These Popcorn Balls are a fun holiday treat that the kids love! Experiment with flavors and colors to create something special for any occasion.
If you love these retro Popcorn Balls, you’ll also love this Caramel Puff Corn and my Grandma’s Candy Popcorn!
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You should see my kids eyes light up when I’m whipping up a batch of these Popcorn Balls.
They are so easy, and not as overly sweet as some Christmas treats, and they’re just plain fun!
There is so much to love, and I love that they’re made with just a few ingredients and a few minutes prep.
Plus, you can easily add food coloring, extracts, or different mix ins to make them your own!
Tips for making the best Popcorn Balls:
- Don’t have an air popper? You can use bagged, popped popcorn, but it’s best to find one without any seasoning on it. You can also pop regular popping kernels in a brown paper bag — just place ⅓ cup kernels in a brown paper bag and fold the very top over twice. You want to leave lots of room for the kernels to expand. Then microwave for 1-2 minutes, until the popping has slowed. Repeat until you have enough popped popcorn. ⅓ cup kernels will make about 5 cups popped popcorn
- Sort through your popped popcorn kernels before making your candy coating to ensure there are not unpopped kernels floating around in there.
- Work quickly once your candy is ready — you will have to work to get it combined with the popcorn before it starts to cool because then it gets reeeeally sticky.
- Use slightly damp hands (or spray hands with non stick spray) to form your balls. This way, you can work quickly and you won’t have piles of popcorn stuck to your hands 😉
How to make this Popcorn Balls recipe your own:
- Add flavor extracts to your candy mixture once it is ready but before you stir it into your popcorn — feel free to get creative but don’t go overboard!
- Stir in food coloring to your candy mixture for a festive spin — pink, green, blue, yellow — the options are endless!
- Mix ins: you can add chocolate chips, toffee bits, crushed candy canes, dried cranberries or raisins, or Reese’s Pieces to your popcorn balls before you form them for a fun spin.
How to store Popcorn Balls:
Popcorn balls are best stored at room temperature and eaten within a few days.
The texture of the popcorn changes when they are refrigerated or frozen, so I recommend wrapping individually and sharing with friends and family within a few days.
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- 10 cups air popped popcorn (see note above if you do not have an air popper)
- 6 cups mini marshmallows (5 cups for less gooey popcorn balls) (250 grams)
- 1/4 cup salted butter
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- Place popcorn in a lightly greased, large bowl. Set aside.
- Over medium heat, melt marshmallows, butter and corn syrup until smooth.
- Pour over popcorn in bowl and stir well.
- Lightly grease your hands with non stick spray (or make them slightly damp), then roll handfuls of popcorn into balls (I prefer not to press them to firmly together). Set on a large piece of wax paper for 15-20 minutes to set.
- Store in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks, or wrap individually in plastic wrap if giving to friends and family.
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C. A. Williams says
My mother always formed the popcorn balls around a tootsie roll sucker.
Ashley Fehr says
Would this work with chocolate?
Ashley Fehr says
Sorry, I haven’t tried anything like that!