Mom's Popcorn Balls Recipe
How To Make Perfect Popcorn Balls - Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls


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These old-time popcorn balls are great anytime, but they're especially fun to enjoy at Halloween or Christmas time. Let your children help make these popcorn balls and give them the memories of a wonderful family tradition. They are so easy to make and so delicious!

When I was a young girl (many years ago), my mother, along with my brothers and I, made these wonderful popcorn balls for Halloween every year to give out to the neighborhood kids. I continued this tradition with my children and their friends. That ended, of course, when the tainted candy scare started.

Popcorn Balls

Learn about the history and legends of Popcorn.


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Popcorn Balls Recipe - How To Make Perfect Popcorn Balls:

Recipe Type: Savory and Sweet Snack Food, Popcorn
Yields: makes many
Prep time: 20 min


3 quarts unsalted popped corn*
1 cup granulated
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Food dye (your favorite color), 5 to 6 drops (optional)**

* Remember to remove any un-popped popcorn kernels.

** Add any color you desire and as much as you like. If you are using liquid coloring, it takes a bit more to make a bright color. Paste coloring is more concentrated.


Popcorn can be air popped to reduce fat or cooked in oil (your choice). Cooking in oil will actually help the caramel corn separate easier to reduce clumping. Place popped corn in a large bowl or pan (make sure you remove ALL the uncooked popcorn kernels).

In a saucepan over medium heat, add sugar, corn syrup, water, butter, and salt. Cook until reaches a temperature of 270 degrees F. on your Cooking Thermometer. If you don't have a cooking thermometer, drop a small amount of sugar syrup into very cold water - it will solidify but will separates into hard brittle threads when done. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract, stirring only enough to combine. If you choose to use some food dye or tint, add it now.

This is the type of cooking thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right.

Pour hot syrup over popcorn a little at a time, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until all popcorn is coated. Use a non-stick cooking spray on the spoon to help prevent the corn from sticking to the spoon. Let popcorn cool slightly, until you can handle it easily (if you let the popcorn cool just a minute or two they will also into balls better).

Using well buttered hands and working quickly, shape about 1 cup popcorn into a ball (by squeezing between both hands). Place popcorn ball onto waxed paper to let cool. Repeat with remaining popcorn. NOTE: Mixture will be hot so be careful!

Let popcorn balls cool completely. Wrap each individual ball in plastic wrap.

Store at room temperature.

Makes many servings.

You might also like:

Homemade Caramel Corn

Cheddar Cheese Popcorn

Chicago Mix Popcorn

Homemade Caramel Corn

Caramel Corn
This classic caramel corn is so satisfying and delicious! Your children and/or grandchildren will  label you the "best" Mom or Grandma when you serve this to them. Makes a great snack and also wonderful gifts.

Cheddar Cheese Popcorn
If you love cheese and popcorn, here is a good salty and cheesy snack! The secret to cheddar cheese popcorn is to use processed powdered cheese. Cheddar Cheese Popcorn is also used in the famous Chicago Mix Popcorn recipe.

Chicago-Style Popcorn
A Chicago Mix is known to locals as caramel and cheddar cheese flavored popcorn kernels mixed up together creating an addictive sweet and salty snack combination. The Chicago Popcorn is a cheese and caramel combo that everyone loves the minute they try it.

Cracker Jacks
The flavor that makes Cracker Jacks unique from classic caramel corn is the molasses syrup added in. This is a copycat recipe that comes very close to the original and just as hard to stop eating!

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