Skinny Caramel Popcorn

by Jen on December 21, 2012

Make your own healthy caramel popcorn! It’s so easy and tastes delicious.

Skinny Caramel Popcorn. A simple way to make homemade caramel corn at home. Healthy recipe!

During winter, do you love to curl up with a nice warm blanket, watch a good movie, and snack on popcorn out of a big bowl?  We sure do.  It’s one of our favorite indoor winter activities.

I used to buy microwave popcorn.  I thought if I bought the “light” version, that it was okay to eat a whole bag myself.  But have you ever looked at the ingredient list on those bags?  Just in case you haven’t, I’ll tell you here:

Popping corn, palm oil (contains TBHQ, citric acid), salt, potassium chloride, artificial butter flavour, butter, and color.

TBHQ…what is that?  Tertiary Butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ as it is more commonly referred to as, is in fact a chemical preservative which is a form of butane. It is used in foodstuffs to delay the onset of rancidness and greatly extends the storage life of foods. It’s no wonder that certain fast foods and convenience foods seem to last a lifetime on the shelf these days. Consuming high doses (between 1 and 4 grams) of TBHQ can cause nausea, delirium, collapse, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and vomiting. There are also suggestions that it may lead to hyperactivity in children as well as asthma, rhinitis and dermatitis. It may also further aggravate ADHD symptoms and cause restlessness.

Now, I’m not saying that there are high doses of TBHQ in microwave popcorn, but imagine consuming that on a daily or even weekly basis?!  Yuck doesn’t even begin to describe what your body thinks about that.

So, I’ve switched to plain old air popped popcorn.  You know, the actual popcorn kernels with no additives?  It’s so easy to make.  Just throw 1/3 – 1/2 a cup in a brown paper bag, roll up the bag and throw in the microwave for approximately 3 minutes.  DONE.

But wait, there’s more.  Plain popcorn is a little tasteless, so I’ve made it into caramel popcorn using ONLY wholesome ingredients you can pronounce.


Yes folks, that is real caramel popcorn made without white, refined sugar and only 1 Tbsp of butter.


When I made this, I literally could not stop sneaking a piece from the bowl.  As I was taking pictures I was grabbing some, making my camera all sticky!

I knew I would like it, but the real test came when I gave it to the rest of my family.  I figured the kids would like it since it’s sweet, but if it passes the “hubby approved” test, then I know I’ve struck gold.

I left a medium sized bowl full of the Skinny Caramel Popcorn for hubby to snack on that night.  I gave it to him after the kids went to bed and didn’t say anything about.  About half an hour later, the empty bowl was sitting on the kitchen counter!

Finally, a delicious snack for movie night that we all can enjoy!


So the next time you have family movie night, or just need a sweet snack, I highly recommend you make this Skinny Caramel Popcorn.  But be warned…it is HIGHLY addictive!

Skinny Caramel Popcorn


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 10 cups

Serving Size: 1 cup


  • 10 cups air-popped popcorn (1/2 cup unpopped kernels yields about 10 cups popped.)
  • 1/3 cup Sucanat
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt


  1. Put popcorn in a large heat-proof bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine Sucanat and maple syrup. Heat on medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until thick enough to coat back of a spoon (2 - 3 minutes.) Remove from heat. Add butter, vanilla, and salt, stirring until butter melts.
  3. Slowly stir caramel into popcorn until evenly coated.
  4. You can serve immediately, however, I found it to be quite sticky. I stuck the caramel popcorn in the fridge for about 2 hours so it could harden a little.


Cal: 85 Fat: 2g Protein: 1g Fiber: 1g Sodium: 29mg Sugar: 5g

21 Day Fix: 1 yellow

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heidi @ Food Doodles December 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Ooooh, I love caramel popcorn! Especially this time of year 😀 I’m so glad for a healthier(and fast) alternative 😀
Heidi @ Food Doodles recently posted..Substituting Whole Grains in Cookies and a Cookie Roundup!My Profile


2 Persnickety January 4, 2014 at 10:06 pm

A great recipe I can’t wait to try out. I love caramel popcorn!

I have my own brand of Caramel Popcorn I learned from my grandmother. While different from your own, I think recipe is pretty good. I’m new to the Food Blog scene and would love some feedback from a pro like you. Check out my recipe if have time.


3 Bodour December 3, 2015 at 12:35 pm

What is sucanat ? I think maple syrep has some components to prolonge its life.


4 Jen December 5, 2015 at 10:05 am

Sucanat is an unprocessed sugar that is granulated.


5 kim June 10, 2016 at 11:05 pm

what is the serving size?


6 Jen June 11, 2016 at 9:53 am

Recipe states 1 cup 🙂


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