This easy Christmas popcorn balls recipe is made with M&Ms, popcorn, and a simple syrup that will delight your taste buds. It's such an easy recipe!
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below and/or a review in the comments section down the page. You can also stay in touch with me through social media by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok or by subscribing to my newsletter.
Christmas is approaching and I'm leveling up my popcorn ball recipe with hints of maple syrup, Christmas M&Ms, and salty popcorn. I mean, what's better than Xmas popcorn balls? These festive popcorn balls make a great gift and are delicious Holiday treats. Did I mention they're made without any light corn syrup? These easy popcorn balls are an easy sweet treat.
Check out more of my recipes for your Holiday Party!
What is a Popcorn Ball?
A popcorn ball is simply a bundle of popped corn that is bound together with a sticky substance like melted marshmallows or simple syrup. Traditional popcorn balls typically have corn syrup in the recipe. In my recipe, I use maple syrup-flavored simple syrup that is free from corn syrup. Then, you can add crushed candy canes, mini marshmallows, green food coloring, and M&Ms for the perfect treat.
Christmas Popcorn Ball Making Tips
- Heat the simple syrup over medium heat. If you'd like to add green food coloring, now it the time. Bring the mixture to a boil until the sugar dissolves.
- Let the simple syrup cool slightly before pouring over the popcorn and forming Christmas popcorn balls with your hands.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper before forming the popcorn balls so you have a clean, nonstick place to put the popcorn balls quickly.
- Spray your hands with non-stick cooking spray before forming the popcorn balls for a great non-stick experience. Non-stick cooking spray prevents your hands from getting too sticky with the simple syrup.
- Get creative with additions. Try adding mini marshmallows, caramel corn, festive sprinkles, your favorite flavors, or a few drops of food color to this festive popcorn ball recipe.
- Popcorn: I use plain, unsalted popcorn. You really can use any variety of popcorn...even microwave popcorn will work! Try using kettle corn for a fun treat. If using unpopped kernels, make sure to pop popcorn first.
- Granulated sugar: this is used in simple syrup.
- Maple syrup: I use maple syrup instead of corn syrup in my simple syrup recipe.
- Vanilla extract: just a touch goes a long way. You may also use almond extract.
- M&Ms: I like to use a colorful Christmas variety. You can also try using white chocolate M&Ms for these Christmas treats.
- Non-stick cooking spray: I use this just for my hands so they don't get too sticky.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Popcorn Balls
Combine sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally. Heat over medium heat until the mixture comes to a roaring boil and the sugar dissolves. Take off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the popcorn and M&Ms to a large bowl. Pour the simple syrup over the popcorn mixture and use a spatula to gently mix.
Coat your hands with non-stick cooking spray and start forming ½ cup-sized popcorn balls.
Let the popcorn balls cool on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Marshmallow - Add mini marshmallows to the popcorn mix for Christmas marshmallow popcorn balls.
- Candy Cane - add crushed candy canes to the popcorn mix for candy cane popcorn balls perfect for the holiday season.
See my Cranberry Maple Syrup Popcorn Balls on my blog!
- Medium saucepan - for making the simple syrup.
- Glass mixing bowl set - always great to have around.
- Precut parchment paper - for cooling the popcorn balls.
- Candy thermometer - can be helpful for knowing when the simple syrup is ready.
Store the popcorn balls in an airtight container or plastic wrap for up to five days. Do not freeze the popcorn balls.
How Long Do Homemade Popcorn Balls Last?
Homemade popcorn balls will last four to five days if stored properly.
Easy Christmas Popcorn Balls Recipe
- 12 cups plain popcorn popped
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup M&Ms
- 1 ⅓ cups white sugar
- Combine sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan on the stove top, stirring occasionally. Heat over medium heat until the mixture comes to a roaring boil and the sugar dissolves. Take off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Add the popped popcorn and M&Ms to a large mixing bowl. Pour the simple syrup over the popcorn mixture and use a spatula to gently mix.
- Coat your hands with non-stick cooking spray and start forming ½ cup-sized popcorn balls.
- Let the popcorn balls cool on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Popcorn balls stick together using a simple syrup or marshmallow mixture.
Yes, you can make popcorn balls using melted marshmallows. They taste similar to a rice krispie treat.
You can use any variety of popcorn including microwave popcorn.
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. You can also stay in touch with me through social media by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok or by subscribing to my newsletter.