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Popcorn Balls

Made with just a few simple ingredients, these Popcorn Balls are crunchy, chewy, and sweet! Great for movie nights or family picnics, these easy to make snacks are sure to be a hit!

What’s better than snacks for a family get together or a lazy weekend lounging on the couch? We can’t get enough of simple snack recipes that everyone enjoys. Some of our favorites are Homemade Granola Bars, Alabama Fire Crackers, Homemade Pimento Cheese, Chocolate Covered Bacon, and Candied Walnuts.

Popcorn balls on a sheet pan.

Popcorn Balls

If you love the taste of popcorn, you’re going to love this easy recipe for popcorn balls! Popcorn balls are a type of confection made from popcorn, sugar, butter, and corn syrup. They are often coated with chocolate or candy coating.

They were first made in the United States in the 19th century and were popular in the early 20th century and were served at circuses and carnivals. Popcorn balls are still popular today and are often served at Halloween parties or other events.

The taste of popcorn balls depends on the ingredients used to make them. However, they are typically sweet with a chewy texture. This recipe uses just 6 simple ingredients including marshmallows, and corn syrup to make a sweet and salty treat!

Enjoy them as-is or get creative and coat them in your favorite candy coating!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This nostalgic treat is easy to make and fun to enjoy.
  • Great for BBQs, picnics, or potlucks.
  • You can customize them by adding your favorite candy.
  • They’re made with just 6 simple ingredients.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Unsalted Butter – Adds a rich buttery flavor to the popcorn balls and also helps shape the balls without sticking.
  • Light Corn Syrup – Gives the syrup its sticky texture and sweet taste.
  • Vanilla Extract – Adds a complimentary light vanilla flavor to the popcorn.
  • Salt – Balances out the sweetness.
  • Mini Marshmallows – Melts down into the syrup to create a chewy and sweet texture.
  • Popped Popcorn – Salty and crunchy popcorn makes up the base of this fun treat.

How To Make Marshmallow Popcorn Balls

  1. Prepare the ingredients: Place a piece of parchment paper onto a large baking sheet, and set aside. Pop the popcorn beforehand using your favorite method.
  2. Make the sticky syrup: 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. Add the marshmallows, and stir until they are completely melted.
  3. Add the popcorn: Gently stir in the popcorn and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. 
  4. Form the popcorn balls: Butter your hands then form the popcorn into 12 (3-inch) balls. Place the popcorn onto the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Cool and serve: Let them cool for at least 30 minutes to set up. Serve at room temperature.
Collage showing how to make marshmallow popcorn balls.

Popcorn Ball Recipe Tips

  1. Let the popcorn balls cool for at least 30 minutes to allow the chewy texture to set properly.
  2. Melt the marshmallows completely to ensure the syrup will easily coat the popcorn.
  3. If you don’t have light corn syrup, use dark corn syrup instead. They will have a darker color but will still taste amazing!

Variations

There are many ways to change the flavor of your popcorn balls. Check out the fun ideas below!

  • Drizzle on some semi-sweet or white chocolate.
  • Add in some chopped nuts, dried fruit, or sprinkles.
  • Add food coloring to the syrup to change up the color for any occasion.
Popcorn ball torn in half.
Why are my popcorn balls not sticking together?

If your popcorn balls are not sticking together, it is likely because the marshmallows were not fully melted. Make sure to stir until they are completely smooth before adding the popcorn.

Another issue may be that there is too much popcorn. Make sure to correctly measure the popcorn, so there are enough melted marshmallows properly coat it.

My popcorn balls are too sticky, what can I do?

If your popcorn balls are too sticky, you can add more popped popcorn to the mixture. Start with a ½ cup and add more until it reaches the desired consistency.

Storing and Freezing

Storing: Wrap each leftover popcorn ball tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 4-5 days.

Freezing: Refrigeration and freezing are not recommended as the popcorn will get stale and harden quickly.

Like This Recipe?

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Popcorn ball on parchment.

Popcorn Balls

5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 12 Servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 12 cups popcorn popped

Instructions

  • 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 butter
    ½ cup light corn syrup
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    ¼ teaspoon 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 popcorn
  • Butter your hands then form the popcorn into 12 (3-inch) balls. Place the popcorn onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • Let them cool for at least 30 minutes to set up. Serve at room temperature.
  • See post for storage options.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 popcorn ball. Actual calories will vary.
 
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.
 
*Photos courtesy of Karla Rae Photography.

Nutrition

Serving: 1popcorn ball | Calories: 149kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 91mg | Potassium: 38mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 109IU | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Recipe Rating