Save on Pinterest

Traditional Popcorn Balls

Total Time

Prep/Total Time: 20 min.


20 servings

Kids of all ages enjoy this popcorn ball recipe as an old-fashioned holiday treat. One batch goes a long way. —Cathy Karges, Hazen, North Dakota


  • 7 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Food coloring, optional


  1. Place popcorn in a large baking pan; keep warm in a 200° oven.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water and salt. Cook over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 235° (soft-ball stage).
  3. Remove from the heat. Add the butter, vanilla and food coloring if desired; stir until butter is melted. Immediately pour over popcorn and stir until evenly coated.
  4. When mixture is cool enough to handle, quickly shape into 3-in. balls, dipping hands in cold water to prevent sticking.
Test Kitchen Tips
  • For a fun twist, make the basic recipe and divide it into a few portions. Then add different mix-ins to each. Think candies, nuts, dried fruit, even cereal.
  • Here are five candy-making mistakes to avoid.
  • Nutrition Facts

    1 each: 177 calories, 6g fat (2g saturated fat), 5mg cholesterol, 203mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate (18g sugars, 2g fiber), 1g protein.