5 Fabulous Ways to Flavor Your Popcorn

5 Fabulous Ways to Flavor Your Popcorn

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Kelli Foster
Jan 28, 2016
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Let's be honest — when it comes to popcorn, the plain stuff is kind of boring. I'm not saying I'd turn it down, but it just feels a little lackluster. Sure, it has the crunch factor going for it (I'll give it that), but there's no flavor or pizzazz.

Let's call popcorn what it really is: a bite-sized vessel waiting to get loaded up with all of your favorite flavors and toppings.

Get Popping

Each of these five simple bowls of popcorn starts off the same way. Get a tall pot (like a large stockpot), heat some oil, add the kernels, and let all the popping ensue.

For each flavored popcorn, this is what you'll need to get started.

1/2 cup popcorn kernels + 2 tablespoons canola oil

A half-cup of kernels doesn't seem like a lot, but it makes about 10 cups once it's all popped. It's enough popcorn to fill one big bowl. These are fluffy, airy puffs – you'll get through them in no time.

Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil along with a few popcorn kernels to a large, deep pot, and set on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Those few kernels are the key to knowing when the oil is hot enough to add the rest. Once the first kernel pops, add 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels to the pot. Cover the pot with a splatter screen, or partially cover with a lid. Gently shake the pot to prevent the kernels from burning, and cook until there's about four or five seconds between pops. By that point, just about all of the kernels should be popped.

Bring on the Flavor

When it comes to flavoring your popcorn, the sky's the limit. Once the popcorn finishes popping, dump it into a big bowl. Pour, drizzle, or sprinkle on the topping, and then toss it all together until the popcorn is well-coated. The most important tip for flavoring your popcorn, no matter what kind of topping you use, is to flavor it when it's still warm from the stove or microwave. Whether you're dressing it with butter, oil, melted chocolate, or spices, they'll adhere and absorb best when the popcorn is still warm.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Honey Brown Butter Popcorn

Makes about 10 cups

For snackers with a sweet tooth, this popcorn is your dream come true. Honey butter chips don't hold a candle to this popcorn. Nutty brown butter and sweet honey make quite the pair — especially when they're combined with a touch of salt.

Prepare popcorn as directed above. In a small saucepan brown 1/4 cup of unsalted butter. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/4 cup of honey and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drizzle over the bowl of popcorn and stir until the popcorn is well-coated.

Read More: Basic Techniques: How to Brown Butter

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Chili Cheese Popcorn

Makes about 10 cups

Because cheesy popcorn is totally irresistible. Nutritional yeast is the secret ingredient that brings you super "cheesy" popcorn without, well, the cheese.

Prepare popcorn as directed above. Melt 1/4 cup unsalted butter in a saucepan. In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drizzle butter and sprinkle nutritional yeast mixture over the popcorn, and stir until the popcorn is well-coated.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Matcha & Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt

Makes about 10 cups

This is the kind of popcorn you just cannot stop eating — and it's pretty, to boot. Don't forget the flaky sea salt; it really makes the rich, intense matcha and dark chocolate stand out.

Prepare the popcorn as directed above. Combine 3 ounces of good-quality dark chocolate and 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a small saucepan, and melt over low heat, stirring constantly. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of matcha powder over the popcorn and stir until the popcorn is well-coated. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of flaky sea salt. Eat immediately or chill in the fridge for 10 minutes to let the chocolate set.

Read More: It's Time to Try Matcha

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Dill Pickle Popcorn

Makes about 10 cups

Okay, so you're not going to mistake your bowl of popcorn for a crisp dill pickle spear, but topped with a zesty herb and spice blend, this savory popcorn is the next best thing.

Prepare the popcorn as directed above. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 2 teaspoons dried dill, 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard, 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, 1/2 teaspoon citric acid, and 1 tablespoon salt. Melt 1/4 cup of unsalted butter over low heat. Drizzle the butter and sprinkle the herb mixture over the popcorn, then stir until the popcorn is well-coated.

Read More: What's the Deal with Citric Acid?

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Cookies & Cream Popcorn

Makes about 10 cups

This sweet popcorn, coated with a mixture of melted white chocolate and crushed Oreo cookies, is where snack food and dessert collide — and it's downright delicious!

Prepare the popcorn as directed above. Combine 10 ounces of white chocolate and 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a small saucepan, and melt over low heat, stirring constantly. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn, top with 12 crushed Oreos (1 sleeve), and then stir until well-coated. Eat immediately or chill in the fridge for 10 minutes to let the chocolate set.

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