Spicy Caramel Popcorn

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Caramel meets cayenne…

Snacking doesn’t get much tastier than a batch of homemade spicy caramel popcorn. Sure it takes a little time to whip up, but the reactions you’ll receive from friends and family are well worth the time!

Cayenne pepper powder adds the edge to the salty, sweet, and buttery deliciousness of the caramel. It can pack a surprising amount of heat in this recipe, so consider lessening the amount used (half the amount) if you’re making it for the first time or if you’re serving it to mixed company with unknown spicy food tendencies.

Spicy Caramel Popcorn

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Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes



  • Over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan.
  • Add the popcorn kernels once the oil is hot and cover. Shake the saucepan often as the kernels pop. Remove from heat once the kernels have stopped popping (approximately 4 to 5 minutes). Pour the popcorn into a large bowl and set aside.
  • In separate bowl, add the cayenne pepper and baking soda and mix until fully combined.
  • In a separate saucepan over high heat, combine the sugar, butter, sea salt, and water. Let the mix sit over high heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until it's a rich yellow color.
  • While waiting on the caramel, lightly coat two large spoons and two baking sheets with vegetable oil. This is to keep the caramel from sticking while preparing the popcorn.
  • Remove the caramel from the heat and add in the baking soda and cayenne pepper mix. Stir to combine, then pour immediately over the popcorn.
  • Toss the popcorn using the spoons until the caramel is dispersed, then pour the popcorn onto the baking sheets, breaking up any popcorn clusters while the caramel is still warm.
  • Allow the spicy caramel popcorn to cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then serve.
Did you make this?Mention @PepperScale or tag #PepperScale so we can see what you made!

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on August 17, 2019 to include new content.
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