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This foolproof Harry Potter-inspired homemade Butterbeer Popcorn recipe has butterscotch vanilla flavor and the sweet crunch of caramel popcorn.

butterbeer popcorn in white bowl on wooden tray with small white pumpkin

I wish all year could be autumn.

I’d be bundled up in a cozy scarf drinking apple cider and eating roasted winter squash every day. And that’s not even to mention how much I love car rides in the country to take in the glorious fall foliage, and pumpkin spice lattes, which, incidentally, always seem to taste best in fall.

One of my favorite autumn traditions is watching the Harry Potter movies with my niece. We usually start around mid-October when the air takes on a nice chill and the trees have begun losing their jewel-toned leaves.

This year I decided to take our Harry Potter experience to the next level for her and make a Harry Potter-inspired treat to enjoy while we watch.

Chances are, no matter whether or not you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ve probably heard of pumpkin juice, treacle tart, cauldron cakes, pumpkin pasties, or the infamously wonderful butterbeer.

We tried butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter last time we were in Orlando, and it’s something I’ve wanted to play around with at home ever since. Actually, it’s something I’ve wanted to experiment with making ever since I first saw the scene with Harry, Ron, and Hermione enjoying butterbeer in The Three Broomsticks!

close up front view of butter toffee popcorn in white bowl with autumnal fabric and white pumpkin in background

What Does Butterbeer Taste Like?

Butterbeer is a fun flavor combo, and you definitely don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to enjoy it.

If I had to sum it up in just two words, I’d say butterbeer tastes like butterscotch vanilla.

The Best Butterbeer Popcorn Recipe

You found the OG recipe! You’re going to love it. This makes a perfect snack for a Harry Potter movie marathon.

Don’t be intimated to make homemade caramel popcorn! It’s as easy as popping corn, melting sugar + butter, and then carefully tossing them together.

How Do We Get Butterbeer Flavor?

In this recipe, we use a combo of four extracts (vanilla, almond, butter, and rum), plus molasses and a bit of salt to get the right flavor for butterbeer.

I also recommend adding just a hint of nutmeg. You won’t be able to pull out flavor-wise, but I think it just adds that je ne sais quoi that puts this recipe over the top.

harry potter butterbeer popcorn in bowl on wooden table with fall checkered cloth and white pumpkin

Ingredients

Ingredients Explained

In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas where applicable. For the full recipe (including the ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

  • Popcorn kernels – You’ll need 12 cups of air-popped popcorn, which is about 2/3 cup of popcorn kernels.
  • Baking soda – Baking soda in caramel helps create the perfect consistency. Baking soda is an alkaline substance, and so it reacts with sugar (an acidic substance), causing the mixture to produce carbon dioxide gas. This gas forms very small air bubbles in the caramel that help prevent the candy from being rock-hard. Because no one wants a caramel that will break their teeth!
  • Ground nutmeg – Nutmeg adds a hint of background flavor that you can’t quite put your finger on, but enhances the whole shebang.
  • Vanilla extract, almond extract, butter flavor, and rum flavor – This is the blend of extracts and flavorings that we use to create our butterbeer flavor profile.
  • Unsalted butter – Butter adds rich flavor and creamy texture to the caramel.
  • Sugar – Use regular granulated white sugar here. To make caramel, we start by burning sugar (i.e., caramelizing sugar).
  • Blackstrap molasses – This helps create the perfect not-too-sickly-sweet butterbeer flavor.
  • Water – Just a little splash of water helps the sugar dissolve, melt, and caramelize more evenly.
  • Coarse kosher salt – Salt is a natural flavor enhancer, and we even need it in sweet recipes. You can use 1/2 teaspoon of coarse kosher salt, or a slightly heaping 1/4 teaspoon of regular fine table salt.

Safety Tip: Add the Baking Soda Carefully

Be careful when you add the baking soda to the caramel, as it will likely foam up quite a bit.

Instructions

  1. Prep work: Put the popcorn into a large bowl and set aside. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat liner; set aside. Sift together the baking soda and nutmeg in a small bowl; set aside. Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, butter extract, and rum extract to a small bowl; set aside.
  2. Make the caramel: Cook the butter, sugar, molasses, water, and salt in a medium-sized, thick-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until the temperature reaches 305F (hard crack stage), stirring occasionally. Carefully stir in the mixture of extracts and then the baking soda/spice mix; pour the caramel over the popcorn.
  3. Toss the popcorn in the caramel: Use two heat-safe rubber spatulas to toss the popcorn around to distribute the caramel throughout. Spread the popcorn out onto the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Finishing touches: Let the popcorn cool and then break it apart. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
butterscotch popcorn in white bowl on wooden tray

Recipe Tips

  • You don’t need any special equipment to make popcorn. It’s easy to make on the stovetop! To do so, add 3 tablespoons of oil (such as coconut oil, ghee, or avocado oil) to a heavy-bottomed 5-quart pan over medium to medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add 2/3 cup of popcorn kernels, cover the pot, and cook until you hear about 1 second between pops. Remove the pot from the heat, and let it sit for 15 seconds before opening so you don’t have any popcorn exploding out. While popping, it’s important to use potholders to slightly shake the pan every so often so the popcorn cooks evenly. Additionally, if your lid doesn’t have a steam vent in it, gently crack the lid a couple of times during the process so steam can escape so you don’t end up with soggy popcorn!
  • If the leftover popcorn loses its crunch after a few days, you can easily revive it! To do so, spread it out on a large baking tray and warm it in an oven preheated to 200F for 10 to 15 minutes.

Storage

Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

More Harry Potter-Inspired Recipes to Make

vintage book and bowl of butterbeer popcorn on dark wood tray

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Butterbeer Popcorn Recipe (Inspired by Harry Potter)

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Yields: 12 servings
This homemade Butterbeer Popcorn recipe is inspired by Harry Potter! Just like J.K. Rowling described the iconic drink, it has a "less sickly butterscotch" flavor, but with the sweet buttery vanilla crunch of caramel popcorn.

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Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • Put the popcorn into a large bowl and set aside. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat liner; set aside. Sift together the baking soda and nutmeg in a small bowl; set aside. Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, butter extract, and rum extract to a small bowl; set aside.
  • Cook the butter, sugar, molasses, water, and salt in a medium-sized, thick-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until the temperature reaches 305F (hard crack stage), stirring occasionally. Carefully stir in the mixture of extracts and then the baking soda/spice mix; pour the caramel over the popcorn.
  • Use two heat-safe rubber spatulas to toss the popcorn around to distribute the caramel throughout. Spread the popcorn out onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • Let the popcorn cool and then break it apart. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Notes

  • Adaptation: Recipe adapted from my recipe for Gingerbread Popcorn.
  • To Make the Popcorn on the Stovetop: Add 3 tablespoons of oil (such as coconut oil, ghee, or avocado oil) to a heavy-bottomed 5-quart pan over medium to medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add 2/3 cup of popcorn kernels, cover the pot, and cook until you hear about 1 second between pops. Remove the pot from the heat, and let it sit for 15 seconds before opening so you don’t have any popcorn exploding out. While popping, it’s important to use potholders to slightly shake the pan every so often so the popcorn cooks evenly. Additionally, if your lid doesn’t have a steam vent in it, gently crack the lid a couple of times during the process so steam can escape so you don’t end up with soggy popcorn!
  • Making This on a Hot and/or Humid Day: If it’s a hot and/or humid day and the butterbeer popcorn is too sticky, you can dry it out in the oven. To do so, leave the butterbeer popcorn on the baking sheet and bake it in a 200F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, tossing it every 10 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 270mg | Potassium: 121mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 253IU | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Harry Potter Food
Keyword: Butterbeer Popcorn, Butterbeer Popcorn Recipe

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butterbeer popcorn recipe pin

This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on October 20, 2014 and updated on July 10, 2024.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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Recipe Rating




18 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wanted to make this with my great-granddaughter, but am I’m a bit confused. The instructions state: “Sift together the baking soda and nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl; set aside.” However, cloves are not mentioned in the ingredient list. Are cloves to be used in this recipe and, if so, how much and what type (whole or powdered). Thank you for your help.

    1. Sheryl, Thank you for your comment, and for catching that! I apologize for the discrepancy. There are no cloves in this recipe, and I have updated the instructions. I hope you and your great-granddaughter enjoy it!

  2. 5 stars
    What a fun, yummy twist on caramel corn! This is perfect for a Harry Potter movie marathon! 😋❤️

  3. Thank you for the recipe! I found it a little bitter on my first attempt and made some tweaks and it’s now perfect for me. (Used dark brown sugar instead of granulated and swapped dark corn syrup for the molasses. I added an extra 1/4 tsp of butter extract, too.) I had never made a toffee topping like this before and appreciated the easy to follow instructions. Bring on all the Harry Potter things!

  4. Caroline Harvey says:

    Would it work if I replaced the rum extract with actual rum? I’m struggling to find rum essence in any grocery stores 😭

    1. Caroline,

      I haven’t tried this recipe with actual rum instead of rum extract. I think it could work, but the only issue is that you may need to use quite a bit more to get the same flavor. Please let me know how it goes if you try it! :)

      Also, if you’re interested in buying rum extract, I buy it on Amazon.

  5. Rachel Contreraz says:

    Do you think as the recipe is, can these be formed into popcorn (Rememberall) balls? If not, any thoughts on what could be added to be able to form them?

    1. Rachel, As the recipe is, I don’t think it would be easy to form it into balls. (I love the idea though, that’s so cute!) However, I think there are a couple different things you could try: 1) mixing in melted marshmallows, or 2) mixing in corn syrup. For each, I would recommend oiling your hands or a rubber spatula before mixing. Also, I would err on the side of adding less, basically just enough so it would hold its shape. If you try it, please let me know how it goes!

      1. Rachel Contreraz says:

        Good afternoon Faith, I wanted to let you know that I added marshmallow to your recipe to form my Rememberall balls. The were a huge hit and turned out great! Thanks for the fantastic recipe!!!!

        1. Rachel, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed these and that it worked well! Thank you so much for letting me know!

  6. Valynn . Vanillyn says:

    I am a massive Harry Potter fan and always curious how would butterbeer taste like. I’ll be sure to try this soon!

  7. Amy (Savory Moments) says:

    This is such a creative idea, Faith! I love it!!

  8. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    HUGE Harry Potter fan right here. Love this!

  9. I’ve been OBSESSED with caramel popcorn lately…but I think a new butterbeer popcorn obsession is on the horizon! Wow. Just wow.

  10. Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table says:

    Such a sweet tradition! That flavour combination sounds wonderful on popcorn. Though I’d love to see your take on treacle tart ;)

  11. YUM! What a fun idea! I sent this to my SIL who LOVES Harry Potter

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