Chili Caramel Popcorn

This chili caramel popcorn is a tasty little goodie I made on a whim years ago. It tastes so good, that I’ve taken it to numerous food swaps and bake sales. It has never failed to be a huge success.

Chili Caramel Popcorn

I’m going to a food swap today! A food swap is an event where people bring homemade goodies including homegrown fruits, vegetables and herbs, or like me, bring snacks and desserts. It is a great little event where there are lots of food samples to taste and goodies to swap for. The last time Steve and I went, we came home with tons of preserves, herbs and sweets.

I came up with the recipe years ago when I was eating some store-bought caramel corn and added some chili powder on a whim. It tasted so good that I almost never make regular popcorn anymore. I always make chili caramel popcorn.

Chili Caramel Popcorn by

Chili Caramel Popcorn by

Chili Caramel Popcorn by

Chili Caramel Popcorn by
Chili Caramel Popcorn by

Chili Caramel Popcorn

Spice up the old classic of caramel popcorn with a little chili powder
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: popcorn, snack, zzyzzx
Servings: 12
Calories: 227kcal


  • ¾ cup pop corn kernels unpopped
  • 2 ½ tbsp oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 ½ tsp salt separated (I used kosher)
  • ½ tsp chili powder separated (The amount totally depends on how potent your chili powder is.So use less if you have a super spicy chili)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp baking soda


  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  • Heat oil and corn kernels in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.
  • Stir a few times so that the oil coats all the kernels and cover. Leave the lid slightly ajar so the steam can escape.
  • The corn should start popping in about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat as soon as the popping slows. Leave the lid on for a few more minutes because the corn will continue to pop.
  • Transfer the popped corn into a large mixing bowl. Be sure to remove the unpopped kernels.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat 2 cups sugar with 1/2 cup water on medium heat. Do NOT stir.
  • While the sugar is boiling, mix the baking soda, 2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of chili powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • When the sugar turns a light brown color, add the butter and stir. It will foam up. Just stir through that.
  • Add the balsamic vinegar. Stir.
  • Add the baking soda, salt and chili mixture. The sugar will foam up again. Stir quickly and pour over the popped corn. Quickly coat the popped corn with the caramel as evenly as possible.
  • Mix the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of chili powder and sprinkle evenly over the caramel corn.
  • Transfer the mixture to a parchment lined baking sheet and stick in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  • Let the mixture cool and serve.


Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 608mg | Potassium: 33mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 141IU | Vitamin C: 0.001mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


    1. Thanks Smita! 🙂 Although, I can’t take all the credit for the pics. I do set up the pictures but my husband is responsible for the photos.

  1. My boyfriend loved your popcorn from the bake sale so much that he said I have to learn how to make it. Happy to see the recipe’s here so I can make some more for him! We ate it the movies, it was perfect. Great talking with you this weekend, too 🙂

  2. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing issues with your site.
    It seems like some of the text in your content are running off the
    screen. Can someone else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them too?
    This might be a problem with my browser because I’ve had this happen before.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating