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Homemade Cracker Jack Recipe

We have so many fond memories of this “All American” treat that we all grew up with.  But the best part was the peanuts at the bottom and of course the amazing prize.  We tweaked this recipe so it has a little more caramel glaze and added more peanuts. 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time9 mins
Total Time14 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cracker jacks, Easy snack, popcorn, snack recipe
Servings: 8
Calories: 516kcal


  • Cookie Sheet
  • parchment paper
  • Small Saucepan


  • ½ cup popcorn kernels (about 13 cups popped popcorn)
  • cups brown sugar
  • cup corn syrup
  • 9 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • cups lightly salted peanuts


  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  • Coat a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray and put the popped popcorn and peanuts in it.  Mix them together gently.
  • In a small saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt and water.  Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Continue to simmer, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, or about 4 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda.  Immediately pour the hot mixture over the popcorn.  Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the caramel into the popcorn/peanut mixture until all is coated.
  • Transfer all to the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out evenly.
  • Bake for 1 hour at 250 degrees F, stirring every 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.  
  • Gently break up the popcorn. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


Calories: 516kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 354mg | Potassium: 302mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 53g | Vitamin A: 394IU | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 1mg