Cranberry Popcorn Balls add a Little Zest to Holiday Traditions


When I was growing up, popcorn balls appeared every year at Halloween and again at Christmas. They’re a fun, albeit a little messy, treat to make, and are relatively simple. Freshly popped popcorn is bound with a sticky sweet syrup that comes together in minutes. Traditional recipes often contain a little butter, but this festive recipe for Cranberry Popcorn Balls is dairy-free, butter-free, and even oil-free. It’s infused with whole cranberry sauce, cranberry juice, and orange zest for delicious seasonal flavor.

Cranberry Popcorn Balls Recipe - Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly, and Vegan Christmas TreatThis dairy-free cranberry popcorn balls recipe with photo was shared with us by

Special Diet Notes: Cranberry Popcorn Balls

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, oil-free, vegan, and vegetarian.

Vegan Cranberry Popcorn Balls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Once the sticky popcorn is cool enough to handle, shaping the popcorn balls can be a fun job for kids.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 18 balls
  • 5 quarts freshly popped, unsalted popped popcorn
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce, slightly mashed
  • ½ cup cranberry juice
  • ½ cup light corn syrup (can sub golden syrup or honey)
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Put the popcorn in a large bowl.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, cranberry sauce, cranberry juice, corn syrup, grated orange peel, vinegar, and salt.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook until the temperature reaches 250°F on a candy thermometer.
  4. Slowly pour the cranberry mixture onto the popcorn and carefully stir until well-coated.
  5. Let the popcorn stand for 5 minutes, or until the mixture can easily be formed into balls.
  6. Grease your hands and form the popcorn mixture into 3-inch balls.

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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