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Popcorn Balls (3 Different Ways!)

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Popcorn Balls (3 Different Ways!)

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These popcorn balls are a tasty snack that will win the hearts of kids and adults alike! This recipe has 3 different flavors, marshmallow, peanut butter, and caramel, so there’s something for everyone! You’re going to love each soft and buttery bite.

Looking for more easy treats that the whole family will love? After you make these amazing popcorn balls, try these perfect rice krispie treats, classic muddy buddies, or no-bake butterscotch bars!

Marshmallow, caramel, and peanut butter popcorn balls on a gray plate.

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls

These popcorn balls are the perfect treat. So easy to make and so delicious! The popcorn gets combined with melty marshmallows for a sweet, ooey-gooey texture you won’t be able to get enough of! My kids ask for these all the time. And the good news is, they can even make them by themselves since the recipe is so simple!

If you’re not already convinced, I’ve included 3 different flavors to make these popcorn balls your own: marshmallow, caramel, and peanut butter! Each variety is super easy to make and so tasty! There’s something for everyone. You can even take these treats one step further and add your favorite candy toppings or a drizzle of melted chocolate before they cool completely. Trust me, your family will go crazy over these. You may want to make an extra batch because they’ll get eaten in a snap!

What are Popcorn Balls Made of?

This recipe is great because it uses so many pantry staples. When you or your kids are in the mood for something sweet, popcorn balls are the perfect treat to make! Feel free to customize these however you want and add in different mix-ins or toppings. (Exact measurements for each ingredient listed below are in the recipe card at the end of the post.)

  • Plain Popped Popcorn: You can use bagged popcorn (this is a great choice if you’re making a large quantity of popcorn balls) or freshly popped microwave popcorn.
  • Mini Marshmallows: These get melted down to create a sticky-sweet mixture that holds the popcorn balls together.
  • Light Corn Syrup: Adds to the sweetness of the popcorn balls and also helps them stick together.
  • Unsalted Butter: So these treats have delicious buttery goodness in each bite.
  • Salt: Just a pinch to enhance the flavors of each popcorn ball.
  • Vanilla Extract: A must-add for sweet treats like these! Vanilla enhances the flavor and makes them taste even better.
  • Creamy Peanut Butter (Optional): This is what you will add if you want to make a peanut butter variety.
  • Dark Brown Sugar (Optional): If you want to make a delicious caramel version of these popcorn balls! Dark brown sugar adds a deep sweetness that is so tasty.

How to Make Homemade Popcorn Balls

They are super easy to make! The key here is to work fast, because the marshmallow popcorn mixture tends to cool and set very quickly after it’s been taken off the heat. So have any toppings, mix-ins, or drizzles that you’re using ready to go!

Marshmallow

  1. Marshmallow Mixture: Add the marshmallows, corn syrup, and butter to a large pot. Heat over medium heat until the marshmallows are melted. Then turn off the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla.
  2. Add Popcorn: Add the popcorn and stir until coated.
  3. Transfer to Parchment Paper: Turn the popcorn onto parchment paper or a heat-proof countertop that has been sprayed with pan spray. Form the popcorn balls as instructed below.

Peanut Butter

  1. Peanut Butter Mixture: Add the marshmallows, corn syrup, butter, and peanut butter to a large pot. Heat over medium heat until the marshmallows are melted. Then turn off the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla.
  2. Add Popcorn: Add the popcorn and stir until coated.
  3. Transfer to Parchment Paper: Turn the popcorn onto parchment paper or a heat-proof countertop that has been sprayed with pan spray. Form the popcorn balls as instructed below.

Caramel

  1. Caramel Mixture: Add the marshmallows, corn syrup, butter, and brown sugar to a large pot. Heat over medium heat until the marshmallows are melted. Then turn off the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla.
  2. Add Popcorn: Add the popcorn and stir until coated.
  3. Transfer to Parchment Paper: Turn the popcorn onto parchment paper or a heat-proof countertop that has been sprayed with pan spray. Form as instructed below.

Forming The Popcorn Balls

  1. Shape Quickly: Let the popcorn cool for 2-3 minutes before spraying your hands with pan spray. Pull off the desired amount of popcorn and form into a tight ball. Work quickly, as once the popcorn starts cooling it cools fast.
  2. Add Toppings: As the popcorn balls cool, you can top the caramel ones with flakey sea salt and the peanut butter ones with a drizzle of melted peanut butter if desired.

Why Are My Popcorn Balls Not Sticking Together?

This is usually because your ingredient ratios are off or you haven’t let your marshmallow syrup mixture cool down enough. If you try to form the balls while the syrup is too hot, it won’t stick. The mixture gets sticker as it sits. Make sure you don’t let it cool down too long, though, or you won’t be able to shape the popcorn balls properly.

4-photo collage of the popcorn balls being formed.

Tasty Variations

Here are a few tasty variations for your popcorn balls! It’s so fun to customize them and make them your own. This is my kids’ favorite part!

  • Add a Drizzle: Once your popcorn balls have been shaped, add a drizzle of peanut butter or melted white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or butterscotch chips!
  • Roll in Candy: Coat the popcorn balls in mini M&Ms or crushed Oreos!
  • Add Sprinkles: Sprinkles are a great way to add color and make these popcorn balls festive for any holiday.

Top-down view of the popcorn balls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Storing Leftovers

Store popcorn balls in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can wrap them individually in plastic wrap or press and seal, or in individual cellophane bags. This makes them great for gifting!

One ball of popcorn torn in half.

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Marshmallow

  • Add the marshmallows, corn syrup, and butter to a large pot and heat over medium heat until the marshmallows are melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla. Add the popcorn and stir until coated. Turn the popcorn onto parchment paper or a heat-proof countertop that has been sprayed with pan spray. Form the popcorn balls as instructed below.

Peanut Butter

  • Add the marshmallows, corn syrup, butter, and peanut butter to a large pot and heat over medium heat until the marshmallows are melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla. Add the popcorn and stir until coated. Turn the popcorn onto parchment paper or a heat-proof countertop that has been sprayed with pan spray. Form the popcorn balls as instructed below.

Caramel

  • Add the marshmallows, corn syrup, butter, and brown sugar to a large pot and heat over medium heat until the marshmallows are melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla. Add the popcorn and stir until coated. Turn the popcorn onto parchment paper or a heat-proof countertop that has been sprayed with pan spray. Form the popcorn balls as instructed below.

Forming the Popcorn Balls

  • Let the popcorn cool for 2-3 minutes before spraying your hands with pan spray. Pull off the desired amount of popcorn and form into a tight ball. Work quickly, as once the popcorn starts cooling it cools fast.

  • As the popcorn balls cool, you can top the caramel ones with flakey sea salt and the peanut butter ones with a drizzle of melted peanut butter if desired.

Calories: 78kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 1gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 9mgPotassium: 26mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 73IUCalcium: 2mgIron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.



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