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Nov 1, 2012 07:42 AM

Recipes for old fashioned popcorn balls?

When I was a kid (late 70s early 80s), the Alter and Rosary Society ladies (my grandmother and various great aunts included) would make popcorn balls and sell them. Everyone is long gone. along with most of their recipes.

I would love to make these again. I have found some recipes that I assume are similar or same (using corn syrup mainly). But I also have questions about flavoring. One flavor was an orange like flavor. How would they have achieved this flavoring? Or was it just the "plain" flavor with food coloring?

Also, if anyone wants to give me their old recipes for popcorn balls I would appreciate those as well!

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  1. If you want truly old fashioned popcorn balls, you can try this recipe courtesy of the Little House on the Prairie cookbook; it's posted on

    (Off topic, the cookbook has some truly good recipes and is as fun to read as the book series was)

    1. Festive Flavored Popcorn Balls in 1982 newspaper

      Flavored Marshmallow Popcorn Balls in 1987 newspaper

      Purple Popcorn Balls & Others‎ in 1965 newspaper

      1. Jello Popcorn Balls


        7 c Popped Popcorn
        3 c Miniature Marshmallows
        2 T Butter Or Margarine
        1/2 t Salt
        1 sm Jello ,Any Flavor


        In bottom of double boiler heat about 1 inch of water to boiling. Place marshmallows, butter and salt in top of boiler. Stir until marshmallows are melted. Add Jello. Pour marshmallow mix over popcorn - stir to coat. Grease hands well with margarine and quickly shape into balls. Place
        on waxed paper/tin foil until cool.


        Jell-O Popcorn Balls


        1 c. Karo syrup
        1/2 c. sugar
        1c. popcorn (un-popped)
        1 (3 oz.) pkg. Jell-o (favorite flavor)

        Pop popcorn an
        d discard any un-popped kernels. Place in large bowl.

        In medium saucepan, bring syrup and sugar to a full rolling boil. Remove from heat, add Jell-o. Stir until Jell-o is dissolved approximately 2 minutes. Pour over popped corn. Stir well. Form into popcorn balls.


        Jello Marshmallow Popcorn Balls


        1/2 cup melted butter
        1 large box of you favorite flavored Jello
        1 lb. miniature marshmallows
        8-12 cup popped corn


        In a large bowl, melt butter. Add Jello. Stir in marshmallows until well blended. Pour over popcorn and stir. Cool slightly. Butter hands thoroughly and form balls. Store in airtight container or wrap individually in plastic wrap. (Do not use aluminum foil or wax paper)

        Number Of Servings:
        2 dozen balls

        1. Thanks!

          Wow! I have never even heard of these Jello based recipes!

          I also think that the ones I remember from childhood don't use marshmallows. But I suppose I need to test it out and see.

          1. Here's a recipe from my mother's old Betty Crocker Cookbook (circa 1970-ish) that we make every year. They are a soft caramel popcorn ball, but don't stick to your teeth either! They really are the best.

            - 8 C popped popcorn (1/2 C unpopped) *Note: we find that for our tastes we can double the amount of popcorn for this recipe, so we use 16 cups of popcorn
            - 3/4 C granulated sugar
            - 3/4 cup brown sugar
            - 1/2 C light corn syrup
            - 1/2 C water
            - 1 tsp white vinegar
            - 1/4 tsp salt
            - 3/4 C butter

            Put popcorn in a large roasting pan with at least 3-inch high sides or similar sized bowl (sometimes we use 2 pans to fit all the popcorn). Combine all ingredients except popcorn and butter in saucepan. Cook on med-high until the mixture reaches 260 degrees on a candy thermometer, stirring regularly. Remove from heat and add butter. Pour caramel over popcorn, stir to coat evenly (quickly, before the caramel starts to harden), butter hands and form into balls.