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

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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 🙂

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

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

  11. 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!

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

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

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. 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!

  19. 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