This Old Fashioned Pink Popcorn is fun, pretty and delicious. It makes me nostalgic because it reminds me of Lucky Elephant popcorn.
HAPPY EARLY VALENTINE'S DAY FOLKS!
I wanted to post this tomorrow but I was just too excited to wait. So you get an early V-Day gift.
As you know I have been on a popcorn kick of epic proportions lately. I have two more saved up to show you. There's Turtle Popcorn, then Turtle Popcorn Gone Wild.
I could just sit and stare at this Pink Candy Popcorn all day. It's so purty and makes me all happy! And a happy Lunatic is a good thing for everyone.
This brings back memories for me. Big time!
You see, I am a Canuck, through and through, except for the hockey because I hate it and I know that means I'm a bad Canadian but I can't help it.
Anyhow, as a Canuck I grew up eating Lucky Elephant Pink Candy Popcorn. This stuff was such a treat. I've always been a big fan of the colour pink so I used to love eating this stuff.
If you have never had it you are missing out folks. A gazillion times better than caramel corn. I mean it's flipping PINK!
I searched for a recipe close enough to it and found one at Nan's Recipe Spot. There are tons of pink popcorn recipes out there but this is the one that drew my eye and I loved reading about her memories of it.
So, instead of using a source with no emotional attachment to the popcorn I chose to use one that had a personal story behind it. Thank you to Nan for the inspiration and the story behind your popcorn.
- Popcorn - You can pop your own popcorn or buy already popped popcorn if you prefer. Just make sure it has no flavouring if you buy it already popped.
- Sugar - Use granulated sugar for this recipe. Nothing else will work as well, in my opinion.
- Milk - This recipe calls for half and half or whole milk. Whole milk has 3.25% butterfat in Canada.
- Corn Syrup - Try to find clear corn syrup because if you use the yellow version it could alter the colour of your popcorn a bit. Also, I know corn syrup is a polarizing ingredient for some, but it's required in this recipe.
- Salt - Use table or kosher salt. Do not skip adding salt to this recipe. Salt enhances the flavour of sweets so only omit if you need to for health reasons.
- Extract - Vanilla extract is the way to go for this recipe. I've made it with almond extract as well, but I prefer vanilla extract.
- Food Colouring - When I first made this I used red food colouring. I've made it again with pink food colouring. Personally, for this recipe I like liquid food colouring for this recipe. I've found gel to be harder to control with lighter hued treats. Start small until you get the colour you want. You can always add more but you cannot take away.
How to Make Pink Popcorn:
- Pop your popcorn if making it from scratch. Or use store bought popcorn. Place popcorn in a large bowl or roasting pan for later.
- Line one or two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine sugar, milk, corn syrup and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Adjust the heat so the mixture reaches a low boil. Using a candy thermometer, watch until the mixture reaches 230 degrees F, also known as the soft ball stage. You will need to stir the mixture occasionally.
- Once the temperature reaches 230 degrees F you can remove the saucepan from the heat and add the vanilla and food colouring. Stir well and allow the mixture to cool slightly. If you pour scorching hot candy coating over popcorn it can shrink the popcorn.
- Now you can grab the popcorn you set aside earlier. Drizzle the pink candy mixture over top of the popcorn as evenly as you can. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir it really well.
- Transfer the popcorn to the parchment lined cookie sheets and spread out evenly. It will dry best in a single layer that is evenly spread out, as opposed to dumping it out into one giant pile.
- Allow the popcorn to cool completely. If you can resist eating it while you wait you're a stronger person than I am!!
Tips for Making Pink Candy Coated Popcorn:
- Never pour piping hot candy mixture right over popcorn. Same principle as butter. If you pour if over while it's still boiling it will shrink and shrivel your popcorn.
- I used half the amount of popped popcorn as the original recipe called for but feel free to use the full amount.
- Originally I used yellow corn syrup as clear was hard to find where I live in Canada. Now I always use the clear version of it.
- Candy popcorn can feel sticky. If you find you didn't cook the mixture properly, and the popcorn is sticky let it dry in the oven under low heat for 30 minutes or so. That will solve the issue.
- Obviously if it's hot out, and you're serving this outdoors it's going to be stickier due to heat and humidity. Use some judgement and keep it out of the sun.
Storing Pink Candy Coated Popcorn:
- Store candy popcorn in a sealed airtight container in a cool, dry place. It can last up to a week but tends to get soggy after some time.
- Typically, I do not recommend storing it in the fridge. Cold can affect the moisture content.
- Also, I do not recommend freezing homemade candy popcorn for the same reason as refrigerating it. Moisture can mess with the candy coating a bit.
- That said, if I was serving this at an outdoor party in Texas when it was 110 degrees F I would likely put some ice under or around the bowl of popcorn to keep it from getting hot.
I hope all my lovely readers have a pinktastic Valentine's Day! I hope you are pinking happy! And I hope you all enjoy your pinkarific day with your loved ones.
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
More Popcorn Recipes:
- Turtle Popcorn
- Parmesan Popcorn
- Rootbeer Popcorn
- Turtle Popcorn Gone Wild
- S'mores Popcorn
- Turtle Tailgate Mix
- Chocolate Cake Popcorn
- Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn
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Old Fashioned Pink Popcorn
- 6-Quart Stockpot for popping kernels
- 12 cups popped popcorn
- 2 cups sugar
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 drop red food colouring more or less to taste
- Pop up your popcorn. I did mine on the stove old school style. Which for those of you who only do microwave popcorn means you pour some oil in a large stock pot, let the oil get hot, then place popcorn kernels in the bottom and cover with a lid. Then you wait for the magic to happen. Swish the pot around from time to time to keep things from burning and do not go too hot. You want a medium heat or you’ll scorch it.
- Set popcorn aside.
- In a saucepan combine your sugar, milk, corn syrup and salt. Cook over medium heat until your sugar dissolves.
- Now you want it at a low boil until the temperature reaches 230 degrees which is known as soft ball stage. If you do not have a thermometer you can grab a glass of super cold water, drop a little of the mixture in it, now grab that mixture with your fingers and if it forms a ball in the water then flattens out after it’s out of the water that is soft ball stage. You can probably find videos of this online if you aren’t quite sure what this all means.
- Stir occasionally until it reaches soft ball stage and then remove from heat, and add your vanilla and food coloring. Stir well.
- Now put your popcorn in a large bowl or even a big roasting pan. You want to have ample room to stir it really well.
- Now pour your pink mixture over top and stir well to coat.
- Now line a cookie sheet with parchment and transfer the popcorn to that to let it dry out.
- Try not to eat a boatload while waiting for it to cool. Impossible, trust me!
- Serve with a big old pink grin!
Thanks for visiting today!
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I made this and it's SO sticky! It's nothing like caramel corn...am I supposed to bake it afterwards? I left it out for 6 hours and it's still so sticky...couldn't even rip it off the parchment paper.
Did you use a candy thermometer? That's always my first question when candy doesn't work out. It should be sticky, since it's candy coating. You also should be turning it like anything you leave to air dry. It has to be turned on occasion. It should be like caramel corn. I've made it about a dozen times. And have tons of other bloggers who've done it and it's turned out every time. If it's too sticky (and this trick would work on any candy popcorns) pop it in a super low oven for 30 to 60 minutes. You should not need to with this one, but if for some reason it's not turning out that's what I would do to troubleshoot the issue. Hope that helps. It could be lots of things gone wrong, so it's hard to troubleshoot from my end. The candy thermometer is crucial, the popcorn needs to be fresh and good quality otherwise it will absorb too much, the corn syrup should be good quality, the milk should be fresh and the right kind. Beyond that it could be pouring it on too hot, the humidity where you live. So many factors play into candy. Let me know if you still have it and were able to pop it in the oven.
making this as take-away baggies for a breast cancer charity event. Was planning on doing sugar cookies with pink ribbons as decoration....but this seams WAY simpler, faster and a bit cheekier. thanks for the inspiration!
Can I make purple popcorn? Usually you have to mix two dyes together is that going to mess up the ratio of popcorn to liquid?
I don't think it would mess with it at all. You're just adding a little extra food colouring. I've used a ton before, I made red velvet and it turned out fine. You could experiment with a smaller batch if you're worried. Test the waters to see.
Hi Kim. Thanks for the recipe and the memories. I'm a canuk too and we grew up on this stuff as well. What I want to know is where is the prize at the bottom of the bowl? LOL
A tip for anyone having issues with the popcorn being sticky and you don't have a candy thermometer. Do the water test on the candy. Drop some into a cold glass of water and if it hardens right away it's cooked long enough. If it's still soft then it needs to cook longer. We never had a candy thermometer growing up but made peanut brittle and caramel popcorn all the time. We just used the water test to make sure it was cooked to hard ball stage. That should stop the candy from being at all sticky and there shouldn't be any need to dry it out in the oven either.
Looks fantastic! Substituting blue and orange food coloring for Super Bowl get together... Go Broncos!!
You are a godsend. I have been looking for the original Lucky a Elephant recipe for ages. The still make something they think is the same but it's not. This tastes exactly like the real McCoy. As a child we went up to Canada every summer we could to visit my Canadian family. My mother was born there but moved to the lower 48 to marry my dad. There were a few things we always needed to buy, scotch mints (green and white), pink round mints, mackintosh toffee bars, neilsen's chocolate, malkins jam, red river cereal, red rose tea, and lucky elephant popcorn. This has made my night. Made some for my son's bake sale tomorrow. I hope it doesn't sell. Laugh out loud.
Could you make this in advance and then let it cool overnight, and then put them in cellophane baggies as a party favor? I'm having a baby girl, and I want to do a candy and sweets bar, and this would be perfect as a to-go "Ready to Pop" favor. Yay or Nay
It's a candy popcorn so it's quite sticky. I'd suggest little containers. I've not tried it in cello, but I've done it in cups lined with parchment.
This was different (and even better) than I expected! I used about 1/4 cup of pink candy melts to color it, which turned it fudgy. I had to work fast to pour it on. So, I don't know if I inadvertently changed the recipe, but everyone just loved this at my February Bunco party. Next time I will try with just red food color. Thank you so much for this!
Janet that sounds amazing. Candy coated popcorn is amazing. I'm so glad it worked for you. I love hearing recipes were loved. Can't hear that enough.
I've never played Bunco. How sad am I? I hear it's fun.
I just made these and WOW they are yummy!!! Thank you so much for posting on pinterest. My 2 girls and son will devour these in no time.
I hate sweet popcorn, ever since I was a little kid sweet popcorn made me gag until I had this popcorn! I made this for a baby shower I hosted last spring and so of course as I was making it I decided I had better at least try it and let me tell you it was extremely hard to stop eating it! I will be making this in a couple weeks again for my daughters 6th birthday party and can't wait. Thank you for sharing!
Ha, Kimberly when I first started reading this I was scared then I realized you loved it and all was well with the world again. So happy you liked it. And you're making it again. That is like the highest praise. Thanks so much for taking the time to tell me. You made my day.
I have kids allergic to dairy. Can I substitute the milk for coffee creamer, almond milk or coconut milk? TIA
Absolutely Tia. You can use water, or try coconut milk or water. I know a lot of folks have made adjustments and it`s turned out well. I`m not sure about the creamer though, I`ve never tried using it for anything so I`m hesitant to say yes to that one.
This was perfect, except we kept it at the original 24 cups popcorn...otherwise it was way too sweet! We also added a sprinkle of salt right after the popcorn popped...it ended up tasting more like kettle corn. And why stop at pink? We made ours purple!
Hey Mallory. I love that you made purple. I do that with coconut a lot. It's so much fun to make food colourful. I am so glad you liked it. I always like to tell people I tend to have a pretty sweet tooth, and I also like super spicy food too. I figure if I warn people they can dial things back. I'm a more is more girl, but I know some people are not. If you took pictures pop them by my facebook page. Would love to see them. And thanks for taking the time to come leave me some feedback. I always like to know how recipes turn out, good or bad, it helps me make sure I'm doing a good job explaining things when I write. Hope you try some more stuff. And that you like it, lol.
I am making it for a fundraiser tonight and tomorrow, so I will have plenty of pictures to share! We are making about 400 cups! This recipe is easy enough that we can make multiple batches with no issuse (we did four last time in a couple hours...the real test will be how many we can make the next two days!)
I will say that I did like the sweetness of your original recipe...I just wouldn't be able to pig out on it! When we double the popcorn, I was able to eat more because it wasn't as sweet. The kids loved it though!
Can you tell me how long this stays fresh? I'd like to make it for my daughter's birthday party and anything I can do in advance is great! Thanks
Hey Sarah. You can make it a few days ahead for sure. It stores beautifully for up to a week or so. But in order for it to taste super fresh for the party I would do it 2 or 3 days before, preferably 2 for optimum freshness. You can try cutting the coating in half if you want it less sticky. I lay mine on cookie sheets to dry and turn it over with a spatula every so often. The biggest thing is watch that the coating isn't piping hot when you pour it over. If you've ever made popcorn and poured scorching hot butter over it you know it makes it shrink up like crazy. So let it cool slightly so that doesn't happen.
I was disappointed with the end result, as I was expecting a pretty pink caramel like yours. But instead it was a burnt brown red colour. I think you should specify in the recipe ingredients to use clear corn syrup or else your colouring won't work.
Hi Anonymous. Thanks for leaving a comment. I actually used regular corn syrup not clear. If you read the post I actually mention that. I can't find clear where I live. I've since picked some up in the states on a shopping spree. Using regular should not affect colour that much. Mine is pink and way back when I first made this I couldn't photo edit to save my life so you're seeing exactly how it looked. I want to reshoot the photos so if I do I'll try to make two batches to show what the results are with regular corn syrup and clear. Did you use gel colouring by any chance, or liquid? I know liquid skews the results. It's harder to work with and affects colour. I like the gel colours personally. Not sure which you used. No matter what I'm disappointed it wasn't perfect for you. If I lived close to you I'd offer to come over and make a batch with you. I always hate to hear people didn't like a recipe. It always bums me out. I know how expensive ingredients are so I don't take feedback lightly. Thanks for weighing in. I like feedback no matter whether it is positive or negative. It helps me in the long run.
what is vanilla salt?
It's just salt I make flavoured with vanilla bean. You can totally use regular salt in this. If you dig the idea of vanilla salt you can make your own, or buy it online. Just adds a nice flavour, but it's not necessary for the recipe. Regular salt is totally okay.
Thanks for finally talking about >Old Fashioned Pink Popcorn <Loved it!
Hi Thank you for posting this recipe. I gave it a go but need some input:
#1 is a question:
1) I put the mixture over 15 cups of popcorn just after it boiled so it was hot. The popcorn volume shrank to about 1/2 volume. Did I do something wrong?
2) I didn't get the pink quite right it is pinkish. I will try white popcorn next.
3) I had so much extra syrup at the end, for sure I will do 24 cups next time.
yes, it s pretty good and a breeze to make. Very sugary.
Hi Mike. Thanks for the feedback and questions.
Yes, next time wait a couple of minutes before you pour the mixture over the popcorn. If it's piping hot the popcorn will shrink. It does that with hot butter too. So, just let it cool briefly. You still want it warm, just not scorching hot. You didn't do anything wrong at all. It happens to me sometimes too.
It can be hard to get the pink perfect. Make sure you use the clear corn syrup because the yellowish one will skew the pink a bit. Try using gel pink or red colouring, it's easier to control than liquid. Not sure which type you used.
If you only do half the popcorn you can half the syrup as well. If you look at the recipe card where it gives the servings the number should be highlighted, so just hover your mouse over the number and then you can use the slider feature so you can adjust the recipe to your desired serving size. Not sure how many people know that nifty little feature is there. I should do a post about how to use it.
Super sugary for sure but it's so fun to make for birthday parties or movie night. We used to make it a lot when my daughter's friends came over.
Let me know if you need any more help. I'm actually updating the photos on this post next month so I'll be sure to make a visible note about the temperature of the mixture cooling a bit before pouring over top of the popcorn.