These caramel popcorn balls are made in the microwave in just a few minutes. They’re the perfect gooey, chewy, sweet, and salty and are perfect for a movie night, or for sharing with friends.
These caramel popcorn balls would be so fun for a Halloween party. But they’re also so great to package up and give to neighbors for a Christmas treat. Or to enjoy as a treat for a family movie night.
The recipe for these caramel popcorn balls is adapted from my caramel popcorn recipe. Instead of keeping the caramel popcorn all gooey in a giant bowl, we roll little handfuls of the caramel covered popcorn into balls. It makes the popcorn a little less sticky, and they’re perfectly portion sized.
These caramel popcorn balls are so easy to make, they only take about 10 or 15 minutes to make, and all you need is a few bowls, and a microwave. You can make the popcorn with out a stove, or candy thermometer even. And of course the necessary ingredients – but you probably have most of them in your pantry already.
You will need butter, brown sugar, light corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, baking soda, and vanilla extract. And of course popcorn. You can pop your own popcorn kernels on the stove, or in a brown paper bag. But to keep it all super easy I like to use microwave popcorn. I like to use one that is just topped in salt, or a little butter, like the Pop Secret Homestyle, or Orville Redenbacher’s Simply Salted. If you pop your own popcorn, toss it lightly in salt, to get that salted caramel taste.
How to make caramel popcorn balls?
Once you have your popcorn popped. Pour it into a giant bowl (or two if your bowl isn’t super big – you want to be able to mix the popcorn really well in the bowls).
In a large microwave safe bowl (I use a glass 4 cup pyrex measuring cup) add your butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. Microwave for 6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes till the caramel starts to boil. Add in the vanilla extract, and baking soda and stir it all together. Pour the caramel over the popcorn, and stir it all together to let it coat the popcorn evenly. Let the popcorn cool for a couple minutes.
Spray your hands with nonstick spray then take a handful of popcorn with your hands and squish it together to form a ball. Add more pieces, and squish, and form as necessary. I made 12 cup sized balls, but you could make them a bit smaller and make 18 balls instead if you want. Enjoy immediately, or let caramel popcorn balls set for about an hour till caramel is no longer sticky.
Store any extra balls in a ziplock bag for up to 1 week.
These caramel popcorn balls are the perfect snackable treat. They’re great for a movie night, or game night at home, or for packing up and sharing with friends and neighbors.
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Caramel Popcorn Balls
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 12 cups popped popcorn
- Combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and condensed milk in a large microwave safe bowl.
- Microwave for 2 minutes, then stir. Then another 2 minutes, and stir, then another 2 minutes and stir.
- Stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract.
- Add the popped popcorn to a giant bowl.
- Pour the melted caramel over the popcorn, and stir it carefully to cover the popcorn evenly in the caramel.
- Allow the caramel popcorn to cool for a couple minutes.
- Spray your hands with nonstick spray to keep the caramel from sticking to them.
- Grab a handful of the popcorn and squish it together gently, and carefully roll it into a ball.
- Repeat with remaining popcorn.