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.

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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. so hard to make it is very sticky and not worth the effort but it is still good sweet very sweet

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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. 🙂

  6. 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!

  7. 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

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. 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!

  13. 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! 🙂

  14. 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 🙂

  15. 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.

  16. 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 🙂

  17. 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!

  18. 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

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

  20. THis looks great!! Can I use microwave popcorn or does it need to be air popped?

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

  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. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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…


  26. 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!