Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls


A while ago we made the Peanut Butter Popcorn recipe from The Kitchn and gobbled it up.  I am a big fan of “mix-ins” with popcorn – my favorite is peanut M&M’s, and this recipe captured the peanuty goodness, plus an intense rush of caramelized sugar.  It was pretty intense and I don’t recommend eating it all in one go, but it’s a super easy snack to make with ingredients you probably have in your kitchen.

We went out to the movies last night and saw the excellent Let the Right One In at a “fancy” art-house theater in Manhattan that served $6.75 popcorn.  In a leap of frugality, I took the popcorn home and made some peanut butter popcorn balls.  Yes, I took the popcorn home.  In my huge purse.  I am not ashamed.  These balls are delicious.

Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls (adapted from The Kitchn)


4 cups leftover popcorn (or follow their recipe with freshmade popcorn)
1/4 cup honey
3.5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup (chunky) peanut butter (should be free of added sugar)
1/4 piece of a vanilla bean or 1/4 tsp vanilla

To Do:

  1. Put popcorn in a big bowl.
  2. Melt sugar and honey in a small saucepan.  If using vanilla bean, put it in the sugar/honey mixture.  Bring to a boil and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Take vanilla bean out and stick it in some simple syrup if you have any in the fridge (frugal!).
  3. Add the peanut butter (and if you didn’t use a vanilla bean, add the vanilla extract).  Stir until it all becomes smooth and pour over popcorn.
  4. Use a spoon to coat the popcorn or put a lid on the bowl and shake it around until the popcorn is coated with the mixture.
  5. Form into small balls when the mixture is still warm, but touchable (don’t burn yourself!).
  6. Store in air-tight container.  Pairs well with bourbon.

9 Comments on “Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls”

  1. Renee says:

    Fantastic! I look forward to trying these. Popcorn is such a tasty, thrifty snack. I’m a sucker for the salty/sweet combo too. Your photo is gorgeous!

  2. Jessie says:

    I made these! I had leftover butter popcorn from the boardwalk in Ocean City, MD and I made these using Jif Peanut Butter, 2.5 Tbsp sugar, (since Jif has sugar), I also added two handfuls of trail mix (peanuts, cashews, m&ms). *hint* I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to make uniform size balls. I made 20 popcorn balls with this recipe. So yummy! I advise NOT using m&ms because they melt and break when you form the balls. No one in my house will care but just letting you know.

    • Dogletsmom says:

      OK…. Now you’re talkin… my two favorite foods in the world melded into one: peanut butter and popcorn. I am SO trying this recipe next weekend! I miss WTF’s for Dinner!!! You are SO creative in the kitchen, Jessie!

  3. Samsara says:

    you are quite the homemaker! Hope all is well with the whole family. I couldn’t touch the popcorn, I can do corn, but not popcorn cuz of the adhesions.

  4. […] Being thrifty, I brought it home thinking that I’d just eat it later, but then I realized it would be totally gross by the time I felt like eating it.  So I hit the internet, hoping to find a way to use up a giant bag of movie popcorn, and found this. […]

  5. Les says:

    I’ve made this twice this week; that’s how good they are. Do you think you could make it without sugar and just use honey? Just wondering.

  6. mrscutjack says:

    You’re a lifesaver! I’m recently diagnosed celiac and looking for yummy treats I can still eat and protein is always a plus. Going to sub agave for honey. Do you think I can sub Splenda for sugar?

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