Grandma's Caramel Popcorn Balls recipe

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8 quarts popped popcorn
2 cups evaporated milk
2 cups white sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup (such as Karo®)
1 cup margarine
⅛ teaspoon salt

Nutrition Info

340.2 calories
carbohydrate: 43.2 g
cholesterol: 7.3 mg
fat: 18.5 g
fiber: 1.4 g
protein: 3.1 g
saturatedFat: 3.9 g
servingSize: -
sodium: 356.8 mg
sugar: 27.1 g
transFat: : -
unsaturatedFat: : -


  1. Sort through popcorn, discarding unpopped kernels.

  2. Combine evaporated milk, sugar, corn syrup, margarine, and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stir constantly until caramel reaches 246 degrees F (119 degrees C) on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes.

  3. Pour some popcorn into a very large bowl. Pour in some of the caramel, stir until evenly coated. Add remaining popcorn and caramel in batches, stirring well after each addition.

  4. Scoop some of the popcorn mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap. Gather and twist the plastic wrap to gently shape into a ball. Place popcorn ball on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, repeat with remaining mixture. Let cool until set, about 15 minutes.

Recipe Yield

20 balls

Recipe Note

My mom made these delicious popcorn balls when I was growing up. While doing my Christmas candy and cookie baking, I came across her recipe. I made the family recipe for the first time this year. My daughters, grown with their own families, asked why I hadn't made these sooner. Thirty plus years later, this recipe will now be a family tradition at Christmas.

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