Caramel Popcorn Clusters that Pack a Quarterback Crunch


What’s better than a big bowl of buttery dairy-free popcorn for watching TV, movies, or the big game? Dairy-free Caramel Popcorn of course! These hearty clusters are a sweet treat with bonus nutrition from whole grain popcorn and almonds. But I’ve also included an option for nut-free noshers!

Dairy-Free Caramel Popcorn Clusters Recipe (it packs a Quarterback Crunch!) Gluten-free and Vegan with Soy-free and Nut-free options.

These Dairy-Free Caramel Popcorn Clusters Pack a Quarterback Crunch

This recipe is surprisingly easy to make. You can even throw it together before the show starts, and let it bake while everyone enjoys the game or movie. It will be ready for an out-of-hand dessert by halftime or “intermission.”

We liken these dairy-free caramel popcorn clusters to old-school Fiddle Faddle, but with a fresher taste and dairy-free ingredients. This recipe is also made without peanuts, and there’s a sweet & salty option without any nuts whatsoever.

Dairy-Free Caramel Tips

Most store-bought caramel goodies are made with dairy, but it’s a surprisingly easy sauce to make at home. Just use your favorite dairy-free buttery spread or sticks (there are so many available!). Caramel sauce can even be made simply with sugar and water, but using fat adds richness, body, and delicious flavor. The corn syrup gives it a shiny, candy-like coating, but you can substitute another liquid sweetener if desired. Just keep in mind that whatever you choose will have its own flavor influence.

Dairy-Free Caramel Popcorn Clusters Recipe (it packs a Quarterback Crunch!) Gluten-free and Vegan with Soy-free and Nut-free options.This recipe with photo was originally shared with us by We just found it in our archives!

Special Diet Notes: Caramel Popcorn Clusters

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, optionally nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.

Dairy-Free Caramel Popcorn Clusters
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Be sure to act quickly once the caramel sauce is ready. It will thicken quickly as it cools.
Recipe type: Appetiser
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10 to 12 servings
  • 10 cups fresh air-popped popcorn
  • 2 cups almonds (see Nut-Free Option below)
  • 1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup dairy-free buttery spread
  • ¼ cup light non-GMO corn syrup (can sub golden syrup or maple syrup)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  1. Preheat your oven to 225°F, and grease a 15x10-inch baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the popcorn and almonds.
  3. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, buttery spread, and liquid sweetener. Place the pan over low heat, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high, and boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the caramel mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, almond extract, and baking soda.
  5. Pour the hot caramel sauce over the popcorn and almonds, and stir gently to coat.
  6. Scrape the mixture onto your prepared baking sheet and evenly spread it out.
  7. Bake the dairy-free caramel popcorn for 1 hour.
  8. Let it cool completely in the pan.
  9. Once it is cool, break the mixture into pieces. Store the dairy-free caramel popcorn crunch in an airtight container.
Nut-Free Option: Substitute broken pretzel pieces (gluten-free optional) for the almonds, and omit the almond extract.

More Dairy-Free Recipes for Caramel Fans

Homemade Girl Scout Caramel DeLite Cookies

Vegan Samoa Girl Scout Cookies Recipe (a.k.a. Homemade Caramel deLites) - a sample recipe from Go Dairy Free The Guide and Cookbook 2nd Edition

3-Ingredient Salted Caramel Vegan Ice Cream

Vegan and Dairy-Free Salted Caramel Ice Cream made with just 3 simple ingredients! Straight from your pantry. A sample recipe from famed Fomu ice cream.

Healthy Caramel Apple Nachos

Healthy Caramel Apple Nachos Recipe - Fast, Easy, Just 4 Ingredients, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free and Soy-Free

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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