Holiday Candied Popcorn Bars

Going into the holiday season, I love having a treat recipe up my sleeve that will please everyone, is easy to make and doesn’t break the bank.  This is such a recipe.  These candied popcorn bars are so simple, yet they are sticky and satisfying and hit the right note for holiday entertaining.  The great thing about this recipe is that you can tweak it to what you have on  hand.  Mix up the fruit and seeds or nuts however you like – you could even get crazy and add chilies or something exotic for zing if you’re putting these in front of an adult crowd.

candy popcorn bars


I did some with extra chocolate drizzle over the top for decoration and some without.   I think these are pretty either way with their glistening candy coating and bright red cranberries.  Just looking at them puts me in a festive mood and I can’t wait to share a batch with friends and family. I added salted sunflower seeds for some of that sweet / salty combo but if you like things really salty, you might wish to add some extra sea salt.

Christmas popcorn bars

Candied Popcorn Bars
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: approx 32 bars
  • 1 cup white corn syrup
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup salted sunflower seeds
  • 3 cups dark chocolate wafers
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup popcorn kernels
  1. Prepare a 9x13 pan with parchment lining
  2. Pop your popcorn into a large glass or stainless steel bowl, set aside
  3. Add corn syrup, sugar, vanilla and cranberries to a pot and set over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the mixture begins to bubble, let it simmer for 3 or so minutes.
  4. Pour hot candy mixture over popped corn, stir being careful not to burn yourself - the mixture is hot!
  5. Add sunflower seeds and stir to combine.
  6. Press candied corn into your pan using an extra sheet of parchment paper on top to keep your fingers from sticking and set aside.
  7. In a large microwave safe bowel, add chocolate wafers and butter.
  8. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring inbetween until melted and smooth. Take care not to burn the chocolate.
  9. Pour melted chocolate over the top of the bars and spread evenly with a spatula.
  10. Set pan in the fridge to set the chocolate.
  11. When set, use the parchment to pull the bars out of the pan and flip so the chocolate is on the bottom. Cut into bars.

I hope you give these bars a try this season – they’re making their way into our regular repertoire!  It’s fantastic to have a cookie alternative that’s naturally gluten free and doesn’t feel like a compromise on your favorite.  Everyone can enjoy these.  Try adding your favorite mix-ins or decorating with festive sprinkles.  Make them yours!

candied popcorn bars



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