This Caramel Puff Corn Recipe without Corn Syrup is an addictive sweet, salty, crunchy homemade caramel popcorn-like snack, but with no hulls and no kernels. Perfect snack for game day and holiday gift giving.
Be sure to check out our favorite variation: Cinnamon Spice Caramel Puff Corn with a kick of cayenne pepper!
Caramel Puff Corn is a family favorite sweet snack we affectionately call “crack” because it’s so addictive we just can’t stop eating it.
The crunchy caramel coating ... the puffy, salty interior that melts in your mouth … it’s impossible to resist. So we don’t.
This Caramel Puff Corn recipe without corn syrup has become a new favorite of ours because it has honey instead of light corn syrup.
The homemade buttery caramel sauce without corn syrup cooks up perfectly in the saucepan and evenly coats the puff corn. When it bakes, it turns into a crispy, crunchy snack that tastes like caramel corn -- and no one can stop eating.
To make it even more irresistible, we love to make Cinnamon Spice Caramel Puff Corn spiked with cinnamon and cayenne pepper for a sweet and spicy snack. Keep reading to see how we do that!
Try these sweet treats next
- Microwave Chocolate Peanut Brittle
- Coconut Chocolate Balls
- Million Dollar Bars
- Cranberry Almond Macaroons
You’re going to love this
Crunchy, caramelly, sweet, and salty snack that's positively addictive
Caramel puff corn with NO corn syrup
Perfect sweet treat for movie night, game days, and holiday gift giving
Easy to make homemade caramel puff corn recipe with no candy thermometer needed
Caramel Puff Corn -- No Corn Syrup
Many recipes for Caramel Puff Corn call for corn syrup because it helps stabilize the sugars and keeps it from crystallizing. However, if you are looking for a substitute, this recipe for Caramel Puff Corn without corn syrup uses honey, instead.
Honey makes a very flavorful coating for the caramel puffcorn, without tasting overpoweringly of honey. You'll love it.
Refer to the recipe card for the full ingredient list.
Puff Corn. This is that puffy popcorn-like snack with no kernels and no hulls you see in the chip aisle of your local grocery store. Get a 9 oz. bag of “plain” or butter flavor.
Brown sugar. I use dark brown sugar because I love the deep intense molasses flavor. Light brown sugar works just as well.
Honey. Honey is the corn syrup substitution in this recipe — and it works perfectly!
Salt. The bag of puff corn is salted, but a little more salt in the caramel and at the end enhances that salted caramel taste.
Baking soda. Baking soda reacts with the caramel mixture and creates tiny air bubbles that help make it easy to spread onto the puff corn. The aeration also keeps the caramel crunchy without being too hard to bite into.
How to Make Caramel Puff Corn without Corn Syrup: Step-by-Step
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Prepare two half sheet pans or one full sized rimmed baking sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray. You can also use a large roaster pan.
Pour puff corn onto the prepared pans.
In a heavy, large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, sugar, and honey together. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for five minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract (careful, it may spatter a little), baking soda, and salt.
Stir while the mixture foams up.
Carefully pour the hot caramel mixture over the puff corn. Coat the puff corn as well as you can.
It’s okay if every puff isn't perfectly covered yet, you’ll have more chances to evenly coat them during the baking process.
Bake and stir every 10-15 minutes for 50-60 minutes or until it's no longer sticky. You can tell it's done when a cooled piece is crunchy.
Pour the caramel corn puffs out onto wax paper or parchment paper. If desired, sprinkle some sea salt over the puff corn before it cools.
Let it cool completely, then break it apart. Store in an airtight container. Or, you know, just eat the whole bowl like we do.
Boil the caramel mixture for the full five minutes. If you cook it for less than that, the caramel puff corn will be sticky and buttery.
Be careful when adding the vanilla. It may spatter a bit.
It’s okay if you don’t coat ALL the puff corn on the first coating. You’ll have more chances to coat them as you stir it during baking.
Cinnamon Spice Caramel Puff Corn
Jazz up this easy caramel puff corn recipe with cinnamon and cayenne for a warm and spicy snack.
Just stir in 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and ½ teaspoon of cayenne when you add the baking soda.
If you thought this stuff was addictive before, wait until you try THIS!
If the caramel mixture has not cooked long enough, caramel puff corn can become sticky. Be sure to cook the caramel mixture for the full five minutes to avoid sticky caramel corn.
Yes! Place caramel puff corn into freezer bags and pop it in the freezer.
When you add baking soda to caramel, it adds tiny air bubbles that aerate the mixture which not only makes it easy to spread over the caramel corn, but also makes it soft enough that you can bite into it.
These Nordic Ware aluminum sheet pans are nice and thick -- and made in my home state of Minnesota :).
A silicone spatula and spoonula set like this are handy for stirring the caramel mixture and stirring the puff corn around on the baking sheets.
More Easy Snack Recipes
Let's Stay in Touch
Follow Midwestern HomeLife on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and subscribe via email to receive all of the latest recipes!
Caramel Puff Corn Recipe without Corn Syrup
- 9 ounces puff corn
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 1 cup butter
- ½ cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
Optional Cinnamon Spice Puff Corn Add-ins
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Prepare two half sheet pans or one full sized rimmed baking sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray. You can also use a large roaster pan.Pour puff corn onto the prepared pans.
- In a heavy, large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, sugar, and honey together. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for five minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract (careful, it may spatter a little), baking soda, and salt. Stir while the mixture foams up.
- Carefully pour the hot caramel mixture over the puff corn. Coat the puff corn as well as you can. It’s okay if every puff isn't perfectly covered yet, you’ll have more chances to evenly coat them during the baking process.
- Bake and stir every 10-15 minutes for 50-60 minutes or until it's no longer sticky. You can tell it's done when a cooled piece is crunchy.
- Pour the caramel corn puffs out onto wax paper or parchment paper. If desired, sprinkle some sea salt over the puff corn before it cools.
- Let it cool completely, then break it apart. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. Caramel Puff Corn also freezes well. Just pop it in a ziploc bag and toss it in the freezer.
To Make Cinnamon Spice Puff Corn
- Add the cinnamon and cayenne pepper with the salt and baking soda.
What is corn puff.
Cara Lanz says
Puff corn is a light and crunchy snack food made from cornmeal (not popcorn) that is shaped and flavored similar to popcorn without hulls and kernels. If you've ever had cheese balls or cheese puffs, corn puffs have the same "melt in your mouth" texture. Here is a link that describes puff corn a bit more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puffcorn. Hope this helps!
This looks very good. Please send me the website thank you
Cara Lanz says
Thank you, this stuff is so good! I'd love to help you find what you are looking for, please elaborate on which website? Thanks! Cara