These Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls with Marshmallows are so much fun! They're sweet, salty, crunchy, sticky, and delicious. Just 15 minutes of prep needed!
Easy Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
What's better than a sweet and salty snack that takes just 15 minutes to prep? These delicious popcorn balls are my go-to treat or snack.
They're perfect for the holiday season, for a Halloween party, for a movie night at home, you name it. You can even wrap them up and use them as party favors!
Whip these simple popcorn treats up for special occasions or just keep them on-hand at home for a sticky dessert after lunch or dinner.
The whole family will love them!
What Are Popcorn Balls Made Of?
You need just a few basic ingredients needed for these delicious homemade treats!
- Butter: I recommend unsalted butter. It adds a rich, butter flavor and helps shape the balls without sticking.
- Corn Syrup: Light corn syrup adds just the right amount of sweetness and thins the marshmallow.
- Vanilla Extract: Adds flavor depth.
- Salt: Cuts the sweetness and enhances the flavor of the popcorn treats.
- Mini Marshmallows: I recommend mini marshmallows, because they melt more quickly than large marshmallows do.
- Popcorn: You'll need 12 cups of popped popcorn. Use your favorite method! You can do stovetop popcorn, fresh popcorn from an air popper, or keep it simple with microwave popcorn.
How to Make Traditional Popcorn Balls
These homemade popcorn balls are so simple to make and are the perfect treat for any occasion!
Scroll to the recipe card below for the ingredient amounts and full instructions.
- In a large pot, melt butter. Pour in the corn syrup, vanilla, and salt, then heat until bubbling. Add in the marshmallows and stir until melted and smooth.
- Grab your bowl of popcorn and stir that into the marshmallow mix.
- Butter your hands, then form the mixture into 3-inch popcorn marshmallow balls. Place them onto a baking sheet lined with a piece of wax paper.
- Let the assembled popcorn balls sit for 30 minutes to set, then serve.
Tips and Notes
- Let the popcorn cool slightly. If you're using warm popcorn, I recommend letting it cool for about 10-15 minutes before assembling the popcorn mixture. This ensures that everything sets properly.
- To prevent sticking while stirring, try using a lightly buttered spatula.
- No light corn syrup? Dark will work too. The balls will just have a slightly darker color.
There are tons of ways you can customize this old-fashioned holiday treat. Here are just a few fun ideas:
- Add a chocolate drizzle. Try drizzling the finished popcorn balls with melted semi-sweet chocolate or white chocolate.
- Use mix-ins. Try adding in some chopped nuts, dried fruit, or sprinkles.
- Change the color. Suit these fun treats to any holiday by adding food coloring to the syrup.
These easy popcorn balls make an excellent sweet treat or snack all on their own, but they also make the perfect addition to a whole snack spread for a party. Here are a few more snacks to enjoy alongside this delicious treat:
To store these popcorn balls, wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 4-5 days.
I don't recommend freezing these. The popcorn will get stale and harden quickly.
How Do You Get Popcorn Balls to Stick?
The melted marshmallows do plenty to help the popcorn balls hold their shape. The key is to make sure those marshmallows are fully melted before you stir in the popcorn.
If you add the popcorn while there are still chunks of marshmallow, there won't be enough stickiness to hold everything together!
If you are still noticing that the balls aren't holding together, then you may just need more melted marshmallow to fully coat the popcorn.
Start with ½ cup more at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.
Why Are My Popcorn Balls Soggy?
If your popcorn balls are soggy or not holding together, then you may have just used too much butter.
The butter is supposed to help prevent too much sticking, but there is a point of diminished returns! Go easy with it!
How Do You Keep the Marshmallow Mixture from Sticking to Your Hands?
To keep the marshmallow mixture from sticking to your hands, form the popcorn marshmallow balls with damp, buttered, or lightly oiled hands.
Recipe Card with Ingredient Amounts and Instructions
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups mini marshmallows
- 12 cups plain popcorn, popped
- Place a piece of parchment paper onto a large baking sheet, and set aside.
- In a large pot, melt the butter over low-medium heat. Pour in the corn syrup, vanilla and salt and stir until it begins to bubble.3 tablespoons unsalted butter½ cup light corn syrup1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Add the marshmallows, and stir until they are completely melted.3 cups mini marshmallows
- Gently stir in the popcorn and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.12 cups plain popcorn
- Butter your hands then form the popcorn into 12 (3-inch) balls. Place the popcorn balls onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Let them cool for at least 30 minutes to set up. Serve at room temperature.
- Scroll up and see the post for tips, variations, FAQs, and storage options.