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Candy Cane Popcorn Balls

When I was a little girl, my mother and I made these popcorn balls for family and friends at Christmas. Now my husband and I carry on the tradition, turning out more than 250 each December-and still our list keeps growing!
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. Cook: 30 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    2 dozen


  • 4 quarts popped popcorn
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 24 miniature candy canes


  • Place popcorn in a large greased bowl or roasting pan; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the water, baking soda and vanilla; set aside.
  • In a heavy saucepan, combine corn syrup and butter; heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Add sugar; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Cook and stir until a candy thermometer reaches 230° (thread stage), about 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla mixture (mixture will foam) until blended. Immediately pour over popcorn, stirring to coat evenly. Cool for about 5 minutes, stirring several times.
  • When cool enough to handle, firmly shape with buttered hands into 2-in. balls. Insert straight end of candy cane in the center of each ball.
Nutrition Facts
1 each: 179 calories, 4g fat (2g saturated fat), 5mg cholesterol, 155mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate (27g sugars, 1g fiber), 1g protein.

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