Trail Mix Popcorn Balls

Go Bold With Butter

Living in the mountains and having kids means there’s lots of outdoor activities to be had. And that means there’s always going to be hungry kids. Kids that like snacks. And since summertime means go-time, our snacks need to be portable too.

I started making these handheld goodies to take on hikes. Wrapped in balls of plastic wrap Trail Mix Popcorn are packed with almonds, peanuts, cranberries and raisins, and held together with homemade caramel.

Trail Mix Popcorn Balls
Makes about 16-18 large balls


10 cups popped popcorn
2 cups almonds
1 cup peanuts
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda


Heat oven to 250°F.

Combine popcorn, almonds, peanuts, raisins and cranberries on a large baking sheet.

In a small saucepan melt butter over medium-high heat. Add sugar and corn syrup, and stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until butter mixture begins to brown. Add vanilla and baking soda and remove from heat.

Pour caramel over popcorn mixture and stir to combine. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and stir popcorn again to coat evenly. Form into balls and set on parchment paper to cool.

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Use softened butter for cookies and cakes.

Bringing butter to room temperature helps it incorporate better with other ingredients.

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  1. Michelle Hill said:

    SOOOOO good! Less hard and more chewey than old fashioned popcorn balls. I made half a batch to taste test for treats for my daughter’s dragon birthday… they will be “dragon eggs.” I didn’t have almonds, so I used Joe’s O’s (plain Cheerios) instead and I used brown sugar for that carmelly taste.

    I didn’t think it would be worth it to bake in the oven but the candy was so much more evenly distributed after baking that it was worthwhile.