The perfect combination of sweet and salty can be enjoyed in these dairy-free caramel popcorn clusters. They’re easy to make and wonderful for serving as a special treat at kid’s parties, holiday events, or game day gatherings.
The recipe and photo were shared with us by The Popcorn Board.
Special Diet Notes: Sea Salt Caramel Popcorn Clusters
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, optionally vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian.
For nut-free, dairy-free caramel popcorn clusters, you can certainly sub all popcorn for the nuts or use your nut-free add-ins of choice.
For corn syrup-free, dairy-free caramel popcorn clusters, note that honey is a suitable alternative because it is an invert sugar with a small amount of acid like corn syrup. From what I have read, other liquid sweeteners may not work the same in terms of preventing crystallization.
- 2 quarts organic popped popcorn
- 1½ cups pecan halves
- ½ cup almonds
- 1⅓ cups sugar
- 1 cup dairy-free margarine
- ½ cup light corn syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Line a large, rimmed 12x17-inch baking pan with foil and lightly grease.
- Lightly grease a large glass or metal bowl and add the popcorn and nuts.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, margarine and corn syrup or honey. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil until the temperature on a candy thermometer reaches 290°F (about 15 minutes). Remove the candy thermometer and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture over the popcorn and nuts and quickly stir to coat well.
- Spread the popcorn mixture in an even layer on prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with the sea salt and allow to cool completely.
- Break into pieces to serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container.
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I would like to make these caramel popcorn clusters for my son. However, he is allergic to nuts. Any thoughts as to what I can substitute for the crunch and added 2 cups ingredients? Thanks!
Hi Susan, I’m a popcorn fanatic, so personally, I would just use more popcorn to make it nut-free! If you really want variation, I think your son’s favorite seed would go nicely. Since seeds are smaller, I would up the popcorn a bit, and use less seeds than the nuts call for. Some nice options would be shelled sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or even a smattering of hemp seeds.
How long does this last please?
It should last about a week.
I just love that flavor of caramel! Such a great sweet snack!
Oh my, those look good, Alisa! I’ve always loved caramel popcorn in every form, especially with some nuts added. Yum!
Yes, I agree Shirley, the nuts make it!