Crunchy popcorn is coated in creamy white chocolate and drizzled with dark chocolate. This white chocolate popcorn is easy to make for a snack and perfect to give as a gift. Package it to share or to sell at Christmas, Valentine's Day, or any day.
White chocolate popcorn was one of the best-selling items in my candy stores as far back as the 1980s and I am not quite sure why I've waited so long to share this basic recipe with you.
Once you know how to make chocolate popcorn you can easily create dozens of flavors by simply adding mix-ins like chocolate bars, peanut butter, sprinkles, candies, peanuts, pretzels, and even potato chips.
Over the years, I've shared recipes to make so many gourmet white chocolate popcorn flavors but today I'll finally show you how to make plain white chocolate popcorn simply drizzled with a bit of dark chocolate.
How good does that look? Each fluffy piece of popcorn is coated in creamy white chocolate. So, let's start by talking about the type of white chocolate to use.
There are two types of white chocolate: pure white chocolate and compound white chocolate.
Do you know the difference?
pure white chocolate vs compound white chocolate
I have a very detailed explanation of the differences between pure and compound chocolate on my Chocolate Making Tips page but I'll give a brief description below.
Pure white chocolate is made using sugar, cocoa butter, milk, and vanilla. It has a yellowish color, a rich milky flavor, and a creamy texture.
If you use pure white chocolate it must be tempered (heated and cooled to specific temperatures) due to the crystal formations in the cocoa butter so that it will harden properly. You can learn how to melt and temper pure chocolate by checking out my chocolate-making tips page.
Compound white chocolate is also known as confectionery coating, Candy Melts, Candi-Quik, almond bark, melting wafers, or melting chocolate and it is made using vegetable oil, typically palm kernel oil, instead of cocoa butter. This replacement allows you to simply melt compound chocolate without having to temper it. It will harden perfectly with very little fuss.
What white chocolate to use?
When I make white chocolate popcorn I actually prefer to use white compound chocolate. I like the sweet vanilla flavor paired with the popcorn and compound chocolate is just easier to work with, especially for home cooks.
I personally use Peter's IceCap wafers which are available at cake and candy shops but you can also use Merckens White Wafers, Ghirardelli White Melting Wafers, Wilton Candy Melts, White Candi Quik, or any white almond bark you can find in the grocery store.
This recipe also calls for a small amount of dark chocolate to be drizzled over the popcorn. If you use pure white chocolate to make your popcorn, be sure to use pure dark chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet) to drizzle over top.
If you use compound white chocolate, you can use either dark compound chocolate or pure dark chocolate. I use pure dark chocolate because I always have it ready in my chocolate tempering machine.
LOL! I know it's not normal to have chocolate tempering machines in your home kitchen but I have two of them. One is filled with dark chocolate and the other is filled with milk chocolate. If you are curious, you can see my candy kitchen in my How To Organize a Candy Kitchen tutorial.
What popcorn to use?
I prefer to use air-popped popcorn but you can make your popcorn on the stovetop or in the microwave. You can even purchased already popped popcorn in bags from the grocery store. Just do not use buttered popcorn. It's too greasy and the white chocolate doesn't stick well to it.
If you want your white chocolate popcorn to have a salty and sweet flavor, you can salt the popcorn.
Unfortunately salt won't stick to air-popped popcorn and I don't actually add salt to my white chocolate popcorn but you can if you like. Just sprinkle a little salt over the chocolate-coated popcorn while the chocolate is wet or stir a pinch of salt into the white chocolate before tossing it with the popcorn.
REMOVE THE KERNELS!
No matter how you pop your popcorn, be sure to remove all of the un-popped kernels. No one wants to bite into a chocolate-coated popcorn kernel.
To remove all the un-popped kernels, use two bowls. Shake the popcorn in one bowl, allowing the kernels to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Then, scoop up the popped popcorn with your hands and place it in the other bowl, leaving the kernels behind.
How to make white chocolate popcorn?
- Fill an extra-large mixing bowl with popcorn. I use a 32-cup Tupperware That's a Bowl. It's a perfect size and it has a nice little handle that I hold while I stir the white chocolate popcorn.
- Melt the white chocolate (and temper it if you are using pure white chocolate).
- Pour the white chocolate over the popcorn and toss gently with a large silicone spatula or wooden spoon just until all the popcorn is coated.
- Do not mix for too long or the white chocolate will harden.
- Pour the chocolate-coated popcorn onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray and spread it into an even layer.
- Melt the dark compound chocolate or melt and temper pure dark chocolate and drizzle it over the top of your popcorn using a fork, spoon, pastry bag, or zip-top bag. I like to pour the chocolate into a zip-top bag, snip off a tip of the bag, then squeeze the chocolate out while moving my hand over the tray of popcorn. I get really nice chocolate drizzles using this technique.
- Chill the tray of white chocolate popcorn in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes until the chocolate hardens.
- Removed the popcorn from the fridge and break it up into small chunks. Don't try to break it too small or the pieces of popcorn will turn into crumbs.
Mix-Ins and other gourmet popcorn ideas:
Once you have a bowl of white chocolate popcorn mixed, you can add mix-ins to make gourmet popcorn.
- OREO Cookies - Make Cookies and Cream Halloween Popcorn by tossing in some chocolate cookie pieces.
- sprinkles - Kids will love my Winter Wonderland "FROZEN" Popcorn. It's filled with snowflake candies and blue and white sprinkles.
- peanuts, pretzels, and potato chips - Make Sweet and Salty Chocolate Popcorn using all three!
- chopped candy bars - Use an assortment of chocolate bars to make White Chocolate Candy Bar Popcorn. Or use Twix to make Peanut Butter Twix Popcorn.
- mini cookies - Tiny fish-shaped cookies look great in Finding Dory Popcorn.
- marshmallows - S'mores Popcorn can be made using chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers.
- handmade chocolates - Use chocolate seashells to make Beach Party Peanut Butter Popcorn.
You can even make spectacular-looking White Chocolate Popcorn Bowls including a Jack-O-Lantern Popcorn Bowl or a Football Bowl for holidays and special occasions. They'll make an amazing centerpiece for your dessert table and they make wonderful gifts.
White Chocolate Popcorn Recipe
Crunchy popcorn is coated in creamy white chocolate and drizzled with dark chocolate. This white chocolate popcorn is easy to make for a snack and perfect to give as a gift.
- 9 cups (1.8 ounces) popped popcorn
- 12 ounces white compound chocolate (like white candy melts or almond bark), melted (OR pure white chocolate, melted and tempered)
- 3 ounces dark compound chocolate like dark cocoa candy melts or almond bark, melted (OR pure dark chocolate, melted and tempered)
Line your baking pan with a sheet of parchment paper.
Remove any un-popped popcorn kernels then pour the popped popcorn into an extra-large mixing bowl.
Pour the melted white chocolate over the popcorn. See notes below regarding melting chocolate (and tempering, if needed).
Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to gently toss the popcorn, coating it in the white chocolate.
As soon as the popcorn is completely coated, pour it out onto your paper-lined pan.
Spread the white chocolate popcorn into an even layer.
Pour the melted dark chocolate into a small zip-top bag. Snip off one tip and drizzle the chocolate over the popcorn.
Chill the tray of chocolate-coated popcorn in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes until the chocolate hardens.
Then, break up the popcorn into small chunks.
Serve and enjoy!
- If you use pure white chocolate and pure dark chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet) that contains cocoa butter, you must temper the chocolate (melt and cool the chocolate to exact temperatures) in order for it to harden properly. If you simply melt pure chocolate, it will never harden completely. It will be soft and possibly even sticky if not tempered. Be sure to see my "HOW TO" section of the blog for my Chocolate Making Tips page which has detailed instructions for tempering pure chocolate.
- If you use compound white chocolate and compound dark chocolate (also known as Candy Melts, Candi-Quik, Melting Wafers, Melting Chocolate, Confectionery Coating, or almond bark), you can simply melt the chocolate using the microwave or stovetop.
- To melt your chocolate using the microwave, heat it for 30-second increments at high power, stirring after each, until melted. Do not overheat it or heat it for longer increments, or it may burn.
- To melt your chocolate using the stovetop, fill a pan with 1 inch of water, then set a bowl over the pan, ensuring the bowl doesn't touch the water and that it seals well around the top edge of the pan. Set this "double boiler" over LOW heat and allow the chocolate to slowly melt, stirring it often.
- The best way to keep white chocolate popcorn fresh is to store it in a metal popcorn or large cookie tin. It will keep for up to 3 months if stored in a tin.
- If you store your white chocolate popcorn in an airtight plastic container, it will keep for up to 2 weeks.
- You can package the popcorn in cellophane bags and store it at room temperature for about a week or so. When I used to make bags to sell, I'd store the filled bags in giant popcorn tins for up to 3 months!
- I don't recommend storing your popcorn in zip-top bags. The popcorn gets chewy quickly and it can pick up odors from the plastic. Cellophane bags work much better.