Spicy caramel popcorn with peanut M&M’s

Cookbook author and food stylist Sam Linsell from Drizzle & Dip shares this yummy popcorn recipe for movie night!


This recipe for spicy caramel popcorn is one of Sam’s favourites from her cookbook Sweet. It turns ordinary popcorn into something special. The spice is mild enough to give it an edgy flavour, but it’s still suitable for children.

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  • 150g corn kernels
  • 15ml coconut oil, or any other neutral oil
  • 5ml ground cumin
  • 5ml ground cinnamon
  • 3ml paprika
  • 5ml salt
  • 3ml bicarbonate of soda
  • 325g butter
  • 300g granulated white sugar
  • 30ml golden syrup
  • 5ml vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of limited edition peanut & hazelnut M&M’s


  1. Preheat the oven to 120°C. Line a baking tray with silicone or baking paper.
  2. Make the popcorn any way you prefer. (I like to use a large skillet with a glass lid.) Transfer the popcorn to a large, deep bowl; it should only half fill the bowl, allowing space to toss the sauce.
  3. Mix the spices and bicarbonate of soda together.
  4. In a medium-sized, heavy-based pot, bring the butter, sugar, and syrup to the boil. Continue to let it bubble, stirring continuously, until the mixture turns golden-brown and reaches the hard crack stage of 155 °C. Add the vanilla extract and spice mix and stir vigorously for a few seconds, then remove from the heat. Pour the hot caramel over the popcorn and toss to coat.
  5. Spread the caramel-covered popcorn evenly on the prepared baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven and toss to ensure it is evenly coated. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes, then remove, toss again, and leave to cool.
  6. Once cool, break it up and serve in a bowl with the M&M’s. Store in an airtight container to preserve.
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