If you are tired of every holiday just being an excuse for your kid to glut themselves on all sorts of unhealthy candy, then have we got a treat for you! Colorful candied popcorn is super simple to make, absolutely delicious, and can be made in almost any color or flavor of the rainbow. It’s gluten-free and certainly healthier than handfuls of jellybeans and chocolate bunnies.
Popcorn and Jello
That’s right! Those are the two main ingredients so you can make it in any flavor/color gelatin comes in. Best of all, the ingredients the recipe calls for are usually right in your pantry. In addition to the gelatin and popcorn, you’ll need honey, butter, sugar, and maybe a little bit of food coloring. Think of the holiday possibilities! Red and green for Christmas, orange, purple and green for Halloween, pink and red for Valentine’s Day. From start to finish the process only takes about 45 minutes.
Let the Kids Help
Making candied popcorn with your kids is a great way to bond, reinforce reading skills, and teach a few cooking skills along the way. Almost every school age kid can zap a bag of popcorn, and the rest of the cooking is done in the microwave. It never gets too hot, but I suggest that parents pour the candy mixture over the popped corn just to avoid accidents. Two bags of microwave popcorn will give you plenty for the recipe.
Hints and Suggestions
Don’t burn your popcorn. That slightly scorched taste lingers in the final product. I recommend using unbuttered popcorn just so you get a purer color. And speaking of color, I found that adding a few drops of gel coloring can really brighten the color. Finally, did you know Starburst makes gelatin?! Yep! That’s how I was able to make the pink, and it even tastes like strawberry Starbursts! I added two drops of rose gel coloring to make it really pink. The only other way to make pink is with watermelon Jello which is kind of hard to find.
You could just store your colorful candied popcorn in gallon ziplock bags and serve it in a big bowl, but I opted for something a little more festive. I used my Cricut to create bunny popcorn boxes in fun Easter pastels. Check out my tutorial here.
- 10 cups popped popcorn (2 microwave popcorn bags with a little left over)
- 1/3 c. butter
- 1/4 c. honey
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 3 oz. pkg. dry flavored gelatin mix (about 1/4 c. if you are using larger box)
- Optional: a few drops of gel food coloring
1. Pop two bags of popcorn in the microwave making sure it does not scorch, Pour into a large bowl.
2. Microwave butter and honey for about 1 minute. Stir until butter is completely melted.
3. Add sugar and gelatin powder and stir until combined.
4. Place mixture in the microwave and cook for about a minute and a half. The mixture should have come to a rolling boil and doubled in size.
5. Add gel food coloring if desired and stir until the mixture is a consistent color.
6. Pour hot candy liquid over the popcorn and stir until well coated.
7. Spread the popcorn on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees F. for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to break up large clumps.
8. Cool and store in an airtight container.
This recipe was adapted from the Jello Popcorn recipe created by Jeanine Friesen.