How to Make Red Popcorn

Red Popcorn - Square 2

OK, we’re going to admit that we’ve been watching TikTok. Maybe even a lot of TikTok. Or maybe not. We’re not fully ready to commit to this admission. What we have noticed during our, either small or large, time on TikTok is that there are a lot of popcorn videos. And we have a lot of feelings about that because most of them are wrong. Maybe they’re entertaining, maybe they’re controversial but most are still wrong. We have no idea why people cook a cup of popcorn kernels in a gallon of oil, or throw an egg in the middle of the pan, or a stuffed dog toy or any of the other weirdness we’ve seen. But we do know that if you put a watermelon in there, you won’t get red popcorn. Neither will it work with tomatoes or a vat full of red sprinkles. What you’ll actually get is white popcorn with burned red sprinkles stuck to the bottom of your pan. So, for the sake of all that is good and correct, here is how to make red popcorn.

The secret to making any colored popcorn is a colored sugar syrup that will then get baked on to the popcorn to set the color and keep the kernels crunchy. We start by cooking butter, sugar, salt and a little water together until the sugar has dissolved. Then we add the food color. You can use either gel color or the liquid colors from the supermarket. But keep in mind that red is a very saturated color so it may take more drops than you think. As you stir you’ll see the shade come together. If it’s pink, however, it will stay pink so continue adding more color until you get the deep shade of red you want. Toss in the popped popcorn, stir well, spread out on a baking sheet and give it a few minutes in the oven to cook the candy coating onto the popcorn. Once out of the oven, it will harden back to it’s crunchy form as it cools.

So why, exactly, do we want red popcorn? Well, it’s a great color for lots of occasions. Valentine’s Day, Lunar New Year or Independence Day festivities would all be fun with red popcorn. We also think it makes an adorable gift for friends, lovers, friends you wish would be lovers, neighbors, etc. Celebrating “Galentines” with your girlfriends? Give them each a jar of sweet red popcorn and we’re sure they’ll love it.

Category, , , Yields4 ServingsDifficultyBeginner
Prep Time10 minsCook Time20 minsTotal Time30 mins


 1 cup Granulated sugar
 2 tbsp Butter
 2 tbsp Water
 ¼ tsp Salt
 Red food color, as needed



Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.


Add the granulated sugar, butter, water and salt to a large pot. Cook on low heat, stirring often, until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Stir in a few drops of the red food color and check that you're happy with the shade.

Red Popcorn - Square 1


Stir in the popped popcorn, making sure that all the kernels are coated. Spread out on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes. Stir with a spatula and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool thoroughly.


Serve immediately or store in air tight jars for up to 5 days at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 4

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