Red Chile Caramel Corn

Red Chile Caramel Corn - with a Christmas tree

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This recipe is an easy and delicious snack that is perfect for any holiday or potluck occasion. The sweet and classic treat makes it a crowd-pleaser, while the red chile powder adds a festive kick. This Red Chile Caramel Corn is easy to make and requires no special skills or equipment.


  • 16 c. popped popcorn
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 2 t. New Mexico red chile powder
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. light corn syrup


Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Preheat the oven to 250 f.

Divide the popcorn into 2-3 large bowls, making sure you have enough room to add the caramel and stir it with a heatproof rubber spatula.

Dry ingredients

In a small bowl whisk together the baking soda, red chile powder, and salt. Place this bowl and the vanilla extract next to the stove with a measuring spoon so you’re ready when you get to this step.

Making the caramel

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat (the size of the saucepan is important for safety because the baking soda will bubble up when it’s added to the caramel sauce), add the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Watch carefully and once the entire pot has started to rapidly boil set a timer for 3 minutes.

When the 3 minutes have passed, turn off the heat. Whisk in the baking soda mixture and the vanilla.

Time to bake

Carefully divide this mixture among your bowls of popcorn and stir, evenly coating the popcorn as much as possible. Transfer the popcorn to the prepared baking sheets and bake in the oven for 1 hour.

Let the popcorn cool completely before breaking it into pieces and storing it in an airtight container.

Red Chile Caramel Corn - on a sheet tray

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