This Fruity Candy Popcorn recipe utilizes Jello powder for flavour and colour - which gives a lot of room for special events, sports themed combinations, and more!
Originally Posted September 2008. Updated 1/20/2023
I used to make this gourmet popcorn for bake sales in my front yard, as gifts, and whatever. It was so much fun to make, and made the perfect gift as a little thank you or for small occasions.
Lime Jello, Island Pineapple Jello, Grape Jello and Peach Jello (separate, or together!) were always my favourite flavours for Jello Popcorn, as a kid... though pineapple Jello can be more difficult to find in Canada, these days.
Anyway, given the long history with this recipe, I guess it was only appropriate that this flavored popcorn was also the first recipe I posted on this blog, way back in September 2008!
Unlike with making other sweet popcorn types - like caramel corn - no candy thermometer or double boiler needed!
These tasty treats are as perfect for game day - you can make multiple candy coating flavors, and theme it around your team! - as they are for random Friday night movie night snacks.
Actually, I’ve got more to say on that whole thing, LOL!
Game Day Popcorn
While a single batch of this popcorn candy is a ton of fun - and super tasty - on its own, doubling the batch of yummy treats while using 2 different colors?
Awesome - and a fun way to bring your favourite team's colours into your menu, this football season.
This would make a great snack food for any Grey Cup party or Super Bowl party - just customize your colours/flavours specific to your team.
Between the flavors / colors of Jello available, & the huge variety of gel food colors available, you can totally customize the flavors and colors of this sweet treat to match any sports team out there.
Special Occasion Themed Popcorn
Sporting events is only one application for this great treat... but think of the possibilities!
If your baby shower has a theme, you can pick the colors and flavors to go with it.
Want to go traditional? You can make your popcorn in pink and blue colors - there’s even a way to make opaque, pastel popcorn (more on that in a bit!).
You can even package the popcorn candy up in little plastic bags as favors for your guests!
Bridal Showers... or Weddings
Consider using your wedding colors for bridal shower favors, or as part of a sweets buffet at your wedding!
Birthday Party Favors
Pick whatever flavor - or flavors -you like, and serve it as a great treat at the party - or bag it up as party favors.
Scatter some cake sprinkles over the sticky popcorn immediately after stirring, for a kind of “birthday cake” popcorn!
Want to make unicorn popcorn? Do the same, but with edible glitter!
Selecting lime Jello - or dyeing another flavor of candy mixture green - makes for a fun St Patrick's Day treat.
Serving a crowd? Make multiple batches in a rainbow variety of colors for either St Paddy’s Day or Pride month!
Pastel colors = Easter Popcorn.
Orange popcorn can be combined with ANY flavor - dyed black - for Halloween popcorn. Plain, Orange, and Yellow popcorn batches = candy corn theme!
On that note, festive holiday popcorn could be made with cherry and lime Jello - the perfect combination of colors for Christmas popcorn, AND flavors that go well together!
The possibilities are endless!
How to Make Different Colours of Popcorn
For many of the colours you could want, obtaining those colours is pretty easy - just use the appropriate colour of jello.
Sometimes, a colour isn’t available in Jello, or that particular flavour may not be in your area / easy to find. So, here’s a bit of guide on how to achieve various colours:
Red Popcorn - Start with a red Jello - Cranberry Jello, Strawberry Jello, Cherry Jello, Black Cherry Jello, Raspberry Jello, or Strawberry Banana Jello - or use gel colour to overwhelm an Orange or Yellow Jello flavour.
Yellow Popcorn - Start with a Yellow Jello flavour - Island Pineapple Jello or Lemon Jello - use yellow, red, or orange food colouring (VERY sparingly!) to achieve the type of yellow you’re looking for. (Eg: a small amount of orange or brown can bring you closer to “athletic gold” colour)
Green Popcorn - Lime Jello. If that’s not available, start with a yellow flavour and add green food colouring.
Note: You can get Green Apple flavored gelatin in other brands - I’ve only ever made this with Jello brand gelatin, though. I imagine others would work fine, though!
Blue Popcorn - Start with Berry Blue Jello, use blue food colouring to adjust the colour to what you need, if necessary. If that blue raspberry flavor is not available, you can start with green and just overwhelm it with blue gel colouring.
Purple Popcorn - Start with Grape Jello, use red or blue food colouring to obtain the type of purple you’re looking for, if necessary. If grape isn’t available, add blue colouring to a Red flavour of Jello
Pink Popcorn - Watermelon Jello, or use a Red Jello flavour, and white food colouring to “pastel” it. You can adjust the type of pink by adding pink food colouring after it’s been suitably lightened.
Black Popcorn - Start with any flavour of Jello, add black food colouring. It’s dark enough that it’ll blacken any colour of Jello you start with, if you use enough.
Brown Popcorn - Start with an Orange or Yellow Jello flavour, add brown food colouring.
Pastel or Opaque Glaze
If you want your glaze to be opaque - that is, not a sheer, see-through candy - use a few drops of WHITE gel food colouring - I recommend Americolor White Gel Paste .
You can add this white gel to any Jello flavour to make it opaque and pastel (depending on how much you use), or just creamy medium-tone opaque colours using this technique.
A Note on Food Colouring
Whenever I’m using food colouring, I prefer to use a nice quality gel based colour, such as Americolor (what I used when I was in the USA), or ChefMaster (Which is the option more readily available here!).
The liquid colors you can buy in grocery stores will work, but it’s not as concentrated, and not available in as many colours.
When using food colouring in your popcorn glaze, tint it AFTER removing the Jello mixture from the heat, immediately before pouring it on your popcorn.
A Note on Colour Vibrance
For this batch of fruity glazed candy popcorn, I used grape and lemon Jello flavors.
While the lemon was vibrant enough on its own, I find that the darker colors need a little more “oomph”.
I highly recommend adding a few drops of gel food coloring. To achieve this depth of color, I used a few drops of Americolor’s “Regal Purple”. Perfect!
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Fruity Glazed Candy Popcorn
- ¼ Cup Unsalted Butter
- ¼ Cup Light Corn Syrup
- ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Small Package Jello Any Flavour
- 10 Cups Popped Popcorn
- Make your Popcorn. I recommend air-popped popcorn (I use an air popper), and do NOT recommend microwave popcorn.
- Remove popped popcorn from any remaining popcorn kernels, dispose the unpopped kernels. Place the popcorn in a large bowl - heatsafe, of course!
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
- Melt butter and corn syrup together in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add sugar and Jello powder, bring sugar mixture to a boil, then turn heat down to low heat.
- Let the syrup mixture boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat.
- Carefully pour mixture over popcorn – Jello mixture is HOT NASTY LAVA, so it’ll burn you if you’re not careful.
- Mix well, with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.
- Spread popcorn out on a the prepared cookie sheet, and allow to cool. (Some people like to bake popcorn for 10 minutes at 350F… personally, I like the slight gooeyness it keeps without being baked!).
- Make a second batch in another flavor/color, and also allow to cool to room temperature / dry.
- Break popcorn up into pieces, and either serve side by side in a bowl, or mix together.
- If you’re not using the popcorn right away, store it in an airtight container, or package into baggies.
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