Here is the gear I use for making

easy, no-waste microwave popcorn.







Homemade Microwave Colored Popcorn

It's easy to make it any color in the rainbow!

Microwave Colored Popcorn

I thought I was through with microwave popcorn recipes for awhile. I've been going kinda overboard with the popcorn lately. (There's a list of my previous microwave popcorn recipes at the end of this post.) But, I can't seem to stop on this theme just yet. You see, I was in the grocery store earlier this week and saw big bags of popped green popcorn for St. Patrick's Day. That was the kernel (bad pun, sorry) that led to today's post. I started wondering if I could figure out how to color popcorn as it pops in the microwave. Wouldn't that be fun and easy?

This recipe is a sweet candy corn.
First, I tried adding food coloring to the melted butter and oil in my Homemade Microwave Popcorn recipe so that the colored corn would have a light butter/salt flavor. The good news is, the popcorn did in fact pop green and tasted good. The bad news is, when I ate it my fingers and lips turned green, too. Not acceptable.

Next, I thought that the green coloring might be more likely to stay put on the popcorn and avoid staining everything it touched if I mixed it with some corn syrup that would get cooked on as it popped. That worked! So, this final recipe for making microwave colored popcorn is a sweet popcorn. It's yummy. And, it's as easy as making my Microwave Kettle Corn. Everything gets cooked onto the popcorn as it pops in the microwave. Simple and good. No candy thermometers or stove-top cooking, as is required in most candy corn recipes.

First, review my general tips about microwave popcorn.
My previous post about Homemade Microwave Popcorn has lots of information about how much healthier & cheaper it is to make your own microwave popcorn and avoid those store-bought packets. That post also includes tips about the kind of bowl and vented lid I use for making microwave popcorn. I recommend that you read those tips before trying this recipe for microwave colored popcorn. The procedure is the same; I've just added a couple of ingredients to the colored popcorn recipe.

Click to read important tips about Homemade Microwave Popcorn


Step-by-step photos for making Microwave Colored Popcorn

Step 1. Assemble these items:

  • 2.5 to 3 qt. microwave safe bowl (I use the 2.5 qt. bowl from this set)
  • vented microwave cover (I use this one)
  • popcorn kernels (use fresh, good quality kernels for best popability)
  • light corn syrup
  • kosher or sea salt
  • canola oil 
  • butter (You can omit the butter and double the oil; although, I think the small amount of butter adds delicious flavor.)
  • food coloring (either liquid or gel, I use Wilton gel)


Step 2. Combine the butter, oil, salt, corn syrup, and food coloring in a bowl. Microwave 30-40 seconds, just until butter melts. Stir to combine. (I used green food coloring in these photos.)

butter in bowl  melted butter

Step 3. Add the popcorn kernels and stir it so that the kernels get completely covered with the syrup mixture. Even them out in the bottom of the bowl. This results in every piece of popcorn having the color and flavor cooked on it as it pops. 

add popcorn  stir popcorn

Step 4. Cover the bowl with the vented lid and microwave on high for 3-5 minutes, or until there are 1-2 seconds between pops. The time will vary depending on your microwave and bowl, so you may need some trial-and-error on the first batch or 2 to figure out how long it takes the popcorn to cook. Mine took 4 minutes, 20 seconds. If you cook it too long, it will burn, smoke & stink; so keep a close watch.

bowl in microwave  popped in microwave

Step 5. Immediately spoon the popcorn from the bowl onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper. This will keep it from sticking to the bottom of the bowl as it cools. There will be some of the cooked syrup mixture in the bottom of the bowl, along with some unpopped kernels. That's why I recommend spooning out the colored popcorn. If you turn the bowl upside down and dump the popcorn onto the baking sheet, those unpopped kernels will end up stuck to the popcorn.

popped in bowl  unpopped kernels

Step 6. Sort through the popcorn on the baking sheet, and carefully pick out any unpopped kernels that may have stuck to the popped corn. 

The popcorn will be partially covered with a tasty, colored coating that quickly gets crunchy as the popcorn cools. Store it in a ziploc bag or other airtight container.

tray of popcorn  closeup popcorn


A rainbow of possibilities! You can make this popcorn in any color you choose. Or make more than one color and mix them. Here are some ideas:

  • green  - St. Patrick's Day
  • green, red - Christmas or Cinco de Mayo
  • blue - Chanukah
  • red, blue - 4th of July or Memorial Day
  • green, pink, purple, yellow - Easter
  • red, pink, purple - Valentine's Day
  • orange, black - Halloween
  • orange, brown, yellow - Thanksgiving
  • yellow, green, purple - Mardi Gras
  • pink or blue - baby shower
  • sports team colors
  • school colors
  • party theme colors

green popcorn  red popcorn

yellow popcorn  blue popcorn


Fun gift ideas! The green popcorn makes a great St. Patrick's Day gift. Or, you can mix a bunch of colors together for a rainbow mix. Check out my post that includes gift ideas and free gift tags for you to download.

Click for free, printable St. Patrick's Day gift tags.

green popcorn gifts  rainbox mix gift

For yourself, for a party, for a gift; colored popcorn is a tasty, pretty treat.

4 bowls popcorn

Make it a yummy day!

You might also be interested in these recipes:

Green Popcorn and Pretzel Party Mix

green mix thumbnail

Healthy Microwave Popcorn in 10 flavors (with coconut oil):




Link directly to this recipe Print this recipe
Microwave Colored Popcorn
By Monica              Servings: 8 cups popped corn
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid food coloring, or 1/16 teaspoon gel food coloring
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup popcorn
Supplies needed:
--2.5 to 3 quart microwave-proof bowl. If glass, should be tempered and have a high-heat tolerance.
--Vented lid for bowl.

Put butter, oil, corn syrup, salt and food coloring in bowl. Microwave just until butter is melted, 40-50 seconds. Stir to combine well. Pour popcorn kernels into bowl; stir to coat each kernel with mixture. Even out kernels in bottom of bowl. Put vented cover on top and microwave on high for approx. 4-5 minutes, when there are 1-2 second between pops. Microwave times will vary. Immediately spoon popcorn onto waxed or parchment paper lined baking sheet, leaving unpopped kernels in bottom of bowl. Carefully pick out any unpopped kernels that may have stuck to the popcorn. Popcorn quickly gets crispy as it cools. Store in airtight container.

CAUTION: Bowl will get hot; use hot pads or oven mitts.
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Other popcorn recipes that may interest you:

Posted on Friday, March 11th, 2011

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