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This bourbon caramel popcorn is unbelievably delicious! The crunchy, sweet clusters are dotted with bacon and covered in a bourbon-infused caramel sauce. You'll LOVE it!
If you love caramel popcorn, also try our bacon caramel popcorn!
You'll find layers of flavor in this bourbon caramel popcorn. From the sweet, caramel-covered corn to the crispy pieces of bacon, all the way to the hint of bourbon in the background. Every bite is incredible.
While this makes a great snack, we love serving it after dinner as we love how fun and unconventional popcorn for dessert feels. It's playful and light and oh so unexpected.
It also makes a great treat for movie nights. Or pack it up and give it as a gift that will be loved!
Different bourbon popcorn variations to try
While we love the recipe exactly as written, it's also a great one to play with. Here are a few ideas you can try:
- Use rum or whiskey instead of bourbon.
- Add some nuts like toasted pecans, walnuts, or peanuts.
- Mix in some dark or white chocolate chunks.
- Omit the bacon for a vegetarian treat.
- Drizzle some chocolate over the whole thing. Yum!
Can I use thick-cut bacon?
Yes! While we use regular-cut bacon as we like the crispy texture, thick-cut works if you like chewier bacon.
Is there a strong bourbon flavor?
No, the bourbon flavor is subtle, but it does add depth to the popcorn.
How should I store bourbon caramel popcorn?
Because there is bacon in this recipe, it should be stored in the fridge. Use an airtight container and put it into the vegetable crisper to prevent it from drying out.
Favorite popcorn recipes
- ¾ lbs. bacon (diced)
- 1 cup popcorn kernels (22 cups popped corn)
- ¾ cup melted butter (the amount you'll need will depend on how much bacon fat you have. )
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons bourbon (divided)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Place the diced bacon in a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat. Cook the bacon for 10-12 minutes, or until it is quite crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve the bacon oil.¾ lbs. bacon
- Pour 2 tablespoons of the bacon oil into a large pot over medium heat. Add 2-3 popcorn kernels and cover the pot. When you hear the first kernels start to pop add the remaining kernels all at once. Give the pot a shake then reduce the temperature to medium-low. Continue shaking the pot occasionally until most of the popping has stopped popping. Remove the pot from the heat. Pour the popcorn into a very large bowl, making sure that no un-popped kernels get into the bowl. (Use 2 bowls, if needed.)1 cup popcorn kernels
- Pour the reserved bacon fat into a 1 cup measuring cup. Fill the rest of the cup with melted butter and then pour it into a medium-sized pot – see notes. Add the brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of bourbon, and sea salt to the pot.¾ cup melted butter, 2 cups brown sugar, 6 tablespoons bourbon, ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot and bring the pot to a boil. Stir the pot once then let it boil without stirring until the candy thermometer reads 275 degrees. (This will take approximately 4-5 minutes.) When the candy thermometer reads 275 degrees immediately remove the pot from the heat and stir in the baking soda, vanilla, cayenne pepper, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of bourbon. Be careful at this point as the caramel will bubble up considerably and create a lot of steam.1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon vanilla, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Immediately pour the caramel over the popcorn, tossing the popcorn as you pour the caramel over it. Toss the crispy bacon through the popcorn.
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking trays with parchment paper. Pour the caramel covered popcorn evenly between the two trays. Bake the popcorn in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove the popcorn from the oven and let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.
For more inspiration, check out all of our dessert recipes!