Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls from your childhood! This classic recipe is easy, sticky sweet, delicious, and timeless. Great for a party, holiday, or any occasion. Loved by kids and adults alike!
Who remembers popcorn balls from when they were a kid? And more importantly, why do we stop making them once we grow up? I’m here to change that today with this classic popcorn balls recipe. Get in the kitchen (with your kids!) and make up a batch. They’re so easy and yummy!
Popcorn Balls Recipe
Marshmallow Popcorn Balls Ingredients:
- Light corn syrup
- Unsalted butter
- Cold water
- Powdered sugar
- Mini marshmallows
- Kosher salt
(Scroll down for the exact measurements and the detailed printable recipe card.)
How to Make Popcorn Balls
Gather up your ingredients and you’re only minutes away from this delicious treat!
- Popcorn: we always use stovetop popcorn, which is the best tasting and foolproof without stray kernels, but feel free to buy it already popped. Pour it into an extra large bowl.
- Marshmallow Mixture: in a medium pot over medium heat, combine corn syrup, butter, water, powdered sugar, and marshmallows. Heat and stir until mixture is combined and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and salt. Slowly pour this over the popcorn and stir to coat each popped kernel.
- Shape Balls: let cool for a few minutes until you can handle the mixture. Then working quickly, gently squeeze and shape into 3 1/2-inch balls before they cool. TIP: grease your hands with cooking spray or butter to easily shape the balls.
- How to color popcorn balls: You can easily make your popcorn balls any color to suit your occasion. Simply add in a few drops of any color food coloring to the marshmallow mixture in the pot as it’s melting.
- Use pastel marshmallows: mini pastel marshmallows are super cute, especially for an Easter treat!
- Add in sprinkles: once you’ve combined the marshmallow mixture with the popcorn, you can also add in some sprinkles for festive coloring.
- Change the size: we find that between 3-4 inches round is the perfect size, but you can definitely make them smaller.
Marshmallow Popcorn Balls Recipe Tips
- Grease Your Hands: these are sticky! So greasing your hands with nonstick spray or butter before forming the balls will help a lot.
- Work Quickly: as the mixture cools down, the balls get harder to shape, so you need to work rather fast. If you can, enlist someone to help you – kids love to make these!
- Don’t Form Too Tightly: when forming the mixture, you want to press firmly enough to shape into round balls, but not so compacted that they’ll be tough to eat. They should still be light and fluffy.
Popcorn Calculations: you need 20 cups of popped popcorn for this recipe, which is about 5 quarts.
• 1/4 cup popcorn kernels = approximately 7 cups of popped popcorn.
• 1/3 cup popcorn kernels = approximately 10 cups of popped popcorn.
• 1/2 cup popcorn kernels = approximately 14 cups of popped popcorn
How to Store Popcorn Balls
Wrap popcorn balls tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Can you freeze popcorn balls? Yep. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap, then transfer them to an airtight freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 1 month. Allow to thaw at room temperature, remove the plastic and enjoy.
We love this sweet, sticky treat and you will, too!
Watch them Being Made
More Popcorn Recipes
Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
- 20 cups popped popcorn (stovetop popcorn or store-bought popped popcorn)
- ¾ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup unsalted butter , cut into cubes
- 2 teaspoons cold water
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 heaping cup mini marshmallows
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Start by making stovetop popcorn (there won't be any unpopped kernels!) Or store-bought is totally fine. Pour into an extra large bowl.
- In a medium pot over medium/medium-high heat, combine corn syrup, butter, cold water, powdered sugar, and marshmallows. Heat and stir until the mixture is combined and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and salt.
- Carefully pour over the popcorn, and gently stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to coat thoroughly.
- Let cool for just a couple minutes until you can handle the mixture, then working quickly before the mixture cools too much, grease your hands (with cooking spray or butter) to easily shape the balls. Gently squeeze just enough to shape into 3 1/2-inch balls (you want them firm, but not so compacted that they're tough to eat.)
- Serve and enjoy!