Jul 26
My mom’s side of the family is a lot of fun.  We have a family email system where we can send out one email and it goes out to the entire family.  Not only does this facilitate some hilarious family banter and the sharing of fun family stories and pictures, but it also leads to some fun projects.  For National Pi Day back in March my mom challenged everyone to make a pie to celebrate the day and then send her a picture and the recipe.  She compiled all of the recipes and pictures and featured them in a series of Pi/Pie Day posts on her blog.  She recently emailed everyone again proposing another food theme week using one of her favorite foods: sweetened condensed milk.  Needless to say I’ve had sweetened condensed milk on the brain every since!

Sweetened Condensed Milk

This past Saturday we met up with friends for a movie being shown at a local park.

Movie night at the parkSquirrel & Bug ready for the movie

When I was trying to decide what kind of treat to make, take, and share, I immediately thought of my MIL’s recipe for caramel corn.  Why? Well, not only is it nice gooey delicious caramel popcorn, but it also contains . . . sweetened condensed milk!

Caramel Corn 3

And not just a little bit of sweetened condensed milk—oh no.  This recipe goes all the way.  We’re talking an entire 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk.  You mix the sweetened condensed milk with a few other ingredients like butter and brown sugar, and then cook it in a pot over medium heat until the caramel is at softball stage (at 235 degrees Fahrenheit the caramel will form a soft ball when dropped into cold water).

Finished caramel ready to be poured over popcorn

Then you pour the caramel over popped popcorn and quickly, but gently (you don’t want to break up all those puffy kernels of popped corn!), mix the popcorn to coat it with the caramel.  The quicker you work, the more evenly distributed your caramel will be.  You can use air popped popcorn or microwave popped popcorn.  I like using light butter microwave popped popcorn to add a bit of a salty element to the finished caramel popcorn, and I figure at this point it’s already not going to qualify for the healthy category, so why not go all the way?

Adding the caramel to the popcorn

The recipe makes a large amount of popcorn (30 cups), which makes it perfect for sharing (my MIL makes this when we are all there to scarf it down)!   However, if you want to make a smaller amount, the recipe works just as well when cut in half.  If you like caramel popcorn that is popcorn with a thin glossy crunchy coating, this recipe isn’t for you.  But if you like caramel popcorn that has a softer slightly gooey caramel on it, you will love this recipe!  Fuji Nana, I’m just putting you on notice now that if I gain 5 pounds from the insane amount of caramel popcorn I ate over the weekend, I am blaming it on you!  It’s your fault that I have been thinking about sweetened condensed milk for the past week, and thus your fault that I made this caramel popcorn.  You have been warned.

Caramel Corn 2

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Caramel Corn

Makes 30 cups

30 cups of popped popcorn (about four 2.9-ounce bags of microwave popcorn)
1 pound light brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup light corn syrup
1 can (14-ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Put the popped popcorn in a large mixing bowl.

2. In a large pot, mix together the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup.  Place it over medium-high heat and heat until it is boiling.  Then add the sweetened condensed milk and reduce the heat to medium heat (reduce the heat to medium-low if it is cooking too quickly/starting to burn).  Stirring constantly, continue cooking the caramel mixture until it reaches softball stage (235 degrees Fahrenheit/caramel forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water).

3. Remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the vanilla.  Pour the caramel over the popped popcorn and mix it quickly and gently to coat.  Let it cool and enjoy!  The caramel corn will keep for several days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Lana @ Never Enough Thyme July 26, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I just adore caramel corn and I’ve never had a recipe for it…until now! I’ll give this a try the very next time my grandbabies are visiting.


joshua shimizu July 26, 2010 at 2:32 pm

you know, everything looks better in japanese bowls. :)


Ale July 26, 2010 at 2:36 pm

WOW…sweet condensed milk is one of my staple foods :D hahahaha!


Fuji Nana July 26, 2010 at 2:38 pm

This morning I discovered that once I start nibbling on this, I cannot stop until the whole bag is gone. Sorry, Fuji Papa. Fuji Daughter, it’s really good that you only brought me a cup of this treat. (P.S. Do you have more at your house?)


Leashieloo July 26, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Oh my, I need some of this POST HASTE!


Fuji Papa July 26, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I didn’t know LFM had brought any of the popcorn over. That’s okay, I had some of the pie LFM brought over yesterday for breakfast this morning. If you don’t get busy, I’ll eat the rest for dinner tonight.


damaris July 26, 2010 at 3:33 pm

sweetened condensed milk is the first ingredient of every Brazilian recipe. It’s the ultimate good ingredient. I want to try this recipe because I do love popcorn and I do love sweetened condensed milk.


Victoria July 26, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I’m bookmarking this one! It looks amazing! Thanks for sharing :)


jenjenk July 26, 2010 at 4:06 pm

sharing? what do you mean?? it’s only 30 cups. ;)

Fuji Nana’s just lucky I don’t know where she lives…she wouldn’t have had any left over to eat today… ;)


foodies at home July 26, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Mmmmm…those 30 cups would be gone in about 30 seconds here!


Melanie (Kimono Reincarnate) July 26, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Oh yum! I haven’t made caramel popcorn in years! I think it’s time to change that!


CC Recipe July 26, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Oh, yes…this sounds like my kinda caramel popcorn!


megan July 26, 2010 at 5:38 pm

What an awesome recipe! I gotta give this one a try!


Lauren July 26, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Oh yes please! That looks fantastic. Simply delicious. Definitely one to try :).


Steve July 26, 2010 at 8:56 pm

This not only looks like a great recipe but a wonderful community event. I wish my town did an outdoor movie night like that.


Daydreamer Desserts July 26, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Squirrel and bug look so cute! It’s pretty hard to top summer movies at the park, except when you get to have caramel popcorn like this as a snack!

Oh, can I play the blaming game too? I blame Fuji Nana for teaching you how to make her Deadly Chocolate Almond Toffee, you for actually making it, and me for not having self-control. XOXO


Gisele aka LA2LAChef July 26, 2010 at 9:38 pm

YUM! oddly enough, I’ve been craving caramel corn lately.


Chefs Resources July 26, 2010 at 11:27 pm

Caramel is a basic necessity of living and belongs to one of the basic food groups! This looks like a smooth, creamy caramel. Love it!


Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks July 27, 2010 at 7:34 am

This makes a lot of caramel corn. How long are leftovers good – a week? I guess I could make a smaller batch or make the large and share.


molly July 27, 2010 at 7:55 am

I am def. going to make this for a party this weekend!


Steph@PlainChicken July 27, 2010 at 8:51 am

OMG – I am going to have to make this. It looks great! I’ve never tried caramel corn with sweetened condensed milk before – great idea.


susan July 27, 2010 at 11:42 am

Heaven in a bowl. i have never made caramel corn w/sweetened condensed milk, but heck…there is a first for everything!


melissa@the hungry artist July 27, 2010 at 11:48 am

Oh my gosh, this looks SOO good. I’m totally addicted to popcorn. I’ve made caramel popcorn before with a little butter, brown sugar and cream. This looks like something I’d love to try. Condensed milk is heavenly.


Joy July 27, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I would never think of use condense milk. I thought it was regular caramel. My daughter would love this!


Amanda July 27, 2010 at 4:31 pm

YUMMO!! Looks fabulous :) The girls look like they are having fun :)


Cindy Waffles July 27, 2010 at 6:59 pm

That looks so good! Caramel popcorn is one of my favs!


Paula - bell'alimento July 27, 2010 at 8:34 pm

I love you! That is all! Okay well not totally LOL I have a house FULL of people this week and I think this is going to come in handy. Mwah!


Tes July 28, 2010 at 5:01 am

Wow it looks so amazing! I love caremel popcorn but never really attemp to make it from scratch! This sounds really fantastic and I think my family will love it.
Thanks for sharing,


Maria July 28, 2010 at 9:00 am

This stuff is so addicting. Once I start I can’t stop:)


Jenny Flake July 28, 2010 at 9:05 am

YUM! You had me at the sweetened condensed milk!! Love it!


Jen @ How To: Simplify July 28, 2010 at 9:22 am

I would love to snack on this popcorn today!


Thomas Andrew July 28, 2010 at 9:49 am

This looks so much better than the store-bought kind.


Tracy July 29, 2010 at 5:47 am

This looks amazing with all that gorgeous caramel! Yum!


SMITH BITES July 29, 2010 at 8:05 am

I am all over this like, well, caramel on popcorn! I’m a bit persnickety when it comes to caramel corn, ie, I LOVE the softer caramel, rather than the sometimes, burn tasting, crunchier caramel. Never-ever would have thought to use condensed milk – thank goodness for the rest of us MIL issued the challenge!


Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle July 29, 2010 at 8:07 am

So tempting…but then I don’t have the fun movie to look forward to and that would mean 30 cups all by myself, here, sitting. Hmm…maybe?


Alta July 29, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Wow. Evil! This is so tempting!


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction July 29, 2010 at 6:53 pm

I HAVE to make this… It sounds amazing. I have been on a huge popcorn kick. I just can’t get enough of it! Perfect timing :)


Alisa July 30, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Wow! It’s been so long since I last had caramel popcorn…and with condensed milk?! I have to try this soon :) I hope you won’t mind, but I’d sure love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the foodista widget to the end of this post and it’s all set, Thanks!


Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker July 31, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Awesome caramel popcorn! And how fun to have movies in the park!


marla {family fresh cooking} August 4, 2010 at 6:23 am

Girl you have taken caramel popcorn over the top! I can see why it would be very hard to stop once diving into this sticky, sweet, blissful bowl of popcorn. Love that your mom is a blogger too! xo


Anna@Tallgrass Kitchen August 6, 2010 at 8:34 pm

You are an evil woman. I have been going crazy stocking my pantry with condensed milk this summer, making tons of ice cream with it (strawberries, plus buttermilk, plus condensed milk = heaven). I thought once summer was over I’d be free of the condensed milk curse! Alas, no. I can eat this stuff straight out of the can, but I think it will be even better in caramel popcorn. Thank you! No, I hate you. No, THANK YOU!


LISAPISA August 15, 2010 at 4:24 pm

I have been looking for this recipe forever! i made this with my best friend and her grandma when we were young, and have always wanted the recipe but havent been able to ask her for it (cause i always forget!) I remembered most of the ingredients but not the amounts. I made mine with kettle corn… super rich and sweet, which helped me just eat a little…lol…Thank you for this Awesome post!!
One thing I tried that was a fun add to this, for the kids i look after, was to add food coloring to the caramel before adding it to the popcorn, They loved the colors, and its great for parties. (^_^)
Oh and also adding nuts adds another great flavor and texture to the mix.


Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 16, 2010 at 12:39 pm

This is pretty much my favourite snack for the movies too. I just can’t make it because even a small amount between two is a huge amount of, well, goodness! I can’t just eat a little bit. Now you have *ME* thinking about sweetened condensed milk….


michelle September 3, 2010 at 1:46 am

Ooooh, this is exactly the same recipe my parents use!! And I’ve used it too, ever since leaving home. I LOVE it- it is SO good, gooey and carmely. The best ever. My mom has also made caramels out of it before- just cook it a little bit longer, pour into a greased pan (like 9×13, I think) and cut into small squares.


Paula September 3, 2010 at 3:11 am

omg, I`m going to do this!


Angela-Thrifty Homemaker September 3, 2010 at 4:36 am

I love caramel corn but have never tried it with sweetened condensed milk, but will be. I shared your link with all my facebook friends.



Brilynn September 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm

I love caramel corn, reminds me of when I was little! I’ve always got a few cans of sweetened condensed milk that could be used up to, I may just have to give this a try…


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