Healthy Caramel Corn {that actually tastes good!}

Healthy Caramel Corn that actually tastes good! | RaisingArrows.netI’m going to tell you right here and now…
I like things simple and I like things good.

You may have noticed that about me. This blog is replete with keeping life focused and simplified, so when I did an online search for a healthier version of our favorite caramel corn, I wasn’t about to try anything that had a ton of ingredients or required me to buy a whole bunch of products I don’t normally keep on hand.  I don’t cook because I like to be all gourmet.  I cook because I need to feed my kids!

I also wasn’t interested in the recipes that had comments like, “Tried this tonight, it was pretty good.”

Pretty good?!  My caramel corn is phenomenal.  No way am I changing up my recipe for “pretty good.”

After searching in vain for way longer than I should have, I decided I could do this without a recipe.  Our resident caramel corn maker (aka our 15 year old son) was game to try it…once.  To say he was skeptical would be an understatement, but I promised that if this didn’t turn out I would never mess with the recipe again.  He appreciated that enough to let me try.

Here is our original version:

Amy’s UNhealthy Caramel Corn
1 pop (1/2 cup kernels) of popcorn (we air pop)
Bring to a boil:
6 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp cream or milk
1/2 c. brown sugar
Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Pour over popped popcorn and stir in.  A few minutes later, stir again.  A few minutes after that, stir again.  Or be impatient and eat it after the first stir in.  It’s sticky, but no one really cares because it is phenomenal!  (See!  I told you like things simple!)

We took the basics of this recipe and thought through what we had on hand that would reduce calories and processed foods.  The only thing really processed was the brown sugar, so we replaced that with sucanat.  The cream or milk added calories, so we traded it for almond milk (something we keep on hand and is about 1/3 the calories of milk).  I would definitely be game to try this with something like coconut milk or even soy milk, but we drink almond milk and it just made sense to try that first.

So, we ended up with this recipe:

Amy’s HEALTHY Caramel Corn
1 pop (1/2 cup kernels) of popcorn, placed in a large metal or glass bowl (we air pop)

In a small saucepan, boil:
6 Tbsp butter (we used unsalted, but this wouldn’t matter)
2 TBSP almond milk
1/2 c. sucanat

Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Mixture should be dark brown and slightly thickened.
Pour over popcorn and stir.  A few minutes later, stir again.  A few minutes after that, stir again.  Or, yep, you guessed it!  Eat it sticky and hot!

And the verdict…

butter blurred

caramel mixture

popcorn popping

popcorn in bowl

stirring in caramel

Caramel Corn

This caramel corn is PHENOMENAL!  In fact, I liked it BETTER than the old recipe!  It was simple, it was easy, it was well received.  I’m so glad I tried to make my caramel corn a bit healthier.  It was well worth it!  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

And by the way, I hope you are having a PHENOMENAL Fall!  I sure am!

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20 thoughts on “Healthy Caramel Corn {that actually tastes good!}

  1. Question: Is there a benefit to almond milk if I already drink skim milk? It’s only 90 calories. I finally ordered a copy of Trim Healthy Mama, so I’m thinking ‘ll learn what sacunat is. lol! :)

  2. Hi Amy, thank you for posting this. We have been making some major changes in our diet lately. (non gmo, organic etc.) I will add this to my healthy recipes list. :)

  3. I recently healthified a caramel popcorn recipe and LOVE it. I don’t know what 1 “pop” of popcorn is, but these are my amounts:

    1/2c popcorn kernels (popped and in a very large bowl)
    1/4c coconut oil
    1/4c butter
    1/2c rapadura sugar (like sucanat though less processed)
    1/4c honey
    1T molasses
    1t vanilla
    1/4t salt
    1/2t baking soda

    • That was one recipe I ran across actually! It is just too many ingredients for my poor little brain. Glad to hear it is great and not just “pretty good”! lol

  4. Amy,
    Do you know what the advantage of using almond milk is…you know..over regular milk? Since you said you use it already, I thought you might have an answer here…THANKS! I didn’t want to buy it not knowing…and I trust your answer :) Thank you for the recipe although I don’t like caramel or popcorn..lol…reminds me of your picky food blog a couple of weeks ago! But….. I do have a Wonderful husband who loves caramel corn and he is watching his weight know after just losing over 50 pounds.
    Blessings,
    Julie

    • Good for your husband! Almond milk is lower in calories. It is 40 calories for a cup. My husband actually prefers almond milk to regular milk and uses it for his cereal. He’s lost about 60 pounds. :)

    • And now I am singing…”and I’ve got some corn for poppin’. The lights are turned way down low…let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…” :)

  5. This looks so yummy! Just to confirm…. you don’t add any salt or baking soda? Every recipe I’ve seen calls for both of those PLUS cooking on 250* and stirring. So, no salt, baking soda, or baking???
    Thanks for clarifying :)

  6. I just had to make this for snack time this afternoon! I added a little vanilla and baking soda right after I took it off the stove. I stirred it into the pop corn and sprinkled with a little salt (I love a little sweet/salty combo!) The kids and I ate every last piece! Sometimes I think that cooking with sucanat has too much of a molasses flavor for me, but it didn’t overwhelm me. Hooray!

  7. Well I am not much of a health nut so I decided to make the unhealthy recipe you provided and it was sooooooo good! I never knew popcorn could be so yummy. And it was so easy, plus I had the ingredients on hand (used half and half). Thank you! My only problem was that we had microwave popcorn so there were a lot of unpopped kernels mixed with the caramel so we had to be careful while scarfing it down. Love your blog btw. I read it everyday.