Popcorn balls are a holiday staple. Thankfully, the sweet-and-salty treats take just seven ingredients.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens
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Ingredients

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Directions

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  • Remove all unpopped kernels from popped popcorn. Put popcorn in a greased 17x12x2-inch baking or roasting pan. Keep popcorn warm in a 300 degree F oven while making syrup.

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  • For syrup mixture, butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. In saucepan combine sugar, water, corn syrup, vinegar, and salt. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils, stirring to dissolve sugar (about 6 minutes). Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Reduce heat to medium; continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring occasionally, until thermometer registers 250 degree F, hard-ball stage (about 20 minutes).

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  • Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. Stir in vanilla. Pour syrup mixture over the hot popcorn and stir gently to coat. Cool until the popcorn mixture can be handled easily. With buttered hands, quickly shape the mixture into 2-1/2-inch diameter balls. Wrap each popcorn ball in plastic wrap. Makes about 20 popcorn balls.

Nutrition Facts

140 calories; 0 g total fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 60 mg sodium. 33 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 1 g protein; 0 RE vitamin a; 0 mg vitamin c; 0 mg calcium; 1 mg iron;

Reviews (4)

26 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 10
  • 4 star values: 5
  • 3 star values: 4
  • 2 star values: 4
  • 1 star values: 3
Rating: Unrated
12/15/2013
No way this recipe makes 20 popcorn balls. Think about it - 18 cups of popcorn - that is not even 1 cup per ball. Then they get wet from the syrup and packed together. I got 8 and they were not that large. That being said, they were delicious.
Rating: Unrated
12/16/2015
Our family has used this recipe for 75+ years with two minor deviations - but that might make a difference for everyone! We use 20 cups of popcorn instead of 18 cups. We also use an extra 1/2 cup of water (one cup plus 1/2 cup total) everything else is identical. The trick for us is hitting the temperature exactly on the nose of 250 - not a degree higher or lower!! Hope this may help some of you who are frustrated with the recipe- It is a holiday tradition for us and the whole family loves them!
Rating: Unrated
09/13/2013
Why do most of these recipes have vinegar? What does that do?
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Rating: Unrated
10/29/2014
2 stars, I got 20 small (2-3 inch) popcorn balls that tasted OK. The syrup, when cooled, had a crispy "bite", but they were very fragile & I had a hard time getting them to hold together. I don't know if I used too much popcorn (probably close to 6 quarts, in retrospect) or didn't stir well enough or what. I know it wasn't because of cooling, because I had the problem w/even the first few that burned my fingers! It took me about 40 minutes to get the syrup to 250/hard ball stage, but it didn't make the popcorn soggy. Next time I'll make marshmallow based ones, much easier to work with.