Caramel Popcorn Balls (without corn syrup)


I made a batch of Caramel Popcorn Balls yesterday evening for our family– wow, were they a bit hit!  Even my husband, who never has liked the chewey, hard-as-a-brick store-bought popcorn balls, was thoroughly impressed!  

These are surprisingly simple to make and sooooo delicious.  They have an awesome caramely-sweet-crunchy taste.  Perfect for an autumn snack, holiday gift baskets, or even fund raisers! 

AND, since this recipe doesn’t use corn syrup (I try to stay away from that ingredient) they’re even healthy to boot.  Well, sort of.  (We can pretend, can’t we?)  

To make your own yummy popcorn balls, you’ll need

  • a sauce pan
  • a candy thermometor
  • a wooden spoon
  • and a muffin/cupcake tin

The recipe:

approx 6 cups popped corn
1 C nuts (pecans or peanuts)
¾ C honey
1 C sugar cane crystals
1 TBSP molasses
½ cup water
¼ C salted butter
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place popped corn and nuts in a large bowl; stir and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine honey, sugar, molasses, water, and salt. Place over low heat, stirring until mixture begins to boil. Add butter and stir until melted. Add vanilla just as the mixture begins to thicken and foam. Continue to cook until candy thermometor reaches firm ball stage (248 degrees).  (Stir frequently to prevent scorching!)

Remove pan from heat and pour mixture over popcorn and nuts; stir with a wooden spoon until completely coated with “caramel” mixture.

To shape into balls: With an ice cream scoop, spoon hot popped corn into greased muffin cups (it’s WAY too hot to candle with your hands). Press into a ball. Repeat until all muffin cups are full. Recipe should yield enough mixture to make one dozen balls. Let popcorns balls cool until set, about 10 to 15 minutes. To remove, slide the flat side of a butter knife around the edges of the balls and gently lift.

So delicious!!!


This post is linked at Teach Me Tuesdays!

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  1. DL says

    I tried these last night, after wanting to make my own popcorn balls for years. They were awesome, the kids loved them, and the homemade caramel came out great. Thanks for this recipe! DL

  2. Stephanie says

    Thanx so much for the corn syrup free recipe! can’t wait to try it. 
     We make carmel corn often, but didn’t have a recipe w/o corn syrup.

  3. Keefer07 says

    this recipe looks great!  something i have found to be a great substitute for corn syrup is brown rice syrup.  It works great in every recipe i’ve tried including peanut butter fudge and is much healthier.  :)

  4. Hockeyda says

    I added a 2 inch piece of finely grated ginger in the sauce and on the popcorn and spices,1 tsp cinnamon,  1/4 tsp allspice and 1/8 tsp nutmeg in the sauce for gingerbread popcorn balls and they are delicious!  It made 36 mini muffin tin balls and 6 big muffin tin balls!

  5. The Shady Porch says

    I can’t wait to try these! Love the No Corn Syrup! Your picture makes me want to make them right now!! :)


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