Sweet, salty, chewy and crunchy all come together in these fun and easy to make peanut butter popcorn balls.
Popcorn balls bring with them their own special bit of nostalgia. This recipe makes a simple sticky peanut butter mixture that holds together gobs of popcorn and peanuts.
The results are everything you would want them to be. Wrap them in plastic wrap to pass out to family and friends or eat them all while they are warm and fresh, I won’t judge!
Popcorn balls tend to ne associated with fall and Halloween, but I have had these peanut butter popcorn balls on my mind and I just couldn’t wait that long to make them. So I indulged myself and made a batch and I think you should too.
Luckily they are super simple to make. Just bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil then remove it from the heat.
The only thing to watch out for is not to boil it for too long. As soon as the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly, turn off the burner.
That will help keep you popcorn balls chewy and gooey. You don’t want for them to be too hard to bite.
Once the sugar syrup is ready, stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until it is smooth and combined.
Toss your popcorn and peanuts in the goodness and stir until it is coated. Then allow the mixture to cool until you can handle it without burning yourself.
The key is making sure it is still warm and pliable but not so hot that it hurts. Then work relatively quickly so you can get the whole bunch made while the mixture is in the temperature sweet spot.
Grease your hands with shortening, butter or coconut oil and start forming balls. You can make them any size, but we like them slightly smaller than a baseball.
Allow them to cool completely then wrap them tightly until you are ready to enjoy them. The finished product should be a little bit of everything with the sweet and salty flavors mixed with chew and crunch.
The peanuts and peanut butter add such great flavor to the caramel. Peanut butter fans are sure to fall in love.
Substitutions for Corn Syrup
If you don’t like using corn syrup, don’t despair. You can still make tasty popcorn balls.
Just replace the corn syrup with honey or maple syrup. Either would bring another wonderful layer of flavor that will complement the peanut butter nicely.
Or look at these substitutes for corn syrup for more ideas.
What Kind of Popcorn Should You Use for Popcorn Balls?
Short answer: whatever is easiest for you!
You can use air popped popcorn, popcorn popped on the stove, microwave popcorn or even a bag of already popped popcorn.
Just be sure to pick out any unpopped kerns. Unknowingly biting down on a hard popcorn kernel will quickly ruin the experience.
I like to put the popcorn in a large bowl and give it a couple of shakes to help the kernels make their way to the bottom. Then I transfer the popcorn a couple of handfuls at a time until you reach the bottom
If you keep an eye out you will have all of the kernels picked out in no time. It will have been a couple of minutes well spent.
More Fun Popcorn Ball Recipes
Marshmallow popcorn balls are super simple to make and beyond tasty. They are also fabulous dipped in chocolate or topped with a smattering of sprinkles to make them even more festive.
Caramel apple popcorn balls are perfect for fall. They have concentrated apple juice and loads of caramel to hold together all the popcorn goodness. They are really tasty!
Or for something more spooky, try Halloween popcorn balls complete with gummy worms crawling out of them. They are sure to be a hit at your spooky soiree.
More Great Popcorn Recipes
Crunchy peanut butter popcorn with that perfect sweet and salty balance. This popcorn is so fun to snack on!
The sweet, buttery, crunchy caramel corn you love can be done in the microwave to make it faster and easier. It’s perfect for a snack and fun for a party!
Strawberries and cream popcorn is especially fun in spring, but is great year round. It incorporates yummy tart berries and sweet creamy white chocolate for a great treat.
Or whip up some puppy chow popcorn for that chocolate and peanut butter combo we all love. It is munchable in the best kind of way!
Did you make this great recipe? Please leave a review in the recipe card below!
Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls
- 5 cups popped popcorn
- 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
- ½ cup corn syrup
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Make sure to remove any unpopped popcorn kernels from the bowl. Then mix together popcorn and peanuts.5 cups popped popcorn, 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
- In a large saucepan or dutch oven, bring sugar and corn syrup just to a boil.½ cup corn syrup, ½ cup granulated sugar
- When all of the sugar is dissolved and the mixtures is bubbly, remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla.½ cup creamy peanut butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add popcorn and peanuts, stirring to coat everything evenly with the peanut butter mixture.
- Allow to cool until safe to handle. Grease your hands and grab a handful of the popcorn mixture. Form into a ball, pressing slightly to help it hold together.
- Place on a sheet of wax paper to cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap until ready to serve.