Why does my caramel corn always end up grainy?

Every time i make Caramel corn it turns out tasting great, but the texture of the caramel is grainy - almost crystal like. I tried skipping the oven step, and the texture of the caramel coating was great, but then the popcorn was not crisp. I use a candy thermometer when cooking the caramel. What am I doing wrong? Here is the recipe that I use:


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups unpopped popcorn

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 tablespoon baking soda


Place popped corn in oven to keep warm. Repeat until all corn has been popped.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).

Boil sugar, butter, syrup, and salt for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add baking soda. Stir well.

Pour over popped corn Spread onto cookie sheets and place in oven for 1 hour. Stir every 15 min. Remove from oven and let cool, breaking apart the popcorn as it cools. Store in air tight containers.

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    When making caramel you should only stir the sugar, butter and syrup mixture until it dissolves (over a low heat). Once it has dissolved turn the heat up and heat until 255F (use a sugar thermometer if possible). Doo not stir anymore, this is what causes the sugar to crystalize. Just pour over the corn, but do not scrap the caramel out of the pan.

    You could also try adding a tbsp of glucose (available from health food shops or the chemist), this is what is used when making toffees and caramels to prevent the sugar crystalizing.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think the temp of the sugar has to be higher than what the 5 minutes allows. It would sort of be like making candy or fudge, it gets grainy if the temp does not get high enough for a certain amount of time. Let me check and see what the temp should be for caramel.

    EDIT* I think the recipe is missing the condensed milk, That seems to be the smoother.

    Goodgle and look through several most of them have C.M in them

  • Linda
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    I like caramel corn every now and then, around holidays but usually buttered popcorn. I enjoy. It goes good with movies, TV marathons, etc. This is my opinion on the matter.

  • 1 decade ago

    it's a temperature issue for the sugar.

    Caramel is made by heating sugar slowly to around 170 °C (338 °F).

    "Boil ... for 5 minutes" is a bad instruction. Rather, you should heat the mixture slowly until a candy thermometer reads 170C or 338F

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  • 1 decade ago

    not sure but it sounds like somewhere in the sugar melting process soemthing is going wrong...either while melting it is not completely melted... or you are allowing it to cool to long and it is re- crystalizing ( if that's a word :) ) If your carmel is REALLY melted throughly you could try a finer granulation of sugar.

    Good Luck... my mouth is watering just thinking of having some!!

  • 1 decade ago

    yum carmel corn...

    I know, the same darn thing happens to me. I think its just thats theres so much brown sugar. I tried the mixer to break it up.

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