These super easy caramel popcorn cookies are the perfect combination of salty and sweet, with an easy one pot 20 minute caramel glazed popcorn that's stuffed inside soft and chewy spiced cookie dough, and finished with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This caramel popcorn cookies recipe is super easy and the homemade caramel popcorn is to die for!
- The caramel popcorn is made without corn syrup and without sweetened condensed milk which makes it super accessible.
Step by Step Video
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Butter- unsalted butter, any brand will work.
- Egg- make sure its a large egg and at room temperature.
- Popcorn kernels- the popcorn is popped from scratch, but you can substitute a bag of microwave pop corn as long as it's unsalted and not buttered.
- Flour- this recipe calls for all purpose flour and cannot be substituted.
Salted Caramel Popcorn Cookie Instructions
Note: Full ingredient measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.
Step 1: Then add the sugar, brown sugar, agave, water, and butter. Place on the stove over medium high heat. Use a rubber spatula to stir everything together. Boil for 12 minutes, or until a the sugar reaches 300 degrees F/149 degrees C.
Step 2: If you don't have a thermometer, carefully spoon out a bit of the caramel and drop it into a bowl with ice water. Remove the cooled caramel at the bottom and try and break it in half. If it snaps clean, the caramel is ready. If it bends and is sticky, it needs 30 seconds-1 minute longer.
Step 3: Add the baking soda. Stir to combine the baking soda into the sugar. The caramel should look lighter and paler in color.
Step 4: Pour the caramel over the popcorn and gently toss to combine it with your rubber spatula.
Step 5: Set the popcorn bowl aside to cool. When it's cool, break it apart with you hands into pieces.
Step 6: In a medium bowl, melt the butter and add the sugars. Once combined, whisk in the room temperature egg.
Step 7: Add the flour, apple pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and fold them into the dough. When the flour is almost completely combined, add the caramel popcorn bits. Fold the popcorn in and then stop mixing.
Step 8: Scoop the dough onto a parchment lined baking tray and top with more caramel popcorn pieces. Place in the fridge for 45 minutes to chill the dough, then bake at 350 degrees F/ 177 degrees C for 13 minutes.
- Why is my caramel popcorn sticky?
- It's normal for the popcorn to be sticky right after folding in the caramel. If it's still sticky after it's cool, the caramel was not cooked long enough.
- Why is my caramel popcorn soggy?
- Again, the caramel was not cooked long enough and the moisture from the caramel seeped into the popcorn and made it soggy.
- How long does the caramel popcorn last?
- The popcorn will last 2-3 days before it starts to stale and get soft.
FAQS + Expert Tips
- Always spoon measure your flour when baking! This means using a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup. This will give the most accurate results when baking.
- Use a small pot for the caramel NOT a sauce pan- the saucepan used in the video and process shots is to show you a better view of what the caramel should look like when it's ready.
- Chop the caramel popcorn before adding it to the dough- If the pieces of the popcorn are too big, it will prevent the cookies from spreading in the oven.
- Chill the dough before baking- Chill the dough in the fridge for a minimum of 45 minutes to prevent the cookies from over spreading.
- Add a few chocolate chips into the dough for chocolate chip salted caramel cookies!
More Delicious Cookie Recipes
- Chocolate Chip Oreo Crumb Cookies
- Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Dark Chocolate Churro Madeleines
- Double Chocolate S'mores Cookies
Salted Caramel Popcorn Cookies
- small pot
- large cookie scoop
- baking tray
- parchment paper
- ⅛ cup popcorn kernels about 2 cups popped popcorn
- 1 teaspoon avocado oil, or other high heat oil for popping
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon water
- ¾ tablespoon butter
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 8 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon apple pie spice
- ½ cup caramel popcorn, roughly chopped for the dough and for topping
- flaky salt, to finish
Popping the Popcorn
- Place a small pot over medium heat and add the avocado oil. When the oil is hot and shiny, add the popcorn kernels and cover with a lid. Shake the pan every few minutes or so to not burn the kernels. Heat until the popcorn is completely popped, then remove from the heat and pour into a large bowl. Set aside.⅛ cup popcorn kernels, 1 teaspoon avocado oil, or other high heat oil for popping
Making the Caramel Sauce
- Rinse the pot you used for the popcorn to get rid of any little bits of the kernels. Then add the sugar, brown sugar, agave, water, and butter. Place back on the stove over medium high heat. Use a rubber spatula to stir everything together.1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon agave nectar, 1 tablespoon water, ¾ tablespoon butter
- Set a timer for 12 minutes and heat the caramel WITHOUT stirring until it reaches 300 degrees F/149 degrees C, then add the baking soda. Stir to combine the baking soda. The caramel should look lighter in color.¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Carefully pour the caramel sauce over the bowl of popped popcorn and use your rubber spatula to gently fold them together. Once completely coated, set the bowl aside to cool.
Making the Cookie Dough
- In a medium bowl, add the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar and mix to combine them.8 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, ¾ cup dark brown sugar, ¼ cup white sugar
- Add the room temperature egg and whisk to combine it into the bowl.1 large egg, room temperature
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and apple pie spice. Fold them into the cookie dough, and when the flour is almost completely incorporated, add the roughly chopped caramel popcorn pieces. Fold to combine.1 ½ cups flour, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon apple pie spice
- Using a large cookie scoop, scoop the dough into about 10 cookies onto a parchment lined baking tray. The dough will be pretty soft. Top each dough ball with extra pieces of caramel popcorn.
- Place the baking tray in the fridge for 45 minutes to chill the dough.
- Then preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/177 degrees C. Bake the cookies for 13 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and sprinkle with flaky salt to finish. Allow to cool before enjoying!½ cup caramel popcorn, roughly chopped
- Use microwave popped popcorn instead of popping it from scratch. Make sure to use unsalted and un-buttered popcorn bags! You will only use 2 cups of the popped popcorn from the bag.
- Make sure the dough is chilled for at least 45 minutes, otherwise the cookies will spread a ton in the oven.
- Chop the caramel popcorn before folding it into the dough, otherwise the cookies will bake really tall like dough balls.
- If you don't have a thermometer for checking the temperature of the caramel, when the timer hits 12 minutes, use a metal spoon to carefully spoon a bit of the caramel into a glass or bowl of ice water. Spoon the caramel back out and try and snap it in half. If it snaps, it's ready to add the baking soda. If it still bends, let it cook for a minute or two longer and then test again.
The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.