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Grandpa's Popcorn Balls


"Great, Great Grandpa Apell had a huge farm in Illinois with prize-winning corn. He made Popcorn Balls for all the Grandkids at Christmastime. He lived to be 106 and claimed workin' the farm and eatin' corn was the secret! This recipe is delicious!"
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25 m servings 458 cals
Original recipe yields 10 servings (10 - 3 inch round balls)


  • Calories:
  • 458 kcal
  • 23%
  • Fat:
  • 18.7 g
  • 29%
  • Carbs:
  • 75.1g
  • 24%
  • Protein:
  • 1.7 g
  • 3%
  • Cholesterol:
  • 24 mg
  • 8%
  • Sodium:
  • 317 mg
  • 13%

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

See full nutrition

Nutritional Information

1 Serving
Servings Per Recipe:
Amount Per Serving
  • * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  • ** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.
  • (-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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  • Prep

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  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter and water. Stir and heat to hard-crack stage or 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Remove from heat, add vanilla or vinegar; mix well.
  2. Pour slowly over popped popcorn while stirring. Wait 5 minutes and shape into 3 inch round balls.


  • Tip
  • Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

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Read all reviews 150
  1. 174 Ratings

Most helpful positive review

oh boy, these are really good. It is really important to reach hard crack stage with these candies. To test for hard crack stage without a candy thermometer, use the ice water method. Have nearb...

Most helpful critical review

I am sure these are great and would love some advise. The first 2 or 3 minutes in the bowl, it all started to harden and I could not get it up into a ball. It was hard as a rock. I started makin...

Most helpful
Most positive
Least positive

oh boy, these are really good. It is really important to reach hard crack stage with these candies. To test for hard crack stage without a candy thermometer, use the ice water method. Have nearb...

If you dont cook to the hard-crack stage, you will end up with sticky "caramel" on the popcorn. At the hard-crack stage, it becomes crispy when completely cooled. When you bite off a piece from ...

These popcorn balls taste just like a gourmet popcorn shop from back home. They really taste rich and buttery! We must have popped too much corn, because ours weren't covered as much as the ph...

Kids of ALL AGES love these popcorn balls. Don't be thrown by the 1/2 cup of popcorn, that is the measurement for unpopped corn. Makes just the right amount!

These are absolutely the best! Just make sure you reach "hard crack" stage when doing the syrup. I did go to 300 deg. on my thermometer, but it wasn't quite hard crack and these wouldn't come ...

I think your grandpa and my 92 year old grandma knew each other. She makes these every Christmas, two separate batches, one with green food color, and the other red. My 46 year old husband and...

We loved this recipe. I made a few batches for my preschooler to take to his Halloween party. We wrapped them in cellophane and tied them up with green pipe cleaners. I then attatched a green...

Thank you for sharing your Grandfather`s recipe. I made two batches this evening and they turned out great. I decided to add food coloring to mine(red and green for Christmas)at the same time ...

What a perfect popcorn ball. Be patient with the syrup, candy making can be tedious but so worth the results. I might experiment and add a tad more butter for more richness. Super, super, sup...