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he Best Homemade Cracker Jack - BoulderLocavore.com

The Best Homemade Cracker Jack

A simple, delicious recipe to make America's classic snack treat, Cracker Jack, at home!
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword caramel popcorn with peanuts, cracker jack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 10 1/2 to 12 1/2 cups depending on how much popcorn used
Calories 355 kcal
Author Toni Dash


  • 10-12 cups of popped Popcorn (about ¾ cups unpopped when using a stove top popper)*
  • 1 ¼ cups Dark Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup Dark Corn Syrup
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted Butter , cut into pieces about 1 tablespoon each
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup Spanish Peanuts


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place popcorn in a large, deep baking or roasting pan; selecting a size which will allow easy coating of the popcorn and turning it during baking without it spilling out of the pan.
  2. In a medium-large sauce pan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt. Bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring constantly with a whisk to melt sugar and fully combine all ingredients. Continue to whisk mixture for 1-2 minutes following the sugar melting.
  3. Sprinkle the peanuts on the popcorn. Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and peanuts and turn the popcorn over in the caramel sauce to fully coat, scooping any up from the bottom of the pan onto the popcorn.
  4. Place in the preheated oven. Every 10-15 minutes, remove the pan and scoop any caramel from the bottom of the pan back into the popcorn to coat the popcorn thoroughly. Return to the oven. Continue this process 3-4 times until the popcorn has cooked for about 45 minutes.
  5. Turn popcorn out in a single layer onto parchment or wax paper and allow to cool fully.**

Recipe Notes

*for lighter coating use 12 cups popcorn; for a heavy coating use 10 cups popcorn.

**In my research I discovered mention of difficulties when making similar caramel corn in highly humid conditions. Based on this I'd suggest making this Cracker Jack on low humidity days.

Nutrition Facts
The Best Homemade Cracker Jack
Amount Per Serving
Calories 355 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 8g40%
Cholesterol 30mg10%
Sodium 259mg11%
Potassium 185mg5%
Carbohydrates 44g15%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 33g37%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 370IU7%
Calcium 43mg4%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.