This quick and easy Peanut Butter Popcorn recipe brings delicious gourmet popcorn right to your own house. It’s made with freshly popped popcorn covered in a sweet and salty peanut butter and marshmallow caramel sauce.
Whether you're hosting a get-together or simply want a little snacky snack, this peanut butter popcorn recipe is a must-try. The combination of fluffy popcorn and luscious peanut butter creates a delicious, sweet, salty, and chewy snack that's perfect for sharing or enjoying all by yourself.
Peanut Butter Popcorn Recipe
Peanut butter lovers rejoice - this Peanut Butter Popcorn recipe is bound to be your new favorite movie night snack. Picture freshly air-popped popcorn coated in a salty-sweet caramel mixture made with creamy peanut butter and gooey melted marshmallows. Best of all, it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.
Feel free to go a step further and add in Reese’s Pieces, or even drizzle melted chocolate over the top as it cools. We’ve also given you easy instructions below for how to turn this into popcorn balls. There are so many delicious ways to make easy gourmet popcorn right in your very own home.
Ingredients in Peanut Butter Popcorn
- Popcorn - our favorite popcorn to use is plain freshly popped popcorn. Microwave popcorn and bagged popcorn can be used, but won’t be as crisp and fresh as freshly popped popcorn. Plus, they usually have added salt and other ingredients.
- Butter - you can use salted or unsalted butter depending on your flavor preference.
- Sugar - you will need white granulated sugar for this recipe.
- Corn Syrup - corn syrup or Karo syrup helps to keep the peanut butter caramel soft and prevents the sugar from crystallizing while it cooks. If you want to avoid corn syrup, you could try substituting honey.
- Water - you’ll need just a little tap water to cook the peanut butter mixture.
- Marshmallows - I recommend using mini marshmallows because they melt quicker. If you only have large marshmallows you could chop them up first.
- Peanut Butter - the best peanut butter to use for Peanut Butter Popcorn is regular creamy peanut butter. Don’t try and use the natural varieties because they separate and won’t work as well for recipes like this one.
How to Make Peanut Butter Popcorn
- Pop the popcorn. Place air-popped popcorn into a large bowl being careful to remove the unpopped kernels. Set aside.
- Cook the peanut butter sauce. In a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar, Karo syrup, and water. Bring to a boil while stirring and cook until the syrup mixture reaches 235-240 degrees F on a candy thermometer (about 4-5 minutes).
- Stir in the marshmallows and peanut butter. Remove from heat, add the marshmallows, and stir until they are completely melted. Next, add the peanut butter and stir again until smooth.
- Add to the popcorn. Pour the peanut butter coating over the popped corn and stir until it is completely coating the popcorn.
- Let cool. Spread the peanut butter popcorn onto a parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheet and allow to cool completely at room temperature.
- Serve. Once cooled, break into smaller pieces and serve in individual cups or a large bowl. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Enjoy!
Popcorn Peanut Butter Balls
To turn this recipe into Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls, follow instructions 1-4 above, then allow the mixture to cool just until it is cool enough to handle. Then, shape into 3-4” balls using your hands. You may want to wet your hands a bit between popcorn balls so that the mixture doesn’t stick.
Let the Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls cool completely on a baking sheet, then transfer to individual cellophane bags or serve as is.
Recipe Variations for Peanut Butter Popcorn
These easy Peanut Butter Popcorn recipe variations offer a wide variety of options to suit different tastes and occasions.
- Chocolate Drizzle Peanut Butter Popcorn: Drizzle melted chocolate (dark, milk, or white) over your peanut butter-coated popcorn for a flavor reminiscent of peanut butter cups.
- Spicy Peanut Butter Popcorn: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or chili powder to your peanut butter mixture for a spicy-savory twist.
- Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Popcorn: Combine honey-roasted peanuts with your peanut butter popcorn for an extra layer of sweetness and a nutty crunch.
- Maple Bacon Peanut Butter Popcorn: Toss crumbled bacon bits and a drizzle of maple syrup into your peanut butter popcorn for a delightful combination of savory and sweet flavors.
- Caramel Corn Peanut Butter Popcorn: Mix caramel corn with your peanut butter popcorn for a sweet and gooey treat. The combination of peanut butter and caramel is heavenly.
- S'mores Peanut Butter Popcorn: Add mini marshmallows and crushed graham crackers to your peanut butter popcorn for a s'mores-inspired flavor that's reminiscent of campfire evenings.
- Almond Joy Peanut Butter Popcorn: Combine shredded coconut, chopped almonds, and mini chocolate chips with your peanut butter popcorn for an Almond Joy candy-inspired treat.
Frequently Asked Questions
I prefer to use either white or yellow air-popped popcorn because it is as fresh as it gets and doesn’t contain any extra butter, salt, or added flavors. You could use microwave popcorn or even bagged popcorn if you want, but try and find kinds with the least amount of added ingredients as possible.
You sure can! All you need to do is follow instructions 1-4, then let the mixture cool enough to handle before shaping into your desired sized popcorn balls. You may want to wet your hands slightly between shaping so that the mixture doesn’t stick.
If you find that your peanut butter mixture is so thick that you can’t even mix it into the popcorn, most likely it was cooked to too high of a temperature. Make sure to check the temperature as it cooks using a candy thermometer. Once the mixture reaches 235-240 degrees F, remove it from the heat immediately and add your marshmallows.
Storing Gourmet Popcorn
- Room Temperature: store Peanut Butter Popcorn in an airtight container in a cool place at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Peanut Butter Popcorn Recipe
- 10-12 cups Air-Popped Popcorn
- ½ cup Butter
- 1 cup Sugar
- ½ cup Karo Syrup
- ⅓ cup Water
- 5 oz Mini Marshmallows or about 3 cups
- 1 cup Peanut Butter creamy
- Place air-popped popcorn into a large bowl being careful to remove the unpopped kernels. Set aside.
- In a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar, Karo syrup, and water. Bring to a boil while stirring and cook until the syrup mixture reaches 235-240 degrees F on a candy thermometer (about 4-5 minutes).
- Remove from heat, add the marshmallows, and stir until they are completely melted. Next, add the peanut butter and stir again until smooth.
- Pour the peanut butter coating over the popped corn. Stir until the popcorn is evenly coated.
- Spread the peanut butter popcorn onto a parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheet and allow to cool completely at room temperature.
- Once cooled, break into smaller pieces and serve in individual cups or a large bowl. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Enjoy!
More Popcorn Snack Recipes to Try
- Homemade Caramel Popcorn
- Coconut Caramel Popcorn
- Fall Party Mix
- Firecracker Popcorn
- Cinnamon Bear Marshmallow Popcorn
- More Dessert Recipes
- More Peanut Butter Recipes
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This Peanut Butter Popcorn is salty, sweet, and perfect if you love popcorn and peanut butter. It's a quick and easy snack to make for movie nights, parties, or holiday parties.