5-Minute Caramel popcorn (vegan)

Before I started making my own popcorn I avoided popcorn all together. Popcorn is dressed up as one of the most greasy, fatty snacks. It makes you think that popcorn can ONLY be enjoyed with its buttery dress. 

But alas! Popcorn can be a healthy snack. Popcorn is actually a whole grain so it has fiber! It all comes down to what you put on your popcorn. Plain is best of course, bu even if you dress it up a bit it is FAR healthier than anything you can find in a packet. 

Below I want to share a simple popcorn method you can do on the stovetop, without an air popper or other fancy contraption. We'll pop the corn first in the pot, and then use that same pot to make the caramel. 

The caramel requires only 2 ingredients- coconut sugar and water. In a matter of 5 minutes you can have this snack ready to go. If you can't decide on sweet or savory in your household, don't pour all the popcorn into the caramel. Leave some popcorn savory and dress it with salt, pepper, lime or whatever you like. That way everyone can have the popcorn the way they like it. 

I want to give a thanks to @Chefcynthialouise who showed me out to do this on Youtube. She is a great chef with a gracious heart and fun to watch. She does a lot of vegan and gluten-free dishes in her kitchen in Bali. 

Only thing I would recommend on the popcorn is to buy Bob's Red Mill organic and non-gmo popcorn. Corn can get a bad rep so I trust Bob's Red Mill will give me the best product.

In this easy stovetop method, I only use 1 Tbsp. olive oil for ¼ cup popcorn which yields about 3 cups popped popcorn.

See full 15-minute video of this recipe at the bottom of this post. 

Popping popcorn on the stove top is not too hard to do, but there are a few key steps in making great popcorn. 

  • Don't turn your heat ALL the way up, you want a medium heat. 
  • Use the right size of pot. For ¼ cup I used a small saucepan.
  • Once it starts popping, keep the lid a little ajar to prevent popcorn from steaming too much. Too much steam won't allow the popcorn to stay crispy. 

Caramel popcorn (vegan)

  • ¼ cup popcorn kernels
  • ½ Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Coconut sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Water

  1. In a small pot, place the oil and 2 kernels in the pot. Place the lid on and wait for those two kernels to pop. When they do, pour the rest of your ¼ cup kernels in and close with lid.
  2. Shake with lid on so oil can coat all the kernels. Wait till more popping happens, then open the lid just a little to let some steam escape. It will take a minute or two for it all to pop.
  3. If it is filling your pot, pour some out into a bowl and place the pot back on the heat until all kernels are popped. If a few kernels remain at the end, just let them be, you don't want your pot to burn and have to clean it later. Wait until the popping slows down and then stops. Immediately pour popcorn into the bowl and turn off the heat on your burner. 
  4. Keep that pot. In the same pot place 2 Tbsp. coconut sugar and 1 Tbsp. water. Add a pinch of salt if you like salted caramel. Turn the heat back on and cook for 1-2 minutes or it becomes very syrupy, not liquid anymore. It gets almost reduced to nothing. 
  5. When the caramel is done, turn off the heat. Pour in the popped popcorn into the pot (use half or all of it) and mix with a spatula to coat each popcorn with caramel. LET COOL for a couple minutes. Caramel is SUPER hot and can burn you. (Trust me, I speak from experience). Be careful when cooking sugar. 

See my 1-min Tiktok video for timelapse video and some laughs.

To your happy and healthy life, 


Did you make this recipe?

Tag me on Instagram! I'd love to see it! @chefjoannas 


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