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
1 C. Parmesan (grated)
1 1/2 TBS Dill weed
1 tsp Garlic salt
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
1/4 C. Parmesan (grated)
2 TBS Butter (melted)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
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.
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.
This is a nice, citrusy pop of flavor!
lemon juice *amount to taste
dill weed *amount to taste
- 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.
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.
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.
2 C. brown sugar
1 C. butter
1/2 C. corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
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!
2 C. sugar
1 TBS butter
1/2 C. water
red food coloring
2 cups unpopped popcorn (make it then keep in 200° oven)
- 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.
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.
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
- 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.