Lemon Thyme Caramel Corn

November 11, 2018 By Cathy — 4 Comments
Tangy, sweet, and crunchy caramel corn flavored with lemon and thyme is a grown up twist on classic caramel corn. It makes a great starter for the holidays because it can be made well in advance and is easy to serve!

Lemon Thyme Caramel Corn

A tricky part of holiday entertaining are the appetizers and hors d’oeuvres.  Especially a holiday like Thanksgiving which is focused primarily on the meal, you don’t want your guests to fill up before they take their seats around the table.  But, you also don’t want them so ravenous that you feel pressured to get everything out in a hurry.

I like to put out a variety of little nibbles…nuts, maybe some cheese and fruit, and another favorite is flavored caramel popcorn.  I love this grown up twist on caramel popcorn that is seasoned with fresh lemon zest and thyme.  It’s a tangy, sweet, and crunchy bite that will keep my guests satisfied without feeling as stuffed as the bird.  And the best part is it can be made well in advance of your gathering.  It keeps wonderfully in an airtight container for several days, although I recommend making a little extra for “sampling” before the big day.

Let’s make Lemon Thyme Caramel Corn

  1. Pour popcorn into a large heatproof bowl.
  2. Combine sugars, butter, and corn syrup in a saucepan over med/high heat and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until a candy thermometer reads 295 degrees, about 12-15 minutes.
  3. Mince fresh thyme and grate lemon zest. Add the thyme, zest, and salt to the caramel.
  4. Carefully and Quickly pour the the caramel over the popcorn and stir to coat.
  5. Spread the caramel corn onto prepared sheet trays and bake for about 40 mins in a 250 degree oven.
  6. Let cool in pan, garnish, and serve!

Lemon Thyme Caramel Corn

Tips for success

  • Keep a watchful eye as it approaches the 295 degree mark, and remove it from heat as soon as it hits the mark.
  • When you’re working with caramel you need to work quickly and carefully. Caramel will burn, so take precautions so it doesn’t splatter on your skin. Once the caramel is poured over the popcorn mixture, work quickly to stir and coat.
  • Allow the caramel to cool completely before you serve it or store it. The caramel popcorn will keep for several days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

 

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A close up of a bowl of Lemon Thyme Caramel Corn with lemons in the background and fresh thyme scattered in front.
Lemon Thyme Caramel Corn
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
 

Tangy, sweet, and crunchy caramel corn flavored with lemon and thyme is a grown up twist on classic caramel corn. It makes a great starter for the holidays because it can be made well in advance and is easy to serve!

Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: caramel corn
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 552 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 20 cups popcorn (simply salted microwave popcorn is a good option - use two 3.5 oz bags)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and place popcorn in a large heatproof boil.

  2. Combine sugars, butter, and corn syrup in a saucepan over med/high heat and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until a candy thermometer reads 295 degrees, about 12-15 minutes.

  3. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest, thyme, and salt.

  4. Pour caramel over popcorn and, working quickly, stir to coat.

  5. Spread caramel popcorn onto 2 parchment-lined sheet pans and place in oven.
  6. Bake 40 mins, carefully stirring once or twice.
  7. Let cool in pan, then break up any large pieces. Store in an airtight container. Popcorn will keep up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes
  • Keep a watchful eye as it approaches the 295 degree mark, and remove it from heat as soon as it hits the mark.
  • When you’re working with caramel you need to work quickly and carefully. Caramel will burn, so take precautions so it doesn’t splatter on your skin. Once the caramel is poured over the popcorn mixture, work quickly to stir and coat.
  • Allow the caramel to cool completely before you serve it or store it. The caramel popcorn will keep for several days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Thyme Caramel Corn
Amount Per Serving
Calories 552 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 37%
Saturated Fat 14g 70%
Cholesterol 61mg 20%
Sodium 603mg 25%
Potassium 139mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 84g 28%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 62g
Protein 3g 6%
Vitamin A 16.1%
Vitamin C 2.9%
Calcium 3.7%
Iron 6.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Update Notes: This post was originally published in November 2015 but was republished with tips in November 2018.

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Filed Under: Appetizers/Snacks, Holiday, Recipe

Comments

4 responses to “Lemon Thyme Caramel Corn”

  1. Jessica says:

    Perfect!! Thank you for the idea! I am hosting 24 on Thanksgiving, and was just thinking today- “What can I put out for an appetizer besides the spiced nuts for guests to nibble on during cocktail hour that won’t fill them up!” And I LOVE doing things ahead so that I can concentrate on the main meal the day of!

  2. Cindy says:

    OMG. That picture of the boiling sugars, butter, and caramel is a beauty. Me too, I obsess over the details as well. (Glad I am not the only one). This detail of combining thyme and lemon is nothing short of perfection.

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