Chicago Mix Cheddar & Caramel Popcorn!

20 Servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Salty & Sweet. Cheesy & Buttery! This mix of popcorns is a fantastic mix of flavors commonly referred to as Chicago Mix Popcorn! You’ve seen it in popcorn stores and in pre-made bags, but now you can make it at home!

Chicago Popcorn In A Bag

I made this post just to highlight the mixture of two previous recipes but struggled with how to give it an identity of its own while not introducing any new methods or ingredients. The Cheddar Popcorn and the Caramel Popcorn are both equally delicious separately but together they make such a fantastic flavor that what used to be a hometown treat in Chicago, IL has taken over the popcorn aisle! Chicago Mix popcorn is sold by company’s like Garrett’s, Popcornopolis and my personal favorite G.H. Cretors.

You will find the each recipe’s detailed instructions on the pages linked in this post, but if you are making this mix to enjoy, I would add the two together in a paper bag (preferably the one you made the cheddar popcorn in) and mix them together thoroughly. One of the best parts about Chicago Mix popcorn is the slight layer of cheese dust that is on each piece of caramel popcorn!

For detailed instructions of the Cheddar Cheese Popcorn, click here.

For detailed instructions of the Caramel Popcorn, click hereChicago Mix Popcorn Recipe

Pin this recipe now to remember it later

Pin Recipe

Cheddar & Caramel Chicago Mix Popcorn

Salty & Sweet. Cheesy & Buttery! This mix of popcorns is a fantastic mix of flavors commonly referred to as Chicago Popcorn! You've seen it in popcorn stores and in pre-made bags, but now you can make it at home!
Yield 20 Servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 7 quarts plain popped popcorn , about 30 cups of popped popcorn or 2 ½ bags of microwave popcorn
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup , I use homemade
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 6 cups popped popcorn or ⅓ cups popcorn kernels
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


For the Caramel Popcorn:

  • Place the popped popcorn into two large baking pans.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  • Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring enough to blend.
  • Once the mixture begins to boil, boil for 3-4 minutes while stirring constantly.
  • Remove from the heat, and stir in the baking soda and vanilla.
  • The mixture should bubble rapidly.
  • Immediately pour over the popcorn in the pans, and stir to coat.
  • It is okay if the popcorn isn’t completely coated yet the oven will help us out.
  • Bake for 45 minutes but stir the popcorn every fifteen minutes.
  • When it comes out of the oven, try to separate the pieces as much as you can before it cools completely.

For the Cheddar Popcorn:

  • Put a ⅓ of a cup of kernels in a medium brown paper bag.
  • Roll the top of it closed.
  • Microwave until the kernels stop popping at the rate of at least 1 per second.
  • In a large brown paper bag, combine the popcorn and butter by shaking the bag while pouring the butter in a slow stream.
  • Once all the butter is in, roll the bag closed and shake it REALLY well.
  • Combine the cheddar cheese powder, mustard powder and salt in a small bowl.
  • Sprinkle over the popcorn while shaking the bag.
  • Roll it back up and shake vigorously.
  • Enjoy immediately!


Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 461mg | Potassium: 120mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 450IU | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 0.6mg
Keyword: caramel cheddar popcorn, Chicago Mix Popcorn

Salty & Sweet. Cheesy & Buttery! This Chicago Popcorn Mix is a fantastic mix of flavors commonly referred to as Chicago Popcorn! You've seen it in popcorn stores and in pre-made bags, but now you can make it at home!This post contains Amazon affiliate links which will help pay for some of the upkeep on this blog, but definitely not enough for that pony I’ve wanted since I was 6. Thanks for being supportive of the blog and please know I would never promote a product I didn’t know and LOVE.

Salty & Sweet. Cheesy & Buttery! This mix of popcorns is a fantastic mix of flavors commonly referred to as Chicago Popcorn! You've seen it in popcorn stores and in pre-made bags, but now you can make it at home!

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


Leave a comment & rating

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Just made this popcorn recipe and it is fantastic! No more spending $26 +$9 shipping for Garrett’s – this is BETTER. Thank you.

  2. I haven’t tried it yet, but can you tell me in ounces how much unpopped popcorn I will need for each if we don’t have/use a microwave?

    thanks. My husband and I are insane about the Smartfood Caramel & Cheddar and I am excited about making this ourselves. You may want to include those words for keyword purposes in your description.

    1. Unpopped to popped is about a 1oz:1qt ratio, so 7 quarts of popped corn would be about 7oz of unpopped kernels.

      Hopefully this recipe is equally beloved – Let me know how it turns out!!

  3. Sounds wonderful! I’m going to make this for Christmas treats (along with my cookies!) What brand of cheese powder did you use?

    1. If you’re starting from step one, you’ll need baking pans, measuring cups, saucepan, mixing spoons and brown paper bags. Also to have access to a stove top or heating element and an oven. Good luck!

  4. I have questions about some of the ratios here. Seven quarts of caramel corn to one and a half of cheddar? Six tablespoons of butter for six cups of popcorn (the cheddar recipe)? Is this all correct?

    1. Yes, the ratios are all correct. You don’t want to have too much of the cheddar because the dusting that comes off it gets mixed with the caramel and if you have too much, it really overpowers it. You want to be able to have it mixed but still have the different tastes of each one. I hope that makes sense.

  5. Sweet and salty is my favorite flavor combo so I know I would love this. I am going to make some tomorrow when we have family movie night. It’s sure to be a hit in my house!

  6. While I think this looks amazing, I think I am the only one who doesn’t really care for caramel popcorn. I tried different versions through the years, but couldn’t find one I liked.

  7. We are crazy about family movie night. But I’ve been trying to mix it up, so it’s not always just about tv. We started a new huge puzzle that we’re working on as a family yesterday. I need to whip up some of this popcorn for tonight’s puzzle attack.

  8. I can’t believe you made this yourself. I am OBSESSED with Chicago mix but never thought to make it myself. I’ll have to give it a try.

  9. Yes, my dream mix has arrived! Both popcorn varieties look so delicious that they seem professionally purchased, but I bet their homemade taste puts store bought versions to shame!

  10. This sounds like a really fun change of pace. I really like that you can use microwave popcorn for these!

  11. This sounds like a great popcorn mix. We eat a lot of popcorn in our house. The cheddar is my favorite.

  12. You are officially my hero. This looks fantastic! I can’t wait to make up a batch of this. Major nom nom time!

  13. This sounds amazing. I’m such a fan of popcorn and I love a variety of flavors. Caramel and Cheddar sound fantastic to me!