All the goodness of fall finds itself wrapped up in this one easy recipe!  Bonfires, hayrides, county fairs- you name it-  can’t help but be brought to mind at the first crunch of this classic caramel corn with a festive apple twist.  Coated in an easy caramel that cooks up quick without a candy thermometer, bursting with apple flavor from hot cider drink mix and loaded with pecans, this crunchy Apple Spice Caramel Corn only needs 15 minutes in the oven to create the best homemade snack for fall!

Apple Spice Caramel Corn in a galvanized bucket

Apple Spice Caramel Corn Scripture- Psalm 25:5

What You Need To Make Apple Spice Caramel Corn

  • buttered popcorn
  • spiced apple cider drink mix
  • chopped pecans
  • dark brown sugar
  • light Karo syrup
  • butter
  • vanilla extract
  • salt
  • baking soda

the ingredients needed to make apple spice caramel corn

I made this fall-inspired snack for my bigs who are going to be home from college for quick fall break.  I just know they’re going to love it!  After all, it only took one perfectly caramel coated popped kernel to get me hooked.  One part apple pie and one part caramel apple, the balance was perfect. This salty sweet popcorn snack was everything I imagined fall might taste like.

Up close of caramel apple popcorn

And the best part is how easy it is to make!  The caramel is pretty much made up of just 3 ingredients  and cooks up in less than 5 minutes stovetop without the use of a candy thermometer.  A dash of baking soda as it’s removed from the heat makes the caramel light and fluffy and keeps it from getting too hard as the caramel corn bakes up in the oven.


The apple spice flavor comes from hot apple cider drink mix added right to the caramel as it cooks.  And it adds JUST the right amount of apple-y goodness!  The smooth, buttery caramel and the bite of the apple cider are perfect partners in this treat!

Overhead view of apple spice caramel corn in a bucket.

I can’t wait to share a bucket of this crisp golden goodness with my fall breakers.  It’s just what we’re going to need for movie nights, football Saturday and a little family time around the fire pit.  There’s nothing like a little fall and some simple homemade goodness to make the most of the time we have together!


Pro Tips

  • I used a pre-popped bagged snack popcorn as a short cut for this recipe.  1 bag is about 8 C, so it works out perfectly.
  • Make sure you have your salt, baking soda and vanilla measured out and ready to add before you begin to make your caramel.  This saves time afterwards when you’re trying to work quickly before your caramel sets.

Apple Spice Caramel Corn

This easy recipe for caramel corn has an apple spice twist thanks to apple cider drink mix and bakes up crisp and crunchy in the oven.
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Print Rate
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Apple, Easy Recipe, Fall
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 8 C buttered popcorn, about 2 bags microwave popcorn
  • 2 pkgs. hot spiced apple cider drink mix, 0.74 oz each
  • 1 C chopped pecans
  • 1/2 C light Karo syrup
  • 1/2 C dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 C butter
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda


  • Preheat oven to 300° Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray. Set aside. Pour popcorn in a large bowl, allowing plenty of room for mixing with caramel later. Add pecans on top. Set aside.
  • In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, bring butter, sugar and Karo syrup to a boil while stirring constantly. Let the caramel low boil for 2 minutes while continuing to stir. Stir in drink packets.
  • Remove from heat and add vanilla, salt and baking soda right away. Stir in quickly. The baking soda will begin to react to the caramel, bubbling, making the caramel fluffier and a lighter color.
  • Pour the caramel over the popcorn and pecans. Mix quickly to coat popcorn before the caramel becomes too stiff. Don't worry too much about crushing the popcorn as you stir, and it's ok if some of the kernels aren't completely coated.
  • Remove the caramel coated popcorn from the bowl and press into a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes in preheated oven. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before breaking into pieces to serve.

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***Pin This Apple Spice Caramel Corn Recipe***

This easy recipe for caramel corn has an apple spice twist thanks to apple cider drink mix! Baked up crisp and crunchy in the oven, caramel apple popcorn is the best homemade snack for fall. #southerndiscourse #pecans #applepie #caramelapple #caramelpopcorn #karosyrup