Chicago Mix Popcorn (Cheddar + Caramel Corn)

chicago mix popcorn

YOU GUYS. I have to apologize in advance, because this is NOT a good idea.

As someone who will purposely book a flight connection in Chicago in order to get my hands on some Garrett’s chicago mix…finding out how to make my own is possibly the worst slash best thing that could have ever happened.

I’ve already professed my love for popcorn many (many) times here, but forget all the other recipes – this is the only one that matters. The cheddar/caramel combo sounds weird if you’ve never tried it, but I equate the concept to eating a cheese board with honeycomb/fruit…but better.

Oh AND this recipe, is just the epitome of crunchy/salty/sweet! I mean…you can’t go wrong.

chicago mix popcorn

First, you’ll need to pop 24 cups of popcorn (1 cup of kernels).

IMG_9440

I did this in two batches using my biggest pot, with 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels and 1 tablespoon canola (or other neutral) oil in each batch.

We’re gonna start with the caramel corn.

Add the 12 cups of popcorn into a large bowl.

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In a medium saucepan, add the butter, sugar, and corn syrup.

chicago mix popcorn

Bring this mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is melted. Boil for about 3 minutes while stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan continuously.

Chicago Mix Popcorn

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, and baking soda. The sugar mixture will bubble aggressively. Stir until it forms a thick and shiny sauce.

Pour the caramel over the popcorn and quickly mix until evenly coated.

Pour the popcorn onto a parchment or wax paper-lined baking sheet. Break up any big clumps and let cool completely.

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While the caramel corn is cooling, let’s make the cheddar popcorn.

Pour 12 cups of popcorn into a large bowl.

Stir together the cheese powder and salt in a small bowl.

Chicago Mix Popcorn

Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the popcorn.

Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the popcorn and toss until evenly coated.

Chicago Mix Popcorn

In the biggest bowl you own, mix together the caramel and cheddar popcorns.

Get the bowl of popcorn out of your house instantly to avoid eating literally all of it in one sitting…or simply have some self-control ๐Ÿ˜‰


Adapted from: The Kitchn

Makes: 24 cups

Prep: 10 minutes, Cook: 20 minutes, Total: 30 minutes

For the caramel corn:

  • 12 cups popcorn (1/2 cup of kernels), popped in 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

For the cheddar corn:

  • 12 cups popcorn (1/2 cup of kernels), popped in 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese powder (or 2 packets of kraft mac & cheese ‘dust’)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Start with the caramel corn.

Add the 12 cups of popcorn into a large bowl.

In a medium saucepan, add the butter, sugar, and corn syrup.

Bring this mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is melted. Boil for about 3 minutes while stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan continuously.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, and baking soda. The sugar mixture will bubble aggressively. Stir until it forms a thick and shiny sauce.

Pour the caramel over the popcorn and quickly mix until evenly coated.

Pour the popcorn onto a parchment or wax paper-lined baking sheet and let cool completely

Now for the cheddar popcorn.

Add the 12 cups of popcorn into a large bowl.

Stir together the cheese powder and salt.

Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the popcorn.

Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the popcorn and toss until evenly coated.

Mix together the caramel and cheddar popcorns and enjoy!


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