Honey and Cocoa

  • 3 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 10 cups popcorn (popped)

Mix honey, cocoa powder, cayenne pepper in a bowl. Add popcorn to the bowl and toss well.

Coconut oil, honey and cinnamon

  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • popcorn kernels
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1/3 tsp cinnamon

Cook popcorn in hot coconut oil with the lid on (until there are 2 seconds between pops). Drizzle honey, add salt and cinnamon. Mix well with your hands so the popcorn is coated even. Here they are – eating popcorn of the day – with honey and cinnamon.

CHOCOLATE

  • popcorn (popped)
  • chocolate (shredded)

Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Meanwhile place popcorn on the baking sheet. After the chocolate becomes liquid, drizzle over popcorn and let it sit until it “sticks”/hardens.

DRIED FRUIT

  • Popcorn (popped)
  • 1 cup dried apricots (chopped)
  • 1 cup dried apples (chopped)
  • 1 cup sultana raisins

Mix it all up or serve separately in bowls. Enjoy!

BOUILLON

  • 1 tbsp organic chicken or beef bouillon
  • popcorn kernels
  • olive oil

Cook popcorn in a hot olive oil with the lid closed until you hear pops every 1-2 seconds. After popcorn is cooked place it in the bowl and sprinkle granulated bouillon immediately.

I absolutely love popcorn. On the couch. In front of a movie. After dinner.

Who’s with me?

I posted a photo on Instagram a couple of weeks ago munching on my Green Superfood Popcorn and it got a lot of people talking, so I decided to share that recipe plus two more healthy popcorn ideas that are vegan and easy to throw together. Hence, Healthy Popcorn, 3 Ways!

First thing is first, is popcorn healthy? The answer is yes. Well, kind of. The concept is, but the way most people consume it isn’t. Popcorn is simply popped corn kernels, which is whole and clean! However, microwave popcorn lathered in butter flavoring (diacetyl), sugar, and salt is not. Making your own popcorn at home is really easy (recipe down below!), then finish it off with any of the below toppings.

Green Superfood Popcorn

1. Green Superfood Popcorn
This is a spirulina-based green popcorn combined with herbs and spices to give it a kick. Spirulina is one of the most potent superfoods out there. It’s a blue-green algae that provides protein, B-vitamins, and iron. It’s used as a natural energizer, digestive, and detoxifier. You can purchase it in a powder form, which is what I used here.
Toss over popcorn recipe: 1 Tbsp spirulina powder, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper.

Cheezy Popcorn

2. Cheezy Popcorn
This is a spin off of a dairy-based cheesy popcorn, but using nutritional yeast to give it that flavor instead. Nutritional Yeast is a flakey deactivated yeast packed with B-vitamins and protein. It serves as a natural energizer and nutrient extractor. Nutritional Yeast is safe for those with candida. The rest of the ingredients in this popcorn, like garlic and onion powder will help ward off infection and disease.
Toss over popcorn recipe: 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 2 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp paprika, and 1/2 tsp cumin.

Caramel Drizzle Popcorn

3. Caramel Drizzle Popcorn
And when you’re craving something sweet, this vegan caramel drizzled popcorn is all you’ll need. Coconut sugar is used instead of table sugar. It’s derived from the coconut sap and has a lower glycemic index than regular sugar. The lower glycemic index means that it doesn’t cause an immediate spike in blood sugar. Cinnamon is also featured to help control blood sugar and give it a nice flavor balance with the caramel and salt. Simmer everything, but salt over low in a saucepan until it forms a thick syrup. Add salt after removing from heat.
Drizzle over popcorn recipe: 1/4 cup coconut sugar, 1/4 cup agave, 2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp sea salt.

Healthy Popcorn, 3 Ways Cook time 5 mins Total time 5 mins TheWholeTara shows you three healthy vegan popcorn topping ideas that you can make easily at home: Cheezy Popcorn, Spirulina Superfood Popcorn, and Caramel Drizzle Popcorn, and a healthy homemade popcorn recipe. Author: Tara Milhem Serves: 2-4 servings Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic popcorn kernels
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • Pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a large pot with a cover, heat the coconut oil over medium heat until fully melted.
  2. Drop the kernels into the pot, cover, and shake to ensure all of the kernels are well coated.
  3. Allow the kernels to pop, shaking the pot every 10 seconds. Once the popping begins to slow, remove from the heat and allow the rest to finish.
  4. Pour the popcorn into a bowl and top with any of the topping options above!

3.3.3077

What’s your favorite popcorn topping?

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14 Seasoning Tricks That Will Take Your Popcorn To The Next Level

A bowl of popcorn has long been the perfect match for big screen movies. While nothing can replace the experience of watching some movies on the big screen, popcorn is a snack that can easily come home to your comfy couch. We love to pop up batches for movie nights, TV marathons, and Mad Men viewing parties.

The popcorn-butter pairing may be as quintessential as the popcorn-movie connection, but at home, why not take the opportunity to be more creative? When the contents of your pantry are in easy reach, turning plain popcorn into an even tastier snack is a simple trick to keep up your sleeve.

Making popcorn on the stovetop is an easy task: Set a big, heavy pot with a lid over medium-high heat and film the bottom with oil. Put a kernel in the pot. When it pops, add more kernels, enough to line the surface with a single layer. Cover the pot and listen to the popcorn make actual popping noises. When the din starts to quiet down, shake the pot and then continue cooking until the pops slow again. That’s when your kernels are mostly popped but not yet burnt. This will make a lot of popcorn, around 12 to 16 cups, depending on the size of your pot.

To get flavors to stick to your fluffy white kernels, you’ll typically need some fat. Usually, this takes the form of olive oil or melted butter (1/3 to 1/2 cup for that whole bowl), but you can also substitute your favorites, like coconut oil, toasted sesame oil, or ghee. If, after being seasoned, your popped kernels seem soggy, crisp them with the Cracker Jack method, which works especially well when there’s cheese or sugar in the mix: Toss popcorn with your desired toppings, spread everything on a sheet pan, and bake the dressed kernels at a very low temperature—250°F or 300°F—until dried out, anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes. One last trick is to add a beaten egg white with your seasoning, and then bake at a low temperature.

Here are some of our favorite seasonings to try:

1. Olive Oil & Salt
(Photo: Serious Eats)

If you’re used to the richness of buttery movie popcorn, you’ll love the light, fruity notes that come with an olive oil drizzle. Pick a bottle of the freshest extra virgin you can find, then pour over hot popcorn, tossing as you go. Season with plenty of salt.

2. Butter & Grated Parm
(Photo: Cookie & Kate)

Movie popcorn goes gourmet when freshly grated Parmesan stands in for some of the snack bar version’s addictive saltiness. A sprinkle of dried thyme or oregano adds a welcome reprieve from all the richness.

3. Lemon & Pepper
Combine lemon juice, lemon zest, and coarsely ground black or green peppercorns with either butter or olive oil before you toss everything together for a bowl with a little bit of bite.

4. Sesame & Nori
(Photo: Honestly Yum)

Add a few glugs of toasted sesame oil and a few of a more neutral oil, then scatter slivers of toasted nori to add bursts of umami—and a pretty dark green hue—to your mix. You could also try pre-mixed Japanese blends, like Togarashi (seven spice) or furikake (a mix of chopped seaweed, salt, and sugar). Both can be found at any Asian speciality shop and are welcome additions to the pantry.

5. Sugar & Salt: Kettle Corn
(Photo: Salt and Wind)

When you make state fair favorite kettle corn, you basically caramelize sugar at the same time as the kernels pop. So add about ¼ cup sugar when you add the kernels and watch the pot even more carefully than usual, so the sugar doesn’t burn. When done, sprinkle with salt and let the kernels dry out in one layer on a baking sheet before you eat.

6. Old Bay
(Photo: Food Network)

Shakes of Maryland’s go-to crab seasoning will enrobe your popped corn in the savory combination of paprika and celery salt that’ll keep you licking your fingers, going for more, and being thankful that you don’t have to crack open crabs to get your dose of this spice.

7. Butter & Truffle Salt
(Photo: Shutterbean)

There’s not much in the world that can compete with the earthy, funky flavor of prized truffle mushrooms, and a coating of melted butter on popcorn before you apply your truffle salt (sparingly—it’s strong) only helps it continue to win any flavor battle.

8. Bacon
(Photo: Brown Eyed Baker)

Fry up a few slices of bacon. When they’re crispy, crumble them up. Then pour the bacon fat from the pan in with your popcorn, add the homemade bacon bits, and mix together for an indulgent bowl.

9. Ghee & Mustard Seeds
(Photo: Not Lazy, Rustic)

Take a cue from the Indian seasoning tadka, an aromatic way of flavoring curries and sauces. Heat up ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil. When it’s very hot, drop in 2 teaspoons of brown mustard seeds and some dried chilies if you like. Cover the pot—the mustard seeds pop, just like popcorn! When they stop popping, pour the spices and ghee right onto your popcorn and distribute well.

10. Chili
(Photo: Cookie & Kate)

Spoonfuls of your favorite chili powder will turn each handful of popcorn into a fiesta. A sprinkle of sugar is the surprise secret ingredient that will make the chili flavors shine.

11. Kasha Crunch
In a recent New York Times Magazine article, Chef Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese shared an enigmatic topping he uses for an Asian take on Caesar salad. Forget the salad beneath it, this topping of toasted kasha, sesame seeds, and nori wants to amp up your popcorn instead. You can find kasha at health food stores and seaweed at Japanese markets.

12. Fresh Parsley, Chives Tarragon & Thyme
(Photo: The Washington Post)

A French treatment of popcorn looks to chopped fresh fines herbes to elevate each bite with healthy freshness. Use olive oil to help the herbs stick, and replace some of your regular salt with flaky sea salt. Even if you don’t have all four herbs, try this with just one or two.

13. Three-Cheese Pizza
(Photo: Foxes Love Lemons)

Grate three melting cheeses, like Parmesan, provolone, and fontina. Toss all of them in with the popped popcorn, then throw in little handfuls of minced sun-dried tomatoes, plenty of olive oil, herbs like dried oregano, thyme, and basil, and finely minced garlic. Spread the popcorn on a sheet pan and put it in the oven so that the cheese melts.

14. Double Peanut
(Photo: Serious Eats)

More peanut-y than Cracker Jack, this rich treat from Serious Eats features peanut butter and peanuts, plus honey and sugar for good measure.

What’s your favorite way to season popcorn? Tell us in the comments below!

Is popcorn a healthy snack?

Share on PinterestPopcorn contains vitamins and minerals and is high in fiber.

Popcorn can be healthful when manufacturers or individuals prepare it the best way.

Popcorn is a whole grain, which is a group of foods that help boost heart health. It has the following nutritional benefits:

  • high in fiber
  • contains protein
  • contains vitamins and minerals
  • low in fat and sugar
  • contains no cholesterol

Air-popped popcorn with no oil provides the best health benefits. People can air-pop popcorn by heating popcorn kernels in a popcorn maker or on a stovetop.

Many people will be more used to eating popcorn at the cinema with toppings or flavorings. These added extras tend to have little nutritional value. Microwave popcorn may also contain additives, and the bags can have contaminants.

Premade popcorn often contains a high level of salt, or sodium. Eating too much sodium can cause high blood pressure and lead to other health complications. Some brands also include a lot of sugar.

These added ingredients mean that, while popcorn does have lots of health attributes, people should choose specific types and include it as part of a healthful diet. However, eating sweetened or salted popcorn as a treat, from time to time, will usually not do any harm.

Below, we discuss the beneficial nutrition qualities that popcorn can provide.

Whole-grain benefits

Popcorn is a whole grain, which refers to a group of seeds that come from crops that include barley, millet, oats, rice, and wheat.

Unlike refined grains that manufacturers have processed to remove the bran and germ, whole grains include the entire grain seed, also called the kernel. This means that whole grains contain dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial fats.

Other examples of food made of whole grains include brown rice, wholemeal bread, and oatmeal.

Fiber source

As a whole grain, popcorn is high in fiber, which is good for digestive health and promoting regular bowel movements.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a typical 3-cup or 24-gram (g) serving of air-popped popcorn contains 3.5 g of fiber. The recommended daily intake for the average person in the U.S. is more than 25 g a day, and most people do not reach these levels.

Learn more about daily fiber recommendations here.

Protein source

Popcorn also contains protein, with a typical serving containing just over 3 g of the 50 g daily value.

The body needs protein for many processes, from blood clotting and fluid balance to immune response and vision. Every cell in the body contains protein, and it has an important role in building and repairing cells and body tissues.

Vitamins and minerals

Unsalted, air-popped popcorn contains many vitamins and minerals, including calcium, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin K.

Popcorn, with its ample dietary fiber and typically low calorie count, makes it easy to understand why many people think a giant bucket at the movie theater qualifies as a healthy snack.

But be careful before you start scooping handfuls into your mouth as the opening credits roll; not all popcorn is created equal.

When it’s air-popped and lightly seasoned, popcorn is an efficiently healthy snack. That’s because it is a whole grain, and high-fiber whole grains have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and other health problems. Federal dietary guidelines say half of all grains consumed should be whole grains, and popcorn packs more fiber per serving than whole-wheat bread.

“When prepared well, popcorn actually is a pretty good snack,” said Maya Vadiveloo, an assistant professor in the department of nutrition and food sciences at the University of Rhode Island. “It’s stable. It’s inexpensive. It’s fairly tasty. For people who might be struggling to eat adequate fruits or vegetables or other whole grains, it’s a low-risk snack to start.

“Popcorn at the movies is very different than popcorn made at home.”

A tub of movie theater popcorn can contain up to 1,090 calories and 2,650 milligrams of sodium.

“Even a small movie theater popcorn has significant calories and is very high in salt,” Vadiveloo said. “Sodium is one of the leading risk factors for hypertension and stroke in general, so it’s something we do care about from a perspective of heart disease.”

Some theater chains pop their popcorn in canola oil. Vadiveloo said popcorn made with measured amounts of heart-healthy oils such as canola or olive oil can still be healthy. But, she said, it’s better to have control over how the snack is prepared from the start.

The same logic goes for popcorn coated in sugar, such as caramel corn, she said.

“Air-popped would be a good way to prepare popcorn because it gives you some control over the seasonings that you add afterward – how much salt, or how much oil or butter,” Vadiveloo said.

Microwave popcorn may have posed an entirely different set of health problems in the past, but many of the chemicals involved have been removed in recent years.

One such chemical, diacetyl, has been linked to a disease called popcorn lung, which causes shortness of breath and wheezing. Diacetyl, which gives some microwave popcorn its buttery taste, is found in cheese, butter, yogurt and wine, and it’s not harmful if swallowed; the danger comes when it is inhaled in large amounts.

In addition to fiber, popcorn also is a good source of polyphenols, which are antioxidants that have been linked to better blood circulation and digestive health, as well as a potentially lower risk of certain cancers.

Another health benefit of popcorn is its high satiety. Because of popcorn’s high fiber content, its low calorie count and its low energy density, popcorn is considered to be a food that can aid in weight loss. For example, popcorn has been shown to make people feel fuller than a similar calorie amount of potato chips.

“I could give you 200 calories of a milkshake, and that might be 5 or 6 ounces,” Vadiveloo said. “Your body isn’t going to recognize you’ve had 200 calories and feel satisfied. But if you eat 200 calories of fruits and vegetables, which are high in fiber and water, you’re going to eat quite a large portion size to get to 200 calories. The same goes for popcorn.”

If you have questions or comments about this story, please email [email protected]

Is Popcorn Healthy?

Q: Popcorn is presented as both a healthy and unhealthy snack, depending on who you ask. Is it good for me?

A: You’re so right. Is popcorn healthy? The short answer is yes.

Popcorn is a whole-grain, fiber-rich food, so you digest the carbs slowly and steadily. It’s also very low in calories (especially for a snack food). More benefits: It contains free radical-fighting antioxidants and tryptophan, an amino acid important for sleep. (If you’re noshing while watching Netflix before bed, that’s a good thing.)

RELATED: 10 Foods That Help You Sleep

Now, time for the caveats. (Sorry!)

The Problem With: Movie Theater Popcorn

While the kernels themselves may be nutritious, your local theater likely pops its corn using a ton of unhealthy, low-quality oil and pours on the salt (and that’s before you add the “butter” sauce that’s generally made with artificial ingredients).

In fact, a report done by Center for Science in the Public Interest found that at some theaters, a medium bucket contained up to 1200 calories, 60g of saturated fat, and 1500mg of sodium. (Time to start smuggling in that bag of almonds and dark chocolate, right?)

The Problem With: Microwave Popcorn

Now, to the popular microwave variety. Many brands use crappy hydrogenated oils like palm oil and artificial flavors and preservatives. There are also concerns with chemicals used in the bags’ glue and ink (some of which have mostly been phased out, like diacetyl). When heated to high temperatures, you may be taking some of those in, especially in the vapor that escapes when you first open the bag.

One chemical in particular, PFOA, has been linked to cancer and birth defects in animals. To be clear: There are no studies science that have established a direct link between microwave popcorn bags that contain trace amounts of PFOA and an increased risk of cancer in humans. (Get a smart breakdown of the science, here.) Our take is: If you can avoid questionable chemicals in your food, why wouldn’t you?

How to Eat Healthy Popcorn

Here’s how to make that happen: Buy plain kernels that are preferably organic (since most corn is now the GMO variety that’s grown with lots of pesticides).

Then, pop them on the stovetop or with a popcorn machine with a small amount of a healthy oil like coconut or olive, or use grass-fed butter or ghee.

Want even more flavor? Sprinkle on a little parmesan cheese, cinnamon, sea salt, pepper, or cayenne for an amped-up experience that is sure to make any movie more enjoyable.

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Learn how to make air popped popcorn on the stove, without any special machines or fancy equipment! So easy & only 83 calories in each 3 ¾ cup serving!

Every year, I always look forward to the end of March. The weather gets warmer, the calendar flips to spring, and… Baseball starts up again!

I fell in love with the game as an eight-year-old, and three years later, I told my dad I wanted to visit all 30 Major League stadiums with him. (We’ve checked off 23 so far!) And next week, my parents and I bought tickets to see our favorite team’s Opening Day game.

I always get goosebumps walking into a baseball stadium, the kind of sensation that happens when everything feels right with the world, when the stars align and you’re where you’re meant to be and your soul is just so happy. The bright green grass, the freshly raked infield dirt, the meticulously painted white chalk of the batter’s box and foul lines…

And as a foodie, I love the ballpark smells too! Even if many of those concessions aren’t exactly on the healthy side… Toasted hot dog buns, spicy sausages, grilled peppers and onions, pizza, nachos, churros, popcorn, ice cream sundaes, frozen lemonade…

Since I’m running out of time to make healthier homemade versions of all those indulgences, I started with one of my family’s favorites: this Healthy Stovetop Air Popped Popcorn! We love snacking on popcorn in between batters and the seventh inning stretch, and this recipe is much healthier than the butter-laden ones at the ballpark. It’s really easy to make and has just 83 calories in each big 3 ¾ cup serving!

Nerd alert! I’m going to share the science of popcorn and how to make air popped popcorn on the stove—without any special machines or fancy equipment!

To start, you need fresh popcorn kernels. Yes, fresh! Ditch the kernels you bought two years ago because those just won’t pop as well. Ready for the science of why?

Popcorn kernels contain a small amount of water inside of their golden shells. When you heat popcorn kernels, that heat energy makes the water molecules vibrate. The longer you heat the kernels, the faster those water molecules vibrate… Which creates a lot of pressure inside of the kernels. Once the pressure reaches a certain level, there’s too much energy for the kernels’ shells to contain it all… So they burst open and pop!

Fresh kernels contain more water molecules than older ones that have been sitting on your pantry shelves for months (or years!). As the kernels are exposed to air, they dry out a bit more… The same way your dried fruit turns harder and drier over time. So fresh kernels = more water molecules = more likely to pop into big yummy pieces!

Totally nerdy, right? But there’s another lesson in all of that science… Butter or oil isn’t necessary to make popcorn kernels pop! From what I can tell, adding butter or oil to your pot on the stove is mainly there for flavor—and maybe to keep the outsides of the kernels from burning. But definitely not to help them pop!

Instead, all you need to make your fresh kernels pop is a nonstick pot with a tight-fitting lid. I used one like this! The popcorn won’t stick to the nonstick pot after it pops (kind of a “duh, I knew that Amy!” statement!), and the tight-fitting lid helps contain the heat and increase the pressure inside of your popcorn kernels… Thus resulting in beautiful white popcorn pieces.

The last trick? Remember to keep shaking your pot every second or two once you’ve added the kernels! If you forgot to shake your pot, you’d end up with burnt kernels. Not good! As long as you (a) use fresh kernels, (b) keep the heat towards low, and (c) shake your pot, you’ll end up with perfect air popped popcorn!

PS Every time I’ve made my homemade air popped popcorn, I ended up with zero unpopped kernels… And that’s never happened before with any other method of popcorn making! ??

With how quickly I polished off this batch, I’m going to need to make a double (or triple!) batch for us to bring to the Opening Day game! ? And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! ?) I’d love to see your popcorn!

Healthy Stovetop Air Popped Popcorn 3.6 from 9 reviews

Yields: about 7 ½ cups This is my favorite method for making popcorn! It just takes a few minutes, and I end up with big fluffy pieces every time. Any leftover popcorn will keep for at least one week if stored in an airtight container—if it lasts that long!

  • 3 ½ tbsp (58g) fresh popcorn kernels
  • ¼ – ½ tsp salt, or adjusted to taste
  1. Preheat a 2-quart nonstick pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Open the lid, and add a few drops of water to the pot. If they immediately sizzle, reduce the heat to slightly above low. Add the popcorn kernels, and immediately replace the lid.
  2. Gently shake the pot every 2 seconds. (The popcorn kernels should start popping within 1-2 minutes.) Continue to gently shake the pot every 2 seconds until at least 3 seconds elapse in between kernel pops. Immediately remove the pot from the heat, pour the popcorn into a large bowl, and sprinkle the salt on top.

Notes: Fresh popcorn kernels are required to achieve the best results! See the text of my blog post above for the explanation why. I do not recommend using kernels where at least a year has passed since they were opened.
These are the popcorn kernels that I used! Don’t use the ones inside of the microwaveable packages. I also used a nonstick pot like this.
It’s okay if the kernels turn slightly brown after adding them to the pot and before they pop! That won’t affect their flavor. (Just don’t let them burn!)
You can easily make a smaller batch in a smaller pot! I haven’t tried making larger batches in larger pots, so I can’t personally vouch for how that will turn out. I also haven’t tried using pots that aren’t nonstick, so I don’t know how that will turn out either.
UPDATE: Many readers have tried making this in stainless steel (not nonstick!) pots, and they’ve reported great success! Just make sure you shake the pot almost constantly once the kernels have been added to help prevent the kernels and popped popcorn from sticking and burning.
{gluten-free, vegan, clean eating, low fat, sugar free} 3.2.2925

View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Homemade Kettle Corn
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Spice Kettle Corn
♡ Healthier Peanut Butter Kettle Corn
♡ Healthier Churro Kettle Corn
♡ Healthy Coconut Oil Popcorn

Contents ” Recipe : Tips : Variations : FAQs : Budget : Inspiration : Resources

There’s lots of things I love about this healthy, homemade, oil free popcorn.

Firstly, it’s super easy to make. Heat up a frying pan, chuck some kernels in, swish it around and voila.

Simple, easy, fast.

Secondly, it’s an incredibly healthy version of the usual salt-laden, butter-coated popcorn.

No oil or salt in sight for these perfectly air popped babies.

Just pure, puffed corn. Completely natural, healthy popcorn.

Thirdly, no greasy fingers.

For someone who loves to experiment in the kitchen, I’m surprisingly unkeen about having grubby fingers.

Maybe it’s good hygiene. Maybe it interferes with my finger food senses, who knows. But I do like to keep my hands clean.

So I love that I can grab a big fat handful of these babies and come away with mostly clean hands.

No oily residue. No salty crumbs. Wonderful.

Fourth, it’s vegan and a whole food. Nothing added, nothing taken away.

I used to think of popcorn as an unhealthy snack, but now I realise that’s because of all the junk that’s normally added.

Once I realised that it was possible to make whole food, oil free popcorn, I was sold on the idea.

Fifth. It’s such a convenient snack food.

It keeps really well, it’s easy to cart around, or pack in school lunches, and it’s popular with my kids.

What more could I ask?

Sixth. It tastes delicious.

I have to admit to eating this air popped popcorn by the handful.

It’s filling and tasty, without needing to add anything to it.

Why spoil something so tasty?

A big thank you to The Vegan Ronin for showing me that it was possible to make healthy popcorn.

And here’s my version of their recipe.

How to Make Popcorn Without Oil

Make sure to read the tips below the recipe to get the most out of this healthy fat free popcorn recipe.

Healthy Oil Free Popcorn

This healthy, oil-free air-popped popcorn is fast and easy to make, without using oil. It’s also vegan, wholefood and great fun to make with kids at home. 5 from 4 votes Pin Category: Snack Cuisine: Paleo, Vegan Tags: dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free, salt-free, soy-free, sugar-free Cook time: 10 minutes Cooling time: 5 minutes Total time: 10 minutes Makes: 2 cups (2 serves) Calories per serve: 105kcal Author: Nikki, Eating Vibrantly

  • 2 tbsp popping corn kernels (40ml / 50g) *

Method

  • Heat a flat bottomed frying pan on medium heat.
  • Add corn kernels to pan, cover with lid and continue heating, shaking pan gently every 20-30s.
  • Once kernels start popping, shake pan gently every 5-10s.
  • As soon as popping slows, turn heat off.
  • Allow kernels to cool and serve.

Preparation

  • Before: –
  • During: 10 mins
  • After: 5 mins (to cool down)
  • Need: Non-stick or cast-iron frying pan with a lid, stove

Notes

* 1 tbsp = An Australian tablespoon, which is 20ml

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1cup; Calories: 105kcal; Carbohydrates: 16.7g; Protein: 3.6g; Fat: 2.7g; Saturated Fat: 0.5g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0.9g; Sodium: 1mg; Potassium: 194mg; Fiber: 5.1g; Sugar: 5.3g; Vitamin A: 50IU; Calcium: 10mg; Iron: 0.7mg

Get a beautifully designed printable version of my Healthy Oil Free Popcorn recipe

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It also includes a handy Recipe Prep Checklist, to make sure you have everything you need on hand to get cooking.

And to help you make the most of this delicious recipe, I’ve also thrown in all of the super-handy tips and suggestions for variations.

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Tips for making healthy popcorn

  • Try to find organic popping corn kernels, and make sure they’re GMO-free as well, if you can manage it.
  • If you have a frying pan with a see-through glass lid, this can make it 10 times more fun to watch. Either way, you’re going to want to use a lid. Trust me!
  • The kernels will go a little brown as you heat them. This is perfectly normal, so don’t stress about it.
  • Gently shaking (or swirling) the pan helps to heat the kernels evenly, and reduces the chance of burning.
  • I used my hoovy-groovy infra-red thermometer to test the heat of my pan, and discovered that the ideal temperature is around 200°C. If you don’t have one of these awesome kitchen gadgets (and I highly recommend them), then use the rate of popping to guide you. If the kernels are popping too slowly, you need to turn the heat up a bit. On the other hand, if your kernels start to burn (or blacken) too much, turn the heat down. A little bit of browning is OK. You can always throw away any burned ones afterwards.
  • Make sure that you turn the heat off as soon as the popping slows down. I always feel the temptation to leave it for “just a little bit more”, but you don’t want to risk burning your perfectly stovetop popped oil free popcorn.
  • The corn will continue to pop after you take it off the heat, so leave the lid on for a minute or so to avoid very hot pieces of popcorn flying across the kitchen (or at the kids).
  • I pick my popcorn out of the pan with tongs for two reasons: 1. It’s hot 2. It leaves the unpopped kernels in the pan, which can be really bad for your teeth if you accidentally bite into one.
  • Make sure you leave the popcorn to cool before serving. Using my awesome infra-red thermometer, I discovered that they’re at about 60-70°C when you take them out of the pan, which is a sure-fire recipe for a burned mouth. Not good, so give them time to cool down before scoffing them down.
  • I like my popcorn kernels plain, but that doesn’t mean you have to. You can add toppings to your homemade oil free popcorn if you like, but I suggest trying them plain first and seeing if you like them that way. Apparently plain popcorn also keeps for longer, which is a bonus.

Air-popped popcorn variations

  • You could trying tossing them with some nutritional yeast flakes, curry, chili, salt, garlic powder or your favourite herbs and spices.
  • Trying grinding up some of your favourite veggie chips in a spice grinder or food processor and tossing with your fresh popcorn.
  • You can make salt and vinegar popcorn by dissolving some salt into your favourite vinegar, and spraying or sprinkling this over the popcorn. Not too much though, or it will get soggy and very tangy!
  • If you have some die-hard oil-loving popcorn fans in your house, you could split up your popcorn into batches and drizzle some melted coconut oil over their serving.
  • Turn your oil free popcorn into a kind of trail mix by adding dried banana chips, pieces of your favourite raw vegan chocolate and a selection of activated nuts.
  • Make a sugar-free sweet popcorn mix by grinding freeze-dried strawberries into a powder, and tossing it over your popcorn, along with some shredded coconut and a pinch of cinnamon.

FAQs about oil-free popcorn

Are non-stick frying pans safe to use?

There seems to be evidence mounting that the non-stick surfaces in many fry pans are causing health issues for some people.

The main problem seems to be that small amounts of the non-stick surface are actually falling off, getting caught in the food, and being eaten, which introduces a foreign substance into the body and may cause inflammation.

Some of the problems with non-stick surface are made worse with high heat, but fortunately that’s not something that this recipe requires.

So if you’re trying to minimise the amount of toxins you’re adding into your body, which I highly recommend, then you’ll probably want to stay away from non-stick surfaces.

Fortunately there’s quite a few safer alternatives around these days, including ceramic-coated pans and well-seasoned cast iron pans, so you do have some viable alternatives.

Here’s a couple of good-quality options from Amazon to get you started:

  • WearEver Nonstick Scratch-Resistant Ceramic Coating PTFE-PFOA-Cadmium Free Cookware
  • Lodge Cast-Iron Skillet with Glass Lid

One of my readers also used a normal stainless steel frying pan with a lid, and another used a saucepan, and neither of them had any issues with the popcorn sticking. Apparently stove-top popcorn kettles can also work well without oil too.

Of course if you want to air pop popcorn without needing to add anything to it, or have a suitable frying pan, you could always buy an air popcorn popper instead.

Is oil actually that bad for you?

Well, the answer to this depends on the type of oil.

There are certain fats that our body needs, and we can’t function properly without them. So a diet that was totally lacking in fat would be very unhealthy indeed.

However, there are many fats in our diets today that are very bad for our health, because our body is not designed to use them, and these include trans or hydrogenated fats, highly refined and processed oils, and excess amounts of Omega 6 and polyunsaturated fats.

The best kinds of oils for our bodies are those that are cold-pressed, unrefined, from plants and high in saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and essential fatty acids, because these are the fats that our bodies need most to be healthy.

Oils that fall into this category are from coconuts, avocados and olives. Oils from hemp and flax seeds contain high levels of essential fatty acids and our bodies also need other essential fats (DHA and EPA) that can only be obtained in large enough amounts from seafood (e.g. salmon or sardines), seaweed or algae.

That said, our bodies don’t need massive amounts of oil, so if you do decide to use oil, then do it in moderation, and aim to get as much of it as possible from whole foods.

Personally, I don’t tend to use extracted oils much in my cooking these days. In fact I tend not to use anything that’s been extracted from the original food as much as possible.

Instead I prefer to eat whole foods that contain healthy fats in the form of avocados, hemp seeds, coconuts, nuts and flax seeds, and trust that my body will take what it needs from the foods that I eat.

Why aren’t most of my corn kernels popping?

The first reason for this could be that the temperature of your pan is too low.

I have found, using my super handy infra-red thermometer, that the ideal surface temperature is around 200°C.

Usually this is the temperature where the kernels will start to brown a bit, but they don’t tend to burn before they pop.

So play with your heat settings a little to see if this helps.

The other reason why your kernels may not be popping is that they are too old.

Apparently the older your popping corn gets, the more unpopped kernels you will have in a batch of popcorn, and the effect is magnified when you don’t use oil.

This happens because the “pop” in popcorn results from a small amount of moisture trapped inside the kernels, so the older it is, the greater the risk that the kernel has dried out completely, leaving no water inside to create the “pop”.

So check the expiry date on your corn kernels and if they’re past the date, you can still use them, but they just might not pop as well.

Any kernels that don’t pop can be composted, so nothing goes to waste!

My oil-free popcorn budget

Here’s roughly how much this oil free popcorn cost me to make:

Ingredient Amount Price Cost
TOTAL 50g $9.90 / kg $0.50
Corn kernels 2 tbsp (50g) $4.95 / 500g bag $0.50

Keep in mind:

  • All prices are in Australian dollars
  • Your costs may vary quite a bit depending on whether you buy in small or large quantities, as conventional or organic, and the time of year.

Budget notes

  • This fat free popcorn is pretty inexpensive to make. With the only ingredient being popcorn kernels, the only way to make this recipe cheaper is to buy cheaper popping corn, but make sure it’s still good quality popcorn.

My inspiration for making healthy popcorn

I was at an information session for my 4yo daughter’s school transition program, and popcorn was on the list of suggested healthy snacks for school, which sounded like a great idea.

I haven’t made popcorn for years, and the last time I made it I used oil.

But I wanted a healthier version, so I went searching for oil free popcorn and came across this great recipe by The Vegan Ronin.

It was the best of the recipes I came across, so I pretty much followed their process, and it turned out great.

I was actually surprised at how easy and low-fuss it was. Not to mention delicious.

And it’s so much fun for the kids to watch as well.

Definitely worth giving it a try.

Oil-free air-popped popcorn resources

Here’s an interesting perspective from Matt Frazier, the No-Meat Athlete, on why he stopped using oil:

  • Why I’ve Finally Stopped Eating Oil @ No Meat Athlete

And a useful explanation of how to keep popcorn fresh and what happens when it goes “bad”

  • Can Popcorn Go Bad? @ King of Pop

And some insights into the hazards of non-stick pans and your alternatives

  • Skip the non-stick to avoid the dangers of Teflon @ EWG

Want more great recipes like this?

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And have an awesome day!

~ Nikki, Eating Vibrantly

Little-known fact: I am a stovetop popcorn connoisseur. I’ve been making popcorn on the stove since my parents taught me in elementary school. Stovetop popcorn is infinitely better than microwave popcorn or air-popped popcorn. If you haven’t made it yet, you’ve been missing out!

I’m on a mission to make sure everyone knows how to make popcorn from scratch. Today, I’m sharing all of my popcorn-making tips so you can make perfect stovetop popcorn at home, too. All you need are popcorn kernels, a good pot with a lid, oil and salt. You can do it!

Of all the salty, crunchy, savory snacks out there, stovetop popcorn is one of the tastiest and cheapest snacks. I love that I can make it in under 10 minutes if I’m craving a snack, and easily adjust the amounts to yield a single serving or popcorn for a party.

The 10-minute buffer period is actually great, since it means I can’t reach into the pantry and mindlessly snack on popcorn. That’s why I don’t keep tortilla chips on hand—I eat them too fast.

How to Make Stovetop Popcorn

  1. Use a good, heavy-bottomed pot. Cheap pots don’t distribute heat evenly, and you can end up with hot spots that burn the popcorn.
  2. Don’t crank the heat up too high. It’s too easy to burn oil at temperature higher than medium heat, and if you catch even a whiff of smoke coming from the pot, your popcorn is going to taste burnt.
  3. Start with two popcorn kernels to gauge the temperature. Once those pop, your oil is hot enough. Add the remaining kernels and remove the pot from the heat for 1 minute. This primes the popcorn to pop without burning the oil.
  4. Tip the lid ever-so-slightly while the popcorn is popping. That way, the popcorn doesn’t steam itself in the pot and lose crispness. (See photo above.)
  5. If the popcorn starts overflowing the pot: Simply remove the lid and tip the excess popcorn into a bowl. Return the lid and return the popcorn to the heat until popping slows.
  6. Season with salt carefully. You can always add more, but you can’t take away too much.

Scroll down for my recipe!

Watch How to Make Popcorn

Cooking Oil Options

  • Extra-virgin olive oil: You can absolutely make popcorn with olive oil, as long as you cook it over medium heat. Olive oil is my favorite oil to use and it’s the healthiest option.
  • Coconut oil: Movie theaters cook popcorn in coconut oil and it is delicious. Opt for unrefined (virgin) coconut oil, which is more redeeming than the highly refined version used at theaters.
  • Canola oil and other vegetable oils: I avoid canola oil since it’s usually highly processed. Avocado oil, grapeseed oil and safflower oil are good neutral options.

Recommended Popcorn Seasonings

  • Black pepper and good olive oil: This variation is so good that it made it into my cookbook.
  • Cinnamon honey butter: This popcorn is a little sticky, but irresistible. Whisk 2 tablespoons melted butter with 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  • Spice it up: Sprinkle with cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes or white pepper.
  • Nutritional yeast: This is a healthy vegan alternative that offers butter flavor. Here’s how my friend Ali makes “nooch” popcorn.
  • Melted butter!

Is popcorn healthy?

In the crunchy, salty snacks category, popcorn is definitely one of the healthier options. That is, if you make popcorn on the stove with a reasonable amount of high-quality oil and don’t douse it in butter or caramel afterward.

I make popcorn with extra-virgin olive oil and organic popcorn kernels, so I’d say my popcorn is as healthy as popcorn gets. Popcorn is a whole grain, and it offers some redeeming fiber. You can enjoy a big serving (2.5 cups) of popcorn for the same amount of calories as a handful of tortilla chips.

Movie theater popcorn and flavored microwave popcorn are another story. They’re typically made with highly refined oils and coated in artificial “butter flavor” chemicals and preservatives.

Even if you’re buying unflavored microwave popcorn, the bags themselves pose health concerns. They’re typically coated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is the same toxic substance that coats Teflon pans. PFOA’s stick around in the human body for long periods of time, and the EPA states that PFOA’s at sufficient levels can cause a host of health problems, including cancer.

Why make stovetop popcorn?

It’s super delicious and chemical-free. Granted, you could also make air-popped popcorn and it would be free of all the bad stuff, too, but it’s flavorless and dull. Snacks should taste good! Stovetop popcorn tastes way better with as little as one tablespoon of oil for eight servings.

If you want to drizzle butter to your stovetop popcorn (so tasty), go right ahead. Even one tablespoon of butter on those eight servings of popcorn adds a lot of real butter flavor. Do you know how much saturated fat is in a medium movie theater popcorn? An entire stick of butter’s worth.

Best Stovetop Popcorn

  • Author: Cookie and Kate
  • Prep Time: 2 minute
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

★★★★★

4.8 from 86 reviews

Learn how to make perfectly popped popcorn in under 10 minutes! You’ll never go back to microwave popcorn after you make this recipe. Recipe yields about 10 cups (about 4 servings).

Scale 1x2x3x

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • ½ cup popcorn kernels, divided
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the oil and 2 popcorn kernels. Cover the pot and wait for the kernels to pop, which might take a few minutes. In the meantime, place a large serving bowl near the stove so it’s ready when you need it.
  2. Once the kernels pop, turn off the burner, remove the pot from the heat and pour in the remaining popcorn kernels. Cover the pot again, and give the pot a little shimmy to distribute the kernels evenly. Let the pot rest for 60 seconds to make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot before the kernels are ready to pop.
  3. Turn the heat back up to medium, put the pot back onto the burner and continue cooking the popcorn, carefully shimmying the pot occasionally to cook the kernels evenly. Once the kernels start popping, tip the lid just a touch to allow steam to escape (see photo).
  4. Continue cooking until the popping sound slows to about one pop per every few seconds. (If the popcorn tries to overflow the pot, just tip the upper portion of popcorn into your bowl and return it to the heat.)
  5. Remove the lid and dump the popcorn into your serving bowl. Sprinkle the popcorn with a couple pinches of salt, to taste, and any other topping you would like. Toss the popcorn and serve immediately, for best flavor and texture. The popcorn will taste good for several hours, though.

Where to buy popcorn kernels: Look for them near the microwave popcorn. I like to buy organic, which I find at Trader Joe’s or health stores.

▸ Nutrition Information

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. Did you make this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #cookieandkate.

A word on safety

I burned some carpet in my house while making stovetop popcorn at age 10, and learned a valuable lesson to never leave hot oil on the stove unattended.

The risk here is entirely minimal. Don’t leave the kitchen, and remove the pot from the heat if you see any whiffs of smoke (which is unlikely). If the oil starts smoking at all, you’ll want to let start over. Let the oil cool before adding water to the pot to clean it.

If smoke ever starts billowing out of an oiled pot, whatever you do, do NOT remove the lid or add water. Turn off the stove, don’t touch or move the pot, and if it’s a small amount of oil (like for making popcorn), let it burn out on its own.

Here’s more information about grease fires. Teach your kids!

Air popped popcorn recipes

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