Grandpa Higginbottom's Popcorn Balls

Total Time
Prep 30 mins
Cook 5 mins

My family made these popcorn balls every year for did my father's family and his father's family before them. A real family tradition! I don't give them out anymore but still make them every year for friends and family. Serving size is for one batch but two brown paper shopping bags full of popped corn will make approximately 150 popcorn balls. Younger children should be very careful because they can burn their hands when making these. Teenagers are much more suited for the job! Enjoy!


  1. Mix vinegar, water and sugar in a large saucepan.
  2. Cook until brittle when dropped in cold water.
  3. Add butter and vanilla.
  4. Make sure you have bowls of ice water on the table, which has been covered with newspaper.
  5. Pour candy mixture over a very large bowl of popped corn.
  6. Stir mixture with a large wooden spoon.
  7. Coat hands with butter.
  8. (This part gets messy and older children love it!) Working quickly, form balls with your hands.
  9. If you burn your hand, put directly in ice water.
Most Helpful

I made exactly as directed but did not like the tang from the vinegar. They are very sweet and tangy, just not my preference. The balls were soggy as well, but I think that is because my large bowl of popcorn and the instructors may not have been the same size. Thank you.

tabathanjeff November 01, 2009

I wanted to make popcorn balls for a Harvest Party tonight and found I was out of corn syrup. So I chose this recipe. I poured one batch over 6 quarts of popped corn. I put some orange food coloring in the syrup. I also used margarine in place of butter since I have a child who is allergic to milk. I was so surprised at how good these were. It made 24 popcorn balls and I can't stop trying to eat all the little crumbs left in the bowl. Yummy!!!!

deedeegast October 25, 2009

Thanks for your great family recipe Nancy. We are an English family living in Australia, where Halloween is not so popular. But my kids are 5 & 6 so I encourage them to enter into the 'spirit' of all events. I chose your recipe, because I liked the simple sugar, vinegar & water ingredients. We are not big on corn syrup over here, as other recipes called for. I made 12 brains, which I sprinkled with red food colouring - they are scrumptious - whoops, how do I know that? Better leave some for tonight's Halloween gathering. Richelle

cooksalot #2 October 30, 2006