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Bourbon Caramel Popcorn [Vegan]

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I use bourbon all the time in cooking and baking. It adds a unique sweetness and helps to mend my heart when I’m homesick for the Bluegrass State.

While you can certainly use any bourbon that you’d like for this recipe, I’m happy to share this list of Kentucky bourbons, all of which have been deemed vegan-friendly by Barnivore.

Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Booker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Buffalo Trace Distilleries – all bourbons
Bulleit Bourbon
Four Roses Distillery – all bourbons
Heaven Hill Distilleries – all bourbons
Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Knob Creek Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Maker’s Mark Bourbon
Old Forester
Wild Turkey 101
Wild Turkey 80
Wild Turkey Rare Breed
Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve
Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit
Wild Turkey Straight Rye Whiskey
Woodford Reserve

Bourbon Caramel Popcorn [Vegan]

This Recipe is :





  • 1/3 cup vegan refined sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter substitute
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 6 cups of popped popcorn
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the refined sugar and cold water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a slow simmer.
  3. Allow the sugar to simmer for 12 minutes without stirring.
  4. As the sugar simmers, split a vanilla bean in two and scrape out the seeds (skip this step if you choose to use vanilla paste or extract instead of beans).
  5. Remove the sugar from the heat and stir in the vegan butter substitute, bourbon, vanilla beans (or paste or extract) and pinch of sea salt.
  6. Allow the sugar mixture to cool for 2-3 minutes.
  7. In the meantime, stir together the popcorn, 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  8. Add in the sugar mixture and stir until the popcorn is fully coated. Be careful, the sugar mixture will still be warm.
  9. Spread the popcorn evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once. Keep an eye on the popcorn, you want it to be crisp but not burnt.
  10. Remove the popcorn from the oven and melt the chocolate chips in the microwave.
  11. Drizzle the chocolate over top of the popcorn.
  12. Place the popcorn in the refrigerator until the chocolate sets.
  13. Remove the popcorn from the fridge, break into pieces and enjoy!


Recipe adapted from Foodie Reflections.





Southern born and Brooklyn based, Nikki is the founder of The Tolerant Vegan where she demonstrates that a vegan life does not have to be devoid of frosting or fun. When she’s not elbow-deep in cake batter you’ll find her rescuing cats, yelling at hockey games, hopping the globe and struggling to stay in crow pose.



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2 comments on “Bourbon Caramel Popcorn [Vegan]”

Click to add comment
Fred Wotsisname
4 Years Ago

Hope its tastes better than it looks and sounds! :-|

Sue Guida
4 Years Ago

A whole lot of work! Call me when it's ready.


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