Spicy Salted Caramel Popcorn

You just know this Spicy Salted Caramel Popcorn will be good and then it delivers so much more. The sweetness comes through first with the spiciness of the cumin and cinnamon following. On top of that it is super crunchy, leaving you unable to stop putting your hand in the bowl for more.

Spicy Salted Caramel Popcorn

This recipe is from Sam Linsell’s gorgeous new book called Sweet. Sam told me about the book in December last year and I have been eagerly waiting for it to hit the shelves. The book is an array of sweet recipes divided into four categories of Vanilla, Caramel, Chocolate and Fruit. Combined with Sam’s beautiful photography the book is a feast for your sweet tooth.


Spicy Salted Caramel Popcorn

I was immediately drawn to this popcorn recipe, not just for its simplicity but I love making caramel and the idea of adding the spice makes this deliciously different. The spices are mild enough to not overpower but adds a wonderful edge, yet still making this a party snack suitable for children too. If you want a bit more bite, add a teaspoon or so chili powder to the spice mix.

When making caramel you have to watch it like a hawk and not allow it to go too dark (it happens in a split second) as it will burn and be bitter and you have to start all over again. Your best bet is to invest in a sugar thermometer for sugar work and making caramel. That thermometer also opens the door to Italian meringue which is the best thing in the world.

Spicy Salted Caramel Popcorn

The one thing about Sam’s recipes is that you know they have been tested properly and that they work, so baking from this book is an absolute pleasure. The cakes are divine, the Vanilla Cake with Poached Pears is one I am definitely making and the pages are filled with fantastic tarts, biscuits and yummy desserts. The books is also dotted with the best ice cream recipes, something I think Sam does really well.

I was also happy to see that the Caramel Cinnamon Buns with Raisins made it to the book. I used that recipe to base those insanely good Boozy Chocolate Sticky Buns for Xmas 2014 on and it remains such a popular recipe, even getting featured on Buzzfeed.

Spicy Salted Caramel Popcorn

Spicy Salted Caramel Popcorn


  • 125g corn kernels
  • 10ml coconut oil or other neutral oil
  • 5ml ground cumin
  • 5ml ground cinnamon
  • 3ml paprika
  • 5ml salt
  • 2ml bicarb of soda
  • 150g butter
  • 200g white sugar
  • 30ml golden syrup
  • 5ml vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 120 degrees C
  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper
  3. Make the popcorn any way you prefer
  4. Once popped, transfer the popcorn to a large deep bowl, filling up the bowl only half, allowing space to toss the caramel
  5. Mix all the spices and bicarb together and set aside
  6. In a medium size, heavy-based pot bring the butter, sugar and syrup to the boil
  7. Continue to let it bubble, stirring continuously, until the mixture turns a golden sandy brown colour and reaches the hard crack stage (155 degrees c)
  8. Add the vanilla extract and spice mix and stir vigorously for a few seconds and remove from the heat
  9. Pour the hot caramel over the popcorn and toss to coat
  10. Spread the caramel covered popcorn evenly on the prepared baking tray and bake for 15 minutes
  11. Remove it from the oven and toss to ensure it's evenly coated
  12. Return it to the oven for a further 15 minutes, then remove, toss again and leave to cool
  13. Once cool, break it up and store in an airtight container
  14. Recipe from Sweet by Samantha Linsell
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Extracted from Sweet by Sam Linsell (Struik Lifestyle). Sweet is available at all major bookstores and is a welcome and beautiful addition to any collection.

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