Homemade Cracker Jack

The perfect combination of popcorn, peanuts, and caramel… this is a very simple do-it-yourself recipe for Cracker Jack. The perfect, easy snack for gameday.


Recipe Stats

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Servings: 16


  • 1 (3.5 oz) bag of microwave popcorn, plain
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 6 tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbs water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup lightly salted peanuts
    1. Pop the popcorn, following package instructions.
    2. Coat a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer popcorn to the bowl; set aside.
    3. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
    4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
    5. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt and water;
    6. Bring mixture to a simmer; continue to simmer, stirring often, for about 3 to 5 minutes (until mixture reaches 250 degrees).
    7. Remove from heat; whisk in vanilla and baking soda.
    8. Immediately, pour the hot mixture over the popcorn. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the caramel into the popcorn until all of the popcorn is coated.
    9. Gently stir in the peanuts.
    10. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet; spreading it out.
    11. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.
    12. Remove from the oven, and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
    13. Gently break up the popcorn.
    14. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container  (up to 5 days).