by Olena

Healthy Caramel Popcorn

by Olena

healthy caramel popcorn

This healthy caramel popcorn is the bomb dot com. It turned out PERFECT = sweet caramel sauce coating each and every crispy popped kernel. It’s going down my mouth too easy.

This clean, vegan and gluten free sweet popcorn costs a fraction and is healthy. Plus it’s easy to make at home. My biggest issue with commercial popcorn is that it’s full of artificial stuff. Problem solved.

Recently I said good bye to microwave popcorn bags and welcomed stovetop organic popcorn into my life. It might be no news to you but I’m from Ukraine and we had no popcorn, healthy pumpkin pie or brussels sprouts. My grandma raised us on slow cooker chicken noodle soup and white bread with butter and sugar was for a treat.

healthy caramel popcorn

For me, healthy caramel popcorn means Holidays are here and it would make a perfect Christmas gift. Get one of those aluminum round tins from the Dollar store, line with pretty gift tissue and you got it. I have never heard anyone complaining about tasty and healthy edible gift.

This caramel sauce is made of canned coconut milk and agave syrup vs the usual heavy cream and processed sugar. I experimented with regular and light versions of milk, and full fat version seems to produce darker caramel colour. Other than that, no difference. So, I went with light coconut milk.

healthy caramel popcorn

The sauce should look like this “before”(left) and “after”(right). It is watery in the beginning and will thicken and become dark as it cooks. You can substitute agave nectar with honey or any raw sugar diluted with water. Personally, I think it’s healthier with honey or agave.

I never knew you could make vegan caramel sauce and just followed this recipe. Make sure to drizzle the caramel while it’s hot.

healthy caramel popcorn


Healthy Caramel Popcorn

This Healthy Caramel Popcorn is the bomb dot com. It turned out PERFECT = sweet caramel sauce coating each and every crispy popped kernel.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 27 minutes
  • Total Time: 42 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x


  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup organic corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, light (canned)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt


  1. Preheat medium pot (I used copper bottom stainless steel pot) on medium-high heat. Add coconut oil along with 2 corn kernels and close the lid. Once you hear kernels popping, it means the oil is hot enough to add the corn.
  2. Open the lid and add corn kernels. Shake to stir and close the lid. Shake the pot occasionally as the corn starts popping and more vigorously as popping increases. Remove the pot from heat when popping slows down and transfer popped corn into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. Return pot to a medium-high heat (discard any un popped/burnt kernels and clean if necessary) and add agave nectar. Bring to a boil and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. The agave will get darker and that’s what makes good caramel sauce.
  4. Add coconut milk, vanilla and salt, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and let caramel sauce cook until it thickens and gets darker, about 20 – 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  5. Immediately pour/drizzle hot caramel sauce over popped corn and gently mix with spatula to distribute evenly. I would drizzle some caramel and mix, drizzle and mix.
  6. Line baking sheet or cooling rack with parchment paper and transfer caramel popcorn to it. Freeze for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and brake into smaller pieces using your hands.

Store: Store in any covered container in the freezer, for up to 3 months. This way caramel popcorn will stay crisp, crunchy and separated. No need to thaw, it really doesn’t freeze.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.


olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

31 comments on “Healthy Caramel Popcorn

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  1. Hi, I just made this and it was really tasty, but the caramel didn’t set in the freezer, even after 20 mins. It just left a sticky wet coating on the popcorn. Still super tasty, but any ideas where I went wrong? Maybe caramel wasn’t cooked for long enough? Thanks

    1. Hi Tracy. Yes, you have to cook caramel until it is thick and sticky. Sugars and fat should harden in the freezer. Did you substitute any ingredients by any chance? Did you use canned coconut milk?

  2. Yum! I used real maple syrup with the coconut milk. It was wonderfully, lightly sweet. It tasted like kettle corn.

  3. Hi Olena, Years ago I received a recipe book called More for Less which leaned toward healthy cooking and simplicity. In there was a recipe for Peanut Butter Popcorn which we love it is equal amounts of we use honey, organic cane sugar and when that comes to a boil equal parts peanut butter, sometimes I put in a tsp of coconut oil, because I love coconut flavor and a little vanilla. Its a great snack and not so sweet.

    1. Hi Olena…also just wanted to say how much I love your pages…always great inspiration for the kitchen. I work in food services so have introduced a couple ideas there. Great job.

      1. Awe, thank you, Lorna! I’m not a professional cook but life has taught me a few kitchen lessons. I always wonder if I ever worked in a food industry kitchen, how would they rate my cooking and techniques LOL. Probably many things I do are not by the rules but I don’t care honestly.

  4. hi! this sounded so good that I had to try it but I have a problem! when I pour the hot caramel onto the popcorn it all kind of melts down to be tiny and gooey. I baked it and it made it crispy again but its still tint and doesnt look like yours. Am I missing something? Is the caramel supposed to be really thick because mine wasnt. Maybe I didnt cook the syrup for long enough?

      1. Thanks!! I figured it out when I read the recipe again! rookie mistake. Turned out amazing. Everyone loved it and no-one could believe there was no granulated suagr in it!

  5. Thanks so much for this recipe! I have been making caramel popcorn for Christmas presents for years now! And hated how much butter and corn syrup it contained. This recipe is a great alternative. After I mixed the sauce and popcorn together I put in the oven on 250 degrees for 45 min mixing every 15. Came out great and don’t have to worry about it losing its
    Crunchiness if I don’t freeZe it thanks again

      1. Thank you! And I apologize for the double question… After reading through the comments I saw the question had already been asked. Can’t wait to give these a try! Hopefully tomorrow!

  6. Don’t get me wrong, this looks AWESOME, but should it really be branded as “healthy”? There is still a lot of fat and sugar in it!

    1. Hi Zoe. Yes, I think Healthy is appropriate in this recipe since fat used in this recipe is a healthy fat. Coconut oil, coconut milk, avocados, nuts and fish are good for you fats. Google and learn about it because you might be missing out on the essential nutrients for your body. Low fat doesn’t mean healthy! As for sugar, banana and dried fruit are high in sugar than this popcorn, which are healthy foods. Again there is healthy and unhealthy sugar and various sources of it. I appreciate your concern about the branding of my recipes though.:)

  7. Could you use almond milk in place of coconut milk?
    I want to make this today, but only have almond milk!
    Thank you.

  8. Just finished making a batch of this. I had to double the amount of the caramel sauce to get it to look like yours tho. Just made it twice as yummy : )

    1. Hmmm, I will be making this popcorn early next week for gifts and will re-check. Can never have too much of healthy caramel.;)

      P.S. So I made this popcorn again and stuck to my original recipe and it was fine.:) I wonder if that’s the light and colours in the photo makes you think yours isn’t covered enough.:)

    1. Haha. Yes, you can use maple syrup or honey. I was thinking about you when making this popcorn. I have been making a lot of vegan treats lately and end up thinking “Hmm, Melissa would like this with her love to sweet stuff and vegan lifestyle”. I think I’m slowly turning into vegan LOL. Just kidding.

    1. Come on over, Laura.:) It’s so easy to make, I got tons left. I actually was able to control myself to stop eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.:)

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