Home > Recipes > Pilgrim Popcorn: Sweet and Salty Perfection

Pilgrim Popcorn: Sweet and Salty Perfection

Did any of you watch Looney Tunes when you were younger? My siblings and I did ALL. THE. TIME. I haven’t watched them in years but there’s a few that remain in my memory. One of those cartoons is called “The Hardship of Miles Standish”. It stars Elmer Fudd. It’s a gag of the poem “The Courtship of Miles Standish” written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

As a child, I just thought it was kind of a funny cartoon. As an adult, I’m sure I would find many things in there outrageous. But the thing I remember the most actually isn’t the cartoon itself. What I remember is being told I was related to the character played by Elmer Fudd.

Wait, what?

John Alden. I’m related to John Alden. To give you the super-simplified version the poem is about a love triangle between three Mayflower Pilgrims. They are John Alden, Miles Standish, and the girl they both wanted to marry – Priscilla Mullens. John is sent by Miles to Pricilla seeking permission for Miles to court her. The story goes that after Priscilla contemplated for a moment she replied, “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John Alden?” And in the end, he gets her hand in marriage.

Ever since learning that part of my heritage came from the Mayflower itself I’ve always had a special interest in the Pilgrims who first arrived here. In my easy life, I’m impressed with what they went through. I can’t believe what they survived in order to create a better life for themselves and their posterity. I’m one who hates when Thanksgiving seems to be forgotten. I’m happy to take a day spent in gratitude for what I have today partly in thanks to my ancestors who went before me.

With that in mind, as soon as Halloween is over I’m all about Thanksgiving preparations. There’s no reason to stop with the fall fun and festivities even though a certain winter holiday tries to start creeping in. 😉

Pilgrim Popcorn

Just yesterday my kids and I decided to make a little fall snack while we waited for dinner to cook. It took a few minutes to throw everything together and we really loved how our creation turned out. While we worked I told them the story of John and Pricilla. They thought it was pretty cool too.

And even though I’m pretty sure some of the ingredients we used (namely M&M’s and candy corn) never made it across the ocean on the Mayflower we named it Pilgrim Popcorn because that just sounds a lot more fun than trail mix with popcorn!

This little snack is a perfect mix of sweet and salty. You can eat it while wrapped up in a blanket by the fire. Try it while driving the car on your way to friend and family get-togethers. Or test it out during the early hours of Thanksgiving day. Because some people just can’t quite wait for dinner to be finished. They have to fill their bellies with something yummy right away!


The fun thing about Pilgrim Popcorn is how easily you can make it your own by what you add to it. I’m just going to give you some suggestions of what we put in ours, then you can follow our example or branch out on your own with something more to your family’s tastes.

First, start by popping some popcorn of course! We made roughly 12 cups. We have a cute little air popper that was perfect for the job. (Make a little extra and you can create our Candy Corn Kix Mix Popcorn Balls while you’re at it.)

Second, melt some white chocolate chips (we used an 11 oz bag) or white almond bark. Normally I use a double boiler but since the exact consistency wasn’t as important for this recipe I just threw it in the microwave.

Third, drizzle the melted white chocolate chips on the popcorn and toss it in a large bowl to get it all covered.

Fourth, spread out the coated popcorn on a piece of wax paper. Let it dry/harden for about 15 minutes. This wait was the hardest part!

Then, put the popcorn back into the bowl. It’s going to try and stick together a bit so just break apart or pull apart the pieces.

Next, add in the extras. We threw in some M&M’s first. Here’s where it gets really fun. There are so many different flavors of M&M’s, try out a few different kinds. I’m sure regular chocolate would be yummy but I found some White Pumpkin Pie flavored ones at the store. I loved them and had to have some for that perfect fall flavor. My kids also wanted to try out the Candy Corn flavor. Yes, Candy Corn flavored M&M’s. What will they think of next?

Then, put in some candy corn. Of course, the classic would be great. I was in search of caramel candy corn when I came across s’mores flavored candy corn and had to try some! (Check out these cute Candy Corn Rice Krispies we made.)

Just continue doing this with all the other things you want to add to your Pilgrim Popcorn. We put in mini pretzels, mixed nuts, and even a few dried cranberries.

Mix everything up in the bowl. Then divide it up. You could use cups, plastic snack bags, or bowls. I found some cute mini-loaf pans that I thought would hold just the right amount. I used a small ladle to scoop the popcorn mixture out. It worked perfectly!

Finally, enjoy your snack. Remember, this is all just a guideline for you to follow. Add more melted white chocolate if you want. Throw in a whole bag of M&M’s or use just a handful. Replace the cranberries with chocolate chips. The world is your oyster when it comes to choosing the ingredients for your Pilgrim Popcorn. So run with it.

Have fun experimenting with these flavors and be sure to let me know in the comments below what you added to yours!