This easy marshmallow popcorn balls recipe made with melted marshmallows and butter, like rice krispie squares, but with popcorn instead of cereal. And a lot of orange food coloring!
Popcorn balls are so quintessentially Halloween-y, aren’t they? Seeing that round bumpy shape, smelling that syrupy smell, munching on the soft-yet-crisp kernels all takes me back to Halloween as a kid.
As many popcorn balls as I’ve eaten in my life though, I had never made them before. When I decided that I wanted to come up with a popcorn ball recipe for my blog, I turned to the internet. What I discovered is that popcorn balls are no simple matter. They involve basic candy-making (sugar melting, candy thermometer – the whole she-bang). I wasn’t up for all of that. And I figured you wouldn’t be either.
So instead, I wondered what would happen if I skipped the candy-making step and used an already-made candy, like marshmallows!
Sure enough, you can totally make popcorn balls by melting marshmallows and butter in the same exact way that you make rice krispie squares. Add a little (or rather, a lot) of orange food coloring and these Pumpkin Popcorn Balls is what you get. Aren’t they too cute? And so easy to make.
Making Pumpkin Popcorn Balls
Like I said, just like rice krispie squares. You melt marshmallows and butter and then add food coloring. Then add your popcorn. I bought a big bag of pre-popped kettle corn from my grocery store (they sell it in the snack section with the chips. You’re looking for something like this). But you can use any kind of popped popcorn, even microwave popcorn. Then stir it all up.
At this point you need to work fast. And you need to recognize that it’s kind of a sticky mess. What helps is keeping your hands slightly damp with water. The marshmallow mixture doesn’t stick to water. The best thing to do is to turn your kitchen tap on while forming the balls. Just keep it at a slow drizzle. After every ball or two, rinse your hands.
Arrange the popcorn balls on a tray. Then you insert strips of green candy into the tops.
For the green candy I used these fruit slices. From a 20 oz. bag there were more than enough green ones for one batch of balls because you cut each one into 4 curved slices. That’s it. Let them set for a little while and then serve.
If you’re looking for more fun Halloween treats to make, be sure to get the recipe for these Apricot Jack-O-Lanterns.Print
Popcorn Balls are traditional at Halloween. These ones are even Halloweenier because they look like little pumpkins.
The gummy fruit slices you need tend to not be sold as a single color. I buy the 20 oz. bag of assorted colors and there are enough green ones in there to do a batch of the popcorn balls (you only need 4 candies to make 16 popcorn balls). For a more finished look to the stems, after slicing the candies roll each slice in a bit of regular sugar. Then the cut edges will have sugar on them just like the uncut edges do.
- 4 green gummy candy fruit slices (like these)
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 1 Tbsp. neon orange gel food coloring
- 10.5 oz. bag mini marshmallows
- 1 (8 oz.) bag kettle corn (or 14 cups popped popcorn)
- Lightly oil a large baking sheet.
- Cut each gummy candy into 4 curved strips.
- In a large pot melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the food coloring until evenly blended. Add the marshmallows and stir continuously until smooth and evenly orange.
- Add the popcorn and stir gently but thoroughly until all coated. Remove from heat.
- Moisten hands with water and begin to shape popcorn into 16 2 and ½ inch balls.
- Moisten your hands regularly to stop them from sticking to the mixture. (I keep the tap running gently throughout to make it easy to get them wet regularly). Place balls on the prepared baking sheet as you go. Immediately insert the green candy strips into the tops of the balls before they set. Let set for 30 minutes before serving.