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I get it. With the holidays here, who has time to make a popcorn ball, let alone ones that are embellished with candy corn to make them look like turkeys? Usually, I’m not into kitschy food, but there are several reasons I love these turkeys. One, I love popcorn in any form. Two, the holidays are the time to do things we just usually don’t take the time to do. Kids and adults will both find these fun and delicious. When having people over for a festive meal, it’s just a bonus to have something special they can nibble on at each plate. And believe me, if I were served these as a guest, I would not be able to wait until the meal. Turkey-shaped or not, these popcorn balls are a must even if you hide them all to yourself and enjoy them after everyone leaves!
It’s the holidays: why not go all out and make something (somewhat) time consuming? Enjoy!
Watch how to make these turkey-shaped popcorn balls:
Turkey-Shaped Popcorn Balls
- 12-14 cups popped popcorn (½ cup unpopped kernels)
- ½ cup white granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- 3 tbsp molasses
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp baking soda
For the decorations
- 48 pieces candy corn
- 16 pieces candy eyes
- 1 egg white
- 2 cups powdered sugar
For the popcorn balls
- Pop the popcorn in one tablespoon oil and set aside in a large bowl. Personally, I use a Stir Crazy (affiliate link), but a large heavy-bottom kettle with a lid works well too.
- In a 4-quart heavy-bottom kettle, combine the sugar, water, molasses, butter, salt, and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the mixture begins to boil. Continue to boil until the temperature reaches 235°F on a candy thermometer.
- Remove from heat and add the vanilla and baking soda. Stir to combine until the mixture is lighter in color and foamy.
- Pour over prepared popcorn.
- Stir until all the popcorn is coated in the caramel mixture. Allow to cool slightly and become sticky, 3-5 minutes.
- With wet hands (wet with water), create balls approximately 3 inches in diameter. If the balls are not sticking together, allow popcorn additional time to cool.
- Adhere the candy corn with royal icing.
For the optional decorations
- Whisk the egg white until foamy. Add sugar and whisk until smooth and thick.
- Use a drop of frosting where candy corn pieces are desired. Place candy and allow it to dry before moving on.
- Repeat with candy eyes. The icing holds best if it is thick and is allowed ample time to dry with each piece of candy.
I love popcorn balls I tried to make them years ago but it didn’t work out. In going to try them again. Wish me luck
Made just balls wrapped them like you did put a orange color ribbon on them they came out perfect for Halloween 🎃 thank you !
I tried making these, they wouldn’t stick to form balls, they were very tasty though
I have been looking for this exact recipe all of my adult life. My Mom made these all the time when I was little and I never could find a recipe to make them myself. When you told the story about your grandma, I knew this was the recipe for the popcorn balls of my childhood! My kids are all grown up now, but I will so do this for next Thanksgiving! Thanks for this!
So glad you found the recipe! These are the best popcorn balls and always bring back such good memories of Grandma!
I love your recipes, your videos, I absolutely love your kitchen. I save and share all your recipes. I love that you don’t leave batter or anything on the bowl or pan. I love that you use your fingers to clean the paddle and the beaters. Thanks for all you do.
Made these for first time and they came out perfectly. Me and my BF tried making some a few weeks ago and they did not come out. But these came our perfect and so easy to make. Love your sense of humor … you had us cracking up.
Hi Kaleb, I just ran across your social media pages and have really been enjoying them. Thanks for all of your hard work putting them together!!!
I’m wondering if you can tell me what model your Stir Crazy Popcorn Popper is and if it has any crazy quirks that I should know about?
Karen from Vancouver Island
Thanks for sharing. I’ve always wanted to make them. So glad I came across your site and I love the recipes, gardening ideas and I will make grandma Alice mashed potatoes this Christmas. My youngest Christopher loves mashed potatoes.
Merry Christmas to you ,Joel, grandma Alice , your Mom and everyone in your family.
Just love watching you and never to old to learn, my daughter Debbie has been watching you and your Mother for a long time, she got me watching.Love it.