The Best Popcorn Balls Recipe (2024)

ThisPopcorn Balls Recipeis great for the holidays, a party or family get together. There are tons of ways to switch up this recipe to make it work for anytime of the year!

The Best Popcorn Balls Recipe (1)

Easy Recipe for Popcorn Balls:

Popcorn balls is nostalgic for me. My grandmother made them when I was younger around the holidays and my family loved eating this delicious treat.

However, I always thought that it was too complicated to make at home. Then one of my friends made them and was telling me how easy they are to make. I knew immediately that I needed to give it a try.

They really are simple to make and everyone loves them. If you are afraid like I was, I hope you push pass that fear and try this recipe soon.

The Best Popcorn Balls Recipe (2)

What are Popcorn Balls?

Popcorn balls are a sticky, chewy treat that combines the flavors of popcorn, sugar and corn syrup. These ingredients combined make a holiday treat that is loved by all.

What are Popcorn Balls made of?

I used to be intimidated to make popcorn balls as it seemed super complicated. However, they are easy to create. You only need 6 ingredients for this recipe.

  • Popped Popcorn – I usually use microwave popcorn.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Karo® Light Corn Syrup
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Vanilla Extract

Some recipes call for baking soda, but I found that it wasn’t really needed to create these delicious popcorn balls.

The Best Popcorn Balls Recipe (3)

How to Make Popcorn Balls:

Like I said before, I was really intimidated to try to make my own popcorn balls.

However, I was surprised by how simply this recipe is. I was able to create these popcorn balls in no time at all.

The Best Popcorn Balls Recipe (4)

Step 1:

  • First spray a large roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray. Then add popcorn to the pan and make sure to remove any unpopped kernels.
  • Then place the pan in the oven at 200ºF until the popcorn is warm.
The Best Popcorn Balls Recipe (5)

Step 2:

  • Next stir combining sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan.
  • Stirring constantly, bring these ingredients to a boil over medium heat stir consistently. Continue stirring and boil for 2 minutes or if you have a candy thermometer, heat until it reaches 255ºF.
The Best Popcorn Balls Recipe (6)

Easy Step 3:

  • After this cooking time, remove from heat. Next slowly stir in vanilla. After the vanilla has been combined with the other ingredients, pour the syrup mixture over the warm popcorn stirring to coat popcorn mixture well.
  • Note: If the corn syrup mixture is unable to pour easily, stir in approximately 2 tsp cold water to thin out the mixture.
The Best Popcorn Balls Recipe (7)

Step 4:

  • If you want any additional items to be added this is the time you’ll want to mix them in (sprinkles, candy, etc).
  • Then allow the mixture to cooled slightly so that it’s able to be touched. Then spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray and use your hands to quickly shape the mixture into twelve 3-inch popcorn balls.
  • Work quickly to form the balls because the syrup mixture hardens.
The Best Popcorn Balls Recipe (8)
  • Finally after the forming ball stage, place them on parchment paper and allow the popcorn balls to cool completely. Now they are ready to enjoy!

Why won’t my popcorn balls stick together?

The Karo® Light Corn Syrup is the key ingredient to this popcorn balls recipe to get them to stay together. I have tried using other ingredients and have found that they don’t hold the popcorn together as well.

Based on my experience, I don’t recommend skipping this ingredient or replacing it with something else.

Also, once you pour the corn syrup mixture over the popcorn, allow the syrup to cool slightly before forming the popcorn into balls. If the corn syrup is still too watery, it will be difficult to form the popcorn balls.

The Best Popcorn Balls Recipe (9)

Easy additions to Quick Popcorn Balls:

My favorite part of this recipe is that you can easily add in many items. This recipe will work for any holiday or family event.

  • Add your favorite type of candy. I love mixing in candy to fit with whatever holiday is coming up.Mix these items in with the popcorn once the corn syrup mixture is added to the popped corn.
  • Stir in Sprinkles. Also, multi-colored sprinkles work great to make popcorn balls. Perfect for birthday parties for the kids.
  • Add food coloring to the corn syrup mixture to create colored popcorn balls. I like to make orange ones for Halloween and red and green ones for Christmas.
  • Make marshmallow popcorn balls by add in 2-3 cups of mini marshmallows to the corn syrup mixture. Then pour this marshmallow mixture over the popcorn and form the popcorn balls.

How long do popcorn balls stay fresh?

These are best to be served the day or the day after they are made. However, they will keep for a week in an air tight container. So you definitely can make these a few days ahead of time for your next party or family get together!

The Best Popcorn Balls Recipe (10)

How to Store:

Wrap the popcorn balls individually with saran wrap and place in an airtight container. We recommend placing in a single layer. The popcorn balls will last up to one week at room temperature.

Print this Popcorn Ball recipe below:


Pin Print

Popcorn Balls

4.74 from 67 votes

Your entire family will love this popcorn balls recipe. Learn how to make popcorn balls. It's easier than you think to make these quick popcorn balls.

Prep Time 15 minutes mins

Total Time 15 minutes mins

Servings 12 People

Cuisine American

Course Appetizer

Calories 141



  • Spray large roasting pan sprayed lightly with nonstick cooking spray; add popcorn and place in 200ºF oven until warm.

  • Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to boil over medium heat. Continue stirring and boil for 2 minutes.

  • Remove syrup mixture from heat; stir in vanilla.

  • Pour syrup mixture over warm popcorn stirring to coat well. Add in sprinkles or add ins (all optional) and mix to combine.

  • Once mixture has cooled slightly and is able to be touched, spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray. Working quickly to shape twelve 3-inch popcorn balls. Cool completely. Wrap individually in plastic wrap.

Recipe Notes

You can mix in sprinkles, m&ms, chocolate chips, food coloring, or anything fun you want to add in.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 141kcal, Carbohydrates 28g, Protein 1g, Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 2g, Cholesterol 8mg, Sodium 132mg, Potassium 36mg, Fiber 2g, Sugar 19g, Vitamin A 109IU, Calcium 3mg, Iron 1mg

Pin This Now to Remember It Later

Pin Recipe

More easy popcorn recipes

  • Rainbow Popcorn Recipe
  • Jello Popcorn Balls Recipe
  • Popcorn Bars Recipe
  • Christmas Popcorn Balls Recipe
  • The Best Homemade Caramel Popcorn Recipe

Try these other recipes

Easy Easter Desserts

Easter Pretzel Rods

St. Patricks Day Desserts

Shamrock Pretzels

Easy Easter Desserts

Chocolate Easter Bark

No bake Dessert

Butterfinger Balls

No bake Dessert

Cookie Dough Bars

No bake Dessert

Oreo Rice Krispie Treats Recipe

Easy Candy

Carrot Cake Truffles

Easy Candy

Strawberry Truffles

About the Author

The Best Popcorn Balls Recipe (20)

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Desserts on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you create delicious desserts on a budget and do not require a ton of time. Together, we are going to make something sweet that the entire family will love!

About Carrie
The Best Popcorn Balls Recipe (2024)


Why are my popcorn balls falling apart? ›

Why are my popcorn balls falling apart? This can happen if the syrup mixture is not cooked to the correct temperature (soft-ball stage) or if the popcorn is not evenly coated. Ensure the syrup reaches 235°F and stir thoroughly when mixing with the popcorn.

Why won t my popcorn balls stick? ›

If the syrup mixture is too hot it won't allow the popcorn to hold together and if it has cooled too much it will make it difficult to mold and form the popcorn into balls. The second issue can also be that there is not enough of a syrup to popcorn and toppings ratio.

Why are my popcorn balls chewy? ›

A top reason popcorn turns out chewy is because steam gets trapped in your pot when the popcorn kernels are popping. Fix this by using a well-vented lid or leave the pan slightly open to make a light and crispy popcorn.

What are popcorn balls made of? ›

Combine corn syrup, butter, water, confectioners' sugar, and marshmallows in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat and stir until the marshmallows have melted and the mixture comes to a boil. Carefully pour hot marshmallow mixture over popcorn and toss together to coat each kernel evenly.

What causes soggy popcorn? ›

08/9​You use too much oil

Now that we've talked about which oil to use we also need to take care of the fact that too much oil can also ruin your popcorn. Kernels that have too much of oil slathered around them are difficult to pop and they end up being soggy.

How do you get the flavor to stick to popcorn? ›

The way that we do this is to spray our popcorn with any of the following—-cooking oil spray in a variety of choices—-canola, corn or olive oil or butter spray. Otherwise, toss the popcorn with melted butter and then sprinkle your favorite seasoning on it. Butter/oil is the usual method.

How do you make popcorn coating stick? ›

Use melted butter or oil: Before adding the popcorn seasoning, toss the popcorn with melted butter or oil. Canola, sunflower or olive oil works well. This will help the seasoning adhere to the popcorn. Shake the popcorn: Place the popcorn in a large paper or plastic bag, add the seasoning and shake the bag vigorously.

How do you make toppings stick to popcorn? ›

If you use oil for popping your popcorn, the seasoning will stick to it easily. However, to get flavor and stick to air-popped popcorn without fat, you can mist your popped popcorn with a bit of water or some other liquid. Sprinkle your popcorn as you move it to the bowl with a little liquid spray bottle.

How do you make popcorn fluffier? ›

A good lid is important when making popcorn, but there's a bit of a strategy here. For the best results, and lowest number of un-popped kernels leave the lid open just a hairline amount. It allows any steam or moisture to get out as well, resulting in fluffy kernels.

How do you make popcorn less chewy? ›

"Chewy" popcorn is a normal characteristic when using the Hot Air Popper. It may give the perspective of being stale as well. To attempt to alleviate this, we suggest that you hydrate your corn prior to using. You perform this by adding 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of corn into an airtight container.

What is the black thing in popcorn? ›

The black specs you may be seeing are not mold. In fact, these are burnt sugar crystals. Sometimes with Kettle Corn the sugar gets so hot that it burns, especially if you have a new or higher end microwave. This is 100% safe and not harmful.

What company makes popcorn balls? ›

Humphrey Popcorn Company produces popcorn balls, candy kisses, and other popcorn products that are sold throughout the country.

What is the fluffy white stuff we eat in popcorn? ›

When the pressure gets high enough, the kernel explodes, turning itself inside out. The hard endosperm expands in volume turning the hard, inedible kernel into a fluffy, white, edible nugget.

How do you know if popcorn is too dry? ›

Dry corn tends to pop partially or not at all. If the corn is too dry, remove the kernels from the ears then add moisture as described below. Wet corn pops slowly with a loud noise, the kernels are small and tough with a “chewy” texture and jagged look. There will also be a lot of steam coming out of the popper.

Can you Repop popcorn seeds that didn't pop? ›

How to Re-Pop Popcorn Kernels. If you still have unpopped kernels, simply add an additional splash of oil to the pot and cover it. Return the heat to medium-high, and proceed as you would for new kernels. When the popping slows, remove from heat.

How do you prevent popcorn hulls? ›

Drink water frequently as you snack on your popcorn. The water rinses your mouth, disallowing hulls from getting caught between your teeth. Have a toothpick nearby to pick out the small pieces quickly before they get stuck. Only eat popped corn – leave the hard kernels as they can even crack or break your teeth.

How do you know if popcorn is dry enough to pop? ›

Your ears of popcorn are ready to shell when the kernels come easily off the cob, which is when the moisture content is around 13 to 14 percent. Test the popcorn by popping a few kernels. (To pop, put kernels or an ear in a folded paper bag in the microwave.) If they pop, it's time to shell the corn.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Van Hayes

Last Updated:

Views: 6156

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (66 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Van Hayes

Birthday: 1994-06-07

Address: 2004 Kling Rapid, New Destiny, MT 64658-2367

Phone: +512425013758

Job: National Farming Director

Hobby: Reading, Polo, Genealogy, amateur radio, Scouting, Stand-up comedy, Cryptography

Introduction: My name is Van Hayes, I am a thankful, friendly, smiling, calm, powerful, fine, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.