Microwave Caramel Corn – Zippety Zap!

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Sometimes we’re kinda food snobs. But when a recipe works as well as this caramel corn, even if it’s made in the microwave, we keep our noses out of the air.

Microwave Caramel Corn - Zippety Zap!

My high school culinary arts instructor had a knack for finding easy cooking shortcuts — and this one was one of her best. This Microwave Caramel Corn only uses a microwave and a big grocery-store-style brown paper bag. If you have trouble getting your hands on these bags, do what I did: Next time you’re grocery shopping, ask for your groceries to be bagged in paper. Now you have tons of paper bags to get popping with.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for supporting The Cookful!

What I love most about this recipe is how simple it is. You pop your popcorn however you want (here’s how to do it on the stove and here’s how to do it in the microwave). Or you can even use store-bought popped popcorn. We like this one. Amazingly, one 5.5 oz bag is exactly the right amount for the recipe. We tried it. It worked perfectly.

Then make the caramel topping and heat it in the microwave. Put the popcorn and the caramel in your big grocery bag and shake it. Back it goes into the microwave for a couple of minutes. Transfer it to a pan to cool and harden a bit and you’re done.

Want to up that sweetness? Before cooling the popcorn, stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup roasted pecans. Did somebody say Turtles?

Easy Microwave Caramel Corn

Yield: 16 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Recipe Inspired by Louise Markland, Bend High School Culinary Arts Instructor 


  • 16 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Special Equipment
  • large brown paper bag


  1. Place popped popcorn in large brown paper bag. In microwave-safe dish combine the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt. Cook on high in the microwave for 2 minutes. Stir, then cook on high for 2 minutes more.
  2. Stir in baking soda and when dissolved pour over popcorn in brown bag. Crumple up the top to seal. Shake well.
  3. Place bag in microwave and cook on high for 1 minute 30 seconds. Take bag out, shake, and return to microwave for 1 minute. Take bag out, shake, and return to microwave for 30 seconds.
  4. Carefully pour onto large pan to cool at room temperature or in refrigerator. Break up popcorn and serve.

Lyndsay Burginger

It’s always entertaining when Lyndsay’s in the kitchen. She’s even been known to belt out Broadway show tunes while making dinner (a handy whisk as her microphone, of course). She currently writes for her international food and travel site, Lyndsay's Travel Kitchen . Lyndsay is also on the editorial team at The Cookful.