5 from 2 votes

Popcorn Balls with Marshmallows

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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!

close up of popcorn balls.

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

  1. 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. 
  2. Add corn syrup, 1/4 cup butter, water, powdered sugar, and marshmallows to a saucepan.
  3. Heat on medium-high, stirring almost constantly until boiling and all marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat and drizzle over popcorn. 
  4. Mix well to evenly coat popcorn. Butter your hands (not just your fingers)
4 image collage on how to make melt marshmallow mixture for popcorn balls.
  1. Carefully (mixture is hot) shape popcorn into balls about the size of a tennis ball, squeezing gently to keep popcorn together.
  2. Place balls onto a prepared baking sheet. Reapply butter to your hands and continue until you have made about 16-20 popcorn balls. 
  3. Let stand to cool and wrap in plastic wrap to store at room temperature, or serve immediately. 
4 images on how to turn popcorn into popcorn balls step by step.

Expert Tips

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.

FAQs

Can you use pre-popped popcorn?


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.

How many kernels does it take to make 20 cups of popcorn?


Use a little under ¾ cup of whole kernels to get 20 cups of popcorn.

What’s the easiest way to remove unpopped kernels from your 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.

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: 
popcorn ball bitten into.

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:

5 from 2 votes

Popcorn Balls with Marshmallows


Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Easy Popcorn Balls with Marshmallows are a soft bitable popcorn ball that tastes just as good as a rice Krispie treat in a seasonal popcorn ball that can easily be filled and decorated with candies like M&Ms. Color for any holiday or occasion, these sweet and chewy popcorn balls contain few ingredients but will become one of your all time favorites. Salty, buttery, and tons of marshmallows, you won't believe how easy these old fashioned gooey marshmallow popcorn balls are!

Ingredients
 

  • 20 cups popped popcorn
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter plus 2 tablespoons softened butter for shaping
  • 2 tsp. cold water
  • 2 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows or 14 large marshmallows

Instructions

  • Line a baking sheet with wax paper and spray 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) and carefully (mixture is hot) shape popcorn into balls, about the size of a tennis ball, squeezing gently to keep popcorn together.
  • Place balls onto 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. 

Notes

Expert Tips:
  1. 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. 
  2. I have a stir crazy popcorn maker and I used 1 cup of unpopped popcorn and that was enough for this and I had some left over.
  3. I also used butter on my hands, because it’s what we did with my grandma.
  4. You have to be careful when shaping as the candy mixture is very hot.
Can you use pre-popped popcorn?
If you don’t own a popcorn maker, 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.
How many kernels does it take to make 20 cups of popcorn?
Use a little under ¾ cup of whole kernels to get 20 cups of popcorn.
What’s the easiest way to remove unpopped kernels from your 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ball | Calories: 738kcal | Carbohydrates: 148g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 42mg | Potassium: 451mg | Fiber: 21g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 71IU | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

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5 from 2 votes

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