Home » Homemade Cracker Jack Recipe

Homemade Cracker Jack Recipe

Freshly popped popcorn and salty peanuts are tossed in a sweet and crunchy caramel sauce — this homemade Cracker Jack recipe tastes even better than the original!

hand holding a piece of caramel corn; text overlay "Copycat Cracker Jack".

Homemade Cracker Jack Popcorn

This homemade Cracker Jack is all about fresh-popped goodness, with real peanuts, and a handcrafted caramel sauce that tastes even better than store-bought caramel corn. It’s an elevated version of the nostalgic baseball park snack!

When I was growing up, one of my favorite treats was getting a box of Cracker Jacks. I can still remember how the box felt in my hands and even how the popcorn smelled after I opened it. We didn’t get a lot of store-bought treats, so it was a big deal when we did!

Years later, our family started making our own version of Cracker Jacks that has a taste that is very reminiscent of the original. This homemade caramel corn recipe is very easy to prepare and you can make a large batch in a little over an hour. No candy thermometer needed!

What really makes this recipe so delicious is the butter, sugar, and corn syrup mixture that you top the popcorn and peanuts with. The flavor of the caramel perfectly enhances the airy popcorn and salty peanuts and the sweet coating melts in your mouth with every bite. It’s so incredibly decadent and light tasting all at the same time!

This copycat Cracker Jack caramel corn is great for parties, to give as gifts, or to eat while watching your favorite movie at home.

The caramel sauce is cooked on the stove for five minutes and then poured over and mixed with the popcorn and peanuts. Then you cook for an hour on a low temperature. The result is a crunchy, sweet snack that is just as good, maybe better than the original! It’s impossible to have just one bite…I know this from experience!

This is caramel corn at its best!


bucket of homemade Cracker Jack popcorn.


  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
  • ¼ cup corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 18 – 20 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup peanuts (I used Spanish peanuts)

For your convenience in re-creating this recipe at home, we’ve included shop-able ad links to some of the products and supplies used. Read our disclosure policy here.

Kitchen Tools Used

flatlay of ingredients to make Cracker Jack popcorn, with text labels.


To Prep: Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and coat your baking pan with nonstick cooking spray (if you’re not using a non-stick pan).

  1. Place popped popcorn and peanuts into a large oven-safe pan or cookie sheet. Spread out the popcorn in an even layer and try to remove as many popcorn kernels as possible.
  2. Combine sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.
  3. Boil for five minutes. Add the baking soda and stir to combine.
  4. Pour the hot mixture carefully over the popcorn. Bake for one hour, stirring a couple of times.

4-step photo collage showing how to make caramel popcorn.

Prep Tips

  • Storage – Allow to cool completely before storing. Keep in an airtight container, such as a food storage container or gallon freezer bag, for up to a week.
  • Popcorn – You can definitely pop your own popcorn for this; that’s what my family always did. Microwave popcorn, stovetop, etc. — whatever you like to make — but I do recommend using plain flavor. When I make it now, I just buy a big bag of plain popcorn to save time. This recipe didn’t give an amount of popcorn, but give an estimate of what I used. I don’t think you can mess it up. As it cooks in the oven, the caramel coating will get on all the popcorn when you give it a stir.
  • Sweetness – You can adjust the amount of popcorn to make this recipe more or less sweet, depending on your personal preference. More popcorn means it will be less sweet. Less popcorn means it will be sweeter with a thicker caramel coating.
  • Peanuts – We used Spanish peanuts, but any type of peanut should be fine. Be sure to remove shells if needed.
  • Variations – Add a sprinkle of salt to make this a delicious salted caramel popcorn recipe. Start with just a dash, as you can always add more.

top-down view of a bucket of homemade caramel popcorn.


Copycat Cracker Jack Popcorn Recipe (Printable Recipe Card)

If you tried this recipe and liked it, please rate it!

bucket of homemade Cracker Jack popcorn.

Homemade Cracker Jack Recipe

Freshly popped popcorn and salty peanuts tossed in a sweet and crunchy caramel sauce -- this homemade Cracker Jack recipe tastes even better than the original!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword caramel, popcorn, snack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 40 1/2 cup servings
Calories 299kcal
Author Sara Garska
Cost $10


  • large roasting pan
  • medium saucepan


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 15-20 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup peanuts


  • Preheat oven to 250°F and coat a large baking pan with non-stick spray.
  • Place popped popcorn and peanuts into your prepared pan and spread in an even layer. Remove as many popcorn kernels as possible.
  • Combine sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Boil for five minutes, then stir in the baking soda.
  • Pour the hot caramel mixture carefully over the popcorn and stir or toss to coat.
  • Bake for one hour, stirring a couple of times.
  • Allow to cool, then store in airtight containers.


Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary based on exact ingredients used and serving size. We based our calculations on 20 cups of popcorn and 40 half-cup servings.


Calories: 299kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 33mg | Potassium: 204mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 71IU | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 2mg

Pin our Homemade Cracker Jacks on Pinterest:

2 photo vertical Pinterest collage showing a homemade Cracker Jack recipe.

You might also like:

glass jar with ranch party mix

Ranch Snack Mix

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.