Easy Marshmallow Popcorn Balls are a tasty, irresistible way to celebrate life’s big and small events. So let’s have a party!
This is my mom’s Popcorn Ball Recipe. Simple to make without a candy thermometer and so addictive!
Easy Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
When I was growing up, we didn’t fiddle with candy thermometers when it came to making sweets. My mom wasn’t one to mess with homemade toffee or divinity. But she had no trouble letting us melt marshmallows and butter to make Rice Krispie treats or these irresistible, super easy marshmallow popcorn balls.
Popcorn balls could be made with a hot sugar syrup, which would harden to the proper consistency if cooked to the ideal candy temperature whether that was a hard crack, soft crack, or some other crack. We’d rather get it right the first time, so the easy route it was.
How to Make Popcorn Balls
I have fond memories of the sweet, chewy popcorn balls of my childhood. This is a super easy recipe since marshmallows and butter can be quickly melted in the microwave, which wasn’t an option when I was a teen (yikes, I’m OLD). Here are a few tips if this is your first time making popcorn balls:
- Pop your popcorn however you prefer, but don’t add extra seasonings, though a bit of salt is OK. PRO-Tip: Salt is a flavor enhancer, and even sweets benefit from the addition of salt.
- If you use microwave popcorn, don’t use a butter-flavored variety as it can taste artificial and overwhelm the vanilla flavor of the popcorn balls.
- If that is all you have on hand and that butter flavor doesn’t bother you, feel free to give it a try. I prefer natural flavored microwave popcorn.
- Make sure to remove any unpopped kernels from your bowl of popcorn.
- The marshmallows and butter can quickly and easily be melted in the microwave. But it’s also simple to do in a pot on the stovetop.
- PRO-Tip: Butter your palms when you shape the popcorn balls so they don’t stick to your hands.
- Dip your popcorn balls in sprinkles while the balls are still tacky from the marshmallows if desired.
- Add colored M&Ms to the popcorn before adding the marshmallow and butter mixture to make seasonal or holiday-themed popcorn balls. Using Orange and Brown for Halloween, Red and Green for Christmas, or Pastel Colors for Spring and Easter are a few suggestions.
- You can also mix flavored gelatin into the melted marshmallow mixture to both color and flavor your popcorn balls.
How to Store Popcorn Balls
Keep your popcorn balls in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can also individually wrap them in plastic wrap.
How to Wrap Popcorn Balls
If you’re giving out popcorn balls for a party favor or Halloween treats, put them in cellophane bags tied with festive ribbons. These can be packaged a day ahead of time.
More Snack Recipes You’ll Love:
- White Chocolate Popcorn
- Homemade Caramel Corn
- Homemade Apple Chips
- Vanilla Almonds
- More of the Best Snack Recipes
This recipe was first shared in October 2014 for Jolly Times’ 100th Anniversary. Photos and text were updated in 2020.
- 10 cups popcorn (may use 2 bags of microwave popcorn with a neutral flavor)
- 30 large marshmallows
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Sprinkles, to decorate, optional
- Pop popcorn according to instructions on the bag if using microwave popcorn. Pour popped corn into a large bowl, removing any unpopped kernels.
- In another large microwave-safe bowl, melt marshmallows and butter by heating for 30-second increments, stopping and stirring till melted. Stir until the butter is mixed with the marshmallows. Add vanilla and mix. Add popcorn and gently stir till all the popcorn is well coated.
- With buttered hands, press popcorn into well-packed balls. Dip in sprinkles if desired and press gently until the sprinkles adhere.
Yield: varies depending on size of popcorn balls
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Serving Size:1 popcorn ball
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 122Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 88mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 1g
In a matter of minutes, I had popped two bags of popcorn and was tossing and coating the kernels in marshmallow goodness. I shaped the balls with buttered hands and dipped them in sprinkles. It was for a celebration after all. Did you know that it’s Jolly Time’s 100th anniversary? So get with the program, everyone, and pop up a batch of corn.
Whether sweet or salty or both, please enjoy a treat that’s been around for more than a century! And if you’re so inclined a batch of these festive popcorn balls is also a wonderful way to celebrate!