Recipe: 5-Ingredient Honey Brown Butter Popcorn

Recipe: 5-Ingredient Honey Brown Butter Popcorn

Kelli Foster
Feb 22, 2017
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Everyone knows the glory of true movie-theater popcorn, gilded with real melted butter, crunchy and rich. But did you know there's a way to take that popcorn all the way up to 11?

Dial it up, people. Brown butter is your ticket to the most award-winning popcorn on the planet.

A Fast and Fancy Upgrade for Buttered Popcorn

When it comes to popcorn, honey and brown butter are a power couple. Brown butter, cooked until toasted, is so incredibly full of flavor — like the best toast you made in your life, dripping with great butter.

More on brown butter: How To Brown Butter

So drizzle that stuff over your popcorn and feel like a star. But wait — don't forget the right companion. To take this popcorn out on the red carpet, sweeten it up with a drizzle of honey too.

The nuttiness of the butter helps pull even more floral sweetness from the honey, while the honey balances the butter's richness and elevates its natural sweetness.

When it comes to choosing honey, any variety will work. Choose your favorite, and don't be afraid to experiment with different varieties, like wildflower or orange blossom to give this upgrade a twist. Something like buckwheat or chestnut honey has the ability to make this easy popcorn recipe taste incredibly complex.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

5- Ingredient Honey Brown Butter Popcorn

Serves 6

  • 2 teaspoons

    canola or grapeseed oil

  • 1/2 cup

    popcorn kernels

  • 4 tablespoons

    (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons


  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

Place the oil and 3 kernels of the popcorn in a tall, large pot. Cover and heat over medium heat until all 3 kernels pop. Pour in the remaining kernels, cover the pot again, and shake to distribute. As the popcorn pops, shake the pot occasionally and immediately remove from heat once the popping slows to 2 to 3 seconds between pops.

Pour the popcorn into a large bowl, removing any unpopped or partially popped kernels.

Melt the butter in a light-colored, high-sided large frying pan over medium heat. Swirl the pan occasionally to be sure the butter is cooking evenly. As the butter melts, it will begin to foam. The color will progress from lemony-yellow to golden-tan to a toasty-brown. Once you smell that nutty aroma, immediately take the pan off the heat and scrape the browned butter, including any browned bits, into a heatproof bowl.

Add the honey and salt, and stir continuously until it is melted. Drizzle over the bowl of popcorn and stir until the popcorn is well-coated. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

  • Make ahead: The popcorn can be made up to 1 day ahead. The brown butter can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored at room temperature in a glass jar. Gently reheat on the stovetop before mixing in the honey and salt.
  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
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