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Popcorn Balls

Kids love popcorn, and they love to help in the kitchen, so this must be a perfect combination!

What You'll Need

  • 4 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light or dark corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vegetable oil, vegetable shortening, or additional butter for greasing hands

What to Do

  1. Place the popped popcorn in a large stainless-steel mixing bowl in a 200 degree F. oven to keep warm while preparing the coating.

  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, water, butter, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue cooking without stirring until the temperature reaches 270 degree F. on a candy thermometer or until a small amount of the syrup mixture dropped into very cold water separates into threads which are hard but not brittle.

  3. Remove mixture from the heat. Stir in the vanilla, then slowly pour the syrup over the popcorn, stirring with a wooden spoon to coat every kernel.

  4. When the popcorn is cool enough to handle, but still warm, grease your hands and shape the popcorn into 2-inch balls. Let the balls cool at room temperature.

    Makes about twenty 2-1/2 inch balls.


Kids, make sure your parents help you because the sugar mixture is very hot.

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