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Grandma’s Candy Popcorn Recipe + VIDEO

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ˜‰

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

5 from 2 votes
Candy Popcorn is an easy holiday treat that is perfect for gift giving! My Grandma’s recipe ?
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
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 Β½ teaspoon food coloring in each bowl, and pour that over β…“ 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. Nancy says

    You make mention of using extracts. No mention when and how much to use. Can flavor oils be used such as cinnamon and strawberry. How much. Would like to make flavored popcorn without sugar or sweeteners of any kind.

  2. Winny says

    Hi, love this recipe. Tried it a few times. Very tasty and everyone loves it; but the popcorns shrivel and become small when mixed with the sugar, butter and water mixture. Would appreciate your suggestions please

    • Anita Sokolowski says

      LOVE your recipes! Of course we relate on the Emotional aspect of making our loved ones recipes. This past Thanksgiving hit me like a brick. Even though my Mom passed at an early age in 1999… Thanksgiving was ALWAYS at our House growing up. My Mom had her ” Famous stuffing ” recipe. One that was never written down…( like her baked mac & cheese lol) I have it in my head. She didn’t really like to cook or bake ( that was my department growing up) There wasn’t anything unusual in her stuffing. Just the fact that she made it every year for everyone in our Family made it special. My Mom tried to tell my cousin one year HOW SHE MADE IT…But she never measured anything! Needless to say my cousin thought she’d left something out of the recipe lol
      That’s what makes me sentimental & emotional. Knowing I have the recipe in my head. I’m going to have to make it & write everything down. Although my Mom made things harder on herself that I would have changed…but she was like that. She never knew how to cook & make everything be done at once. That was my job at age 8 & up.
      Thank you for your recipes. Have to look for my Air Popper for my Popcorn again. Sorry about your Grandmother. Just remember when you are cooking or baking one of her recipes, she is right there with you. ?

  3. Cyndy says

    Just made this in Easter colours for our huge Easter egg hunt for about 25 kids coming to our acreage tomorrow. I am mixing it with plain popcorn so that it’s a little more fun and they can eat a lot More without a sugar overload.
    Thanks for the recipe. This one is a keeper..

  4. Patti says

    This is delicious….tastes like a popcorn ball. I was worried about it really drying and not being sticky, but it was perfect and crisp in about 30 minutes!

  5. Danielle says

    YUM! I know how you feel about the emotional aspect of family recipes. It’s too bad my mom is not good at writing hers down. I also look forward to Christmas most years (I’ve had a little trouble getting in the spirit this year). I live in San Diego, so sometimes it’s hard when it’s still 80 degrees out…

    My favorite Christmas treat has to be my mom’s butter crunch (toffee). Anyways, this popcorn looks delcious – perfect for gifts!

  6. Natiesha says

    I just tried this recipe and it’s easy and tastes good. My husband helped with the pouring of the sugar mixture. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Deena says

    Have you ever halved the recipe with success? I don’t really want that much yummy stuff around to mindlessly eat.

  8. Michele Moore says

    Since we are remembering…my favorite Christmas treat is something called Struffoli, which are Honey Balls. These
    are little fried balls of dough that have honey on them. It is an Italian recipe.

  9. Judy says

    My favorite Christmas treat is my mom’s recipe for pecan crescent cookies. Just wish she was still around to make them.

  10. Linda C says

    Scandinavian Rosettes – my Grandmother started this traditional family favourite that continues with our newest generation.

  11. Darlene Schuller says

    Christmas Eve after driving arouond looking at lights, we settle at home to watch Christmas movie and have peppermint hot chocolate. We snack on Peanut Butter Blossoms, macarrons and usually a snack mix my husband makes. I look forward to that every year.

  12. Melissa D says

    Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year too! As for a Christmas treat I’d have to say either caramel popcorn with cashews or confetti squares! I think I’ll be trying this recipe out this year though!

  13. Sarah says

    My favourite Christmas treat is New York Delight. Traditionally it’s Rollerblade crushed cornflakes but we love it dipped in chocolate!!

  14. Lillian Tse says

    I love chewy gingerbread cookies! Would love to try this popcorn maker! I remember having one when I was younger and loved the sound of popcorn being made and the family time afterwards.

  15. Esther says

    I love cookies that my mother in law makes every year and they’re called spitzbuben! A sugar cookie sandwich with apricot jam in the middle. Delicious!

  16. Susan L says

    First off….now I have to go and find some lucky elephant popcorn stat. But favourite Holiday recipe….Crostoli, super easy to make…but you need to make a lot. All it is is fried pasta sprinkled with icing sugar. You roll the past out thinner than normal and it’s always a family favourite.

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