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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.

Peanut butter caramel popcorn has it all. This recipe mixes crunchy caramel corn with a healthy dose of peanut butter.

It is perfect for snacking, great for movie night, and even makes a fun edible gift.

 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.  

Saucepan filled with hot peanut butter caramel mixture getting ready to be poured over a bowl of popped 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 peanut butter 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.

plastic popcorn tub knocked over, spilling out crunchy peanut butter popcorn.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you store peanut butter caramel corn?

You peanut butter popcorn can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or two. Just be sure to keep it out of humidity and it should stay crunchy and delicious.

How do you keep caramel corn from sticking together?

Stirring the popcorn throughout the cooking process will help to get it evenly coated. Make sure to spread it out over plenty of wax paper when it cools to keep it from sticking together. If you do end up with some big chunks, just break them into smaller pieces when transferring them to the storage container.

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

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

Peanut Butter Popcorn

Servings: 12 Servings
Author: Carlee
Crunchy peanut butter popcorn has that perfect sweet and salty balance. It is perfect for movie night, game night, tailgates and more!
4.91 from 21 ratings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 12 cups popped popcorn
  • ¼ cup butter
  • cup corn syrup
  • cup light brown sugar packed
  • cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 250°F and grease a rimmed baking sheet
  • Place popcorn in a large bowl and set aside
    12 cups popped popcorn
  • 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.
    ¼ cup butter, ⅓ cup corn syrup, ⅔ cup light brown sugar, ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter, 1 pinch salt
  • 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.
    1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pour hot peanut butter caramel over popcorn and toss to coat.
  • Spread popcorn over prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  • Spread popcorn over wax paper to cool. Once cooled completely, store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 186kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 2gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 249mgFiber: 1gSugar: 18g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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4.91 from 21 votes (16 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




Stephanie

Thursday 7th of September 2023

Delicious!! I made my first batch and it's so good. I'm making more for a bake sale. When I used my two bags of popcorn on my first batch...I didn't think about the unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bag. Any advice on separating that.

Carlee

Thursday 7th of September 2023

Yes, the unpopped kernels are the worst! If you shake the bag of microwave popcorn with the hole down (before you open it!) the kernels should come out. Otherwise, I like to put the popcorn in a bowl and transfer it to another bowl using my hands. The unpopped kernels usually fall to the bottom and can easily be left behind.

Cheesesteak22

Sunday 14th of May 2023

Read this recipe yesterday, knew I had to try it since it sounds so close to the Peanut Butter caramel popcorn they have at Trader Joe's...so addicting yet kinda expensive, for popcorn and now here I am. I tried it today and it's really really really good. Needs a little more PB so I may try a batch with some PB powder in the mix, can't wait to experiment more, thank you.

Now the hard part, not eating the whole batch at once haha

Carlee

Monday 15th of May 2023

Not eating too much is definitely a challenge! More peanut butter would be great. Let me know how it goes.

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!