October 14, 2010

Salted Caramel Popcorn Pretzel Bars

salted caramel pretzel popcorn bars

So I went to the dentist last week after dodging a cleaning for 2 years (it could have been worse!) Coast is clear! No cavities! We are all good. To celebrate this accomplishment, I busted out a batch of these ooey gooey Salted Caramel Popcorn Pretzel Bars!! Because really…what dentist would approve such a treat?


I stood there in the kitchen, cutting up the bars and had to walk away for a minute to regroup. Why?  Because I was eating too many of them! There were a few that didn’t have *perfect* edges and I HAD to take care of them.  There was one with a pretzel sticking out and God forbid someone got poked with it!  There was one that didn’t have enough caramel on top and one that did. I took care of those for you because I totally have your best interest in mind.

I really had no idea how good these bars were going to be!  I probably ate a whole plate of them yesterday and have the scratched up gums to prove it. I think my dentist would probably say, “I told you so!”

Make these and share them. Like, put some on a plate and wrap them up and give them away BEFORE you take your first bite of one. They are utterly AHHH-DDICTIVE.

Let’s get started!

Ingredient party! You’re invited!

pretty much

Chop up the toasted almonds.

toasted almond chopping

Add them to a HUGE bowl with the pretzels & popcorn.


Start making your caramel. Sugar, water & salt goes into the pan.

caramel in progress

When the caramel is ready, add in your heavy cream. Stir!

adding cream

Now add in the marshmallows!


Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and mix fast!!


Let’s take a moment to see what’s left in the bowl. You want dibs?


Spread the popcorn pretzel mixture into your pan. With damp hands, press into the pan.

It makes it easier!


You need to wait awhile to make things set.

i couldn't help myself

I cut myself a rectangle and ate it with some apples for my afternoon snack.

yup yup

It was insanely good! The apples tasted awesome with it!

Salted Caramel Popcorn Pretzel Bars

(recipe slightly altered from Everyday Food Magazine)

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 12 cups plain popped popcorn (from 1/2 cup kernels or 2 microwave packages)
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped small salted pretzels
  • 1 cup toasted almonds, chopped
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows

Coat a 9 x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, toss together popcorn, almonds and pretzels.  In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup water to a boil over medium high.  Boil, undisturbed, until mixture is amber in color–8-12 minutes.  Remove pan from heat
and slowly pour in cream (mixture will sputter).  Immediately add marshmallows; stir until melted.

Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pretzels and quickly stir with a rubber spatula to coat.  Transfer mixture to dish and use a dampened hands to press the mixture into the pan.  Sprinkle with a heavy dose of kosher salt.  Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

***Shutterbean notes***
-I used two bags of Orville Redenbacher’s 94% Fat Free Smart Pop microwave popcorn for this
-I might be fun to add a little cayenne pepper to the mix
-Salt is the key to this recipe! Make sure you put a heavy dose on the top. It balances out the sweet!
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  • Maria

    I am in love with these and I haven’t even tasted them yet. Can’t wait to make them!

    It was nice meeting you at BlogHer Food. Love your site and recipes.

    • Tracy

      I wish I would have been able to talk to you!! It was a little overwhelming! I love your site btw. It’s beautiful!

  • Katie Bright

    OH MY YUM!!! I’m craving these, and it’s only 9am. :)

  • Nicole

    Yum! Of course you had me at salted caramel and then it just kept getting better.

  • Brittany

    Yowza – I’m makin’ these next week! Thanks for sharing.

  • Jessica

    Whoa, these are like fancy rice krispie treats! And I totally use imperfection as justification to eat more of the things I make. It’s for the sake of others, of course…

  • Dana

    I went, gulp, like four years without seeing the dentist. No good reason, just laziness. I was terrified when I finally went but whew! the coast was clear. My boys are absolutely obsessed with marshmallows which I don’t let them have because they aren’t veg. It is hard to explain gelatin to a 3.5 year old, so I just hope that it doesn’t come up. I know they would love these (as would I…)

  • Megan Gordon

    Unreal. Dying. Can’t wait to try.

  • erin e woot

    The bowl scrapings look divine. I will veganize these and report back to you with the outcome. I wish the store was open right now. Yato.

  • michelle @ The Domestic Mama

    Yippeee for no cavities, what a way to celebrate! Those do look divine, and I do the same thing nibbling the ones that aren’t “just right” for pics. It’s the nature of the food blogger in us. Have a great weekend!

  • Katrina

    These bars look like the perfect snack. I love them!

  • Janet

    I need these in my life.

  • Tiffany

    I made these last night – I couldn’t resist! Wonderful. I used salted roasted cashews instead of almonds – very good. thanks for yet another great inspiration – although my pants are a little tighter today!

  • kickpleat

    Every Halloween we have a sleepover with a bunch of friends. We carve pumpkins, watch scary movies and eat lots of snacks. This is the snack I’m going to make. I love this!! Also, I just saw your mex stir fry and will be heading to Bellingham, WA next weekend where there is a Trader Joes. I’ll def be buying some soyrizo since I’m excited to try a good veg sausage. Also, do you have any other must have buys at Trader Joes? I know I’ll go through your old TJ posts (which is how I found your blog, but wondering if there is any new must have items!)

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  • camille

    I am sharing this recipe and some of your pics with my readers!
    Love your site and the food you make looks great.

  • Lacey

    Just made them! Heavenly!!!
    Thanks so much :)

  • Megan

    OOh, these look good, I would probably do the same thing with the whole eating the uneven edges thing.

    AND I went to the dentist this week after a couple years of not going and also didn’t have any cavities! These are the perfect way to celebrate.

  • Sachita

    Oh gosh! I just got a Stir Crazy popcorn maker (yay! no more burnt popcorn!) and finally got a chance to try these! So delicious! I used smoked almonds – highly recommended! And next time I am going to make them in muffin tins instead – mine kind of fell apart when I tried to cut them (I think I measured my popcorn on the generous side.)

  • Dee

    I made these yesterday for my Bible Study group and they loved them! I just made a second batch for me! :)

  • Anne Marie

    Okay I did something totally wrong and I can’t figure it out! When I was boiling the sugar, water and salt it never turned amber colored. Instead it was like the water all of the sudden evaporated and it turned into a big hunk of sugar. Any ideas what I did wrong? I tried it twice with the same results. Did I possibly cook it too high? Maybe too long? Please help! I am craving these and I haven’t even had them!!!

    • Tracy

      That’s soo bizarre! What did the hunk of sugar look like? Not brown at all? Did the heat get turned off? I think if it was cooked too high, it would get super dark and burn!

    • Karen Bell

      Anne, The same thing happened to me. I made it again, cooked it at a lower temperature, and didn’t stir it once it came to a boil. I needed to cook mine for a full 12 minutes. I think the cooking time will very depending on how high of a temp you are cooking the sugar mixture at. Good luck if you try it again!

  • Trista

    Whoa these look amazing and so easy! We are having a bake sale at my job at a retail store for Christmas and now I’m thinking of making these. Oh, who are we kidding, I’ll probably eat the whole thing myself. Thanks so much for this recipe!

  • Christmas Sweets

    I was curious at what the original recipe looked liked because this was posted on everybodylikessandwiches.com. It really looks so yummy. Thanks for the recipe. I hope when I try it things will be easy.

  • MeG

    I just love these!! I made them for a Christmas party last night and they were a hit!! Salty and Sweet= AMAZING!!! I’m going to make another batch today for myself to keep at home! Easy to make also! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!

  • lila

    Thank you soo much! what an amzing recipe! i’ve been looking for it everywhere!

  • Tatiana

    This looks wonderful. Do you have any ideas for a heavy cream substitute (read: non-dairy)?

  • Karla

    These are insanely good!!!

  • Michelle

    Took these to a girls-night movie showing of Steel Magnolias. Don’t know if we were crying over the movie or the sheer AWeSomeNess of these popcorn bars!! Thanks for sharing!


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  • Delilah

    I made these yesterday & they taste awesome. However, they’re a sticky mess. Any ideas what I did wrong? They first time I burnt the caramel. I’m wondering if I undercooked it the second time in fear of burning in (it literally went from not amber to burnt in about 30 seconds the first time!). My husband wants me to try again….I’m still eating them sticky!

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