Miso Caramel and Tahini Brown Butter Popcorn

A Note from Feedfeed

As the great Julia Child once said, “it’s better to err on the side of caution than to end up with a pot of burnt popcorn.” JK, I actually said that. Do you like how I subtly compared myself to Julia Child? Stay humble! Regardless, this statement is very true (great thought, me!), and something that I learned the hard way during my several rounds of testing for developing this recipe. I would even go as far to say that at this point, I’m a self-proclaimed Popcorn Connoisseur.

In my very professional opinion, a pot of freshly popped, unseasoned popcorn is a perfect product that needs no improving. However, there are exceptions for everything, and quite frankly, this salty-sweet concoction just might be an improvement for an already flawless food.

I'll admit–I have a tendency to overdo it with tahini (which isn’t possible, but I digress…), and I’ve definitely earned myself a reputation for adding to tahini to EVERYTHING: oatmeal, baked goods, lattes, sauces, pastas, salads, face masks (JK, but maybe I’m on to something?!), the list goes on. But I am here, on record, to proclaim that tahini. Is. Absolutely. Necessary. In. This. Application. Period. Swirling the tahini with brown butter makes for a delicious sauce to coat the popped kernels, and then topping off the entire situation with a miso caramel makes this your new favorite snack.

The key to this recipe is all in the kettle corn. I can proudly say that I burned an incomprehensible amount of popcorn on my journey to nailing down this recipe, so I’d like to think that I have a pretty good grasp on what it takes to achieve the perfect pop. Once your oil is hot and your tester kernels have popped, it’s important to move quickly. Add the kernels, sugar, and salt, making sure that the kernels are evenly coated with sugar and spread in a single layer at the bottom of the pot, and then put the lid on immediately. Congrats champ, you’re 5 minutes away from the best kettle corn of your life.

Your heat should be no hotter than medium–high. You definitely want to pop it like it’s hot, but high heat is TOO HOT. I know it might be tempting to crank it all the way up, but your kernels are going to pop too quickly and then burn almost instantly. It’s upsetting, it makes your kitchen smell like a movie theatre that’s engulfed in flames and it leaves a residue on your pot that you won’t be excited to scrub off. Wouldn’t recommend! Instead, expect to wait about 2 minutes before the first pop–this is normal! Patience is a virtue–you can do this. Gently move the pot to keep the kernels evenly coated and to avoid burning them. By the fifth minute, the kernels will be popped to perfection, and you won’t have a layer of sugar that’s been absolutely incinerated on the bottom of your pot. Oh, joyous day!

This nutty, buttery snack is ideal for your next viewing party, (Oscar’s, anyone?), a casual movie night-in, or any intense snack craving. Quite frankly, the beauty of popcorn is that you never need an excuse to make it. And when it’s matched with a tahini butter sauce and miso caramel, I mean, what’s not to love?!

Photo by @thenonchalantcook


Prep time 10mins
Cook time 25mins
Serves or Makes: 8-10


  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plain popcorn kernels
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds

To make the tahini brown butter


  • Step 1

    In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until butter is deep brown in color and fragrant, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a heat proof bowl and whisk in tahini. Set aside.

To make the kettlecorn

  • Step 1

    Heat oil in a 3-quart or larger pot over medium. Add 2 or 3 kernels and wait until they pop. When these first kernels pop, add the remaining kernels, ½ cup sugar, salt, and cover with a lid. Gently shake the pot around to keep the kernels moving as they pop. When you start to hear several seconds pass between pops, remove from heat, about 5 minutes. Transfer immediately to rimmed baking sheet. Toss popcorn in brown butter mixture.

Make the miso caramel

  • Step 1

    In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat (you can wipe out the saucepan used to brown butter), add remaining ½ cup sugar and water and bring to a boil. Swirl pan until caramel is deep in color, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 3 tablespoons cubed butter followed by miso. While it is still hot, drizzle caramel over popcorn and toss with a rubber spatula until all kernels are evenly coated. Top with sesame seeds. Let cool completely. Popcorn will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days, but is best enjoyed the day it’s made.