rise during cooking so make sure your cooking vessel is large enough. Set aside the baking soda.
**Note: All microwave cooking instructions are for HIGH POWER, 1100 watts

Susan Mintert

Susan Mintert is a wife, mom, and home cook in West Lafayette, Indiana. She shares her love of food and the people who make it on the Indiana Home Cooks Podcast. She believes the tradition, culture, celebration, fellowship, memory, and love of food make it central to our lives beyond simply feeding our stomachs.

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