Maple Pecan Popcorn Balls

Classic popcorn balls with a flavorful twist make a perfect after-school snack for pint-sizers.

"Light" corn syrup doesn't refer to its calories; it's a reference to its color -- and its mild flavor. Here, it keeps the sugar from crystallizing in these chewy popcorn balls, spiked with maple for a fall treat. Have everything ready before you start as you need to work quickly.

25 min Prep: 10 min Cook: 15 min
Serves: 18 Save

Ingredients (9)

  • 4 quart (16 cups) freshly popped popcorn (made from about 2/3 cup popcorn kernels and 3 tablespoons canola oil -- work in batches if necessary)
  • 2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (do not use imitation maple syrup)
  • 8 tablespoon unsalted butter (1 stick), plus additional for greasing
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Ingredient Facts and Health Benefits

Discover fascinating facts and health benefits about some of the ingredients in the recipe, including other delicious recipes!


  1. Lightly butter the inside of a large bowl. Pour warm popcorn into buttered bowl.
  2. Mix sugar, water, corn syrup, maple syrup, butter, salt and cream of tartar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, stirring often. Attach candy thermometer to the inside of the pan. Continue heating undisturbed until temperature reaches 268F (hard-ball stage), about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from the heat; stir in nuts. Slowly drizzle sugar mixture over popcorn, tossing gently with a spatula.
  4. Working quickly and wearing rubber gloves that you've buttered, gather about 1/2 cup of the coated popcorn together at a time, and form into balls without compacting too tightly.