Spicy bacon caramel corn is not for the faint-of-heart. This savory and sweet combination of flavors will surely get your attention! Made with beer, this dish has just enough spice to keep you going back for more - especially before it's gone! What can be better than popcorn mixed with salty bacon and sweet caramel? This is an easy recipe for spicy bacon caramel corn that is perfect for your next fall event.
Spicy Bacon Caramel Corn
After finishing up with Friday Food Reads, I wanted to share a recipe from the Ovenly cookbook. I tested four recipes from the book and each one of them left me wanting more. No failed recipes, all accurately written, and best of all, simple. No special ingredients or equipment. Just down to earth, well made, delicious food.
It was a tough choice deciding which recipe to share. Because I'm in Austin, and it's football season, it seemed like caramel popcorn would be the perfect snack to please any tailgate party. I have to warn you that there is a wide range of spice level for this spicy bacon caramel corn. Since this recipe uses cayenne pepper, I recommend going light in the beginning unless your audience is full of folks that happily tolerate hot, spicy flavors. If you have spice lovers, add more cayenne pepper and make sure a cold brew is nearby.
- Baking Soda
- Cayenne Pepper
- English Ale
How to Make Spicy Bacon Caramel Corn
First, preheat the oven to 400°F. Then with nonstick cooking spray, spray 1 large mixing bowl, 1 rimmed sheet pan, and 2 metal mixing spoons.
On a separate non-greased rimmed sheet pan, lay the thick cut bacon strips and bake for 30 minutes or until very crisp. Once done remove the bacon slices with tongs and spread them on a tray or plate lined with paper towels. Once the bacon has cooled, crumble it. While the bacon is cooling, leave the bacon fat on the rimmed sheet pan and also allow to cool.
Make The Popcorn
In a large pot with a lid or in a popcorn popper, heat the bacon fat over medium high heat. Add the popcorn kernels to the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and cook until all the kernels have popped. Shake constantly so the popcorn doesn’t burn. Transfer the popcorn to the prepared large mixing bowl. Add the crumbled bacon and mix together.
Make The Caramel
In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and cayenne pepper. Set it aside. In a large heavy bottomed pot, combine the sugar, ale, water, butter, and salt. Attach a candy thermometer to the edge of the pot and cook on high heat until the mixture boils. Let it boil until the mixture reaches 305°F and the caramel is a golden color.
Once the caramel has a light caramel color, remove it from the heat and mix in the baking soda and cayenne. Stir for 30 seconds, or until any clumps of baking soda and cayenne have dissolved. Immediately pour the caramel over the popcorn in the bowl. Using the prepared spoons, combine the caramel and the popcorn. Mix until the popcorn is well coated with the caramel.
Next, spread the caramel coated popcorn on the prepared rimmed baking sheet. Let it cool and then break it into bite sized pieces by hand. Store the popcorn in an airtight container for up to one week!
Baking Soda in Caramel Corn
Right before pouring the caramel onto the popped corn, you add the baking soda to the caramel. This is going to make the caramel bubbly and foamy so make sure your pan is large enough. It fills the caramel with air making it easier to coat the popcorn. Once the caramel corn has cooled, the air bubbles help to create a softer caramel, which makes for a better bite.
How to Separate Uncooked Kernels From Popcorn
There are a couple of ways to separate the uncooked kernels from the popcorn. You want to do this step. Nobody likes biting into uncooked kernels. The first way is to pour the cooked popcorn into a large bowl. Shake the bowl and the kernels will fall to the bottom of the bowl. You can then scoop the popcorn out into another bowl. By the time you get to the bottom, only the kernels should be left.
The second way will depend on your bowl size and if you have a large enough cooling rack. Once you have your cooked popcorn in a bowl, place a cooling rack on top of the bowl and turn it upside down and shake. This should let all the kernels fall through the cooling rack and the popcorn will stay in the bowl.
Enjoy this spicy bacon caramel corn! I know I did. If you want to take the flavor to another level, I'd suggest a drizzle of chocolate on the bacon caramel popcorn for an extra wow factor.
Looking For More Recipes
Ovenly’s Spicy Bacon Caramel Corn
Ovenly's Spicy Bacon Caramel Corn
- 10 slices regular thick cut bacon
- 3 tablespoon bacon fat from the cooked bacon
- ½ cup popcorn kernels
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ to ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 cups sugar
- ¼ cup English Ale
- ¼ cup water
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 ½ tablespoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Spray 1 large mixing bowl, 1 rimmed sheet pan, and 2 metal mixing spoons with nonstick cooking spray.
- Lay bacon on ungreased rimmed sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until very crisp.
- Once done, remove the bacon slices with tongs and spread them on a paper towel lined tray or plate. Crumble the bacon once it has cooled.
- Let the remaining bacon fat cool on the rimmed sheet pan.
- In a large pot with a lid, or in a popcorn popper, heat the bacon fat over medium high heat. Add the popcorn kernels to the pot, cover with the lid and cook until all kernels have popped, shaking constantly to prevent burning.
- Transfer the popcorn to the prepared bowl, add the crumbled bacon and mix.
- In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and cayenne. Set aside.
- In a large heavy bottomed pot, combine the sugar, ale, water, butter and salt.
- Attach a candy thermometer to the edge of the pot. Cook on high heat until the mixture boils. Let it boil until the mixture reaches 305° and the caramel is a golden color.
- Once the caramel has a light caramel color, remove it from the heat and mix in the baking soda and cayenne. Stir for 30 seconds, or until all clumps of baking soda and cayenne have dissolved.
- Immediately pour the caramel evenly over the popcorn in the bowl. Combine the caramel and the popcorn using the prepared spoons. Mix until the popcorn is well coated with the caramel.
- Spread the caramel corn on the prepared rimmed sheet pan.
- Let it cool, and then break it into bite size pieces by hand.
- Store the caramel corn in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Here are a few of our favorite recipes for fall season:
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