Grandma’s Candy Popcorn Recipe + VIDEO

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 25 cups

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My Grandma’s Candy Popcorn is a must-make every Christmas! It’s fun and colorful and the kids love it 🙂 Choose any colors to switch things up for game day, a birthday party or any other holiday. SO easy! Includes a step by step recipe video.


long overhead image of bowl of candy popcorn in pink green and yellow with title

This post has been updated from November 3, 2015

I’m going to be completely honest.

As soon as September rolls around, I’m waiting for Christmas.

It’s not that I want to rush the snow, or the cold, or the snowsuits and icy roads. But I think Christmas is my favorite time of year.

pink yellow and green candy popcorn in red christmas tin

I feel like such a child saying that, you know? I promise you it’s not all about the Lego waiting under the tree. It’s just that there’s nothing else we prepare for so far in advance. By the middle of November, for sure, I’ve got the Christmas tree and decorations up and am well into my Christmas shopping.

I love buying, wrapping and giving gifts.

I love a holiday that requires weeks of baking in advance (No Bake Christmas Trees or Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies anyone?).

I love the lights, the first snowflakes, and s’mores over the fire (inside!).

red christmas tin with yellow pink and green candy popcorn and sparkly christmas trees behind

This is my Grandma’s Candy Popcorn recipe, and it’s one I’m sure I’ve eaten every Christmas since childhood except the last.

Since my Grandma passed away last November, I find myself becoming more emotionally attached to family recipes.

For some people, maybe that’s strange. But for you fellow food lovers, maybe you can see the significance of cooking or baking the same things that your parents and grandparents made years — or decades — earlier. I hope to store up a good number of them here!

A simple air popper and a few other basic ingredients are all you need to make this fun treat that I promise the adults will love as much as the kiddos 😉

This recipe is really simple, and can easily be customized. You could add flavored extracts if you wanted, change up the colors for any birthday, game day, or holiday, or mix in things like sprinkles, nuts, candies, etc. The options are endless!

overhead image of candy popcorn in bowl and all around bowl on wood background
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Grandma’s Candy Popcorn

4.74 from 49 votes
Candy Popcorn is an easy holiday treat that is perfect for gift giving! My Grandma’s recipe ?
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Snack
Servings 25 cups
Calories 90cal


  • 1 1/3 cups popcorn kernels popped (about 25 cups popped popcorn)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon food coloring
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • Place popcorn in a large bowl (you’ll need room to stir the candy mixture in!)
  • In a medium pot over medium-high heat, bring sugar, water, and butter to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Stir in food coloring and salt and pour over popcorn, stirring to coat (make sure you work quickly!). Spread on baking sheets lined with wax paper and let dry for 1-2 hours until no longer sticky.
  • *This popcorn lasts a long time at room temperature in an air tight container! It’ll be good for at least 1-2 weeks.


*I divided my popcorn in 3 to get 3 different colors. I divided my sugar mixture (after boiling) into 3 bowls, then stirred in ½ teaspoon food coloring in each bowl, and pour that over ⅓ of the popcorn each.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 90cal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 24mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Kim says

    Not sure what I did wrong.. but the sugar coating never dried. It just stayed wet and sticky. I left it sitting out for 5 hours on trays… and it’s still wet and sticky. I thought to myself “How is pouring sugar water over popcorn going to have an end result of dry?” Turns out… it didnt dry. It’s texture is just eating mushy popcorn. Maybe I didn’t have enough popcorn or too much coating??

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Kim, sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe. It sounds like it was an issue with the sugar coating. I’d make sure to “on medium boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Hope this helps!

  2. Tali says

    I made these neon green for a biohazard themed party (they were in bags labeled toxic waste). They looked perfect, tasted great, and were so easy to make!

    To make things even easier (since I was making 3x the recipe) I bought ready-made popcorn, so I skipped the salt since it was already salted. Came out perfect.

  3. Ruth Chamberlain says

    Does anyone remember the sugar coated popcorn that had a pink and white coating. It was coated with a grainy sugar. Don’t know how else to describe it but it was amazing. Hope someone knows what I am referring to. I am 72 and we had it when I was young. My family bought it at church bazaars.

  4. Christina says

    My mom always would make this for me when I was a child. I would make this for my girls as well. It’s so yummy.

  5. Sharon says

    Don’t tell anyone I told you this but use the recipe replacing the reg sugar with country time lemon aid mix. If you love lemon you will be hooked

  6. Rita says

    Taste is good but the sugar coating came out matte and chalky. Would love to know how to make it glossy like the ones you get from stores

  7. anthonique robinson says

    I have not tried your recipe as yet but I would like to know if I can use white kyro syrup as a substitute.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Anthonique! You likely could but I haven’t tried it myself. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to know how it goes!

  8. Carol Caruso says

    I tried this recipe tonite to take to a get-together in the park tomorrow. I made two batches because there will be a lot of kids. My second batch (using the same pots and bowls) came out grainy, very different from the first batch. I would ask what went wrong because I’d like to fix that, but… the grainy batch got snarfed down the same as the first. My family said it’s not possible to mess up this recipe!! I’ll need to make another batch tomorrow so I’ll have enuff.
    Thank you for a pretty easy, economical, delightful treat!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Carol! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review! I’m not sure what would of made your second batch grainy especially since the first one came out fine.

    • ellen says

      It’s probably the stirring. Typically when making candy you don’t stir the sugar or it crystallizes

  9. S. Eldridge says

    Can you also add some flavoring to the sugar mix. I would use green food coloring and add some artificial lime extract or red dye and strawberry flavoring.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi S! I haven’t tried it myself but maybe? If you decide to experiment, I’d love to know how it goes!

      • Phaydrian says

        I added flavor with this recipe and it turned out great! I use this recipe every time I make candy popcorn now. I used to make it with the candy apple recipe but, this one is better and less mess.

  10. Niqole says

    Have you tried this with floss sugar? (Cotton candy sugar) you’d have different flavors & colors w/o having to add extras. Just wondering if the sugar would act the same. I just ordered a handful of floss sugar flavors! Def have to try this out!

  11. James McDermott says

    This recipe is the same as the one my Grandmother made for us at Christmas time with an additional ingredients. When I was in the Army I would get care packages with little toys from the five and dime store mixed up in with the candy coated popcorn. The guy’s in the bairics got a lot of fun 😊 playing with the toys while eating the corn. My family still makes this recipe every year even though we’re living in other parts of the country. This year I am putting it in plastic bags and using it pack jams to send to the grandkids.

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