Caramel Popcorn & Pretzel Bars via The Parsley Thief

katie vitucci

This weekend, I once again volunteered to organize the Bake Sale at my children's school carnival. Last year, I made bags of caramel popcorn, which was a big hit! I planned on making it again this year. But, due to time constraints, I needed to find something easier. While these Chewy Saramel Popcorn & Pretzel Bars taste a lot like caramel corn, one batch made 24 {big} bars...which could be cooled & wrapped individually in plastic wrap. This ended up being a lot easier than stuffing little cello bags with sticky popcorn.

I also loved the idea of mixing sweet, chewy caramel popcorn with salty, crunchy pretzels...I'm a huge fan of the sweet/salty thing. 

Chewy Caramel Popcorn & Pretzel Bars

Adapted from Everyday Food, October 2010

Makes 24-2" square bars


non-stick cooking spray

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

3 tablespoons canola oil

7 1/2 ounces small salted pretzels

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2/3 cups heavy cream

2 cups mini marshmallows


Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish, a very large mixing bowl and a spatula with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Heat the oil & 2 kernels of popcorn in a large, covered pot over medium-high heat. When you hear the first kernel pop, add in the rest of the popcorn. Cover the pot & shake over the burner until you no longer hear the popcorn popping. Transfer the popcorn to the large mixing bowl.

Place the pretzels in a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag. Seal the bag & run a rolling pin over the pretzels a few times, until they are coarsely chopped. Add the pretzels to the bowl with the popcorn.

Combine the sugar, water & salt in a saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Simmer, undisturbed, for 8-12 minutes, or until the mixture turns golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat & slowly stir in the cream. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit, so add it slowly! Add the marshmallows & stir until they have completely melted.

Pour the caramel over the popcorn & pretzels. Using the spatula, toss immediately to combine & scrape out into the baking dish. Spray a piece of plastic wrap with some non-stick spray & use it to press the popcorn down into the pan, creating an even surface. Let the bars cool for 10 minutes. Using a knife, work the bars away from the edges of the baking dish. Invert the pan over a cutting board & tap the bars out onto the board. Use a serrated knife to cut 24- 2" squares. 

{Some notes on this recipe: Once the caramel begins to brown, it will rapidly go from golden to burnt, so watch it carefully! As a time saver: Two bags of microwave popcorn can be used as an alternative to popping the popcorn over the stove. To make ahead: The bars can be made ahead of time & stored in an airtight container, between layers of wax paper, for up to 3 days}

[Recipe courtesy of The Parsley Thief]