spicy caramel popcorn

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spicy caramel popcorn recipe

This is one of my favourite recipes from my new cookbook ‘Sweet’ which was recently published by Penguin Random House in South Africa. I love the spicy flavours with the sweet and crunchy caramel which seem counter-intuitive but really work. The popcorn is not that hot and delivers a lovely earthy warmth to the mix. I always think I could add some chilli or cayenne pepper to give more of a kick, but erred on the side of caution when I developed the recipe to make it accessible to everyone, including children

I’ve demonstrated this recipe at 2 events since my book launch and everyone goes wild. It’s just one of those recipes. It surprises and delights.

I’m also desperate to get back into blogging after my travels to the US of A and AfrikaBurn. Its been a difficult 10 days since I got back and I’ve struggled with my health. Hopefully, I’m on the mend now and can get back into making recipes and sharing them with you. I’ve also got so many images and stories from my trip to tell so I’ve started the editing and will get them up as soon as possible.

recipe – spicy caramel popcorn

‘This recipe turns ordinary popcorn into something special, worthy of a party. The spice is mild enough to give it an exciting flavour edge, while still suitable for children. You could add more paprika, chilli or cayenne if you want to take the heat up a notch. I use coconut oil when making popcorn – it is a little healthier and gives the popcorn a lovely flavour – but a neutral oil such as sunflower works equally well.’

A few of my other favourite sweet recipes:

Matcha Marshmallows

Spicy buttercrunch brittle with roasted nuts

Toffee, salted pretzel and chocolate bark

White chocolate & green tea fudge

Homemade peanut butter cups

spicy caramel popcorn

A spicy and sweet addictive caramel popcorn recipe.
Print Recipe
spicy caramel popcorn recipe
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes


  • 125 g corn kernels
  • 10 ml coconut oil or any other neutral oil
  • 5 ml ground cumin
  • 5 ml ground cinnamon
  • 3 ml paprika
  • 5 ml salt
  • 2 ml bicarbonate of soda
  • 150 g butter
  • 200 g granulated white sugar
  • 30 ml golden syrup
  • 5 ml vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 120 °C. Line a baking tray with silicone or baking paper.
  • Make the popcorn any way that you prefer. (I like to use a large skillet with a glass lid.) Transfer the popcorn to a large, deep bowl; it should only half fill the bowl, allowing space to toss the sauce.
  • Mix all the spices and bicarbonate of soda together.
  • In a medium-size, heavy-based pot bring the butter, sugar, and syrup to the boil. Continue to let it bubble, stirring continuously, until the mixture turns golden-brown and reaches the hard crack stage of 155 °C.
  • Add the vanilla extract and spice mix and stir vigorously for a few seconds, then remove from the heat. Pour the hot caramel over the popcorn and toss to coat.
  • Spread the caramel-covered popcorn evenly on the prepared baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven and toss to ensure it’s evenly coated. Return it to the oven for a further 15 minutes, then remove, toss again and leave to cool.
  • Once cool, break it up and store in an airtight container.
Servings: 8 -10 as a snack
Author: Sam Linsell

My book is available in all good bookstores in South Africa and an e-version can be ordered for Kindle on Amazon.com

Sam Linsell Sweet






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  1. Hi Sam! This looks amazing!! Is the golden syrup what we call corn syrup in the US? Or maple syrup? I’m not sure what it is. The cover of your cookbook…beautiful. xx

  2. Congrats on your book it looks amazing – I will definitely be buying it .

  3. These are some super fancy popcorns! So delicious! 🙂 Also, your book cover is BEAUTIFUL.

  4. This will work for all of us.. reminds me of the Mexican Spicy Nuts that we love from my Snack-style book!
    C xxx

  5. Thanks so much Evthomas 🙂

  6. Thanks Gemma 🙂

  7. Hi Carolie, spicy nuts sound divine too. xx

  8. Thanks Sarah – and I cant wait for yours. Would love to get a copy over here is SA and do a review as I am such a fan of your work. One of the recipes in my new book is inspired by you and I have mentioned it too.
    Sam x

  9. This popcorn is right up my alley!

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