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Popcorn Balls Recipes

Popcorn Balls are a Halloween tradition along with Candy Apples. I use to make popcorn balls every Halloween for years, to pass out to the Trick or Treaters. But it's not popular to give out popcorn balls anymore or homemade cookies. However, you can still make them for Halloween Parties or for the children that you do know, like your neighbors children.

On this page are the Molasses Popcorn Balls, Marshmallow Popcorn Balls, and several recipes for Chocolate Popcorn Balls, along with Cracker Jacks recipes.

A Dash of History: During the time period of the 1900's they use to insert a small wrapped gift in the center and mold the popcorn around it for children's parties or church bazaars.

Old Fashion Popcorn Balls

Decorated Popcorn Balls
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 3 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt

Put first 4 ingredients in a saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add butter and continue cooking without stirring, until it reaches 240 F or until mixture makes a soft ball when tested in a small dish of cold water.

Put the popped popcorn (minus unpopped seeds) into a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Pour the hot syrup over it and mix thoroughly. Butter your hands, and quickly shape in small balls, and place on a buttered pan, wrap in wax paper, or Glad wrap when cool.
Recipe from an 1963 Better Homes Cookbook

How do you stick the Halloween candies on? Melt 2/3 cup tiny marshmallows (or 6 big ones) with 2 teaspoons shortening over low heat. Use mixture while warm. Dip candies into the stickum and pop them onto faces. Fun idea for a Halloween Party. Let each child decorated their own popcorn ball.

Popcorn Balls

  • 5 quarts popped corn
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Keep popped corn hot and crisp in a slow oven (300). Butter sides of saucepan. In it combine sugar, water, salt, corn syrup, and vinegar. Cook to hard ball stage (250). Add vanilla. Pour slowly over hot popped corn, stirring enough to mix thoroughly. Lightly butter hands before shaping into balls or flat circles.
Recipe from an 1963 Better Homes Cookbook

Note: This recipe can also be used with cereal like corn puffs instead of popcorn.

Mother's Popcorn Balls

  • 1 cup Karo syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 T. butter

Cook syrup, sugar and cream of tartar to soft ball when a drop forms in cold water. Remove from heat, stir in baking soda and pour over freshly popped corn. let stand till cool enough to handle. Shape into balls with buttered hands.
See the recipe: Mother's Popcorn Balls

Popcorn Ball Syrup

  • 1 stick oleomargarine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light or dark syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Cook all to soft boil stage on candy thermometer. Makes enough syrup for 5 quarts popped corn, or 12 to 15 balls.
See the recipe: Popcorn Ball Syrup

Colorful Popcorn Balls

Popcorn Balls

  • 1 cup white syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • food coloring

Boil till syrup breaks in cold water. Stir in 1 T. butter. Pour over popped corn and shape into balls.
See the recipe: Popcorn Balls

Popcorn Balls

  • 10-11 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 3oz. pkg. Jello, any flavor
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped

Place popcorn in large buttered bowl. Combine syrup and sugar in saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add Jello and stir till dissolved Add peanuts and pour over popcorn. Mix well with wet hands, form 3" balls. Place on greased cookie sheet to dry. Wrap in saran wrap.

My Note: This is the first time I have ever heard of forming popcorn balls with "wet" hands. I have always used buttered hands.
See the recipe: Popcorn Balls (The one at the bottom)

Molasses Popcorn Balls recipes

Original Recipe for Popcorn Balls

  • 1 1/2 cups popcorn
  • 2 cups molasses
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Pop corn and discard unpopped kernels. Put in a large pan and sprinkle with salt. Melt butter in saucepan, add molasses, sugar, and vinegar. Boil until a little dropped in cold water becomes brittle. Pour gradually over corn while mixing thoroughly. Shape into balls and wrap in waxed paper.
Recipe circa 1919

Molasses Popcorn Balls 1

  • 1 3/4 cup molasses
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tsp. vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 1/2 qts. popped corn, salted

Combine molasses, sugar, water and vinegar. Cook to hard ball stage (250). Remove from heat; wipe crystals off pan. Add soda; stir to mix thoroughly. Pour over corn, mixing well. Shape into balls. Makes 12 balls.
Recipe from a 1959 Farm Journal pg 363

Molasses Popcorn Balls 2

  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. soda
  • 8 qts. popped corn

(Do not add water.) Boil molasses and sugar until it hardens, not brittle, in water. Add soda the last thing to improve color. Pour syrup over popped corn.
See the recipe: Molasses Popcorn Balls

Chocolate Popcorn Balls Recipes

Chocolate Popcorn Balls 1

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup white syrup
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3 oz. Bakers Premium Chocolate
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 qts. popped corn, well salted and well sorted.

Have the corn warm and in a warm bowl, put sugar, corn syrup and water over fire, stir until sugar is melted, then wash down the sides of the saucepan, cover and let boil 3 or 4 minutes, then remove the cover and cook without stirring, to a hard ball, add the molasses and butter and stir constantly until brittle.

Remove from fire and add the chocolate melted over hot water and vanilla, stir to mix the chocolate evenly through the candy, then pour on to the corn, shape into balls.
Recipe from R. Hoffman, Beulah Boosters. Davison County, SD Recipe book

Chocolate Popcorn Balls 2

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup white syrup
  • 3 tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 3 squares unsweetened Chocolate, melted
  • 5 cups popped corn

Bring first five ingredients to a boil and cook to the hard boil stage (254). Pour slowly over popped corn in large bowl, mix quickly. Butter hands and shape into 2" balls. Makes 12 balls.
Recipe from a 1959 Farm Journal pg 363

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls 1

  • 1 lb. bag marshmallows
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter and marshmallows in double boiler, add vanilla and pour over 1 dish pan of popped corn. Butter hands and shape into balls.
Recipe from a 1981 church cookbook

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls 2

  • 1 c. popcorn
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. butter or margarine
  • 1/2 lb. marshmallows

Pop corn; sprinkle with salt. Melt butter in skillet. Cut marshmallows in quarters. Alternate layers of popcorn and marshmallows in skillet. Cover; heat slowly until marshmallows are partially melted. Mix well; form into balls. Makes 9 (2") popcorn balls.
Recipe from a 1959 Farm Journal Country Cookbook pg 39

Recipes for Cracker Jacks

Cracker Jax

  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 quarts popcorn
  • 2 cups chopped nuts

Grease a 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1-inch jelly roll pan. In a large saucepan blend molasses, sugar, butter and vinegar. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Cook over medium heat to hard crack stage (300F) Remove from heat; beat in baking soda. Put popcorn in mixing bowl; pour syrup on top. Add nuts; mix well. Spread in pan. When cool, break into pieces.
Recipe from America Cooks 1967

Cracker Jacks

  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 scant tsp. soda
  • 6 qts. popcorn

In a 2 quart saucepan cook sugar, butter, salt, and water until it smokes and turns light brown. When light brown remove from heat and stir in soda and pour over popcorn.
Recipe from a 2001 Cedar County recipebook in Hartington, Nebraska

Make a Popcorn cake!

Popcorn Cake

  • 7 - 8 qts popcorn
  • 1 lb. gumdrops (no black)
  • salted nuts, if desired
  • 1 lb. marshmallows
  • 1/2 c. salad oil
  • 1/2 c. butter or margarine

Pop the corn, remove unpopped kernels, and keep warm. Melt oil, marshmallows and butter. Add mix, gum drops and peanuts to popcorn. Butter angel food cake pan. Pack with popcorn mixture and place in refrigerator. Slice when cooled.

Note: for Christmas, color the popcorn for a festive look.
Recipe from 1987 SD Special Olympics recipebook pg 65

Popcorn Bars

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. white corn syrup
  • 1 c. peanut butter
  • 6 c. popcorn
  • 1 c. salted nuts

Bring sugar and syrup to a boil over moderate heat. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Mix well. Pour over popped popcorn and peanuts. Press into a buttered 9x13 pan and cut into bars.
Recipe from 1987 SD Special Olympics recipebook pg 65

Party Snack Pages

Food for Thought:
It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone, but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

Have a great day!
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