Caramel Popcorn

with Macadamia Nuts

Caramel Popcorn with Macadamia Nuts

April 6: National Caramel Popcorn Day

We blogged about Hawaiian hurricane popcorn (in pidgin) before. Now we are posting another popcorn recipe for National Caramel Popcorn Day. Our homemade caramel popcorn with macadamia nuts is inspired by Island Princess brand “popcorn crunch,” which we buy in jars as souvenirs for friends whenever we return to Hawaii to visit Islander’s family. Sometimes her aunties would also gift us with goodies so we can take back the tastes of the tropics to the mainland. Included in their generous care packages are macadamia nuts in chocolate, cookies and popcorn.

We have learned how to make a simple version of caramel popcorn with macadamia nuts on the mainland, too. It is a sweet, sticky snack with a hint of Hawaiian ingredients. On National Caramel Popcorn Day, add some aloha to homemade caramel popcorn with macadamia nuts. Mmmmm…‘onolicious!


(Adapted from


  • 1 bag microwave popcorn, popped (equals about 10-12 cups popped popcorn)
  • ½ – 1 cup macadamia nuts (whole and halves)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar (we used C&H brand)
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (we used Hawaiian Vanilla Company brand)


Microwave the popcorn according to the package directions. Pour into a large baking pan. Remove the unpopped kernels. Sprinkle in the macadamia nuts. Keep warm in a preheated oven at 250 degrees F.

Caramel Popcorn with Macadamia Nuts

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and corn syrup and mix until boiling, being careful not to burn the bottom of the pan. Stir in the condensed milk until well blended. Insert a candy thermometer and heat until it reaches 238 degrees.

Caramel Popcorn with Macadamia Nuts

Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Pour the caramel cream over the popcorn and macadamia nuts and mix with a spatula until evenly coated. Return to the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. It is done when the caramel darkens and bubbles in the pan. Remove from the oven and let the caramelized popcorn and macadamia nuts cool completely. Break apart the pieces. Store in an airtight container or zipper top plastic bag in a cool, dry place.

Caramel Popcorn with Macadamia Nuts


  • Leftover popcorn from the movie tub may be used for this recipe.
  • Mahalo nui loa to Lisa L. for the Hawaiian vanilla from the Big Island.