Popcorn Balls are a childhood snack you’ll love treating yourself to! The popcorn in this easy recipe is held together by ingredients like sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt. It’s a quick, easy, and simple recipe that always yields the most delicious (and nostalgic) results!

A pile of popcorn balls is presented on a tray.

Popcorn Balls

Whether you’re gifting them to friends or keeping them all to yourself, you’re going to love these easy to make Popcorn Balls! They’re sweet, crunchy, salty, and just SO satisfying to bite into. Most people are divided on what holiday Popcorn Balls belong to – Christmas or Halloween. If you’re like me, you know that both holidays benefit from these scrumptious treats.

If you ever lurk the aisles of Halloween candy at the grocery store, you’ll sometimes see bags of plastic wrapped, factory made Popcorn Balls. Out of pure curiosity (and maybe to satisfy a craving), I’ve definitely tried them!

They’re definitely not the worst things in the world… But they can’t hold a candle to this tried and true homemade recipe. Homemade Popcorn Balls are crunchier, more flavorful, and not stale at all!

Even if you’re making these Popcorn Balls outside of the holiday season, they’re sure to be a huge hit! Enjoy them during family movie night or as a midday snack when you need something a little sweet and salty to carry you through the day. Since they’re perfectly portioned, they’re also great for popping into lunch boxes to make your little one’s day that much more exciting.

Popcorn is spread around several other ingredients on a white surface.

How to Make Them

Preheat. Preheat the oven to 250°F.

Warm the popcorn. In a lightly greased roasting pan, spread out the popcorn and warm in the oven while you make the sugar mix.  

Cook the sugar mixture. In a saucepan mix the sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil (approximately 3 minutes) and continue cooking at a low boil for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add in the vanilla completely. This action may cause some bubbling. Add in the baking soda, stirring completely.

Combine the popcorn and sugar mixture. Remove the pan of popcorn from the oven. Pour the mixture over the warmed popcorn. Using a wooden spoon/spatula, mix the sugar mixture with the popcorn, about 2 minutes.  Once combined, allow the mixture to cool, 2-3 minutes.  

Form the balls. Set a parchment lined cookie sheet to the side. To form the balls, grease your hands with cooking spray or softened butter and grab a large handful (about palm size) and press firmly to form the popcorn mixture into a ball.  

Let them set. Place each ball on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet to set, approximately 10 minutes.  

A popcorn ball is being formed by two hands.

Tips for the Best Popcorn Balls

  • When you combine the first few ingredients on the stove top, stir constantly! The sugar can burn very quickly, so keep your eye on it.
  • You can also use a large scoop if you have one. A #6 sized scoop will provide a palm-sized Popcorn Ball. 
  • If the balls don’t come together right away, put the glazed popcorn back into the oven for 2 minutes, rest for 1 minute and restart molding. Sometimes the mixture cools quickly.
  • Once the mixture is covered in the sugar coating, it’s important to let it set for at least 2 minutes.  Since the pan was in the oven, it will keep the mixture pliable to mold into a ball.
  • Use caution when molding. Some spots might have a few pieces of sugar mix that will still be hot to the touch.  
Several popcorn balls are placed on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.

What To Do With Leftover Popcorn

If you have leftover popcorn because you simply made too much we love it in these easy recipes!

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Several popcorn balls are placed on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.

Get the Recipe: Popcorn Ball

Crunchy and sweet, these nostalgic Popcorn Balls are so easy to make in minutes. A fun treat for the holiday season.
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Ingredients

  • 12 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking soda

Equipment

  • baking sheet

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  • In a lightly greased roasting pan, spread out the popcorn and warm in the oven while you make the sugar mix.
  • In a saucepan mix the sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil (approximately 3 minutes) and continue cooking at a low boil for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from the heat and add in the vanilla completely, this action may cause some bubbling.
  • Add in the baking soda, stirring completely.
  • Remove the pan of popcorn from the oven. Pour the mixture over the warmed popcorn.
  • Using a wooden spoon/spatula, mix the sugar mixture with the popcorn, about 2 minutes. Once combined, allow the mixture to cool, 2-3 minutes.
  • Set a parchment lined cookie sheet to the side.
  • To form the balls, grease your hands with cooking spray or softened butter and grab a large handful (about palm size) and press firmly to form the popcorn mixture into a ball. (If the balls don’t come together right away, put the glazed popcorn back into the oven for 2 minutes, rest for 1 minute and restart molding. Sometimes the mixture cools quickly.)
  • Place each ball on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet to set, approximately 10 minutes.
  • Serve at your next Movie Night!

Notes

Once the mixture is covered in the sugar coating, its important to let it set for at least 2 minutes. Since the pan was in the oven, it will keep the mixture pliable to mold into a ball.
Use caution when molding, some spots might* have a few pieces of sugar mix that will still be hot to the touch.
Calories: 182kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 183mg, Potassium: 38mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 28g, Vitamin A: 140IU, Calcium: 4mg, Iron: 0.4mg