Got some maple syrup on hand and looking to make something indulgent? Look no further. This maple popcorn is the ultimate caramel corn!
Over the years, I’ve posted a lot of popcorn recipes, some of them kind of “out there”:
Bananas Foster Caramel Popcorn
Canadian Popcorn Seasonings
Sweet Heat Salted Caramel Popcorn
Moroccan Twist Salted Caramel Popcorn
Apple Cinnamon Caramel Popcorn
Maple White Cheddar Popcorn
Hopped Popcorn - Hopcorn!
Bacon Cheddar Popcorn
Jello Glazed Popcorn
... but somehow I’ve gone this long without posting my most simple - and one of my best - popcorn recipes : Maple Syrup Popcorn!
This recipe is your classic caramel popcorn, but with an earthy, Canadian flair.
Unlike many commercial maple products, this caramel corn uses pure maple syrup - no granulated sugar, corn syrup, or artificial flavours.
It’s a great snack on its own, a popular bake sale offering, and the perfect snack for movie night.
The best thing? This original recipe is SUPER easy to make, and requires only a few basic ingredients!
Let’s get to it!
Maple Syrup Popcorn Ingredients
This maple popcorn recipe is very simple, using only 5 ingredients.
You can pop your popcorn fresh (which is what I recommend), or use pre-popped popcorn.
If using premade popcorn, try to use something fresh, without added butter or salt.
I like to use popcorn kernels that makes big, puffy popcorn for this one, as I’m not as much of a fan of caramel on tiny pieces of popcorn. It’s all about the ratios!
SO, I recommend using the "gourmet mushroom" variety of popcorn kernels. These make the more round / globe / "brain" type of popcorn, and is best for caramel popcorn in general.
Alternatively, you can try the "Gourmet Yellow" variety of popcorn, which is commonly used for movie theatre style popcorn.
This is a very important ingredient, as it brings the flavour, sugar, AND caramel to the table - no corn syrup or brown sugar necessary!
You’ll want to use pure maple syrup - the stuff that actually comes out of the trees. “Pancake syrup” - whether maple flavoured or not - will not work the same way.
I tend to use unsalted butter, but it really doesn’t make a huge difference either way for this recipe.
If you’re doing the bacon version, you can swap a bit of the butter out with (strained!) bacon fat, but I wouldn’t go more than ½. Also know that the caramel won’t look as pretty, but it’ll be tasty!
Pretty self-explanatory. I generally use table salt, but feel free to use sea salt, smoked salt, or even Himalayan salt - note that you won’t see the pink colour, though!
Again, pretty basic. This ingredient breaks up the structure of the caramel a bit, making it easier to eat.
How to Make Maple Popcorn
This is a super easy recipe to make, just a few short steps - you don’t even need a candy thermometer!
The full recipe follows at the end of the post, here’s an overview with additional tips and info.
1. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Measure the popped popcorn in a large metal pot or very large bowl (metal). Set aside.
3. In a large saucepan, combine butter, maple syrup, and salt, whisking until well combined.
4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Once boiling, allow to boil for 7 minutes - stirring frequently - and then remove from heat.
6. Pour caramel over fresh popcorn, CAREFULLY stir to coat evenly – Hot caramel is nasty to get burned with!
Note: If you're adding bacon or nuts, do so now.
7. Divide the maple caramel corn between the two cookie sheets, spreading it evenly over each prepared baking sheet - aim for a single layer of popcorn.
8. Break up large chunks of popcorn, and allow to cool fully. Once Maple caramel corn is fully cooled, break into smaller pieces.
Serve immediately - a large mixing bowl works great - or place popcorn in an airtight container for storage.
Note: Caramel corn is VERY hydrophilic - it attracts water - so if you don't store it in an airtight container, it will draw water from the air and get soggy/sticky
Maple Caramel Popcorn Variations
Maple Bacon Popcorn
Bacon and maple are such a great combo, and that goes double for when popcorn is added to the mix!
To make maple bacon popcorn, fry up some chopped bacon - ½ to 1 lb - until crispy. Strain the bacon off the fat, transfer to paper towels to absorb the extra grease.
Toss the bacon in with the popcorn just after stirring the maple caramel into it, before it hardens.
Serve soon - this version doesn’t store well, on account of the meat.
Maple Nut Popcorn
This popcorn goes really well with nuts added to it - you can add them before or after letting the caramel harden, depending on how “stuck” you’d like them.
I like to add them just after stirring the caramel in, so they’re incorporated into the caramel and popcorn pretty well. Also,
You can use whatever nuts you like best - even a mix - but walnuts, pecans, and peanuts go best with this recipe, IMHO.
Salted Maple Popcorn
The amount of salt called for in the recipe boosts the flavour, but doesn’t make for an actually salty popcorn.
If you’re looking to make the maple version of a salted caramel, you’ll want to add more salt - 1 ½ - 2 tsp, depending on how salty you’d like it.
Maple Cinnamon Popcorn
Warm spices go SO well with maple and caramel - add 1 - 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon to the caramel when you take it off the heat, stir it well before pouring it over the popcorn.
Maple White Cheddar Popcorn
I’ve actually got this up as a standalone recipe - Maple White Cheddar Popcorn.
More Maple Recipes!
Love Maple syrup as much as I do? Here are a bunch of recipes to try. And hey, let's throw in a maple leaf craft, for good measure!
Maple Pumpkin Spice Bagels
Maple Butter Tarts
Maple Walnut Baklava
Maple Dijon Glazed Wings
Maple Walnut Ice Cream
Maple Pumpkin Spiced Muffins
Maple Walnut Spiced Pumpkin Buns
Maple Bourbon Glazed Carrots
Maple Hard Apple Cider
Maple Leaf Roses
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Maple Popcorn [Maple Syrup Caramel Popcorn]
- 18 cups Popped popcorn
- ½ cup Butter
- 1 ⅓ cup Maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Baking soda
- Crispy Bacon, crumbled optional
- Nuts, options Walnuts, peanuts, and pecans work best, IMHO
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Measure the popped popcorn in a large metal pot. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, combine butter, maple syrup, and salt, whisking until well combined. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Once boiling, allow to boil for 7 minutes - stirring frequently - and then remove from heat.
- Add baking soda, stir well to combine - caramel will foam up a little.
- Pour caramel over popcorn, CAREFULLY stir to coat evenly – Hot caramel is nasty to get burned with!
- If you're adding bacon or nuts, do so now.
- Divide the maple caramel corn between the two cookie sheets, spreading it evenly. Break up large chunks of popcorn, and allow to cool fully.
- Once Maple caramel corn is fully cooled, break into smaller pieces.
- Serve immediately, or transfer to airtight containers for storage. (Note: Don't store the popcorn if you added bacon - eat it right away!)