An iconic sweet and salty treat, these popcorn balls get the holiday treatment with a blend of gingerbread spices like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
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About Gingerbread Popcorn Balls
With the classic combination of sweet marshmallows and salty crunch, these gingerbread popcorn balls are an easy go-to recipe for simple desserts, quick edible gifts, or party favors.
What are popcorn balls?
Created in Nebraska in the 1800s, this retro dessert is like the perfect marriage between caramel popcorn and a rice crispy treat: it’s popcorn that’s been coated in a sweet, sticky coating and formed into easy-to-eat round shapes. Popcorn balls are crunchy yet soft, sweet and yet salty, and this universal appeal makes them popular a choice to have during most holidays.
What’s in popcorn balls?
- Popped popcorn – The key to this treat! Two tablespoons of popcorn kernels makes about 4 cups of popcorn, so you’ll need about 1/3 cup kernels to make enough popcorn for this recipe. Feel free to pop it however you’d like, whether that be air-popped, stovetop, or microwave. If you’re using the bagged popcorn that’s heated in the microwave, try to find a “natural” or unflavored popcorn so you don’t have the heavy yellow color or taste from the salted butter.
- Butter, Sugar, Molasses – Helps form the base for the sticky coating.
- Mini Marshmallows – Adds flavor and “stretchines” to the popcorn balls, making them easyier to bite into or pull apart.
- Holiday spices like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves – Gives these popcorn balls their gingrebread flavor.
How long are popcorn balls good for?
Once prepared, these gingerbread popcorn balls can be stored on the counter in a sealed container (or individually wrapped in plastic) for up to three to five days.
Can you freeze popcorn balls?
Yes, you totally can!
Once prepared, popcorn balls can be stored in a sealed container or freezer bag (or individually wrapped) for up to one month.
Notes & tips for popcorn balls
- If you’d like festive popcorn balls, feel free to decorate the formed popcorn balls with candy or sprinkles while the marshmallow coating is still wet.
More great candy recipes
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How to make gingerbread popcorn balls
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – In a medium saucepan, cook and melt the following ingredients: butter, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add the marshmallows to the saucepan, then cook until the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is smooth.
Step 3 – Scoop up some of the popcorn mixture, form it into a ball, and place it in a muffin tin lined with cupcake liners. You can make the popcorn balls as big or as small as you’d like (the typical size is about half a cup.)
Step 4 – Let popcorn balls cool completely.
Step 5 – Serve and enjoy!
Gingerbread Popcorn Balls
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add butter, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Cook and stir until butter is melted and incorporated with molasses, about 2-3 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add mini marshmallows to saucepan then cook and stir until melted, about another 2-3 minutes.
- Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn, then use a spatula to gently toss and mix until popcorn is as coated as possible.
- Allow popcorn mixture to cool until easy to handle, about 5-10 minutes.
- Using a spoon, measuring cup (1/2 cup should do), or just your hands, scoop up popcorn mixture and place it in the cavities of the prepared muffin tin. Feel free to make the popcorn balls as big or as small as you’d like. Repeat this step until all popcorn mixture has been used. TIP: If using your hands, dip them in cool water while you work to help prevent sticking.
- Let cool completely before serving, about 30 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.