Perfect as is or great with personalized additions.

Jasmine Smith

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Credit: Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Prissy Lee Montiel

Recipe Summary test

active:
10 mins
total:
20 mins
Yield:
18 bars
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Our ideal snack is easy to execute, but goes big on the flavors. We love combining salty and sweet to satisfy all of our cravings in one fell swoop. These Salted Caramel Popcorn Bars are what our snacking dreams are made of.

You've undoubtedly got a bag of caramel candies hiding in the back of your pantry—it's time to put them to use. In this recipe, we melt caramel candies down with water, then add marshmallows to create a quick, sticky sauce to coat our popcorn. You can pop your own popcorn, but store-bought works just as well here. The popcorn holds its integrity and stays relatively crispy, even when it's smothered in chewy, caramelly goodness. This is a great recipe to make with the kids—you can even add in some of their favorite candies or snacks (think salted peanuts, pretzels, or even whole mini marshmallows).

Here's our no-stick trick. To keep the popcorn mixture from adhering to the spatula, coat it with cooking spray before stirring the ingredients together and pressing them into the baking dish. Slice the finished bars with a serrated knife, which prevents you from squishing the sides of the bars.

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium. Add caramels and 2 tablespoons water. Cook, stirring often with a silicone spatula, until caramels melt completely, about 3 minutes. Add marshmallows. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. 

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  • Working quickly, fold in popcorn and kosher salt until coated. Press into a lightly greased (with butter) 13- x 9-inch baking dish, and let stand until completely set, about 10 minutes. Cut into 18 bars, and serve. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Extra Sweet

Stir in 1 cup candy-coated milk chocolate pieces (such as M&M'S), 1 cup miniature peanut butter cup candies (such as Reese's), and 1 cup gummy bears with the popcorn and salt in Step 2.

Flavors of Fall

Stir in 2 tsp. apple pie spice, 1 cup dried apple chips, and 1 cup chopped candied pecans with the popcorn and salt in Step 2.

Spiced S'mores

Stir in 2 tsp. cinnamon; 1 cup miniature marshmallows; 1 (1.55-oz.) milk chocolate candy bar, broken into pieces; and 1 cup Golden Grahams cereal with the popcorn and salt in Step 2.

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