Popcorn Mania: {20+ Seasonings, Toppings & Tasty Twists}

I’m quite content to have a big tub filled to the brim of this long-favored munchy treat (especially when watching movies!) and it never gets boring because there is such a wide variety of ways you can jazz it up to make an extra special snack.

For pretty much all of these ideas, you can use hot-air popped or a bag of microwave-style, whatever you prefer. I do have instructions at the bottom of this page for making old-fashioned Kettle Corn if you’d like to go all out.

Here are tonnes of ideas and recipes to try, some sweet, some spicy, some cheesy…all great!

First up: Here are a bunch of seasoning ideas to add some zip. Start with a bowl of freshly popped popcorn drizzled with melted butter, then add one of the below:

  • Grated Parmesan (see recipes below)
  • Herb: Oregano, Basil, Parsley
  • Salt & Vinegar: Spritz lightly with vinegar, sprinkle salt to taste
  • Lemon Pepper
  • Tabasco Sauce (first incorporate into melted butter then drizzled on top)
  • Creole Seasoning
  • Lime Juice Spritz & Lemon Pepper
  • Dill Weed & Celery Salt
  • Sauteed Garlic drizzled on top
  • Taco seasoning mix

Parmesan Dill

1 C. Parmesan (grated)
1 1/2 TBS Dill weed
1 tsp Garlic salt

*refrigerate excess

Nacho

1/2 C. Parmesan (grated)
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp pepper

*refrigerate excess

Cheesy BBQ

1/4 C. Parmesan (grated)
2 TBS Butter (melted)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Gourmet-Style

Some of these recipes are a little more decadent and involved but totally worth it for an extra-special date night or even to treat yourself “just because”. It may strike you that some have odd ingredients/combos, but don’t be shy and give them a try! You’ll be surprised how great these turn out and you might just find yourself a new favorite.

Deluxe Bucket/Movie Theatre Style

It’s amazing how addicting this is! I find the really sour candies (gummy/chewy kind) turn out best. It’s a sweet/sour/salty combo that can’t be beat!

  • Sour patch/gummy candies + M&M chocolate candies or Smarties.
  • Throw a bunch of each into the tub and toss it all around. Enjoy!
  • Chocolate covered raisins and/or peanuts are also a big hit.

Vanilla

1 C. white sugar
1/2 C. butter
1/4 C. corn syrup (light)
1/2 – 1 tsp vanilla (to taste)
1/4 tsp baking soda
Chopped nuts *optional, amount to preference

  • Combine sugar, butter, syrup and baking soda in a saucepan, boil for 2 minutes on medium heat–stir frequently. Stir in the extract then pour the hot liquid over 3 quarts of popped popcorn making sure to frequently shake and toss so it’s all covered. Add the nuts at this point–blend in well so that they are evenly distributed. Chill in the refrigerator. Break off pieces to serve.

Lemon Dill

This is a nice, citrusy pop of flavor!

lemon juice *amount to taste
dill weed *amount to taste
lemon pepper

  • Fill a large bowl half full with hot, lightly buttered popcorn, spritz lightly with juice, sprinkle dill weed. Toss in the bowl to combine, then repeat the juice and dill weed topping. Shake to mix again. Top with sprinkles of lemon pepper. Amounts are to preference, but careful not to go overboard spritzing with juice–will result in a soggy snack. Use a spray bottle that has a light spray for the juice.

Cheesy Herb

1/2 C. grated Parmesan
1 tsp oregano (dried)
2 tsp basil (dried)
lemon or black pepper

  • Mix cheese and spices then sprinkle over tub. Shake and toss to evenly distribute. Serve while still warm.

Gooey (Velveeta)

1 inch slice Velveeta (cut into cubes)
2 TBS butter

  • Combine ingredients in a bowl and melt in the microwave, stirring as needed making sure all lumps are gone and everything is well blended. Drizzle over hot, fresh popcorn stirring constantly so that the cheese covers all of it. Sprinkle with salt and enjoy.

Chocolate & Cherries

Yes this is decadent and a bit of a hassle (all things considered) but totally worth the extra effort! Just make sure to give yourself some extra time to prepare this since it needs to chill for a couple hours.

4 ounces chocolate
1 ounce butter
2 TBS double cream
Glazed cherries, chopped *optional, amount to taste
Nuts *optional, amount to taste

  • Melt chocolate and butter on low heat, then incorporate cherries and cream. Lightly drizzle over popcorn, stirring continuously so it all gets covered in the chocolate. Dust top with roughly crushed nuts. Refrigerate for approximately 2 hours before serving.

Paul’s Picture Show Crunch

This is the Paul Newman recipe that we all went crackers for several years back. An old favorite!

1 C. whole almonds
1 C. pecan halves
1 C. cashews or walnuts
1 bag (3.5 oz.) Newman’s Own Microwave Popcorn
½ C. margarine
½ C. unsalted butter
1 1/3 C. sugar
¼ C. light corn syrup
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F. Coat a large heatproof mixing bowl (16 cups or larger) and a 15 X 10-inch baking pan with margarine or nonstick cooking spray.
  • In another 15X10-inch pan, add the almonds, pecans, and cashews, and toast for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the oven and cool the nuts to room temperature.
  • Make the popcorn following the package directions then pour into the prepared bowl. Add the nuts and combine well.
  • Melt the margarine and butter in a heavy 2-quart saucepan on medium heat. Add the sugar, syrup, and 1/4 cup of water. Mix well and stir often. Continue to cook over medium-high until it reaches 275°F on a candy thermometer. Remove the pan from the stove and slowly add the vanilla extract. (Stir carefully because the extract will spatter when added to the hot syrup.)
  • Drizzle the hot liquid over the nut/mix and combine until evenly coated. Immediately pour mix into the prepared pan. Let cool for 1 hour. Break into pieces and serve or store in an airtight container.

Carmel Bake

2 C. brown sugar
1 C. butter
1/2 C. corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
vanilla
nuts – optional

  • Melt the butter on medium heat; add in the syrup, brown sugar, salt and bring to a boil–stir constantly. Now without stirring, let boil for 5 minutes. Remove from stove and add baking soda, vanilla and nuts (if using). Pour evenly over a large roaster filled with 6 quarts of popped popcorn and stir the batch until it’s all covered. Bake for one hour on low–250 degrees, stir well every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Break into chunks and store in airtight containers.

Pink Candy Recipe (or any color you like)
Originally published March 13, 2007

Anyone else remember boxes of this favorite childhood treat? I think it was Lucky Elephant brand? So fun!

Ingredients:

2 C. sugar
1 TBS butter
1/2 C. water
red food coloring

2 cups unpopped popcorn (make it then keep in 200° oven)

Directions:

  • Combine then bring to a boil the first four ingredients for 3 minutes. Pour slowly over the popcorn. Incorporate well then allow to dry before eating.

Kettle Corn

Here’s a great video showing how to make this treat, the creator of the video (Scott Hargrove) makes it look oh-so-easy…but the best part is how yummy this is. If you can’t watch videos on your computer, I do have the recipe and instructions below.

Recipe:

1/4 C. vegetable oil (peanut or canola oil works too)
1/2 C. popcorn kernels
1/2 C. confectioners sugar
1 TBS white granulated sugar
1 TBS brown sugar

Large pot with a lid

Directions:

  • Place the large pot on stove and turn the heat on high, add the oil. Heat oil till it gets very hot (not smoking). Ripples and veins will start to appear in the oil.
  • When it’s hot, add the kernels then cover with lid.
  • Watch for kernels to pop, turn the heat down to medium once they start.
  • Carefully shake the pot occasionally to move the unpopped kernels to the bottom (where they can get hot enough to pop). This also helps prevent the batch from scorching.
  • When it stops popping, remove pot from stove.
  • Carefully take off the lid so you don’t get hit with hot jumping kernels.
  • Pour the powdered sugar over top. Cover with lid and give the pot a shake to distribute.
  • Take off lid, add the both the brown and white sugars, cover with lid and shake it up again.
  • Put on stove again, low heat, to melt things a bit, shake often. Toss with coarse salt (as much/little as you prefer), shake pot again.
  • Pour into large serving bowl and sprinkle on a bit more salt.

Delish!

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Comments

    • melinda
    Reply

    i am having a popcorn station at my anniversary party any ideas how to get the butter flavor and seasonings to stick without having melted butter dispenser ?

    • Traci
    Reply

    Heat hot chili oil, when adding popcorn add salt and Carribean Jerk seasoning. If anyone else knows any additives to add to the oil and popcorn while its popping, please share. It’s great because it’s seasoned throughout and the seasoning clinges to the kernels instead on falling through to the bottom :).

    • Laura smith
    Reply

    Hi thank you for sharing I’m planning on making the pink popcorn for my little girls birthday party. Can you tell me how far in advance can I make it from the paty and what’s the best way to store it until then? Thanks again

    • Marsi
    Reply

    We drizzle a tiny bit of butter and sprinkle with nutritional yeast and salt. It is addicting….beware!

    • Breezydaze
    Reply

    I make jalapeño popcorn and it’s the best!

    Add 3-4 jalapeños and garlic when popping in the stove, or sauté them in olive oil and drizzle over if air popping. Garlic salt or salt to taste.

    • John
    Reply

    Best kept popcorn secret…. Put 1/4 cup popcorn into a regular brown paper lunch bag. Fold top over two times. Stick in the microwave (mine is 900 watt and takes 1minute and 50 seconds). No oil needed and almost every kernel pops. From there you can dump it into a bowl and add melted butter, cheese, etc. I’m gonna have to try the “I can’t believe it’s not butter” trick. Personally I like to add Kosher salt, ground pepper and garlic powder.

      • Linda
      Reply

      WOW, I am so gonna try the paper sack secret … I’m trying to get both my son and myself off the unhealthy snack train wreck I’ve gotten us on

        • Jason
        Reply

        I’ve known a few people who started fires in the microwave doing that. If you do I’d keep a close eye on it and not walk away while its popping.

    • Anonymous
    Reply

    i like orange zest on my popcorn and my friend has rice crackers

    • Bill
    Reply

    Move over crab fries, try seasoning your popcorn with Old Bay and butter.
    Yum, so good.

    • lola
    Reply

    I use organic coconut oil. healthy and super tasty.

      • Jen
      Reply

      This is my favorite way too – coconut oil and popcorn (finely ground) salt.

      I also like to eat it with grated sharp cheddar cheese on it.

    • Robin
    Reply

    Just to be clear, on the pink candynpipcorn recipe: you just let it air dry? Or you bake it?

      • lola
      Reply

      just let it air dry:)

    • Sue
    Reply

    i have a commercial popcorn maker at home, and i make it for myself and my siberian husky (ona) every night. our favorite is cooked in light olive oil, sprayed with butter flavored pam, and sprinkled with everglades seasoning — YUM!

      • Sue
      Reply

      * commerical style, not as big as a movie theater one! lol

      • Cesar
      Reply

      Looks like a good game day snack (or ritelay tv snack in my case). I bet it would be tasty with a little dark chocolate drizzle. One of these days I’ll have to try this so I can make popcorn that isn’t from the microwave.

    • dee
    Reply

    Dip your popcorn (i always use the orville smart pop) in mustard! AMAZING!

    • mieke
    Reply

    My favouorite is : paprika,butter,cumin.cinnamon salt and sugar 🙂

    • maggie
    Reply

    garlic salt n hot sauce yummy

    • Nana
    Reply

    I have no connection with the Whirley Popcorn Maker but it is so wondeful to make your own popcorn. They are pricey but last for years and I found mine at a thrift shop.

    • Jennifer
    Reply

    I make my popcorn on the stove in a pot with oil.

    If you replace 1 tsp – 1 tblspn of HOT oil to the regular cooking oil, the popcorn comes out spicy hot.

    I’m sure you could do this with any flavored oil.

    • L
    Reply

    Plain popcorn eaten with Doritos chips is simple and delicious!

      • A
      Reply

      omg that taste epic do it all the time

    • jeff leach
    Reply

    Its great to hear someone so young starting there own popcorn company. I sell the stuff myself. Good luck with the business.

    • Daricelynn
    Reply

    Garlic sauteed in olive oil is tasty too

    • Vickie
    Reply

    The only way to eat it is with lots of parmesan.

    • shortlady
    Reply

    I am a popcorn animal…love the new ideas on flavorings

    • Katie
    Reply

    Hi I’m Katie.
    I am 13 years old and starting my own popcorn business in New Zealand.
    My Flavours include:
    -Sweet-
    Icing Sugar
    Fudge sauce
    Maple Syrup
    Honey
    Caramel
    Sugar Cinnamon
    Kettle Corn (Icing Sugar & Salt)

    -Savoury-
    Rich Ranch
    Salt & Pepper
    The Obvious Butter
    Parmersan Garlic
    Herbalicious

    -Spicy-
    Spicy Cajun
    Tabasco Butter
    Lemon Pepper
    Tasty Taco

      • Lydibug98
      Reply

      Wow sounds fantastic!!

      • cy
      Reply

      Hi Katie:

      Congratulations. It sounds fantastic. How do you extend the shelf life of the seasonings?

    • Michelle
    Reply

    I love Tamari sprinkled on my popcorn. Which is wheat-free.

    • TipNut
    Reply

    Rebeca, I’ll have to try that. Thanks for suggesting it :).

    • Rebeca Rambal
    Reply

    I can’t believe is not Butter Spray.I take it to the movies with me and makes any seasoning stick without adding calories. It’s actually quite good!

    • TipNut
    Reply

    Nice one! Thanks for sharing that :).

    • djpblog
    Reply

    Cinnamon & Sugar

      • TONI
      Reply

      TRY IT TEX MEX STYLE- A MIXTURE OF BROWN SUGAR AND CHILI POWDER. IT’S REALY GOOD

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