Popcorn coating with caramel

The very light texture of expanded corn seeds – popcorn – makes them sensitive to moisture. Only high solid-content sugar syrup can be applied. The alternatives are 100 % fat-based ingredientssuch as a savoury slurry, chocoalte

Updated Jun 02, 2022 - 10 min Read


Core products

The core is the result of suddent expansion of a corn seed. The minute water content evaporates leaving a hollow texture. The starchy material and fine texture tends to draw moisture and spoils the texture. They are different sorts of maize : butterfly or mushroom variety.



The ingredient is sugar diluted in water, heated to a boiling point, cooked until it reaches the appropriate concentration.
The addition of an oil or emulsifier prevents agglomeration and eases the dispersion.


How does it work?

The maize cores are popped by applying a intense heat. The water inside reaches a boiling point and the cores expand brutally under the build-up pressure

The coating consists in the application of a dense and hot sugar syrup which disperses partially. It leaves parts of popped corn apprent, white flesh and yellow skin, in a mesh of yellow sugar.
Syrup preparation by dissolution, cooking, vacuuum ev

The highly concentrated syrup sets by cooling, next to nil moisture being left in it. Conversely, the coated product must be packed and protected from moisture which would soften the inner and melt the syrup


Product dosage



Syrup dosage 10-20 %



Cooling and setting


Coating system

The operation occurs in a rotary tumbler whose length and diameter are calculated to accommodate the product flow. Baffles inside enhance the tumbling action. The coating relies on the dispersion of the liquid ingredients first, then on the mechanical friction caused by tumbling. Liquid and powder ingredients can be added separately.

One option is to mix finely ground powder into the syrup (cocoa, cinnamon) and carry out just one application. This ‘slurry’ needs to be constantly agitated until it is applied. 

The liquid ingredients are best dispersed by dedicated spraying systems. The powder can be dispersed with a vibratory tray. It is a continuous operation.

Rotation speed and tumbler tilt angle are adjusted to achieve the required friction and residence time. After coating, the product needs to be thoroughly dried in 2 or 3-tier driers to be ready for packaging.


Coating system

Syrup application drum


How do you measure your success?

Key quality features

Coated popcron is the unique combination of a crunchy and soft bite


Balanced colour contrast of the popped product and its coating


Crispy texture of the hard syrup and soft bite of the popcorn flesh. No stickiness

Product integrity

No broken product nor fine and dust

Key quality parameters

A controlled combination of material (water evaporation, syrup application), mechanical (application and dispersion) and thermal (boiling, cooling) transfers 


Key parameter in syrup preparation, handling, dosing, dispersion and setting


Thorough mixing to disperse the syrup while gentle enough to preserve the fragile popped structure


Balance dosing of the low-density popped cores and the syrup