If you've never made candy popcorn for your kids, you NEED TO! This simple recipe is such a fun snack to make for Valentine's Day! You know I love my desserts, and this one is so super easy to make. And it's pink! Who doesn't love to eat pink! I only share things I love and think you will too. This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase through one of these links, I am compensated.
I've made this delicious flavored popcorn for several of my parties and it's always a HUGE hit! It's such a great way to add a pop of color to your food table. Popcorn is also a pretty inexpensive thing to make and it's easy to make large quantities. And just look at that color! It couldn't be more perfect for Valentine's Day.
I always loved the idea of candy coated popcorn but thought I wouldn't be able to make it since I won't make anything that uses a candy thermometer. But color me surprised when I found out all you need is popped popcorn, sugar, light corn syrup, and flavored Jello! And while I love this cherry flavored popcorn (because it's pink and stupid tasty) you can use other flavors of Jello to get really creative!
How to Make Candy Popcorn with Jello
My friend, Kristin, came over to help me make the popcorn for this post since she was the person who first made it for me. She used to have a bakeshop so she is my sweet treat guru!
Ingredients for this candy popcorn recipe
• 8 cups popped popcorn (I have a microwavable bowl that I use with kernels but you can also use plain microwavable bags if you have to)
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter (margarine works too if you have a dairy allergy)
• 3 TBSP light corn syrup
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 package (4 serving size) any flavor Jello – not the sugar-free kind. We used cherry.
I'm not sure if you've seen my recipe for the best caramel corn recipe ever, but this is actually very similar. You make an easy candy coating with corn syrup on the stove and then add the Jello for flavoring. I can't tell you how happy it makes me that you don't need any special equipment. I have an irrational fear of making hot molten candy.
So this recipe is perfect for people who don't feel like they are great in the kitchen or want to get into the science of making homemade candy (like this cinnamon candy that I made my mom make for my post because I'm too afraid to make it myself!)
I mean, I do other things really well, like eating nachos and watching reality TV. I think it's fine that I don't make difficult recipes. ;)
Place butter and corn syrup in small saucepan on medium heat and stir until butter is melted. Add sugar and Jello. Stir to combine and until Jello is completely dissolved.
Bring to a boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix popped popcorn and syrup until well coated. Spread on to a prepared (oiled) sheet pan and spread out evenly. Bake 10 minutes. Cool. Remove from pan and break in to small pieces. Or grab huge chunks and shove them in your face.
The coating comes together really quickly. Then you just pour the syrup over popped popcorn and stir to coat. Whenever I make this Jello popcorn or caramel corn I buy a disposable roasting pan from the store. It makes stirring easy especially when you've got that hot sugar you're dealing with – which is just waiting to coat your finger and leave you with an unpleasant burn. Not that it has happened…
This also makes clean up a cinch since you just throw the pan away when done instead of having to clean of that hard candy coating. But this is also wasteful. So I should really just buy a legit roasting pan. But then I would have nowhere to store it. And that, my friends, is my inner dialogue.
Spread out the coated popcorn on a baking sheet to finish it off in the oven. This step is what makes it crispy instead of gooey. Gooey is fine too, but a good crunch is even better! You can sort of make out some little gold hearts in the above photo. Remember when I added stars to champagne? Well I also had the edible hearts. And they just make sense to use on a Valentine's Day snack. I added them to the popcorn before baking so they would stick to it.
How to Store Candy Popcorn
Use an air-tight container. Any plastic storage container works as long as the lid fits nice and tight. I've tried storage bags, and it's not the best. Especially since my kids will sneak tastes and then leave all kinds of air inside the bags. Is there a support group for this?
How Long Does Candy Popcorn Last
A long time if kept in the airtight container. I don't want to be gross, but I've kept this more than a week. And I'm sure it could go longer but we ate it all. Sorry, no sorry.
Where to Buy Candy Popcorn
Don't want to make it yourself? No problem!
Printable Candy Popcorn Recipe
- 8 cups popped popcorn, I have a microwavable bowl that I use with kernals but you can also use plain microwavable bags if you have to
- 1/4 cup 1/2 stick butter
- 3 TBSP light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 package , 4 serving size any flavor Jello - not the sugar free kind. Gross. We used cherry. Amazeballs.
- Pop your popcorn.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and spray foil with a small bit of cooking spray so it won't stick and set aside.
- Place butter and corn syrup in small saucepan on medium heat and stir until butter is melted. Add sugar and Jello. Stir to combine and until Jello is completely dissolved.
- Bring to a boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix popped popcorn and syrup until well coated. Spread on to a prepared sheet pan and spread out evenly. Bake 10 minutes. Cool. Remove from pan and break into small pieces. Or grab huge chunks and shove them in your face.
Serving Size6 Servings
Amount Per Serving Calories 228 Total Fat 11g Saturated Fat 6g Trans Fat 1g Unsaturated Fat 5g Cholesterol 20mg Sodium 151mg Carbohydrates 32g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 1g Sugar 26g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 1g
Kristin made this peach version of candy popcorn for Lauren's bridal shower. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. See, it isn't just for kid's parties! And you can literally make it in all different flavors!
Image of peach popcorn by Dez and Tam.
This yummy Marshmallow Candy Popcorn would also be delicious!
Pin this Jello Popcorn for later:
Have you ever made candy popcorn? If you answered no, you need to change that immediately! Your kids will thank you! It's the perfect, easy Valentine's Day treat!
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