Fruity Candy Popcorn

AKA: Jello Popcorn. Ironically, the first time I was introduced to candied popcorn made with Jello, was in Brazil. As you might guess, it’s not a traditional local food there! I can’t even remember why we made it, maybe we were just craving something sweet and fun but my friend Kim suggested we make this because we happened to have all of the ingredients in our very bare cupboard. I had never heard of such a thing, and I thought it was the strangest idea ever! We mixed up sugar and butter and jello mix and in just a few minutes we had a rainbow of fruity smelling mixtures ready to be poured over fresh popped popcorn. It was delicious! We shared some with the locals and quickly the word spread that the American girls made crazy popcorn treats with Jello! That next week we were asked to make several hundred popcorn balls for a big church event and they were quite a hit.

It seems like I post some sort of popcorn concoction on every theme week we do so I thought this was appropriate! I love things like this because they’re so quick and easy and when you’re done you have a lot to share. You can experiment with different colors and flavors and see what you like. I have to say that strawberry is my family’s favorite, and it’s one of the most vibrant so it’s always a safe one to go with. Sometimes the lighter colors get little dark specks in them, but they still taste great! You could make an entire rainbow and layer it in a glass bowl for great party food, or this packs up perfectly for giveaway treats. This is definitely a kid-tested (and approved!) recipe.

Fruity Candy Popcorn {AKA Jello Popcorn}

8 cups popped popcorn
1/4 C butter (that’s half a stick)
3 T light corn syrup (honey is a good substitute)
1/2 C sugar
1 3.5oz box jello, any flavor (not the sugar free kind)

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a jelly roll pan with foil or parchment. If using foil, spray lightly with non-stick spray and set aside. Place popcorn in an extra large mixing bowl.

Place butter and syrup in a sauce pan on medium heat. Stir until butter is melted. Add sugar and Jello and stir to combine.

Increase heat and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat so it just simmers. Continue simmering for 5 minutes. You’ll start off with a mixture that’s sometimes thick (depending on the flavor, see note at end) and as it cooks the sugar will dissolve and it will become a little more liquid-ish.

After the sugar mixture simmers for 5 minutes, immediately pour over popcorn in bowl. Be careful, it’s super hot!! Mix right away and keep stirring so everything gets well coated. Spread mixture onto prepared pan and spread out evenly.

Pop in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes. I’ve noticed that some flavors of jello have more mix than others (kind of like my discovery about different brands/flavors of cake mix noted in this post). For example, the strawberry is usually much thicker than the lime. If you notice this, you might want to bake the mixture for a few minutes longer to make sure it gets cooked all the way.

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool to room temp. Then break into pieces and enjoy! You can certainly eat this un-baked as well and it’s just soft and gooey, but definitely bake it if you’re going to pack it up for giving, or serve it as party food so it will be light and crunchy.


My favorite containers for goodies like this come from the dollar section at Target. Check out the supply at your store next time you’re there- they always have cute ones!

And if you’re in the mood for Popcorn Treats, you must check out my all time Christmas favorite: Peppermint Bark Popcorn. It’s a reader favorite too! So is this Cinnamon Bun Popcorn.


  1. I remember making all of those popcorn balls! It was fun that's for sure 🙂 Those popcorn balls were a tradition in my family. We would make red and green ones and leave them in a popcorn bucket by the front door. When anyone would come visit they could have a popcorn ball! I'll have to try baking it!

  2. My grandma always used to make this when we were kids. She called it Mother Goose Popcorn. So yummy!

  3. Never tried this… but if it is OBB approved, it must be delish! You have never led me astray!

  4. I'm not really a fan of candy-coated popcorn (popcorn balls, etc) but I'm sure my kids would go ga-ga over this stuff!

  5. I have to tell you, you ladies are AMAZING! I have so enjoyed so many of your recipes – even my old picky eater is enjoying some of them. I'm talking about my husband, all the kids are grown and eat everything! :)Anyway, I would love that blender! It really looks incredible.

  6. MomChops! You must be Lolly's momma! I got really excited to see your name in the comments 🙂 We LOVE Lolly!

  7. This popcorn would be great in the gift baskets I'm giving this year. Thanks for the idea!

  8. So what happens if you use sugar free jello? Thats all I have on hand and I wanted to try making this. But I'll definitely be putting regular jello mix on my grocery list.

  9. making this popcorn for our holiday parade! Great idea.

    And too funny how many people dont follow directions!

  10. …wow. I have never ever seen anything like this before!

    You guys never cease to amaze me!

    I had popcorn with white cheddar sprinkle last night. I just discovered this sprinkle not two weeks ago at the New Moon premier… I am already on my second bottle of the stuff. It's strangely tasty. Who knew?!?!?!

  11. Since you love popcorn so much I wanted to share a favorite holiday recipe:


    2 cubes butter
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1/2 cup karo syrup

    cook to a boil, then turn down and cook 5 minutes more

    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 tsp. cinnamon flavoring
    few drops red food coloring
    4 cups mini marshmallows….stir till melted

    Just before pouring over popcorn add 1 pkg cinnamon bears cut up with kitchen scissors…pour quickly over popcorn. I used air popped popcorn and it almost filled a large Tupperware bowl.


    Merry Christmas

  12. I have never seen or heard of this! My husband loves anything popcorn so he would definitely love this.

  13. I'm excited to try this! What kind of popcorn do you use? Can I use microwave popcorn, or will that turn out too salty/buttery? Does it work better if I do it on the stove with no salt?
    BTW, I just found this site a couple weeks ago and I am LOVING it! It is by far my favorite food blog! Thanks!

  14. I've had this but never had a recipe. I love popcorn and I have a sweet tooth and a cupboard full of Jello boxes! How did you ever know?

  15. Camilla- you definitely need the jello with the sugar in it. Without that, there's nothing to turn into candy!

    Susan- I love love cinnamon bears- thanks for that yummy recipe!

    Jessica- you could totally use microwave popcorn. I actually really love a sweet/salty combo so even the salted butter popcorn would be good in my opinion.

    To the over 35 people who are asking for the blender-

    THIS IS NOT THE GIVEAWAY POST! I don't know how to be more clear, but I don't think you guys are reading directions! lol. All entries on this thread will be deleted, if you want to enter, follow the instructions I mentioned (which specifically says to not leave entries here!) I really want you all to have a chance to win, so go enter on the giveaway thread!

  16. What in the world is with all of these blender posts??? Silly people………

    I can't wait to see how the experiment goes with the margarine for this recipe. I have a dairy allergic child and would love to try this out.

    Now I just have to decide if I want to make this or the peppermint kind for christmas gifts…

    tough choice..

  17. Well that Jello Popcorn is amazing! And that Stovetop Kettle Corn…I know that must be to die for!

  18. Is there a substitute for corn syrup? I really want to make this popcorn right now! It looks like what my kids got at a bake sale & I couldn't figure out how it was made. Yummy stuff!

  19. java diva- yes! You can substitute honey for the corn syrup and it works great.


    Just have to add this one more time for everyone else since no one is reading directions…


  20. Love your blog! But I'm having trouble printing this post for the recipe. What am I doing wrong?!?!?

    When I click on print friendly, it comes up a totally different post.

  21. Question: how long will this keep once made? I'd like to give as gifts and need to make in advance…but don't want it to be icky.

  22. Breezy- you are not doing anything wrong, our button is having issues and we're in the process of fixing it! Try clicking on the title of the post first (the one on top in blue writing) once the page re-loads then try the print button again.

    Sasha- Popcorn that is baked like this with a crispy outside does the best at holding up over time. It should be find for several days. The only factor that could affect it is humidity. If it's humid, the candy part might get soft, but if it's cool and dry it should be just fine.

  23. This looks great!! Can I use 8 cups of microwave popcorn or does it need to be air popped?

  24. Perfect, thanks for the info! I'm thinking I could add a little gel food coloring to the green to make it really vivid.

  25. I made this with the kids today and used microwave popcorn. That worked fine, but I wished I had picked out the seeds. After baking though, a lot of the jello mixture was in a layer on the foil under the popcorn, is that right? I am new to your website but have already made a couple of your recipes (pumpkin cream cheese etc.) Brittani

  26. Love your blog! Thanks for the great ideas and recipes! And about that blender….I've been coveting that very device for a couple of years now!

  27. Stephanie- a cube of butter is the same as a stick 🙂

    Apparently it's a regional thing (like soda vs. pop) because the first time I wrote a recipe including "1 cube of butter" in the ingredients, I got hoards of emails wanting to know the exact specifications of the size of the cube! lol. I've had to train myself to write stick now, but I always say cube 🙂

  28. im wondering if i could use unflavored jello and then mix in some cinnammon extract. I really love the hard candy poured on popcorn but i really want to try this recipe.

  29. Naomi, I don't think it would be the same because the gelatin part isn't the most important ingredient here, it's mostly just the flavored sugar in the jello mix 🙂

  30. Just another thank you. After making this today and sharing with my two-year-old he said, "oh, sweet momma". Doesn't get better than that. Thanks for making that happen! 🙂

  31. I tried this once with red hots….do not attempt…hahah! It was a dissaster so I love this idea and we are a great big huge popcorn bowl family. This will be fun for us 🙂 How about yellow, orange and red jello for harvest time!

  32. I found a similar recipe that doesn't have butter in it. Do you know what the butter does for it? And does baking it simply make it crunchy or does it do something for the flavor?

  33. Lydja- Baking just makes it crunchy, it doesn't really change the flavor much. As for the butter, don't you know that everything is better with butter?? haha. Butter definitely makes it taste yummy, but I would think the texture would be much better with butter too.

  34. This is one of my favorite treats. There is a local store that makes this and mixes several flavors togther (after they harden) and call it corn-fetti. But they have a banana flavor in the mix. Any idea how to do the banana? It is my favorite in the bunch!

  35. I do things a bit differently, but use the same recipe {mine came from our local electrical co-op magazine!} — I melt the butter and corn syrup in the microwave in a lidded 8-cup glass measuring cup on HIGH for 1 m 30 sec – 2 m. Then I add the sugar and jello, stir with a whisk, leave the lid off, and microwave for 2 m 30 or until the whole mixture bubbles up really well and the sugar is dissolved. Then I spray the inside of a grocer’s sack (the BIG one) with non-stick spray, add my popcorn, drizzle the syrup in on top, stir gently wih tongs, and roll the paper sack opening closed 2-3 times. Back in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir. 30 seconds. Stir. And a final 30 seconds. Then I pour the whole thing out on parchment/wax paper and it cools in 3-4 minutes. It’s super fast! And yes, the blue does turn a sickly shade of green — I’ve used neon food coloring and gotten it back around to an edible color of teal, but berry blue is off my list now! {grin} A thought for Steph #50’s question about banana — you could try adding extracts to the caramel corn + white sugar that OBB pointed out. As for multiple flavors, we call our popcorn “Fruit Salad” — it’s delicious and addicting!

  36. i tried making this years back…but the way you make kettle korn…and it tasted kinda funky….i never attempted it again but it was prolly coz i forgot that i was heating gelatin as oppose to sugar & oil with the kernals….im sure making it like caramel corn prolly is better….good job

  37. I love all your recipes and especially all these popcorn ones. I have an addiction to popcorn and this is not helping 🙂

    I have made jello popcorn before and recently needed to make some to match school colors for a party. I needed just clear to = white but I still wanted a flavor that mixed well with the other colors and flavors. I made your recipe exactly but used plain gelatin with vanilla extract in it and it turned out wonderful! Thanks for all your Best Bites!

  38. I love this recipe and how ironic that you are doing it this week! I always love making it for the 4th of July. I do white popcorn and then blue rasberry jello and then a red jello (usually strawberry) so then it’s all patriotic. It’s what I make as our treat when we go to the fireworks!

    1. and now I see this is an old post! DUH! That’s what I get for following the link from FB! 🙂 Carry On.

    2. to answer your question, (that I deleted from my email and can’t get back!) yes the blue is more of a teal than a true blue but it still works for me. I’m pretty easy to please and everyone seems to get the red, white and blue theme. 🙂

  39. Made this today with Smart Pop Microwave Kettle Corn and Strawberry Jello. I could have easily eaten all of it myself, but I held back and saved some for the rest of the family. A new favorite – thanks!

  40. I just made this with strawberry and cannot wait to try all the flavors. It will be a staple in my house now,LOL!

  41. Has this recipe ever been tried using sugared Kool-aid powder instead of Jello powder? I have a friend who is opposed to eating gelatin. We’re discussing whether the gelatin actually adds something to the recipe, or if the Jello is mostly for the coloring, flavoring, and sugar.

  42. Tried this tonight for a 4th of July treat for the kids and I absolutely love it I can’t believe I have always stuck to plain ol carmel corn…this is soon to be a favorite of mine and the berry blue jello is great on the popcorn 🙂 thanks for posting this and I will be sharing the recipe

  43. Jello is pretty much my favorite thing in the world! I’m always excited to discover new recipes where I can use it. I accidentally made it with a whole stick of margarine…oops. It wasn’t as crunchy, but it was still super good!

  44. Just finished 4 batches for my daughter’s b’day–I learned some things! 1. TOTALLY worth the effort. 2. Spray everything you use with Pam (for easy clean up) and 3. Grape flavored Jello looks brown/mauve. Tastes great, but not as pretty as green, red and orange!

  45. i made Lime and Cherry today and was surprised that it really did taste yummy. I bagged it up mixed together in Christmas treat baggies to have for long car rides this Christmas. Thanks for another great recipe!

  46. My mom has made this popcorn for as long as I can remember – we used to give it to our neighbors for a yummy xmas treat. Definitely a favorite in our family!

  47. I am going to try this for a Mardi Gras Party for teenagers and use green, purple and yellow colored Jello

  48. This is a really old post, so I am sure no one will probably see this, BUT… We make this except instead of karo/corn syrup and sugar, we make it more like rice krispie treats. We melt the 1/4 C. butter and one bag of mini marshmallows. Then add the jello stirring until well mixed. Then mix into popcorn. You could probably bake it until it isn’t so sticky, but we usually just make popcorn balls out of it. You can add m&ms or peanuts too, but we never have. We love this popcorn. So easy with marshmallows. Love the stickiness too. Just really have to be sure, as with any sticky popcorn, that you have all the kernels out of it! 🙂
    Thanks for the recipe. I like popcorn, and love making different kinds.

  49. I used to have a recipe for jello popcorn that was made with sugar free jello. I’m diabetic and love this stuff, but can’t remember how to make it. Does anyone have a recipe for this that is sugar free?

  50. [email protected] says:

    I’m making this for my friends baby shower pink popcorn and purple popcorn so I’m using the strawberry Jell-O in the grape now and I diluted the Shorebury and grape with a little water so that the color isn’t so dark for a rough draft the Strawberry came out pretty good but I would make a note that make sure you have all popcorn not too many seeds cuz with that Candy someone could break a filling!

  51. I was wondering how long this stays fresh? Can you make it a week or two in advance if stored in ziplock bags?

  52. Made some of this tonight for my daughter’s daycare class to enjoy for a snack tomorrow. I have to say – this is far more work than I anticipated – it’s definitely a 2 person job.

    My store doesn’t sell 3.5 ounce boxes of jello – the only ones they had were Jell-O brand boxes that were 3 ounces each. I may be crazy but the green/lime jello just did not spread/coat the popcorn nearly as well as the red did. It was almost impossible to stir to coat the popcorn before the coating hardened. I learned by the second batch to spray EVERYTHING with non-stick spray – bowl, spoons, and cookie sheet.

    In the end – it IS very pretty to look at in the little snack baggies we bought and I know the kids will enjoy it, and it is tasty, but I’m not sure it was worth the time and effort to fill those tiny little bags.

    Not trying to deter anyone from making this -just be warned – have a helper and do it when you have plenty of time.

  53. Just made some cherry jello popcorn for the kids, and the recipe worked great! They loved it, and even my husband, who never eats popcorn, has requested I make him some, with a few additions (I believe nuts and marshmallows). Thanks so much – I’ll be using and sharing this one for years to come!

  54. I don’t even like lime jello or flavoring (sweet), but this ended up tasting great! I even featured it on our crafting blog, just to share some fun tastiness. Thanks for sharing your talent!

  55. Has anyone else had issues with Honey? I didn’t have any corn syrup, so I tried with honey, and it started boiling almost as soon as i put it in, then the whole thing burned.

  56. I made these last night for a Halloween party. We are dairy free so i tried to use coconut oil didn’t work out so well. I wound up pouring off most of the coconut oil since it would stir in. Also the blue jello turn out green :-/ luckily it was for Halloween and it didnt matter the color. it probably was just the sugar caramelizing from the lack of water from the butter. I think next time i will try vegan “butter”

    BUT it turned out great, tasted great. everyone loved it
    and I loved how easy it was 🙂

  57. I made 2 batches of this, one strawberry and one lime (Christmas colors). I followed others’ recommendations for spraying everything w/ cooking spray, but the first batch (strawberry) turned out too clumpy and had lots of extra jello coating on the bottom of the pan. So I made a little extra popcorn for the lime batch (about 10 cups vs. 8), then I made sure to evenly coat all the popcorn and stir while pouring the jello mix in. Also, after taking it out of the oven, I stirred it while warm to break it up instead of waiting for it to cool first. Perfect! Thanks for this recipe – I’m trying the peppermint bark popcorn next. Keep the recipes coming!

  58. I made this in Grape for a Purple and gold graduation sweet table that i did and it was a big hit with the kids at the party. It was also a big hit in my house! as i made a large batch and almost had to make a second just for the party “wink”. Now its going to be the 4th of July and i am doing a sweet table for 60+ guests we are having over and decided to include blue raspberry, red cherry and will buy some kettle corn for white. I can’t wait to make it. this recipe is full proof, easy and sweet enough!

  59. I can’t figure out if it’s the margarine or type of popcorn I’m using but anytime I pour anything on my Orville electric popped popcorn its shriveling up. Do I have to use butter instead of margarine? Or should I try a different type of popcorn? I’ve made this before with margarine so I can’t figure out what’s going on.

  60. How long will this keep? I’m giving a huge circus baby shower and would love to be able to package it up ahead of time…. Just how much ahead is safe enough to still hold it’s crunch? Thanks! Liz

    1. That’s a tricky one because it depends. I’ve had it keep nice and crunchy for 2-3 days, but environmental factors, like humidity, will make a difference as well. You might want to test a batch just to see!

    1. You can make them into balls, but I probably wouldn’t bake them after. I’m guessing they would stay chewy in the centers.

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