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Crunchy Peanut Butter Popcorn

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Crunchy peanut butter popcorn has that perfect sweet and salty balance. It is perfect for movie night, game night, tailgates and more!

Serving bowl filled with peanut butter caramel popcorn ready to eat.

 Sweet crunchy popcorn is almost always a good thing in my opinion.  Add a kick of peanut butter and I am all in. Every. Single. Time.

This peanut butter popcorn has that sweet and salty thing going for it. If you like caramel corn and peanut butter, this is the perfect snack for you.

Ingredients: popcorn, peanut butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, peanut butter, vanilla, baking soda, butter and salt ready to be made into caramel peanut butter popcorn.

Little Dude and I both have a love for peanut butter and popcorn.  So, I thought we should mix them together and see how it goes.

The first time I tried making peanut butter popcorn, I made it using the same idea as Jenny’s Smacky Delcious Mix and Grandma Scharnhorst’s Microwave Caramel Corn where you use the microwave to dry it out.  

pouring peanut butter caramel mixture over bowl of popcorn

While that method works great for some things and certainly saves some time, I couldn’t get the texture I wanted for this recipe.  So I reverted to using the oven to get that crunchy finish like in baked caramel corn.

Baking it in the oven does take a little bit of time, but it is totally worth it. Besides, it is not active time.

You can be doing other things while you wait for the timer to beep. Then it’s just a quick stir and back in the oven. Easy peasy!

Rimmed half sheet pan filled with peanut butter coated popcorn fresh from the oven.

What is this popcorn like?

While looking for recipes that combine our love for peanut butter and popcorn, I found variations that involve just drizzling warm peanut butter over popcorn. I also found sticky versions of peanut butter popcorn.

But neither of those are very practical if you want to take it along with you. Or if you are needing to keep your hands clean while you eat it!

Hand holding piece of crunchy peanut butter popcorn.

This popcorn is more like a peanut butter version of Cracker Jacks. In fact, you could add peanuts and make it just that.

The peanut butter mixture is baked onto the popcorn to help it form a crisp crust of sweet peanut butter goodness on the kernels. Once it is cooled you can bag it up.

That makes it perfect for taking with you to game night. It also makes it fun to pass out as a party favor or edible gift.

popcorn container spilled over with peanut butter popcorn coming out

Tips and Tricks

You can pop your own popcorn for this recipe or use two bags of microwave popcorn. It will be delicious either way.

Be sure to use a large saucepan when making the caramel. It foams and expands when you stir in the baking soda.

If you don’t want to use corn syrup, substitute in maple syrup or honey instead. Or check out my collection of substitutes for corn syrup.

Don’t overcook the caramel mixture once it comes to a boil. It will become to thick and hard to work with.

Looking down on a bowl of peanut butter caramel corn, ready to eat.

Make sure to spread over wax paper while it is still warm otherwise it will harden into one big sheet of popcorn and may stick to the pan.

Cool completely before storing to optimal crunchiness and longest shelf life.

Want an extra decadent treat? Drizzle with melted chocolate!

Or add candy corn and peanuts to make a hillbilly hash popcorn snack mix.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a review in the recipe card below!

Yield: 12 Servings

Peanut Butter Popcorn

Serving bowl filled with peanut butter caramel popcorn ready to eat.

Crunchy peanut butter popcorn has that perfect sweet and salty balance. It is perfect for movie night, game night, tailgates and more!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 cups popcorn
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F and grease a rimmed baking sheet
  2. Place popcorn in a large bowl and set aside
  3. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir in corn syrup, brown sugar, salt and peanut butter. Cook, stirring frequently until it comes to a low boil. Continue to boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Be careful as the mixture is really hot and it is going to bubble up quite a bit. Pour hot peanut butter caramel over popcorn and toss to coat.
  5. Spread popcorn over prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  6. Spread popcorn over wax paper to cool. Once cooled completely, store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 186Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 249mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 18gProtein: 2g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

Crunchy peanut butter popcorn has that perfect sweet and salty balance. It is perfect for movie night, game night, tailgates and more!

Thanks for sharing!

Heather N

Friday 30th of September 2022

I just made this and I have to say it is simply wonderful! It's like caramel corn with a touch of peanut butter. Not overly sweet. Easy to make and not a hard popcorn. I used 3 of the 2.03oz packs of the microwave popcorn to make this (each pack yields about 4c of popcorn). This is definitely something I will make again

Carlee

Saturday 1st of October 2022

I am so glad you liked it!

Andrea

Sunday 25th of September 2022

Has anyone made this dairy free? I have two kids who are allergic to dairy. I'd appreciate advice from anyone who has made this using non-dairy "butter".

Carlee

Sunday 25th of September 2022

I haven't tried it, but hopefully someone will chime in.

Carlee

Saturday 8th of September 2018

I hope you do!

Debbie

Wednesday 5th of September 2018

Hi Carlee, seeing recipes like this make me imagine winter nights curled up in front of the television. I do like a sweet coated popcorn and a peanut butter/ caramel coating sounds right up my street.

xx

Carlee

Saturday 8th of September 2018

It is perfect for munching while watching some TV. Thanks, Debbie!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies

Wednesday 5th of September 2018

Definitely trying this. Next road trip, this will be in the car with us!

Carlee

Saturday 8th of September 2018

Yay! I hope you love it!

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