Easy Popcorn Balls

Easy Popcorn Balls are so sticky and tasty, everyone will love them. They’re perfect for any party, holiday or get together!!

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls are the perfect sweet treat to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you like these sticky popcorn treats, you’ll love caramel marshmallow popcorn and birthday cake popcorn as well!

Pink Popcorn Balls sitting on parchment paper

A childhood favorite!

Who here has memories of eating delicious, sticky Popcorn Balls when they were younger?!

I DO!! In fact, that’s my only memory of them because I feel like they vanished from my life for a good 25 years or so until recently.

I saw these sweet treats at a school fair and asked my mom to find her recipe because I wanted to make some. I was so glad we found it because I knew these easy popcorn balls would be a hit with my own kids.

They weren’t just a hit with the kids, but the hubby, myself, my nieces and nephews, and my sisters all loved them!!

Sure, they may cause a few cavities and should be made only on special occasions (or holidays like Halloween), but they were so good and reminded me so much of my childhood.

Plain popcorn for popcorn balls

How to Make Popcorn Balls

This recipe is so simple! Here are the popcorn ball ingredients needed:

  • light corn syrup
  • margarine
  • water
  • powdered sugar
  • mini marshmallows
  • plain popcorn
  • food coloring

Once you have these ingredients together, you will just need to follow a few steps to make these delicious marshmallow popcorn balls.

POPCORN. Pop popcorn and be sure to take out all kernels (we used 2 – 3.2 oz. bags of plain popcorn). Pour into a large bowl.

MARSHMALLOW MIXTURE. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine corn syrup, margarine, water, powdered sugar, food coloring and marshmallows. Heat and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Carefully pour this over the popcorn and stir to coat popcorn.

FORM BALLS. Let cool a bit and then butter fingers so you can easily handle and shape popcorn mixture into 3-4 inch balls before they cool.

Tip: Wrap balls with cellophane or plastic wrap and store at room temp.

Variations – change it up

Aside from changing up the color you can add fun ingredients to change them  up a little. Just be sure that you don’t add too many because if the syrup mixture doesn’t cover the extra ingredients, then the balls won’t stay together.  Some additions include:

  • Festive sprinkles
  • Mini M&M candies
  • Chocolate Chips – try different sizes and different flavors
  • Mini marshmallows, regular or colored
Marshmallow popcorn ball being pulled in half

Popcorn ball tips + FAQ

Tip: Spraying your hands with cooking spray will keep the popcorn balls from sticking to your hands while you shape them. Work quickly because the popcorn mixture will harden as they cool. Also, don’t pack them too tightly otherwise they will be too dense and hard to eat. 

Don’t have bagged popcorn? One 3.28 oz bag of popcorn contains 5 tablespoons unpopped kernels or about 11 cups of popped corn. For this recipe, you can buy about 20 cups of plain pre popped popcorn, pop 2/3 cup popcorn kernels, or pop 2  bags of plain microwave popcorn. 

  • When popping your own kennels use about 2 tablespoons of oil for very ½ cup of kernels.
  • I like using coconut oil, but vegetable and canola oil work as well.

Why don’t my popcorn balls stick together?  It is really important to stick to the recipe as written. Substituting similar items or adding ingredients can negatively affect the result. For example, you may be tempted to use honey instead of the sugary corn syrup. However, honey won’t harden like the corn syrup is designed to do, resulting in a popcorn ball that won’t stick together. 

Timing: Timing plays another role when forming the popcorn balls. If the syrup mixture is too warm, then the balls will not hold their shape. If the syrup mixture cools too much, then it will be too hard to form. 

Food coloring: We ended up making pink marshmallow popcorn balls because that was the color I remember them being when I was young, but you can make them any color you’d like.

Size: You can also make them any size you’d like to maybe help limit the amount your kids consume. We made ours about 3-4 inches around, and that was a great size. But we are thinking we may even go smaller and add popsicle sticks to eliminate some of the mess and stickiness that comes with these. 😉

Pink Popcorn Balls sitting on parchment paper

Popcorn Storage tips

FREEZE popcorn kernals: Keeping them frozen helps them maintain their moisture which allows them to pop better. You can even pop them straight from the freezer. Just allow for a little extra popping time. You can also freeze the popped popcorn in an airtight container. It won’t actually freeze, but it will stay fresh for a couple of weeks.

FREEZE popcorn balls: Simply wrap each ball with plastic wrap then put them in an airtight freezer safe container. Freeze for up to 2 weeks. Allow to thaw at room temperature then remove the plastic wrapping.

I love that we have this recipe again in our lives and that we can change them up by color (and flavor) for any occasion or event. They’d be great for holidays, parties, or any get together really.

Easy popcorn balls recipe - balls stacked on top of each other.

For more popcorn recipes, check out:

Popcorn Balls Recipe

5 from 34 votes
Easy Popcorn Balls are so sticky and tasty, everyone will love them. They're perfect for any party, holiday or get together!!
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 24
Calories 141 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

  • 20 cups plain popcorn 2 – 3.2 oz bags
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 2 tsp cold water
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup marshmallows
  • A few drops of red food coloring or color of choice

Instructions
 

  • Pop popcorn and be sure to take out all kernels. Pour into a large bowl.
  • In a medium pot over medium heat, combine corn syrup, margarine, cold water, powdered sugar, food coloring and marshmallows. Heat and stir until the mixture comes to a boil.
  • Carefully pour this over the popcorn, and stirring to coat each kernel.
  • Let cool a bit and then butter fingers so you can easily handle and shape popcorn into 3-4 inch balls before they cool.
  • Wrap with cellophane or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

Video

Like this recipe?

Pin it now to remember it later! Share it with your Facebook friends (you know they’ll love it). Or tweet it to the world. Maybe even email it to your favorite cousin!

Related Posts

S’Mores Charcuterie Board

Create a classic or your own sinfully sweet invention with this S’mores Charcuterie Board spread. These decadent treats are party perfect! S’mores are ideal for sharing, and make delicious desserts…

15 minutes

5 from 2 votes

Movie Night Charcuterie Board

This Movie Night Charcuterie Board is the ultimate snack platter for all of your movie munching needs. It’s customizable and SO fun! I love a good Charcuterie Board, and so…

15 minutes

5 from 6 votes

Apple Monster Teeth

Apple Monster Teeth are a healthy and spooky snack, perfect for your Halloween spread. They are fun for the whole family! Get your spook on with these healthy Apple Monsters.…

10 minutes

5 from 2 votes

Churros Recipe

Churros are a family favorite! It’s hard NOT to love this treat when it reminds you of the Happiest Place on Earth! Churros are a favorite Mexican Dessert! If you…

35 minutes

5 from 20 votes

About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

Join the Conversation

Rate and Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    Made these for Halloween treats and my family fell in love with them! Going to make them to put in Christmas Cookie Plates we’re giving out this year! One question, how long will these last if I make them and wrap them in advance? Thank you again for sharing this recipe!

    1. Glad you liked them! You can freeze them, simply wrap each ball with plastic wrap then put them in an airtight freezer safe container. Freeze for up to 2 weeks. Allow to thaw at room temperature then remove the plastic wrapping. If you aren’t freezing, I’d say a couple days.

  2. 5 stars
    Really enjoyed making them! I like the softness that the marshmallows added to them. I ended up using a paper baking sheet to form them and it works perfect! Scoop them out with a metal ladle.

  3. I have this idea to put a popcorn ball on the top of a pretzel stick and stick it in a chocolate cupcake that’s in a small clay pot as an Earth Day “tree”. Would these popcorn balls stay together if impaled on the top of a pretzel stick?

    1. This popcorn ball recipe creates more of a gooey popcorn ball so I’m not sure how well they will hold their form when impaled with a pretzel stick. I think if you refrigerate the popcorn balls for a while before you put the pretzel stick in them might help with keeping the shape. This sounds like such a cleaver and cute idea! I hope it works well for you. Let me know how they turn out. I’d love to hear!

  4. 5 stars
    This was such a great idea for the grandkids. Staying the night they are wanting some special treat. Thank you. Deborah Singleterry

  5. 5 stars
    I followed this recipe and my popcorn turned out wonderful! I never used marshmallow or powder sugar before. Wow, what a difference! Thank you for this recipe.

  6. 5 stars
    My mom and I have always made our family’s popcorn balls but we came across this recipe and wanted to try these instead…wow so happy we did! This was very easy to make, tastes great and didn’t require cooking times etc of.our other recipe. We did notice that to shape the balls you need to let them cool longer which was opposite of our recipe. Just FYI.
    Thank you!! This is going in the recipe book!

  7. 5 stars
    Your recipe is so easy!! They remind me of my childhood! We made these with some friends last year & they were gone so fast!

  8. 5 stars
    Delicious and so EASY! Totally going to make some again in green, purple and orange ones for Halloween! Yay! My kids are going to be so thrilled!!!

  9. 5 stars
    I came across this recipe and realized I had never made this favorite childhood treat for my own kids who are now entering teens years. Your recipe will help rectify that travesty. 😆

  10. 5 stars
    Tastes great but I’m not sure what I did wrong. My popcorn balls would not stick together. Usable for something else, but I wonder if I could salvage them.

  11. 5 stars
    I just made these and they are soo good. I colored them red and getting ready to make some green ones. Can’t wait for my grandkids to try. Thank you

See More Comments