Every time we get out the Whirly Pop, it’s instant excitement and happy times for me.  Ben commented to me the other day that he has never met someone who likes popcorn as much as I do.  He may be right.  I reeeeally like popcorn. Even so, I don’t recall ever eating a popcorn ball in my life before now.  If have it was not a memorable experience.  I do have vague memories of getting one each Halloween as a kid back in the days when some people still gave out homemade treats (though of course we never ate them for fear of eating a razor blade or poison or something…)  What I always knew as a traditional popcorn ball conjured up thoughts of rice cakes and I was never tempted to try one.

That all changed recently when I saw this gem of a treat.  People, we are talking about a giant bowl of popcorn tossed with the same coating that you normally use for rice krispie treats, shaped into balls and decorated with sprinkles.  I made all sorts of giddy exclamations when I saw this recipe.  Thank goodness no one was around to hear all of that.  These are just as easy to make as rice krispie treats and they look cute as can be.  Serve them on sticks or not, whatever you prefer.  They are easily dressed up for any holiday with seasonal sprinkles.  Part crunchy, part chewy, and very irresistible.  The only bad thing is that they might just be too easy to make.


4 tbsp. (¼ cup) unsalted butter
10 oz. marshmallows
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt
12 cups buttered popcorn*
Nonpareils or sprinkles, for decoration (optional)


  • 01

    Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the marshmallows, vanilla and salt.  Heat, stirring constantly, until the marshmallows are completely melted and the mixture is smooth.

  • 02

    Place the popcorn in a large mixing bowl.  Pour the marshmallow mixture over the top.  Toss gently to combine and coat the popcorn. Allow to cool just slightly, then form into balls with well buttered hands.  Place on sheets of wax paper, sprinkle with nonpareils, and allow to set.  Once firm, insert a stick into each popcorn ball if desired.

  • 03

    *I popped about ½ cup of kernels in the Whirly Pop and it was just the right amount for making this recipe plus a little extra for snacking :) 


  • Katja Reise

    What a combination!

  • Caroline L.

    So fun! It’s like cake pops… popcorn version! They’d be so cute for an event or just for kids! :)

  • We eat popcorn almost every night. I love it, too!

    These look fabulous!

  • Amanda B

    OMG I am *so* making these! We usually have fewer than 10 trick-or-treaters, so this will be perfect. I would much rather have a few of these leftover than most of a huge bag of candy. I am also a popcorn lover! In fact, my husband bought me an air popper for my birthday this year. Should I add butter/salt to my air-popped popcorn before making the balls?

  • Patience

    These are super cute!!!

  • Liz N.

    I am definitely making this for kids at school for their Halloween party using Halloween themed sprinkles! Brilliant, and so easy to do! Thanks Annie!

  • What a great recipe!

  • Natalie Justice

    Do you think it would work if I used a hot air poper and then added butter to the popcorn?

  • Karen

    I love these! I sometimes make them for my kids, adding nuts and/or whole grain cereal or dried fruit into the mix for a little nutrition.

  • Dana Z.

    My grandma used to make these every Christmas (not on a stick) but she would add a little red or green jello powder to the marshmallow/butter combination for flavour and colour.

  • annieseats

    Sure, enjoy :)

  • Heather W.

    Do you feed your kids popcorn? I have read so many different things about people not giving them popcorn due to choking and other issues. I love popcorn and eat it as often as I can get my hands on it. I was thinking about making these for daughters 1st birthday party in November and maybe just giving it to the adults.

  • annieseats

    It’s up to you. I did add a bit of butter and salt to the popcorn (the way I might normally eat it) before adding the marshmallow mixture.

  • Leah

    Bet I could beat you in the popcorn eating contest. :)

  • These are ADORABLE. I love popcorn balls. :D

  • annieseats

    I don’t remember when I first let my son have it. Maybe close to age two. Like everything else in parenting, I just think it’s a personal choice and I tend to tune out what other people think is right or wrong (though I do listen to my pedi). I think it’s fine to serve at the party and let each parent decide whether their child should partake.

  • lisa

    this is the only way we would eat popcorn balls as kiddos!! my favorite!! Thinking about drizzling some chocolate and caramel on some..

  • Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes

    “popcorn pops” love it!

  • Michelle D

    These are the prettiest popcorn balls I’ve ever seen!

  • Annie – my husband is a popcorn fiend, and who doesn’t like marshmallows? ;) Popcorn balls remind me of my grandma – she loved making them at Halloween – will have to try these!

  • Phoebe

    What a fantastic idea!

  • Andrea

    This is just precious! And whoever came up for the name for your popcorn maker must be a marketing genius- Whirly Pop… just SOUNDS like fun!

  • annieseats

    It is fun!

  • Very cute! The sprinkles make it a happy treat! I made these a few years ago using mini candy corn. :-)

  • Coby

    I love popcorn balls! The first one I ever had had candy corns in it and, oh. my. goodness. Rocked my world! These are so pretty!

  • Elizabeth

    I am overall a fan of your website & cooking, but I must say, these lacked flavor. My son said, “they don’t really have a good flavor” and as I gave one to my nephew I asked, “is it good” and he said, “no, not really”. Just threw me off that they really weren’t appetizing. Thanks for sharing anyway. They were fun to make with the kids.

  • annieseats

    Sorry to hear that. We love them :)

  • Z

    Oh gosh this sound delicious AND easy…perfect for holidays when I finally head home. I’m a popcorn fan as well but I’ve found it can get kind of boring…some time do you think you could do a tutorial on popcorn flavoring or something? My mom got me BBQ flavored popcorn from a company once as a treat and it was DELICIOUS! Just an idea. :]

  • ashley

    I made these with my little sister this last weekend and it was so much fun! They also tasted really good I ate way too many!

  • Stacie

    We have made these before, but instead of the vanilla extract we add mint or peppermint extract (probably not a full teaspoon) and green food coloring. It is a Christmas treat favorite. LOVE popcorn balls! Yours look super cute!

  • Where did you get the sticks?

  • annieseats

    Party supply stores or craft stores.

  • bridget

    made these for a friend’s b-day – what a quick, easy, delicious and pretty treat to give! thanks! will keep this recipe on file for sure!

  • caldwellprice

    We made popcorn balls every halloween growing up. I love the idea of smaller ones on a stick. The recipe my Mom used and pased down to me has a caramel base, instead of marshmallow. yumm!

  • Rachel

    Annie, Thanks for sharing your recipes. These were fun and easy to make. My boys loved them. We’ve already come up with other variations we can’t wait to try.

  • I love the way you decorated these!