Sweet & savory country cooking from my table to yours!


Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls


When I was a kid we had lots of bake sales and lots of great treats like these old-fashioned popcorn balls.  All of them were made by cooking a simple syrup.  Some had a good dose of corn syrup in them like the ones here, while some recipes replaced the corn syrup with molasses.  Both were great.

A few of my friends were talking about popcorn balls the other day and how the store bought ones are so hard to find anymore.  My reply was that they didn’t need those store bought ones anyway because homemade ones are so much better and they’re super easy to make.  The only bad thing about this recipe is that it only makes about 5 medium popcorn balls.  Therefore, if you’re making these to take to a party, I’d suggest making at least 3 batches.

This recipe is so simple, there’s really no need for illustrated steps.

All I did in the picture above was cook a simple syrup…

I cooked it until it reached 250 degrees on my candy thermometer and I also tested it in cold water.  The picture above shows what the mixture looked like once it reached the hard ball stage and was tested in cold water.


Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls

  • Author: Cindy Gibbs
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 5 Medium Popcorn Balls 1x


These old-fashioned popcorn balls are buttery and molded together with a sweet simple syrup.  They are the perfect Fall or Halloween treat.



  • 7 cups popped popcorn, unsalted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup (or molasses for molasses popcorn balls)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (If you use salted popcorn, omit the salt)
  • 1/2 stick butter, unsalted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Sift through the popped corn and remove any unpopped kernels.  Transfer popcorn to a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the sugar, water, corn syrup, salt, and butter to a medium saucepan and mix over medium heat until the butter has melted and all ingredients are combined.
  3. Cook to 250 degrees on a candy thermometer or when mixture forms a hard ball when dropped in cold water.  Click the following link to see how to test candy in cold water,  http://www.mycountrytable.com/test-candy-cold-water/
  4. Add the vanilla and mix to blend it in.
  5. Drizzle the hot syrup in a thin stream over the popcorn while mixing at the same time.  Mix until all of the popcorn is covered with the syrup.
  6. Using buttered hands shape popcorn into balls and place on parchment paper.  Allow popcorn balls to sit on the parchment paper for 15 minutes and place each one in a sandwich bag.

Popcorn balls will stay fresh for up to 5 days if kept in sealed sandwich bags.

  • Category: Snacks

Keywords: popcorn, popcorn balls, Fall treats, Halloween treats, old fashioned popcorn balls,

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