Move over puppy chow; this caramel popcorn recipe with pretzels and cereal mixture is addictingly delicious.
A perfect snack for movie night, a birthday party, or a game night, every bite of this sweet caramel popcorn is worth the calories.
Why you will love making Party Snack Mix!
One of our favorite snacks—this is GOOOD! It’s better than Christmas crack. I can’t stop eating it! GAH! Great for gifts and isn’t overly sticky, which is what I love about it.
It stays crispy, too, and doesn’t get stale super quickly.
Make Ahead: This caramel snack mix needs time to cool before being enjoyed, so it’s a perfect dessert snack to make ahead and enjoy the same day or the next day.
Mixing Bowl Note
Before getting started, it’s important to note that these ingredients require a very large mixing bowl to mix the caramel with the below ingredients successfully.
Here is a 30 quart size from amazon if you do not have one in your kitchen arsenal.
- popped popcorn – make sure all popcorn kernels that didn’t pop are removed
- rice cereal squares (plain Chex Mix or Crispix)
- mini pretzel twists
- pecan halves
- brown sugar
- light corn syrup
- baking soda
IMPORTANT – Anytime you work with sugar, it’s very hot. Take precautions not to let any heated sugar caramel mixture touch the skin.
This recipe is not kid-friendly to make – just to eat!
How to make Homemade Caramel Popcorn Snack Mix.
- Preheat oven to 300 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Pop microwave popcorn and remove any un-popped kernels.
- Mix popcorn, rice square cereal, mini pretzels, and pecans in a large mixing bowl and combine; set aside.
- In a saucepan, add brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup and heat over medium heat, stirring and bringing the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and continue to boil for 5 minutes. Do not stir.
- Remove the pan with caramel sauce from the heat and carefully (it’s very hot!) stir in vanilla extract and baking soda. The sugar butter mixture will begin to lighten in color and double in size.
- Pour the sugar mixture onto the popcorn mixture in the large bowl to coat the snack mix evenly.
- Spread snack mix between two prepared baking sheets and spread as evenly as possible.
- Bake for 15 minutes; remove from oven, stir/flip the mixture, and rotate baking sheets (top rack onto the lower rack and vice versa) before returning to the oven.
- Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand to cool completely before enjoying or placing into a sealable bag or air-tight container and storing at room temperature.
Variations for caramel corn snack mix
Instead of pretzels, try dry Asian noodles (or add some in!)
If you want a little sweet bite, add in mini M&M or Reese’s candies.
To turn this into a holiday snack, add holiday-friendly candies like red and green M&Ms, chocolate chips, candy eyeballs, and baby candy pumpkins.
Drizzle white chocolate or milk chocolate over the mix.
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The simplest peanut butter apple dip to whip up after school.