rainbow popcorn featured image
Rainbow Popcorn is a quick and easy recipe that makes a delicious candy-coated dessert. This sweet treat is perfect for a Rainbow party or Unicorn celebration.
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Table of Contents
  1. Perfect DIY Rainbow Popcorn
  2. Why We Love This Rainbow Popcorn Recipe
  3. Ingredients
  4. Substitutions and Additions
  5. Recommended Tools
  6. How to Make Rainbow Popcorn
  7. Tips
  8. Storage Tips
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. Other Easy Rainbow Recipes
  11. Rainbow Popcorn Recipe

Homemade Rainbow Popcorn (aka Unicorn Popcorn) is the easiest way to make your day more colorful in the comfort of your own kitchen! This super simple recipe uses only 3 ingredients plus food coloring to create a sugar-coated sweet and salty treat that tastes better than any kind of kettle corn you’d buy at the bulk candy store.

rainbow popcorn hero image

Perfect DIY Rainbow Popcorn

This Homemade Rainbow Popcorn recipe is the easiest and prettiest way to create crunchy popcorn that’s coated in sweet sugar and milk mixture and then dressed up in the colors of the rainbow.

In a matter of minutes, you can make as many bright batches of this kettle corn as you want, simply made on the stovetop with a few drops of food coloring.

It is always fun to turn plain popcorn into something magical to munch at a Unicorn party or to serve as a snack on St. Patrick’s Day. Add your favorite flavored extracts to make this fruity, minty, or even a bit more sweet, this tasty treat delivers lots of laughter and some serious smiles in a delicious snack.

For more easy-to-make colorful desserts and drinks, check out all of my Rainbow Recipes and Treats!

Why We Love This Rainbow Popcorn Recipe

  • Quick and easy no-bake recipe.
  • Only uses 3 ingredients plus food coloring.
  • Versatile recipe that you can customize to make it any color or flavor.
  • Create a few colors or all the colors of the rainbow.
  • Fun for kids to help in the kitchen.
  • Perfect for birthday parties, movie nights, Rainbow parties, Pride celebrations, or just to make your day more colorful.
rainbow popcorn inside popcorn box

Ingredients

  • Popcorn 
  • White granulated sugar: You can use either granulated sugar or superfine sugar.
  • Food coloring: You can use either gel or liquid coloring. I used red, yellow, orange, green, blue, and purple.
  • Almond milk: You can substitute your milk of choice. I used a vanilla almond milk, but you can use sweetened or unsweetened almond milk. 
rainbow popcorn ingredients

Substitutions and Additions

  • Customize Your Colors: This recipe is the perfect treat for any celebration. It’s so easy to customize the colors for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, the Fourth of July, or Christmas.
  • Pick Your Popcorn: You can air pop some plain kernels or purchase plain or only salted microwave popcorn for this recipe.
  • Fun Flavors: Feel free to use any or all of your favorite flavorings for this Rainbow Popcorn! A few extracts that I love are peppermint or mint, maple, vanilla, almond, coconut and rum. You can also use butter flavoring or something more exciting like cotton candy flavoring.

SEE FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD BELOW

  • Baking sheet
  • Aluminum or parchment paper
  • Sealable plastic baggies
  • Heavy-bottomed saucepan or skillet
  • Measuring tools
  • Mixing tools
rainbow popcorn in wooden spoon

How to Make Rainbow Popcorn

Rainbow Popcorn is a quick and easy sweet and slightly salty snack recipe that you can make at home on the stovetop. Make a few batches or make many to create all the bright colors of the rainbow.

  1. Make The Sugar Mixture: Whisk together sugar, almond milk, and food coloring in a saucepan or skillet. Heat the liquid over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 2 ½ minutes, until the sugar is melted. Try to keep the thickness of liquid even, so it all bubbles at the same time. Do not burn. 
    Pro Tip: Gel food coloring will be much more pigmented than a water based food coloring. I used 3-4 drops of gel food coloring. 
  2. Color The Popcorn: Add the popcorn to the melted sugar mixture and stir quickly to coat all the popcorn.
    Pro Tip: The sugar will harden quickly once off the heat, so make sure to work fast.   
  3. Plate The Popcorn: Pour the colored popcorn onto a separate plate or a baking sheet to dry.
    Pro Tip: Don’t worry too much if it clumps up; you can break the pieces apart later once it dries.  
  4. Soak The Saucepan: Put the spatula in the pan you just used and fill it with hot water to soak.
  5. Repeat: Repeat all of the steps to create new colors until you have used all of your popcorn.
  6. Serve Your Snack: Break up any clumped popcorn and enjoy!
rainbow popcorn process collage

Tips

  • You can use store-bought microwave popcorn if you don’t have an air-popper. Most bags of microwave popcorn make about 12 cups of popped popcorn.​
  • Be aware that if you use a flavored popcorn it will change the flavor of your final product. I used a salted and lightly buttered popcorn for mine. I think that the salt helps balance out some of the sweetness, so I would definitely recommend it.
  • If you make the yellow, orange, and red popcorn in that order you don’t have to wash the pan in between those sets of colors.

Storage Tips

  • To Store: Store your Rainbow Popcorn in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.
  • To Freeze: This popcorn does not store well in the freezer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I store my Rainbow Popcorn?

You can store Rainbow Popcorn in a mason jar with a band and lid or in an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid. Keep it in a cool, dry place for up to 2 or 3 weeks. Do not refrigerate it because it will dry out. If it softens, try heating it in the oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes and let it crisp up again. This popcorn does not store well in the freezer.

How can I make even crunchier Rainbow Popcorn?

The sugar coating on the popcorn creates a sweet and crunchy exterior. Feel free to leave it at that, or make it even crunchier with a little time in the oven.
To do so, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. When all the popcorn has been colored, place the popcorn evenly on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes to dry out and harden up.

Can I add extra flavor to my Rainbow Popcorn?

Even though this recipe will leave you with a sweet and crunchy popcorn, you can add different flavor extracts to the melted sugar mixture right before mixing it into the popcorn for a more unique flavor.
You can use any and all of your favorite flavorings for this Rainbow Popcorn!
A few extracts that I like to use are peppermint or mint, maple, vanilla, almond, coconut and rum. You can also use butter flavoring or something more exciting like cotton candy flavoring. Feel free to change up the colors and flavors of this popcorn to use for any occasion!

What is the best type of sugar to use in this recipe?

You can use either granulated sugar or superfine sugar in this recipe. I have made this popcorn with both types of sugar.
The granulated sugar makes for a slightly crunchier and more thickly coated finished product. The superfine sugar still tastes great, but gives the popcorn a thinner, more even coating. 

rainbow popcorn on a baking dish

Other Easy Rainbow Recipes

5 from 2 votes
rainbow popcorn featured image

Rainbow Popcorn

Serves — 7
Rainbow Popcorn is a quick and easy recipe that makes a delicious candy-coated dessert. This sweet treat is perfect for a Rainbow party or Unicorn celebration.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 12 cups popped popcorn divided
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar divided
  • Food coloring (I used red, yellow, orange, green, blue, and purple)
  • 12 tbsp almond milk divided

Instructions
 

  • Set aside 2 cups of popcorn.
  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or skillet, whisk together ⅓ cup sugar, 2 Tablespoons almond milk, and several drops of food coloring to make a color you like. Gel food coloring will be much more pigmented than a water based food coloring. I used 3-4 drops of gel food coloring.
  • Heat the sugar and milk over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 2 ½ minutes, until the sugar is melted. Try to keep the thickness of liquid even, so it all bubbles at the same time. Do not burn.
  • Add in 2 cups of popcorn to the melted sugar mixture and stir quickly to coat all the popcorn. The sugar will harden quickly once off the heat, so make sure to work fast.
  • Pour the colored popcorn onto a separate plate or a baking sheet to dry. Don’t worry too much if it clumps up; you can break the pieces apart later once it dries.
  • Put the spatula in the pan you just used and fill it with hot water to soak.
  • While the pan is soaking, set aside the next 2 cups of popcorn and prepare the next sugar, milk, and food coloring set.
  • Clean the pan and repeat steps 1-5 for the remaining colors of popcorn, until you have used all of your popcorn.
  • Break up any clumped popcorn and enjoy!

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: Store your Rainbow Popcorn in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.
  • To Freeze: This popcorn does not store well in the freezer.
Tips:
  • You can use store-bought microwave popcorn if you don’t have an air-popper. Most bags of microwave popcorn make about 12 cups of popped popcorn.​
  • Be aware that if you use a flavored popcorn it will change the flavor of your final product. I used a salted and lightly buttered popcorn for mine. I think that the salt helps balance out some of the sweetness, so I would definitely recommend it.
  • If you make the yellow, orange, and red popcorn in that order you don’t have to wash the pan in between those sets of colors.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 36mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 57g | Vitamin A: 37IU | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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