Sriracha Caramel Corn

$0.83 recipe
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 2 votes
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Okay, this one was kind of a candy making FAIL, but I’m still posting it because even in its failed state it was so good that I couldn’t stop munching on it.

Why was it a candy fail? Because my caramel re-crystalized. Instead of being a glossy, glass-like coating, it turned a little grainy and dull. Does it taste bad? No way. Do I know what caused this? Probably. Apparently, if there are any grains of unmelted sugar left anywhere (like on the spoon that I used to stir with), it can set off a chain reaction that causes re-crystalization throughout all of the candy. That’s exactly how they make rock candy, in fact, and that’s probably what happened here. I burned my finger and was so happy eating the crystalized caramel corn that it wasn’t even worth it to make a second batch! So, I’ll leave the experimenting up to you. I had no crystalization when I made my previous batch of caramel corn.

Speaking of that previous batch of caramel corn, I used the same exact technique and the same recipe minus some salt and plus some sriracha. Super easy. Oh, and I didn’t use any nuts, but I bet they would be AWESOME in this.

The flavor is totally unique. It’s sweet (obviously), salty (a little more so than expected), spicy, and garlicky. If you’re unsure of whether or not you’d like something that combines sweet and garlicky, you might want to skip this one. It took me a second to warm up to it, but in the end I thought it was addictive. I can definitely say that not everyone will agree. Sriracha-heads, though, probably will.


three small bowls of Sriracha Caramel Corn with a bottle of sriracha on the side

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sriracha caramel corn

5 from 2 votes
Sriracha caramel corn has an addictive salty, sweet, and SPICY flavor! 
Servings 7 2 cups each
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 35 minutes


  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil ($0.08)
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels ($0.18)
  • 1/4 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar ($0.24)
  • 1 Tbsp butter ($0.12)
  • 1 tsp salt ($0.05)
  • 1 tsp baking soda ($0.04)
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha hot sauce ($0.12)


  • First, pop the corn. Place the vegetable oil and corn kernel in a large pot. Place the lid on top and turn the heat up to high. When the kernel pops, add the rest of the kernels to the pot. Keep the lid on top, give the pot a shake and swirl to make sure the kernels are covered in hot oil, and they will begin to pop within a minute. Allow the kernels to continue to pop over high heat until the popping slows down (1-2 pops per 10 seconds?). At that point, turn the heat off and set the lid ajar to allow steam to escape.
  • In a medium sauce pot combine the water, sugar, butter, and salt. Turn the heat up to medium and allow the sugar to dissolve and the mixture to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat slightly so that it doesn’t boil over, and allow it to boil for about 10 minutes or until it reduces, becomes slightly thicker, and turns a light golden color.
  • While the sugar is boiling, preheat the oven to 250 degrees and cover a baking sheet in foil or parchment. Spray the parchment or foil with non-stick spray.
  • When the sugar takes on a golden hue, turn the heat off and stir in the baking soda and sriracha. The mixture will puff up and turn orange. Work quickly because it will begin to harden as it cools. Pour the mixture over the popped corn in the pot. Use a large spoon to quickly stir it until the corn is coated. Again, it will begin to harden as it cools, so work quickly. Spread the corn out on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Allow the corn to cool and enjoy (responsibly).

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Serving: 1ServingCalories: 1966.1kcalCarbohydrates: 338.2gProtein: 8.9gFat: 69.8gSodium: 4863.1mgFiber: 10.2g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Close up of Sriracha Caramel Corn in bowls

How To Make Caramel Corn – Step By Step Photos

popped corn in pot
First, pop your corn. If you’ve never made popcorn on the stove top, you’re SERIOUSLY missing out. It has so much more flavor and a much better texture than microwave popcorn. Plus, it’s super easy and doesn’t really take any more time than a bag of microwave corn. All you do is add the vegetable oil and one kernel to a large pot. Put a lid on top and turn the heat up to high. Hang out for a minute and wait for that kernel to pop. As soon as it does, add the rest of the kernels, put the lid back on top, and give the pot a good shake and swirl. The rest of the kernels will soon begin to pop and you just sit there and wait for them to slow down. When they do, just turn off the heat. THE END.

sugar and butter in pot
Set the popped corn aside and move on to the caramel. Start with the sugar, butter, salt, and water in a pot. I cut the salt from my original caramel corn recipe in half because the sriracha salt in it, but it was still pretty salty. So, if you want, you can try 3/4 teaspoon.

sugar mixture coming to a boil
Turn the heat up to medium and allow the mixture to come up to a boil. At that point turn the heat down just a bit so that it doesn’t boil over. Continue to let it boil for about ten minutes – no need to stir.

reduced sugar mixture
As it boils the moisture will evaporate away and it will become thicker and slightly golden in color. At that point you can turn the heat off. Also, preheat the oven to 250 degrees and line a baking sheet with either parchment or foil. Coat that parchment or foil with non-stick spray.

measuring spoons of baking soda and sriracha
You’ll want the baking soda and sriracha ready to go because the next couple of steps happen quickly…

baking soda and siracha added to sugar mixture in pot
Stir the baking soda and sriracha into the boiled sugar. It will puff up and turn orange.

cooked corn spread out on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and covered in sugar sauce
Now, working quickly, pour the orange sugar mixture over the popped corn in the pot. Use a large spoon to stir it all together so that the corn is coated. The sugar will start to harden as it cools so you need to work quickly. Make sure to use a large spoon and be careful because if that molten sugar gets on your skin it will burn you down to the bone – trust. Now, spread that corn out on your prepared baking sheet and bake it for 10 minutes.

Three bowls of Sriracha Caramel Corn with bottle of siracha
Allow the corn to cool and then go crazy!

Close up of Sriracha Caramel Corn
Want a closer look? Hrm?

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  1. Im guessing this was 250f for the oven. The house filled up with smoke after 3 minutes while i was boiling water in the pot to clean it.

  2. Hi! I just made this deliciousness minus the hot sauce (didn’t have any on hand) and was wondering what the best way to store this is? Want to make sure it’s delicious and crunchy for hubby and school lunch tomorrow :)

    1. You definitely want to keep it in an air-tight container or zip top bag. Moisture from the air will absorb into the sugar and soften it up. :)

  3. Would this work if I used my air popper instead of popping it on the stovetop? The air popper is so much easier.

    1. Yes, that should work fine, although stove popped popcorn has SO much more flavor.

  4. hey…after reading this recipe I couldnt get it out of my head….I thought I would give it a try anyways without an oven and i just put the popcorn by handfuls into the caramel mix to coat…placed it on foil paper and it hardened beautifully….glossy and delicious!! So this recipe does work without an oven :)

  5. I live overseas, and we dont have ovens here, just stove top cooking….is it possible to make this without baking it for 10 min? Or will it just come mushy and icky?

  6. Yay I fixed my grainy problem! I added a Tbsp on corn syrup to the sugar mixture and my popcorn came out shiny. Happy munching!

  7. You mention that the taste is garlicky, but garlic isn’t listed in the ingredients. Where does this flavor come from?

  8. Hi! I just wanna ask whether it’s gonna work if I substitute baking soda for baking powder. Thanks!

    1. Nope, baking soda and baking powder have different chemical properties and can’t be swapped.

  9. How many cups of popped corn would you use? We have a place with great popcorn….figuring I could cut down a step.

  10. I just want to let you know I appreciate all the effort you put into your blog. Have tried four receipes so far and loved them all. Great job. Thank you.