This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
If you like caramel corn then you will LOVE bacon caramel popcorn! We add crispy bacon pieces and peanuts to bacon fat popped popcorn then drizzle the whole deal in caramel. It's unbelievably delicious!
Table of contents
You'll love the not-so-subtle layers of flavor in this bacon caramel popcorn. We start by popping popcorn with bacon fat, which infuses it with a wonderful, smoky flavor. Then we add chunks of crispy, salty bacon, a few handfuls of peanuts, and hot, bubbling caramel. After the bacon caramel popcorn gets baked in the oven it comes out as these beautiful crunchy clusters that are completely irresistible.
If you're a fan of bacon AND bourbon, try our bacon bourbon caramel popcorn!
Bacon – we use regular bacon, but thick-cut works if you'd like chewier bacon.
Vegetable oil – opt for something with a high smoke point and neutral flavor like avocado oil or canola oil.
Popcorn – for the best caramel corn, skip the microwave popcorn and pop your own!
Peanuts – salted, roasted peanuts are what we use.
Sea salt – we like to use coarse sea salt in this recipe. Make sure not to use boxed table salt as the flavor is too strong.
Cayenne pepper – this is an optional ingredient if you like a little heat.
Sugar – We use granulated sugar to make the caramel.
Water – Instead of using corn syrup (like some caramel recipes) we use water and then let the syrup boil a little longer.
Maple syrup – this adds a subtle maple flavor to the caramel corn.
How to make bacon caramel popcorn
You might be surprised at how easy it is to make caramel corn with bacon!
- Start by cooking the bacon until it's nice and crispy. Make sure to save some of the bacon fat!
- Now use some of the bacon fat to pop the popcorn. It will infuse it with a subtle smoky flavor.
- Now, transfer the popped corn, cooked bacon pieces, and peanuts to a baking sheet. Sprinkle a little salt and (if you like heat) some cayenne pepper over top.
- It's time to make the caramel! Simply boil sugar, a little water, and maple syrup until it changes to a dark amber color. When it does, pour cream into the pot. Be careful with this step as the caramel with bubble up a lot and produce a ton of steam.
- Now pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn mixture and put the pan into the oven. After 20 minutes, take the pan out of the oven and stir it occasionally until it cools. That's it!
The full recipe is in the recipe card below!
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.
Do I have to use peanuts?
Not at all! You can switch them up for another kind of nut or omit them.
How should I store bacon caramel popcorn?
Because there is bacon in this popcorn, it should be stored in the fridge. Use an airtight container and put it into the vegetable crisper to prevent it from drying out.
How long will this popcorn last?
If stored in the fridge in an airtight container, bacon caramel popcorn will last for 5 days.
I made this for a girls’ get-together and it was a hit. It all disappeared before the end of the evening and everyone asked for the recipe!
- 6 strips bacon
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup popcorn kernels
- ½ cup peanuts
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat until it is crispy. Remove it from the pan (reserve the bacon fat!) and break it into pieces once it's cool enough to touch.6 strips bacon
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Add 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and the vegetable oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add the popcorn and shake the pot to coat the popcorn in the oil. Put the lid on the pot and wait until you hear the first kernel pop. When you hear the first pop, begin shaking the pot every 10 seconds until the popping stops. Pour the popcorn onto a large baking sheet, making sure not to add any unpopped corn.2 tablespoons vegetable oil, ½ cup popcorn kernels
- Sprinkle the salt and if using the cayenne over the popcorn and toss to coat. Sprinkle the bacon and peanuts on top of the popcorn.½ cup peanuts, 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Heat the sugar, water, and maple syrup in a medium-sized pot over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the pot to a boil. Continue to boil without stirring until the syrup turns a dark amber color, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the caramel from heat and immediately add cream (mixture will bubble up and steam a lot so be careful.) Stir well then immediately drizzle the caramel over the popcorn and toss to coat.1 ½ cups granulated sugar, ¼ cup water, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- Place the caramel popcorn into the oven and bake until the caramel is shiny and coats the popcorn, about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove the popcorn from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Using wooden spoons toss the popcorn to break up any large chunks. Let it cool for another 5 minutes and then toss again. Continue this until the caramel popcorn is completely cool.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.