Home > Desserts > Zebra Popcorn Zebra Popcorn December 21, 2021 | No Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. Zebra Popcorn starts with irresistibly sweet and crunchy caramel corn, and then it’s drizzled in melted white and dark chocolate. This is a great recipe to make ahead of time and it transports beautifully–bring it to munch on during sporting events, serve as a snack for parties, or package it up as a beautiful edible gift for the holidays. We’re obsessed with gourmet-style popcorn recipes. Try our Chocolate Popcorn (with 3 types of chocolate!), Cinnamon Roll Popcorn, or Oreo Popcorn next! What Is Zebra Popcorn? Zebra popcorn is actually homemade Caramel Corn that has been drizzled with melted white and dark chocolate. The melted white and dark chocolate resemble the coloring and stripes of a Zebra– which is how it got its name! There are lots of brands that sell this popular flavor of candied popcorn in the store (Popcornopolis Zebra Popcorn at Costco is a personal favorite!), but nothing beats homemade! Not only is it more economical to make it at home, but it also tastes fresher and truly–it’s even more delicious! This is also the perfect treat to make in bulk to serve at events, parties, or potlucks. It’s also great packaged up in cellophane bags to gift out for birthdays, special events, or the holidays. The full Zebra Popcorn recipe is in the recipe box at the bottom of this post. Below are our top tips for success. How To Make Zebra Popcorn Assemble everything before starting. This recipe moves very quickly, so it’s best to have everything set out, measured, and ready to add. This way the caramel mixture won’t over-cook. Use a timer. Once the mixture reaches a full boil, set a timer for precisely 5 full minutes. If the mixture doesn’t boil long enough or it over-boils the caramel might not set up properly on the popcorn. Don’t want to leave it up to chance? Use a candy thermometer (see “quick tip” box below)! We’re looking for the mixture to hit 235 degrees F. Keep the caramel heat at medium. While it might be tempting to bump up the heat to speed the process along, it’s important the temperature keeps consistent so ingredients can gradually and evenly warm up. When ready to add chocolate to the popcorn, microwave the candy melts in sturdy, heat–safe bowls instead of using plastic or melamine. To avoid scorching the chocolate, microwave in short bursts, stirring for at least 15 seconds between each microwave burst. Remember, the chocolate is still melting from residual heat even after it has been removed from the microwave. QUICK TIP Using a candy thermometer takes out the guesswork and ensures you get the caramel mixture to the perfect temperature. Here is the candy thermometer I use and recommend. And once you have one, you can use it in all our favorite candy recipes. I’d recommend starting with this Buttercrunch Candy, Homemade Toffee, or Honeycomb Candy! Zebra Popcorn Recipe Tools A medium-sized nonstick pot. This pan is for making the caramel sauce. You’ll want to use one larger than you may think because the mixture “grows” when the baking soda is added in. Trust me on this one! A really large bowl or two smaller ones. We toss the popcorn with the brown sugar-caramel mixture. Use the largest bowl you have (or one that can easily accommodate all the ingredients) to allow plenty of room for tossing without spilling. If you don’t have a really large bowl, separate the mixture into two bowls. Use one extra-large (15×21 inch) sheet pan or two smaller ones. There is a lot of popcorn in this recipe, so you’ll need plenty of space for it all to lay in one even layer. If the popcorn is piled up, it won’t bake properly. Bake on a silicone liner or parchment paper. For even baking and to ensure the popcorn doesn’t stick to your pan, line the pan with a good liner. Zebra Popcorn Ingredients Popcorn. Purchasing already popped popcorn makes this recipe come together a little bit quicker, but it’s a bit more spendy. If you’d rather pop your own, these are the packets we use (lightly salted plain popcorn). Of course, you can also use kernels in a popcorn machine or on the stovetop. Whatever you choose to use, measure out 10 cups of popcorn for this Zebra Popcorn Recipe and ensure no kernels sneak their way in! Baking soda. This ingredient reacts with the sugar and corn syrup to create small air bubbles. These bubbles will ensure the caramel coating the popcorn isn’t too hard (we don’t want to break a tooth!). Instead, the caramel coating the popcorn will be perfectly crunchy. Chocolate melts. We recommend chocolate made for melting like melting wafers for best results. These melts are found in the baking aisle of the grocery store. No need to splurge on super-expensive chocolates here–those are better for enjoying on their own! Oil. We recommend adding a touch of oil or shortening to the chocolate before melting. This helps to smooth out the chocolate and makes drizzling chocolate easier and look prettier. STORAGE Should Popcorn Be Refrigerated? Nope! No need to refrigerate Zebra Popcorn. How Long Does Zebra Popcorn Last? Store leftovers (if there are any!) in an airtight container at room temperature (preferably in a dark, dry area). This popcorn will keep for about 3-4 days stored properly. After that, the chocolate begins to soften the popcorn. More Chocolate-Coated Treats To Try Chocolate Covered Oreos with a white chocolate drizzle Almond Joy Cookies with a chocolate drizzle Chocolate Truffles coated in cocoa powder or powdered sugar White Chocolate Chex Mix snack mix coated in melted white chocolate Golden Oreo Truffles coated in white chocolate FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Zebra Popcorn 5 from 1 vote - Review this recipe Zebra Popcorn starts with irresistibly sweet and crunchy caramel corn that we drizzle in melted white and dark chocolate. This is a great recipe to make ahead of time and it transports beautifully--bring it to munch on during sporting events, serve as a snack for parties, or package it up as a beautiful edible gift for the holidays. SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Zebra Popcorn 5 from 1 vote - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Zebra Popcorn starts with irresistibly sweet and crunchy caramel corn that we drizzle in melted white and dark chocolate. This is a great recipe to make ahead of time and it transports beautifully--bring it to munch on during sporting events, serve as a snack for parties, or package it up as a beautiful edible gift for the holidays. Course Dessert, Snack, treat Cuisine American, Vegetarian Keyword popcorn zebra, zebra popcorn, zebra popcorn recipe Prep Time 20 minutes minutes Cook Time 1 hour hour Setting Up 1 hour hour 30 minutes minutes Total Time 2 hours hours 50 minutes minutes Servings 8 -10 servings Chelsea Lords Calories 1184kcal Author Chelsea Lords Cost $6.12 Ingredients▢ Cooking Spray▢ 10 cups popped popcorn Note 1▢ 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter▢ 1/4 cup light corn syrup▢ 1 cup light brown sugar, packed▢ 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt Note 2▢ 1/2 teaspoon baking soda▢ 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar, optional -- See Note 3▢ 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract▢ 1/2 cup dark chocolate melts Note 4▢ 1/2 cup white chocolate melts▢ 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, separatedUS - Metric USMetric InstructionsPREP: Assemble set out all the ingredients, this recipe moves quickly! Line one extra-large (15x21-inch) or 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone liner and set aside.Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.Grab a very large ceramic bowl (large enough to be able to very quickly toss popcorn with the caramel sauce without spilling-- I use the largest bowl I have! Avoid metal bowls as it can make the popcorn taste metallic) Generously spray that bowl with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.Sift the baking soda to make sure it isn't clumpy. Now we're ready to start!POPCORN: Pop popcorn then remove any unpopped kernels. Measure to get 10 cups and add to the very large greased bowl. CARAMEL SYRUP: Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces. In a pot over medium heat (don't increase the heat even if process is slow!) add the butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, cream of tartar, and fine sea salt. Stir with a silicone spatula, scraping the edges of the pot as you stir until the butter is fully melted and then bring to a full rolling boil. Keep heat at medium and once at a full roiling boil, remove the spatula and stop stirring. Set a timer, letting the mixture boil for precisely 5 minutes without stirring. (Or until it hits 235 degrees F on a candy thermometer). Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract. Watch out-- the vanilla may sputter a bit and mixture will foam up! Immediately pour this caramel mixture over the prepared popcorn in the bowl. Working quickly, use the spatula to toss and cover the popcorn evenly in the caramel syrup mixture. Continue tossing until popcorn is well and evenly coated. BAKE: Spread the coated popcorn on the prepared cookie sheet(s) in one even layer. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes (if using multiple pans, rotate the pans from top rack to bottom rack.) Remove the pans and allow to completely cool, about 30 minutes. CHOCOLATE: In the microwave, melt the white chocolate melts with 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil (See Note 5) and drizzle evenly over the popcorn. (I put the melted chocolate in a small plastic bag and cut off the tip with scissors and then pipe it on.) Then, melt the dark chocolate melts with remaining 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil, transfer to a bag, and drizzle evenly over the completely cooled popcorn. ENJOY: Let the popcorn harden at room temperature, about 1 hour, and then break up into clusters and put in a large bowl. Enjoy! STORAGE: To store popcorn, place in an airtight container (I like using Mason jars or Weck® mold jars). Keep the container in a cool dry, and preferably dark place. Popcorn is best within 3-4 days. Video Recipe NotesNote 1: Popcorn: Purchasing already popped popcorn makes this recipe come together a little bit quicker, but it’s a bit more spendy. If you’d rather pop your own, these are the packets we use (lightly salted plain popcorn). Of course, you can also use kernels in a popcorn machine or on the stovetop. Whatever you choose to use, measure out 10 cups of popcorn for this Caramel Corn Recipe and ensure no kernels sneak their way in! Note 2: Salt: While salt is important for enhancing flavors and balancing out the sweet, if the popcorn you're using is overly salted, you may want to reduce or completely omit the added salt in this recipe. Note 3: Cream of tartar: We like to add this ingredient because the acidity in it helps to prevent crystallization (crystals forming in the caramel) as it cooks. Recipe will still work without it, but if you have some, add it in! Note 4: Chocolate melts: We recommend chocolate made for melting like melting wafers for best results. (These melts are found in the baking aisle of the grocery store.) If you don't love dark chocolate, use semi-sweet or milk chocolate instead! Note 5: Microwaving the chocolate: To avoid scorching the chocolate, microwave for 15 seconds at a time, and stir for at least 15 seconds between each microwave burst. Remember, the chocolate is still melting from residual heat even after it has been removed from the microwave. It’s important the chocolate never gets too hot! We want it nice and melted, but as close to room temperature as possible. Note 6: Silicone spatula: Use a silicone spatula instead of a wooden spoon when mixing the caramel mixture. Caramel gets very sticky! Nutrition FactsServing: 1serving | Calories: 1184kcal | Carbohydrates: 208g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 180mg | Potassium: 610mg | Fiber: 26g | Sugar: 58g | Vitamin A: 370IU | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 6mg We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed. DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.