These sweet and salty popcorn balls are super fun, super delicious, and super easy to make. You can form them into any size you choose; but the smaller, 2-inch, three-bite portion turns these into ideal edible gifts.

For additional inspiration, check out our Cocoa-Cayenne Popcorn BallsCurry-Coconut Popcorn Balls, and Eggnog Popcorn Balls.

  • Yield: About 25 balls
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 20 mins, plus 45 mins cooling time 
  • Active: 20 mins

Ingredients (8)

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup canned sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 10 cups popped plain popcorn
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped (optional)
  • Cooking spray


  1. Line a large baking sheet with greased parchment. Make the caramel mixture by combining the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted. Bring to a boil, add the condensed milk, and continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent scorching. Remove from the heat and stir in half the salt.
  2. Combine the popcorn and pecans, if using, in a large bowl. Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and stir to coat completely. Let the mixture cool slightly, about 3 minutes.
  3. When the popcorn mixture is cool enough to handle, coat your hands with cooking spray and roll the mixture into 2-inch balls (measure out 1/4 cup per ball for reference). Place the balls on the lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with the remaining salt. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.