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Turtle Popcorn Balls

turtle popcorn balls with caramel, chocolate and pecans in paper liner on dark wood background

Turtle popcorn balls start with a marshmallow base, then melt in caramel bits and chocolate chips! I think the best part is rolling the outside of the balls in extra caramel pieces, chocolate chips and pecans. These holiday popcorn balls are easy to make and a great no bake christmas dessert.

I’m going to introduce you to this debate..

..are popcorn balls suppose to be soft & chewy or crunchy? 🤔

I think it depends on where you live and what you grew up thinking a popcorn ball was.

Not to confuse anyone, these turtle popcorn balls are soft, chewy & gooey!

2 turtle popcorn balls with caramel, chocolate and pecans stacked on top of each other

How to make popcorn balls without corn syrup?

Our popcorn ball base starts with marshmallows not corn syrup! Think of this like a gooey rice krispie treat popcorn ball.

Both methods (corn syrup or marshmallows) make great popcorn balls with different results. The “old fashion” method is typically with corn syrup.

Pre-popped, microwave or stove top popcorn?

That is the question.. what type of popcorn should I use?

While pre-popped popcorn is super convenient, it can lose its crispness. I have made popcorn balls with a bag of already popped popcorn, and while it still turns out tasty, the popcorn isn’t as fresh or crispy.

Microwave or stove top really comes down to preference – either are great!

how to make turtle popcorn balls with marshmallows, caramel bits, chocolate chips, pecans and popcorn

How to make turtle popcorn balls

So we discussed the base of our recipe – marshmallows and popcorn – but we need a few extra ingredients to make chocolatey caramel popcorn balls.

When melting the marshmallows and butter on the stove top, add in caramel bits and chocolate chips to really get that turtle flavor.

Once the gooey mixture is melted and evenly mixed, pour it over the popcorn. Then spray your hands with non-stick cooking spray and use your hands, a spoon, a measuring cup, cookie scoop, etc to portion out the popcorn. Roll it between your hands into a rough ball shape. Then roll the popcorn ball into the extra toppings – more caramel bits, chocolate chips and chopped pecans!

Alternatively, you could add the extra toppings into the gooey popcorn before forming balls.

turtle popcorn ball with caramel, chocolate and pecans with hand in the picture

How to store popcorn balls

For storage beyond a day, I recommend wrapping each ball in plastic wrap, and then placing inside a ziploc bag or tupperware container for freshness. However, popcorn balls are best eaten the same day.

Want them to be a little gooey and warm when you eat them?

Place one popcorn ball in the microwave for 7-10 seconds.

These popcorn balls with chocolate chips, caramel and pecans are a great holiday and Christmas treat to make!

turtle popcorn balls with caramel, chocolate and pecans in paper liner on dark wood background with text overlay

More no bake treats

No Bake Butterscotch Marshmallow Bars
Sticky Paws (Williams Sonoma Copycat!)
Christmas English Toffee


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Turtle Popcorn Balls

Turtle Popcorn Balls

Yield: 15-20 balls
Additional Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Turtle popcorn balls start with a marshmallow base, then melt in caramel bits and chocolate chips! I think the best part is rolling the outside of the balls in extra caramel pieces, chocolate chips and pecans. These holiday popcorn balls are easy to make and a great no bake christmas dessert.

Ingredients

  • 16 cups popped popcorn
  • one 10 oz bag mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup caramel bits
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For rolling the popcorn balls

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup caramel bits
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Place the popped popcorn in a large bowl (or 2 large bowls to make mixing easier).
  2. Place the extra toppings needed for rolling the balls on a plate, set aside. 
  3. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the mini marshmallows, butter, caramel bits and chocolate chips. Stir frequently until melted & smooth.
  4. Pour the melted mixture over the popcorn (dividing between 2 bowls if you divided the popcorn). Stir with a spatula until the popcorn is coated.
  5. Spray your hands with non-stick cooking spray and use your hands, a spoon, a measuring cup, cookie scoop, etc to portion out the popcorn into balls. Roll the ball between your hands into a rough ball shape. Then roll the popcorn ball into the extra toppings - more caramel bits, chocolate chips and chopped pecans! 
  6. Alternatively, you could add the extra toppings into the gooey popcorn before forming the balls if you don’t want to roll them in the toppings. 
  7. Place the balls on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Allow the balls to cool and firm up, 30 minutes to 1 hour. 
  8. For storage beyond a day, I recommend wrapping each ball in plastic wrap, and then placing inside a ziploc bag or tupperware container for freshness. However, popcorn balls are best eaten the same day. 

Notes

What type of popcorn should I use?

  • While pre-popped popcorn is super convenient, it can lose its crispness. I have made popcorn balls with a bag of already popped popcorn, and while it still turns out tasty, the popcorn isn’t as fresh or crispy. Microwave or stove top really comes down to preference - either are great!

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