Alternatives to Cracker Jacks

Cracker Jack is one of the most popular popcorn brands thanks to the prize at the bottom of its package, which kids love to dig for, and being linked to baseball in 1907 when the song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was released referencing Cracker Jack popcorn in the lyrics. The brand was initially launched out of Chicago in 1896.

The ingredients of Cracker Jack include popcorn, peanuts, sugar, molasses, corn syrup, soy lecithin, soybean and corn oil, and salt. Notably, the popcorn brand has molasses and peanuts as ingredients.

However, if you’re not a fan of Cracker Jack or simply just want to try other alternatives, consider the following:

Crunch’ n Munch

Crunch’ n Munch owned by ConAgra Foods, is Cracker Jack’s primary competition and is a budget-friendly popcorn brand. The former has a more buttery taste in contrast to the richer molasses flavor of the latter.

State Street Snacks

State Street Snacks offers hand-mixed old-fashioned kettle caramel popcorn. This popcorn is made with blackstrap molasses that help provide it a pleasantly rich taste. It contains no artificial sweeteners, flavor, or preservatives.

Fiddle Faddle

Fiddle Faddle is another caramel and toffee popcorn brand owned by ConAgra Foods, which includes peanuts. Much like the Crunch’ n Munch, it’s also a budget-friendly alternative for a popcorn snack.

Boom Chicka Pop

This popcorn brand makes its popcorn with simple and natural ingredients. The company’s Buttery Caramel Popcorn has popcorn, molasses, cane sugar, unsalted butter, brown rice syrup, sunflower lecithin (emulsifier), sunflower oil, and sea salt. 

Jody’s Gourmet Popcorn

It took Jody’s caramel popcorn 53 tries to perfect the recipe that many love. The founders, Alan and Jody, are dedicated to ensuring that their gourmet popcorn stays top-notch by using high-quality ingredients for the hand-crafted batches. Their famous caramel popcorn is made with real butter and non-GMO kernels.

Utz Gourmet Caramel Nut Clusters

The popcorn brand started around 100 years ago, headed by Salie and Bill Utz. Their very first product was potato chips made with simple ingredients. They locally sold the chips in Hanover, Pennsylvania. 

The chips’ success enabled the company to expand from their family kitchen to a building in their family’s backyard and later to a production facility in the 30s.

While Utz still makes chips, they produce many more snack foods like pork rinds, pretzels, pub mix, cheese balls, and of course, caramel corn.

The Utz popcorn is made with popcorn, cashews, almonds, and toffee. The popcorn comes in a cylinder container with a lid you can twist on/off to maintain freshness.

Popcornopolis Gourmet Caramel Popcorn

The brand is known for its cone-shaped packaging that you won’t see anywhere else. The company uses 100% whole grain and non-GMO all USA-grown corn to make its popcorn.

Popcornopolis gourmet caramel popcorn is made with pure cane sugars, unlike other caramel popcorn brands made with high fructose corn syrup. The popcorn also uses dairy butter to give a fresh, creamy flavor. 

Popcornopolis popcorn doesn’t contain added preservatives unwanted in any diet. They freshly pop their popcorns every day and package it once it cools down to maintain its fresh quality for around half a year when unsealed.

Farmer Jon’s

The cornfields that eventually make Farmer Jon’s popcorn is tended to by the man himself. Jon’s farm only produces corn that makes popcorn, which should demonstrate the passion and dedication placed into making high-quality popcorn.

Farmer Jon’s Gourmet Caramel Popcorn is among the favorite flavors of this brand’s popcorn lovers. Its made with gourmet brown sugar and European butter, which keeps people running back for more. The brand uses non-GMO kernels for its popcorn and contains no preservatives.

Clone of a Cracker Jack

If you’re looking to making your homemade version of the peanutty, caramelly Cracker Jack popcorn that tastes close to the original, then this recipe is for you! It’s pretty easy to prepare and makes for excellent gifts! This recipe makes 11 servings and can be done in only 1 hour and 35 minutes.

Ingredient

11 cups popped popcorn (for a thicker caramel coating, reduce to 10 cups)

1 cup Spanish peanuts

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes

¼ cup dark corn syrup

1 ¼ cups dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spread the popcorn in the bottom of a deep, large roasting pan. Then, sprinkle the peanuts over it.

Combine butter, brown sugar, salt, and corn syrup in a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, constantly whisking for 2 to 3 minutes until the butter and sugar are melted and the sauce is caramelized and thick.

Pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn and peanuts and mix to coat the popcorn and peanuts thoroughly, scooping any caramel and peanuts that fall to the bottom of the pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 45 minutes, occasionally stirring, until the popcorn and caramel are crisped. Turn the popcorn out in a single-layered sheet of parchment paper to cool.