How to Make Colored Popcorn

Colored popcorn
The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  • 01 of 07

    Make the Popcorn

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Making colored popcorn can be a creative and fun way to celebrate any event—Valentine's Day, St. Paddy's Day, Easter, Passover, the Fourth of July, Christmas, your kid's birthday part, or even movie night. 

    Below is a list of ingredients that you will need for making this colorful treat:

    • 8 cups popped corn, make sure to remove the unpopped kernels.  
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 3⁄4 cup water
    • 2 tablespoons of butter
    • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
    • 10 to 15 drops of food coloring or about 1/8 teaspoon of gel food coloring. 

    First, begin with 8 cups of popped popcorn in a large bowl. Make sure there are no un-popped kernels.

    Tip: Most bags of microwave popcorn make about 12 cups of popped popcorn.​

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  • 02 of 07

    Prepare the Pan

    Prepare the pan
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Next, line a 12-inch by 17-inch, or another large-sided, pan with aluminum foil. This will be where you put the covered popcorn to bake.

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  • 03 of 07

    Heat the Ingredients

    Heat the ingredients
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Then, over low heat, melt the butter with the sugar. Once melted, add the water and vanilla extract together and stir.

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  • 04 of 07

    Add the Food Coloring

    Add food coloring
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Bring mixture to boil over medium heat. Stir continually. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the temperature reaches 238 F with a candy thermometer. Then add the food coloring.

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  • 05 of 07


    Colored popcorn
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Once your sugar syrup mixture reaches 238 F, quickly add it to the popped popcorn in the bowl and stir into popcorn. Coat as much popcorn as possible.​

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  • 06 of 07

    Add to Pan and Bake

    Colored popcorn
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Spread the colored popcorn mixture onto the pan. Then, bake in 300 F oven for 10 minutes.

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  • 07 of 07

    Eat Your Colorful Creation!

    Colored popcorn
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Remove from oven and allow to completely cool in pan. After colored popcorn is cooled, break into pieces and eat! Whatever leftovers you have, if there are any, store in an airtight container.