There are a few recipes options that make up the basis of the sticky part of popcorn balls. Due to a marshmallow surplus in the pantry, we went with the kind that are Rice Krispy treats made with popcorn instead of cereal. I was tempted to mix other things in, stuff like sprinkles, some Trader Joe’s trail mixes we had mixed together (raisins, craisins, assorted chips, honey roasted peanuts, assorted nuts), chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or caramel.
I remember not liking popcorn balls as a kid. I remember REALLY wanting to like them and getting REALLY excited when I saw them. But then not liking them. But I couldn’t remember what I didn’t like about them. So we made some straight up with no mix-ins to see if I could recall what I didn’t like as a kid.
I love Rice Krispy Treats. I could eat the whole batch easily within a couple hours of making them. I love popcorn. I can do damage a batch of popcorn. I love sweet plus salty. You’d think when these forces come together it would be grand. It was okay for me, the popcorn becomes sort of squishy, I think that’s the part that makes it okay and not great for me, because they taste good, and the more you get used to it, the better it becomes. My kids and husband enjoyed them. We brought some with us to swim lessons and shared them with friends, and the popcorn balls were enjoyed by others as well.
These came together in about 15 minutes from start to all cleaned up. The kids helped. This was a super quick and easy treat to make. You may want to cut it in half if you aren’t making it for a group.
- 2-4 tablespoons of butter
- 1 bag of marshmallows (less a few that your helpers may grab)
- 1/2 cup of un-popped popcorn kernels
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla
- whatever you need need to pop your popcorn (we used about 1 1/2 tbsp. canola oil)
- salt as desired (we used 1/2 teaspoon)
- mix-ins as desired
- Pop your popcorn as you normally would and salt it to taste. You can add butter or other flavoring if desired. If you are using microwave or pre-popped popcorn, you should have about 12 cups of popped corn.
As much as possible, try to remove the kernels and harder half popped pieces, then put the popcorn into a large bowl.
- In a sauce pan, melt the butter and marshmallows over low to medium low heat, stirring continuously. Stir in the vanilla.
- Pour the marshmallow mixture and any mix-ins over the popcorn and toss/stir to evenly coat the pieces.
- Form the coated popcorn into balls (ours are a little smaller than tennis balls) and place onto waxed or parchment paper. To make it easier you may want to spray your hands with cooking spray or rub with a little butter. Store the balls an airtight container or put into individual bags.