This Popcorn Balls Recipe is 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!
Popcorn Balls are a fun way to enjoy a sweet salty treat anytime of the year!
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.
Once I finally made them, I can’t believe I ever waited. They really are simple to make and everyone loves them. So don’t wait any longer friends. If you are afraid like I was, I hope you push pass that fear and try this recipe soon!
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
- Granulated sugar
- Karo® Light Corn Syrup
- Vanilla Extract
If you love to bake or create your own sweet treats, I bet you already have most of these ingredients in your pantry! Some recipes call for baking soda, but I found that it wasn’t really needed to create these delicious popcorn balls.
The only ingredient that I had to purchase was the corn syrup. I had everything else. My kids love to snack on popcorn so I always have it in my pantry. Woohoo!
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.
First spray a large roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray. Then add the popped popcorn and place the pan in the oven at 200ºF until the popcorn is warm.
Next stir combining sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan.
Stirring constantly, bring to 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.
After this cooking time, remove the syrup mixture 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 well.
Note: If the corn syrup mixture is unable to pour easily, stir in approximately 2 tsp cold water to thin out the mixture.
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.
Finally after the forming ball stage, place them on waxed 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.
I usually wait approximately 5-10 minutes and then get to forming the popcorn balls from there!
Easy additions to these quick popcorn balls:
My favorite part of this recipe is that you can easily add in many items to make this recipe work for any holiday or family event.
I love mixing in candy to fit with whatever holiday is coming up. For example, candy corn is perfect for Halloween or Christmas M&Ms at Christmas time. Mix these items in with the popcorn once the corn syrup mixture is added to the popped corn.
Also, multi-colored sprinkles work great to make popcorn balls for birthday parties for the kids to enjoy in addition to cupcakes and the birthday cake.
In addition, adding food coloring to the corn syrup mixture will create colored popcorn balls. I like to make orange ones for Halloween and red and green ones for Christmas. These are adorable and still have the same delicious flavor of traditional 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!
When are you going to make these old-fashioned popcorn balls?
Ok, now that you know that these are not overly complicated, you have no excuse to try these today. I hope you try this simple and easy recipe and leave a comment letting us know what you think!
Print this Popcorn Ball recipe below:
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.
- 12 cups Popcorn Popped
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup karo light corn syrup
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
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.
You can mix in sprinkles, m&ms, chocolate chips, food coloring, or anything fun you want to add in.
If you enjoy this traditional popcorn balls recipe, try these other delicious recipes:
- Chocolate Cherry Dump Cake
- Easy No Bake Cookies
- Crock Pot Peanut Butter Clusters
- Microwave Peanut Brittle Recipe
- Chocolate Crinkle Cookie Recipe
- Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies