This funfetti popcorn features a light candy coating and sprinkles with a vanilla birthday cake flavor. It's gluten-free and great for party favors!
Today I'm bringing you a recipe that's a little spin on one of my most popular recipes - Old Fashioned Pink Popcorn. I'd recently been thinking about it, and was also making some recipes involving sprinkles. I thought, "what if I put the two together?"
So I did just that, and today I bring you Funfetti Popcorn.
Let's face it. Funfetti is just fun. I mean, who doesn't like sprinkles? They're sweet, they're colorful, and they add just a little bit of happiness to your snacks and desserts. Popcorn included.
When I was testing this recipe, I adjusted the popcorn-candy coating ratio just a little bit. I didn't want a really thick, sweet coating covering the popcorn - just a thin shell. I also added a hint of almond extract to the syrup mixture to give it a more birthday cake-like flavor.
After a couple of tries with a few tweaks here and there, I got the recipe perfect! This popcorn has a light sweetness with the crunch that you know and love. It's hard to stop eating, and if you leave a bowl of it sitting out, it will be gone in no time.
This popcorn is also ideal as a party favor. Put a couple of cups into a plastic or paper bag to hand out to your guests for a treat to take home with them. You can even use colored sprinkles that match the decor of your event!
How to make Funfetti Popcorn:
To be successful at making this addictive popcorn, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- You MUST use a cooking thermometer. It could be an instant-read thermometer (bonus if it has a pot clip so you don't have to hold it) or an old-fashioned candy thermometer that's made to attach to a pot. Making any kind of candy (in this case, candy coating) is very picky, and requires heating to a very specific temperature to work out. If the temperature doesn't get high enough, the coating won't harden. If it gets too high, the coating will caramelize and turn brown, or even burn. While caramel corn is great too, it's not what we're going for with this recipe. Unless you're VERY familiar with candy-making, you can't eyeball it.
- The humidity can definitely affect the success of this recipe. If you live in a very humid climate, you might have difficulty getting the candy coating to set or dry once the popcorn is coated. If this is the case, you can try putting the tray of your coated popcorn in a low oven (200°F) to help it along.
Once you know these things and you're prepared, this popcorn is actually pretty easy to make. Simply pop the popcorn, cook the syrup mixture, mix the syrup, popcorn, and sprinkles together, then wait for it to harden.
Funfetti Popcorn Ingredients:
- Plain popcorn kernels
- Granulated sugar
- Whole milk or half and half: note that I haven't actually tested this recipe using a dairy-free option, but I suspect that it would work just fine. If you try it, let me know how it goes.
- Corn syrup
- kosher salt
- Vanilla extract (I like to use clear vanilla to get the most "birthday cake-like" flavor, as well as to avoid giving the coating a beige color.)
- Almond extract: be careful to avoid using more than the recipe states as almond extract is very potent and it's really easy to go overboard with it.
- Sprinkles: I like to use jimmies (the cylindrical ones). Non-pariels (the round ones) have more of a tendancy to bleed their color. Feel free to use any color you like.
Want more Popcorn recipes?
Funfetti Popcorn Nutrition Notes:
The nutrition information in the recipe below is for one cup of popcorn. Whole milk was used in the calculations.
The recipe as written is gluten-free and vegetarian.
- Line a half sheet pan (or two quarter sheet pans) with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Pop the popcorn kernels using your desired method (an air-popper works great). Transfer the popcorn into a large bowl (or two smaller bowls if you don't have one large enough to fit the popcorn with room to stir). Set aside.
- Pour the sugar into the center of a small saucepan, being careful not to get any sugar crystals on the sides of the pot. Add the milk, corn syrup, and salt and place the mixture over medium heat. Heat the mixture until it reaches 230°F, stirring often. Note that the mixture will come to a boil several minutes before it reaches the correct temperature - keep cooking it after this. If you find that the temperature is no longer rising, or is rising very slowly, raise the temperature slightly, but don't exceed medium-high heat or you run the risk of burning the mixture.
- Once the sugar mixture has reached 230°F, remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. Pour the sugar mixture over the popcorn, then add the sprinkles. Stir it gently until it is evenly mixed.
- Spread the coated popcorn in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet(s). Leave it uncovered to dry. Note that if you live in a humid climate, it will take longer to dry, or it may not dry well. If this happens, you can place it in the oven at 200°F. Check on it regularly to assess the dryness.
- Once the popcorn is completely dry (it usually takes 2-4 hours for me, in a dry climate), place it into airtight containers or bags.