Halloween is just around the corner, and whether you’re preparing for a party or just want a fun activity for the kids, making your own Marshmallow Popcorn Balls are the way to go!
These Mallow Balls are gooey, salty, sweet, and crunchy… can any other treat top that?
Think of Popcorn Balls as spruced-up Rice Krispies treats, just without Snap and Crackle. They’re no-bake, totally customizable, and are a blast to make!
Why you will love making Popcorn Balls
Marshmallow Popcorn Balls may be a retro dessert, but they’re just as yummy as ever–as long as they are homemade. Seriously, you’ll never want store-bought ones again after sinking your teeth into these!
They make for perfect party favors, bake-sale sellouts, or just all-around fun snacks. Kids and adults will love them, and you’ll be ready to whip them up for all sorts of occasions!
Not only is making popcorn balls nostalgic, but it’s a time-honored tradition that parents love to do with their kids and grandparents with grandkids. Just as fun to make as they are to eat, popcorn balls, while found seasonally in the fall months, are delicious real round for parties, appetizers, and those trendy candy charcuterie platter boards.
Eat plain, fill with extra mini marshmallows, or top with candies and sprinkles; popcorn balls are a ton of fun to customize AND eat. Look below for all our expert cooking tips to make your first batch no fail and super easy.
- popped popcorn – The most cost-effective way to make popcorn (and dare I say the most fun too) is to use a real popcorn maker. This way, you can make TONS of popcorn that isn’t full of random flavors like traditional store-bought bags and control exactly how much you need.
- Light corn syrup – I do not recommend using dark corn syrup as it not only changes the color but also the flavor of the popcorn balls. We want to keep them light and chewy as a Krispie treat, but the dark has molasses which makes a richer flavor.
- Butter – You will need not only butter for the recipe but butter for your hands as well to prevent sticking.
- Marshmallows – We recommend using mini marshmallows for faster and more even melting, but larger marshmallows can be used, and the conversion is noted in the printable recipe.
How to make Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
- Line a baking sheet with wax paper and spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Place popcorn into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Add corn syrup, 1/4 cup butter, water, powdered sugar, and marshmallows to a saucepan.
- Heat on medium-high, stirring almost constantly until boiling and all marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat and drizzle over popcorn.
- Mix well to evenly coat popcorn. Butter your hands (not just your fingers)
- Carefully (mixture is hot) shape popcorn into balls about the size of a tennis ball, squeezing gently to keep popcorn together.
- Place balls onto a prepared baking sheet. Reapply butter to your hands and continue until you have made about 16-20 popcorn balls.
- Let stand to cool and wrap in plastic wrap to store at room temperature, or serve immediately.
My grandma used to make these, and she used to clean out her sink really well and dry it. Pour all of the popcorn into her sink and then drizzle and mix the mixture in the sink. You do need a BIG mixing bowl for this, or you could probably divide the popcorn into two bowls.
I have a stir-crazy popcorn maker, and I used 1 cup of unpopped popcorn; that was enough for this, and I had some left over.
I also used butter on my hands because it’s what we did with my grandma. You have to be careful when shaping as the candy mixture is very hot.
If you don’t want all the hassle of popping 20 cups worth of popcorn, you can buy pre-popped popcorn. Look for varieties without a lot of added salt, as this can really affect the flavor of the finished balls. Skinny Pop, BoomChickaPop, and Trader Joe’s are all good brands.
Use a little under ¾ cup of whole kernels to get 20 cups of popcorn.
Leaving an unpopped kernel in your Popcorn Balls could cause a serious toothache, so you’ll want to be sure to remove any unpopped kernels. Pour finished popcorn over an oven cooling rack, and shake gently. Any unpopped kernels will fall through the wire rack.
What type of candy goes well in Marshmallow Popcorn Balls?
There are seemingly endless possibilities when it comes to adding sweet morsels into your Popcorn Balls. It’s kind of all based around the look you are aiming for for your balls, but some of my favorite candy ideas include:
- Reeses Pieces, Skittles or M&Ms
- Candy Corn
- Gummy Worms or Sour Patch Kids
- Broken up Snickers, Milky Way, KitKat or Crunch bars
- Broken up Oreos
Whatever candy you choose, make sure it’s not a hard candy; you don’t want anyone breaking a tooth when they bite into them!
Tips and Variations:
- If your Marshmallow Popcorn Balls aren’t sticking together, it’s probably due to the marshmallow mix not having set. Make a few balls at a time, then cycle through and reshape the balls. You may have to do this a few times before they are set.
- You can substitute 1 cup of marshmallow fluff instead of marshmallows.
- I like using gel food coloring when making candy or baking, as I find the color to be much more striking. Good Cooking Liqua-Gel Food Coloring and Wilton are good brands.
- There are so many amazingly cute decorating ideas out there to make these into Halloween-themed treats! Here are just a few ideas:
- Pumpkin Popcorn Balls: Use orange food coloring and decorate with a green sour patch kid as a pumpkin stem on the top of each pumpkin.
- Monsters Popcorn Balls: Use green food coloring and Halloween Sprinkles mix. Decorate each Monster with a set of candy googly-eyes.
- Spooky Ghosts: Don’t use any food coloring. Instead, dip finished Popcorn Balls into white candy melt and finish with candy googly-eyes.
- Creepy Crawl-y: Use green food coloring and decorate with half-buried gummy worms.
Storing Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
Marshmallow Popcorn Balls will taste the best fresh, so I advise eating them within a few days of making them. Store leftovers individually wrapped in plastic wrap in an airtight container at room temperature, not in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.
Related Halloween Recipes
Looking for other Halloween Treats? Check out some of my favorite Spooky Recipes:
- This creepy awesome Mozzarella Eyeball Tray works great for a super fun Halloween party!
- The kids will adore these Mummy Hot Dogs! And with mummies all the rage all season long, these awesome mummy jalapeno poppers and mummy stuffed mushrooms recipe are the perfect way to make a trio of terror!
- Strawberry Ghosts are strawberries covered in white chocolate with adorable little faces.
- I dip, you dip, we dip with chocolate dip, booty dip, and cappuccino dip!
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