How To Make Popcorn Balls

If you've ever wanted to know how to make popcorn balls, let me walk you through it step by step.  My mom used to make these when we were kids, then as we were teens she made us popcorn birthday cakes.  I'll tell you how to make those as well.

popcorn balls and a popcorn cake

Popcorn balls used to be really popular.  I feel like they died out with the advent of microwave popcorn.  I'm bringing them least around my house!

Servings: 20 balls or 1 cake


  • corn for popping - not microwave
  • oil for popping the corn
  • 1 16 oz bag small marshmallows
  • 2 sticks of butter (real) plus butter for your hands


You'll need to first make popcorn according to the directions on the bag.  I made two batches of popcorn using a 6 quart stock pot with a lid.  It yielded approximately 5 quarts of popcorn.  You'll need to sort through the popcorn and remove all half popped and unpopped kernels.  You don't want your popcorn balls or popcorn cake to have kernels in it - trust me!  Only fluffy fully popped corn will do!

Next take the two sticks of butter and melt them along with the bag of marshmallows in a stockpot over medium heat.  Stir while they are melting.

When melted, dump the marshmallow butter mix over the popcorn and stir well to coat all of the popcorn.

Butter your (clean) hands really well to keep the mixture from sticking to your hands while forming balls.  While you butter you hands the popcorn marshmallow mixtures will be cooling off a bit.  Proceed with caution, because it will be hot.  It needs to set approximately 3 minutes before you will be able to form balls.  If you try to form a ball and it won't stay together, wait another minute and try again. 

Begin forming balls with your buttered hands.  You may have to rebutter your hands a couple times during the process.  Place them on foil or parchment paper to let set up completely.

For a popcorn cake:

Follow the above instructions, but stir in candy, peanuts, or chocolate chips when you combine the mixture with the popcorn.  Instead of forming into balls, press the mixture into a buttered angel food cake pan.  Let cool, invert onto a platter and cut into pieces with a serrated knife.

I hope you love these as much as I do!  I couldn't take pictures of the process since buttery hands, hot marshmallow mixture, and cameras don't mix. 

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