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Pumpkin Spice Pretzel Caramel Popcorn Clusters

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I think it being Friday and all makes it the perfect time to post this recipe. Popcorn is by far my favorite snack. I love it sweet, savory…you name it, I’ve made it. I don’t often share my popcorn recipes, but that is about to change all in the name of incredible snacks. This recipe is one of my favorites to date because of it being all pumpkinified. It is like taking a bite out of autumn and it is just spectacular. It’s the perfect movie snack, or even better, eat it during a football game. This will keep your hands busy and keep you from throwing things at the TV. What? Am I the only one that does this? The Steelers have NOT been that great this year! Don’t even get me started. So frustrating.


I’m going to tell you guys something that I don’t tell very many people. Are you ready for it?

I do not…

…own a microwave.

Isn’t that the craziest thing you have ever heard? I’m not a microwave lover. I think they are big, bulky and take up way too much space. When we were building our house, the builder option was to put the microwave above the range. I wanted a hood instead because…well, I’ve just always wanted a hood. So anyway, this left us with the decision on where to put a microwave. I DID NOT want it on the counter. I hate cluttery counter tops. If you ever walked into my kitchen you will wonder why the only things on my counter are an espresso machine (we literally use this thing 3 times a day … it’s a wonder I’m not 300 pounds with all of the whole milk lattes I drink) and a stand mixer (because it’s so coppery and beautiful). We had quite a few debates over it and decided whatever we could do with a microwave could be done in the oven or on a stovetop. So here we are, I still don’t have a microwave and my microwave mug cakes are just not the same! ;)

Haha, I secretly still think I need a microwave sometimes. For now, I’m perfectly content living without one. It does make popping corn annoying because I have to do it all old-fashioned styles.

For this recipe, you may of course use microwave popcorn. Just make sure it’s plain, plain, plain! It may be salted. This is ok. If you are a super cool person like me, then the recipe to do it on the stovetop is below. It’s honestly fool-proof. I literally usually only have 2 kernels left that haven’t been popped and there is no burning. Love it!

Be patient. This recipe takes a couple of hours, but is so worth it and keeps for a week! Feel free to eat it all in one sitting. I won’t be mad at you.

Beer Love:

I wanted to do something a little funky today and pair with a pumpkin porter or pumpkin stout for this recipe. There are so many pumpkin ales out there, that stouts and porters often get shoved aside. There are so many great ones out there. I also think a stout or porter brings a richness that you crave with sweets. It is the perfect flavor enhancer for these pumpkin spice pretzel caramel popcorn clusters!

Here are some examples of pumpkin porters and stouts that I love for this popcorn:

Alaskan’s Pumpkin Porter

Epic Brewing and DC Brau’s Imperial Pumpkin Porter

21st Amendment’s He Said Baltic-Style Porter

Southern Tier’s Warlock

Elysian Brewing’s Dark O’ the Moon

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Pumpkin Spice Pretzel Caramel Popcorn Clusters


15 cups

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels makes about 15 cups of popcorn
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups chopped pretzels
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds I used Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Seeds
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda


  • Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F and line 2 large baking sheets with foil or parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a large dutch oven add the oil and 3-4 corn kernels and heat over medium. Cover and wait 5-6 minutes for the kernels to pop. Remove from heat and add the rest of the corn kernels and sprinkle with sea salt. Cover again and place over low heat. The kernels should begin to pop after just a few seconds. Remove from heat once the popping has begun to subside. Transfer to a very large bowl.
  • To the bowl, add the chopped pretzels and pumpkin seeds. Toss to combine. Set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, add the the butter and melt over medium-low heat. Add the sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and baking soda.
  • Pour a third of the sauce over the popcorn and toss to evenly coat. Add another third of the sauce, and again toss to evenly coat. Repeat this step once more.
  • Pour the popcorn onto the prepared baking sheets and even out. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring the popcorn every 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  • Top with melted chocolate if desired. The popcorn will keep stored in an airtight container for about a week. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from



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I’m the voice, author, creator, and photographer behind Cooking and Beer. We started things about 10 years ago and Cooking and Beer has morphed and grown into what it is today: providing hundreds of recipes to thousands of people.

9 Responses

  1. I kind of love that you don’t own a microwave! I barely use mine. I think the only reason I use it is to melt butter. Seriously. And I could do that on the stove if I needed to. And popcorn made the old fashioned way is MUCH better than microwave, so it’s really a good thing! This pumpkin spice pretzel caramel popcorn? Ridiculously delicious sounding. Have a great weekend Justine!

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Hello! I'm Justine.

I’m a blogger and web developer from the beautiful state of Oklahoma, where my loving husband, two adorable kids, and two mischievous dogs keep me on my toes 24/7. My idea of heaven includes endless summer days, getting lost in a good book, and whipping up some delicious homemade bread.


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