This recipe for Sweet and Salty Popcorn Balls is the easiest popcorn ball recipe you will ever make, and that is a promise! The caramel is chewy and the gray sea salt sprinkling over top puts this recipe at the top of all its competitors in the popcorn ball world.
It’s really hard to mess this salted caramel popcorn ball recipe up. And, I know because I’m the biggest candy messer-upper of all time! With only 6 ingredients and no candy thermometer needed, you can have these tasty popcorn balls ready in no time flat!
Halloween and Popcorn Balls
Popcorn makes great for Halloween recipes. Popcorn Balls are my number one favorite way to do Halloween up and do it up right. Kids and adults alike love this popcorn ball recipe and they will disappear fast as soon as they are spotted on the table. These sweet and salty treats are the perfect Halloween treat for those you love.
I always relate popcorn balls to Halloween because that was my favorite treat I would receive when I went trick or treating as a child. We had a neighbor who made a popcorn ball with brown sugar and I absolutely loved the flavor and texture of that recipe.
The combination of my favorite flavors
As an adult, my taste buds moved into enjoying salty and sweet flavor combinations. Salted caramel is probably my most favorite candy of all time. So, it made sense to make these Sweet and Salty Popcorn Balls to appease my adult taste buds!
I love popcorn of all kinds. But give me those with a little something extra and I’m super happy. These Sweet and Salty Popcorn balls do the trick as well as this recipe for Sweet Hot Caramel Corn and Chocolate Drizzled Kettle Corn with Almonds! The textures, sweet, heat, salt and crunch have me hooked!
Visual Guide for making Sweet and Salty Popcorn Balls
Start with making the popcorn. I highly recommend using air-popped popcorn. Microwave popcorn usually is pre-seasoned with butter flavor and salt. You want plain popcorn for this recipe.
The ingredients are pretty simple. You need butter, karo syrup, light brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract.
To prevent burning, be sure to stir constantly when the caramel syrup is boiling.
Pour the caramel syrup over the popcorn as soon as the 5 minute boiling time ends.
Stir the corn to completely cover it with caramel syrup. Then let the bowl sit for at least 5 minutes before shaping.
Sit each salted caramel popcorn ball on parchment or wax paper to cool and set. Sprinkle immediately with fleur de sel for salted caramel popcorn balls or halloween jimmies.
Wrap and give to your little Halloween goblins!
Tips for making Sweet and Salty Popcorn Balls
This is the best recipe for making salted caramel popcorn balls! You don’t need a candy thermometer – just a timer! The ingredients are very forgiving ingredients. Below are some tips for making the best popcorn balls possible!
- Be sure to remove any unpopped corn kernels from the popcorn bowl. You don’t want someone to hurt a tooth by biting into one accidently!
- Once your syrup has come to a boil, immediately add the sweetened condensed milk, then stir constantly the entire 5 minutes of boiling time. Not stirring constantly will give the syrup an chance to burn.
- Start a timer for 5 minutes as soon as the sweetened condensed milk is added to the syrup. Don’t go over the 5 minute cooking time as you take the chance of hardening the syrup.
- As soon as the 5 minutes is up, slowly pour the vanilla extract into it. The vanilla extract will bubble quickly when added so be careful when stirring it in so you don’t spatter yourself with hot syrup.
- Use cooking spray or butter on your hands when shaping the popcorn balls. This will prevent the syrup from sticking to your hands.
- Don’t be too anxious to start shaping the popcorn balls. Make sure to let it cool down enough to not burn your hands when shaping.
Variations to this recipe
I have been making this recipe for several years now and I have found it to be the BEST Popcorn Ball recipe out there. It is no-fail and delicious. Below are some other ways I have changed the recipe that you may like also.
- Stir in some chopped nuts to the corn mixture before shaping into balls
- Instead of vanilla extract, use another flavor that goes well with caramel. I have used banana extract as well as almond
- Sprinkle the popcorn balls with some colored jimmies
- Drizzle with white chocolate and sprinkles
- Dip 1/2 of the ball in milk or dark chocolate
- Stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips or white chocolate chips just before shaping into balls.
Other delicious Halloween food ideas
Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn Snack Mix is another sweet popcorn treat that I love to make for Halloween! I had a lot of fun spooking the table up when I made this recipe! Another delicious popcorn recipe is Halloween Popcorn that is coated with orange and black candy coating.
Grumpy is a fan of chocolate dipped pretzels. However, when I made these Super Easy Halloween Pretzel Bites with only 3 ingredients, I satisfied his love of pretzels, white chocolate, AND candy corn!
One of my favorite store bought cookies is the Nutter Butter. I would beg my mom to buy these! These Nutter Butter Halloween Bat Cookies, remind me of my love for those cookies and they are cute to boot!
If your someone who likes to find a surprise in your treats, then these Candy Bar Truffles are for you! This is a great recipe for using up some of that leftover Halloween candy!
Everyone loves rice krispie treats, right? Well kids and adults alike will love to gobble down these Frankenstein Rice Krispie Treats!
How about some Kid-Friendly Halloween Party fun ideas? Or, maybe you’re an adult who loves to party and want to throw an Adult Halloween Party?
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- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 10 cups air popped popcorn
- grey sea salt for sprinkling
- Place popcorn in a large bowl making sure there are no unpopped popcorn kernels in the bowl. Set aside until syrup is ready.
- In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Combine sugar and corn syrup with butter. Bring caramel mixture to a boil.
- Add sweetened condensed milk and continue to boil for 5 minutes. Stir constantly to prevent scorching.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
- Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and stir gently to coat completely. Set mixture aside to cool about 5 minutes.
- Scoop out about 1/4 cup measure of popcorn mixture and shape into balls. Place on waxed paper lined baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel.
- Store in airtight container at room temperature.
Serving Size:1 popcorn ball
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200 Total Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 15mg Sodium: 79mg Carbohydrates: 38g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 33g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g