Beyond Butter: 12 Alternative Popcorn Recipes

Nothing goes together quite like movies and popcorn — one wouldn’t be complete without the other. There’s just something that feels right about chomping down on the buttery fluffy stuff while watching a big-budget summer blockbuster. Buttered popcorn is an undeniable classic, but as they say, variety is the spice of life. So here are a few alternative popcorn recipes that can put a fresh spin on your next movie night. You might even want to choose your recipe based on the theme of the movie!

Bacon Cheese Popcorn

  • 4 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon hickory-smoked salt
  • 1/2 cup American cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup bacon bits

Pour freshly popped corn into large bowl. Combine butter with hickory-smoked salt. Pour over popcorn; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon bits. Toss again and serve while warm.

Colored Popcorn

  • Popcorn
  • Food paste (any color desired – from a craft or cake decorating supply store)
  • Butter, melted

Add food coloring to a pan of melting butter. When the colored butter is melted, pour it over the popcorn as usual.

French Fried Popcorn

  • 8 cups vegetable or peanut oil
  • 1 package popcorn
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Heat oil and, using a long handled spoon, lower corn into hot oil. Fry until kernels pop and rise to top. Remove and put on paper toweling to drain. Sprinkle with salt.

Simon and Garfunkel Popcorn

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed dried parsley flakes
  • Pinch of powdered sage
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 quarts popped popcorn
  • Salt to taste

Melt butter over low heat. Stir herbs and lemon juices into the melting butter. Drizzle over popcorn. Add salt to taste.

Garlic and Parmesan Popcorn

  • 2 tablespoons corn oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, split
  • 3/4 cup popping corn
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Dash cayenne pepper

In a large heavy pot, heat corn oil and olive oil over high heat until the oil smokes. Add 1 kernel popping corn and heat until kernel pops. Add split garlic cloves and rest of popping corn, cover pot, and shake gently until corn starts to pop. Shake vigorously until popping subsides. Remove from heat. Remove garlic and toss popcorn with Parmesan, minced garlic, cayenne and salt. Yields 6 servings.

Jalapeno Popcorn

  • 1/2 cup canned sliced jalapeno peppers with juice
  • Popcorn
  • Vegetable oil

Pour small amount of oil in bottom of large pan. Add peppers and juice. Heat and add popcorn kernels. Pop like regular popcorn. Salt to taste.

Lemon Popcorn

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup popping corn
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

In a large heavy pot, heat oil over high heat until the oil smokes. Add 1 kernel popping corn and heat until kernel pops. Add rest of popping corn, cover pot, and shake gently until corn starts to pop. Shake vigorously until popping subsides. Remove from heat.

Mix lemon juice with melted butter. Toss popcorn with lemon zest, salt, and butter/lemon juice.

Nacho Popcorn

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 10 cups warm popped popcorn
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a small bowl, stir paprika, red pepper, and cumin into melted butter or margarine. Gently toss butter mixture with popcorn, coating evenly. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and toss till coated.

Amaretto Popcorn

  • 3 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 cup unblanched whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup Amaretto

Heat oven to 250 degrees F. Arrange popcorn on 2 jellyroll pans; sprinkle almonds over popcorn.

In small saucepan, melt butter over low heat; stir in the brown sugar and amaretto. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour over popcorn; toss until thoroughly coated. Bake at 200 degrees F for 1 hour; spread on foil or wax paper to cool. Store in loosely covered container.

Butter Crunch

  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted
  • 10 cups popped unsalted popcorn
  • 1 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Grease a 15 x 10 x 1-inch jellyroll pan; set aside. Grease a large bowl.

Toss together pecans and popcorn in prepared bowl. Combine sugar, butter, corn syrup and maple syrup in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until mixture reaches 225 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Pour over popcorn mixture, stirring to coat. Spread on prepared jellyroll pan. Cool completely. Break into pieces.

Chocolate Popcorn

  • 12 cup air popped popcorn
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup corn syrup

Spray a large roasting pan with cooking spray. Put popped popcorn into pan. In a large saucepan, combine butter, chocolate chips and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Pour over popcorn and gently stir to coat. Bake at 300 degrees F for 45 minutes stirring frequently. Cool completely. Break into pieces and store in airtight container if you have any left. Enjoy!!!

Peanut Butter Popcorn

  • 2 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring sugar and corn syrup to rolling boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla extract. Pour over popcorn and stir quickly to coat.

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Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks of all time. Since it reminds me of happy events, I like to eat it when I need a quick pick-me-up.

Growing up, my mom popped corn in a large covered saucepan. She poured just the right amount of oil, got it hot, and added the corn.

After it started popping, she shook it until the popping ended. That meant it was done.

Then I graduated to the old-timey popcorn popper with the little rod that keeps it from sticking. After that, I used the hot air popper. I also tried the different brands of microwave popcorn.

While all of it was good, I kept looking for something better. Because that’s what I do.

During my search, I ate every kind of popcorn you can imagine—some from a bag and some that’s home-popped.

A little more than a year ago, Costco carried a brand that I couldn’t get enough of. I purchased at least one monster-sized bag every time I went there.

Disappearing Snack

I assumed they would always have it. But then one day, I headed straight for the snack section for my popcorn fix. To my dismay, they no longer carried it.

Since that was basically the main reason I was there that time, I decided to figure out the secret. After all, if someone else could make such deliciousness, so could I.

On my way home, I stopped off at a grocery store where I could purchase smaller quantities of popping corn. I picked up several different brands, and all of them were good. However, nothing was as tasty as the one I’d purchased at Costco.

Secret to the Best Popcorn Ever

So I went online and looked up the ingredient list of the brand I liked. And there it was—the secret to the best popcorn ever. To my surprise, it was coconut oil.

Armed with this information, I started cooking the different brands in varying amounts of coconut oil.

One thing I discovered was that more was better. Isn’t that often the case? Anyway, I love the buttery flavor of the corn popped in coconut oil.

Amazingly, if you use the right amount of coconut oil, you don’t need butter. Not even a smidge. And you only need a tiny bit of salt. It’s that good.

The true test of how good this tasty treat is was when one of our granddaughters took a bite. Her eyes lit up as she said, “This is so buttery. I love it!”

After you taste this popcorn, you’ll want to serve it any time you have people over for sports parties, reality TV viewing, or just sitting around playing board games. Serve this in addition to the party mix, and your friends will think you’re the most brilliant host in town.

If there are kids, also serve this sweet and salty snack mix. In fact, it might be fun to put out the ingredients and let them make their own. It’s a fun activity that will undoubtedly make them happy.

How to Make the Best Popcorn

I’ve resorted to making popcorn the old fashioned way—with a covered saucepan. After all, it’s not what you make it in. It’s more about what you put in it.

Measure a heaping spoon of coconut oil and melt it in the saucepan.

Coconut Oil

Add your kernels.

Popcorn Kernels

Put the lid on the saucepan and wait for the first pop.

Covered Saucepan

Once it starts popping, giggle the pan every few seconds to make sure the not-yet-popped kernels make it to the bottom where the heat is.

After the pops are more than a second or two apart, remove the pan from the heat. Keep the lid on it until the popping stops, or you’ll wind up having to get the broom.

Popped Corn

Add salt to taste.

Salt to Taste

Enjoy your buttery tasting popcorn without having to add any butter.

Frequently Asked Questions About Popcorn

Popcorn is something most of us grew up eating without thinking twice. However, there are some questions you might have.

Is It Safe to Eat Popcorn Everyday?

Popcorn is actually a nutritious snack, as long as you don’t douse it with butter and a double dusting of salt. It takes three cups of it to have one serving of grains.

Is It Healthy to Eat Popcorn?

Yes, it is a healthy snack. It provides a low calorie option that is also high in fiber.

Does Microwave Popcorn Make You Gain Weight?

Many of the microwave options have extra butter, sugar, and other high-calorie ingredients. You’re better off popping it yourself, either in an air popper or using the recipe above.

Delicious Popcorn

Blogs I follow:

Make It to Friday
Back to My Southern Roots
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
Marilyn’s Treats
Southern Plate

You’ll also enjoy Meal Plan Monday that is sponsored by several more of my favorite food bloggers.

More Tasty Snacks

Since most of us associate popcorn with happy times, I decided to share other snacks that do the same thing. These coconut macaroons are delicious, and these peanut butter cookies will melt in your mouth.

  • Coconut Macaroons
  • Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Prep Time 1 minute Cook Time 5 minutes Total Time 6 minutes


  • 1 heaping tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of popping corn kernels
  • Salt to taste


  1. Put the coconut oil in a large saucepan and heat it on high.
  2. Add the popping corn kernels
  3. Cover the saucepan and wait for the first pop.
  4. Every few seconds, shake the pan so the un-popped kernels will fall to the bottom.
  5. When the popping slows down to more than a second apart, remove from heat but keep the lid on the pan.
  6. After the popping stops, remove the lid and salt to taste.

Nutrition Information


Serving Size

1-1/2 cup popped corn
Amount Per Serving Calories 36 Total Fat 4g Saturated Fat 3g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 1g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 145mg Carbohydrates 1g Fiber 0g Sugar 0g Protein 0g The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

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25 Easy, Delicious Ways to Flavor Popcorn Without Salt

The next time you pop in a movie, rethink your snack habit: Even if you split the bag of microwave popcorn, you’ll down 20 percent of your daily allotment of sodium-plus oftentimes trans fat and scary preservatives or colorings. And OD’ing on sodium has been linked to higher blood pressure, heart disease, stomach cancer, and weak bones, in addition to water retention and bloating.

That doesn’t mean you have to swap your treat for plain air-popped corn. Virtuous as it is-three cups provides as much fiber as a cup of cooked brown rice and more antioxidants than a serving of fruit or vegetables for less than 100 calories-it’s also pretty bland. Luckily that blank canvas means it’s perfect for crafting a snack to satisfy your craving, whether that’s savory, spicy, or sweet.

These mouthwatering ideas from top nutritionists, food bloggers, and healthy chefs are so good, you’ll start having movie night more often. Simply pour 3 cups freshly popped corn into a bowl, then slowly add the toppings while stirring continuously with a spatula so every piece is coated.

RELATED: 3 Snacks That Will Help You Lose Weight


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Parmesan Parsley: Toss with 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh parsley. –Lara Englebardt Metz, R.D., of Keri Glassman, Nutritious Life in New York City

Truffles: Drizzle with 1 teaspoon truffle oil and 1 teaspoon olive oil and toss. –Renée Loux, green expert, organic chef, culinary art teacher, and author of The Balanced Plate

Italian: Spray with olive-oil cooking spray and toss with 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. –Carol Kicinski, Simply…Gluten Free food blogger and author of Simply…Gluten Free Quick Meals

Sesame: Drizzle with 1 teaspoon sesame oil and toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons gomasio (toasted sesame seeds and nori seaweed. Can’t find it in your grocery? Use 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds). –Loux

Vegan Cheese: Drizzle with 1 teaspoon coconut oil and toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast. –Kicinski

Lemon Pepper: Toss with 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorn and 1/8 teaspoon lemon zest. –Sass


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Spicy Paprika: Toss with 3/4 teaspoon chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon paprika. –Nutricosmetics expert Paula Simpson

Thai: Toss with 1 teaspoon each curry powder and dried basil, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, and zest of 1 lime. –Matthew Kadey, R.D., author of Muffin Tin Chef

Cajun: In small saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon canola oil over medium heat. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon each cumin, garlic powder, dried basil, dried thyme, and paprika; 1/8 teaspoon black pepper; and 1 dash cayenne pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 minute. Drizzle over popcorn and toss. –Laura Cipullo, R.D., owner of Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services in New York City

Chili Lime: Drizzle with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and a few shakes of Tabasco. Toss with 1 teaspoon each freshly squeezed lime juice and lime zest, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon each chili powder and chili flakes. –Chef Candice Kumai, author of Cook Yourself Sexy

BBQ: Toss with 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder and onion powder. –Rachel Meltzer Warren, R.D.

Wasabi: Toss with 1 1/2 teaspoons wasabi powder, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, and 1 finely crumbled sheet nori. –Kadey

Sweet Chili: Combine 1 1/2 teaspoons honey and 1 dash each garlic powder, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Microwave mixture on high for 15 seconds. Drizzle over popcorn and toss with 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese. –Cipullo


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Mexican Hot Chocolate: Toss with 1/4 teaspoon each cocoa powder and cinnamon. –Tiffany Mendell, R.D., of Keri Glassman, Nutritious Life in New York City

Fruit Salad: Toss with 2 tablespoons each dried cranberries, dried tart cherries, and raisins. –Jim White, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Pumpkin Pie Toss with 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon each allspice, ground cloves, and nutmeg. –Matthew Kadey, R.D., author of Muffin Tin Chef

Caramel: In a small saucepan, simmer 1 1/2 teaspoons olive or coconut oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup. Drizzle over popcorn and toss. -Renée Loux, green expert, organic chef, culinary art teacher, and author of The Balanced Plate

Chocolate Peanut: Toss popcorn with 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon peanuts. –Amanda Buthmann, R.D., of Keri Glassman, Nutritious Life in New York City

Cinnamon Sugar: Toss with 1 1/2 teaspoons each coconut butter and coconut sugar and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon. –Loux

Swiss Mix: Toss with 1/4 cup mini marshmallows and 1 tablespoon hot chocolate mix. –Rachel Rappaport, Coconut & Lime food blogger

Spiced Nut: Toss with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon cloves, and 1 tablespoon each sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and raw unsalted slivered almonds. –Laura Cipullo, R.D., owner of Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services in New York City

Dark Chocolate: Heat 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips in the microwave in 10-second intervals, stirring with a spatula after each interval until melted. Drizzle on popcorn and toss. –Michelle Nabatian Routhenstein, R.D., of Keri Glassman, Nutritious Life in New York City

Agave Crunch: Drizzle with 1 tablespoon agave nectar and toss with 2 tablespoons granola and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. –White

  • By K. Aleisha Fetters

Towfiqu Photography/Moment/GettyImages

Air popped popcorn is a healthy snack alternative, even healthier than prepackaged popcorn that is loaded with salt, oil and butter. Many people who eat air popped popcorn look for ways to make the healthy snack a little more flavorful. With the right seasonings, you can enjoy a delicious bowl of popcorn and still feel good about your food choice.

Sweet Toppings

Many people enjoy eating sweet and sugary popcorn. One idea is to toss in cinnamon and sugar and mix it all around. Do this while the popcorn is hot so that the sugar and cinnamon melts into the popcorn. This sweet seasoning idea gives your popcorn a cinnamon-roll aroma and taste and can curb your sweet tooth cravings. Other ideas for sweet toppings include drizzling caramel sauce or chocolate syrup on top of your air popped popcorn. If you do not want to use chocolate syrup — because of the sticky or messy factor — consider tossing in chocolate candies, such as M&Ms or chocolate chips. For a healthier version, choose carob chips made from carob powder instead of chocolate.

Savory Toppings

Popcorn is famous for its salty flavor. If you want to give your air popped popcorn a savory sensation, season it with salt and vinegar. Salt and vinegar is a salty combination that is famous for being paired with potato chips. Another savory option for your air popped popcorn is to sprinkle Parmesan cheese and salt on top of it. Garlic powder and black pepper can add even more flavor to your savory popcorn. Of course, you can stick to the classic salt and butter combo, too.

Spicy Toppings

If you enjoy spicy foods, like chips and salsa, consider spicing up your air popped popcorn by adding salt, a fresh squirt of lime and a drizzle of hot sauce. This is a low calorie, low fat snack option. Select your favorite hot sauce to use on the popcorn and make sure to mix the contents together well so that the popcorn is coated evenly. You can also create air popped popcorn nachos by spooning nacho cheese on top of your popcorn, followed by sliced or diced fresh jalapenos. If you want a spicy popcorn without having to use sauces or cheese, try sprinkling your popcorn with red cayenne pepper to give it a natural kick.

Tangy Toppings

You can pour some of your favorite tangy barbecue sauce over air popped popcorn to give it that smokey grilled aroma and flavor. Some chipotle sauces can also give you a tangy taste. If you want to stay away from sauces, season your popcorn with smoked paprika and chili powder. Those who wish to venture to the more sour side of tangy flavors should consider a salt and lemon juice dressing to drizzle over your hot popcorn. If you don’t have fresh lemon juice on hand, substitute it with a lemon pepper seasoning.

20 Delicious Ways to Dress Up Your Popcorn

Popcorn is the go-to snack companion when you’re looking to lose yourself in the next episode of The Bachelor or fawn over the Hemsworths at the Oscars. Air-popped popcorn is super low in fat, calories, and sugar, and filled with fiber and good-for-you whole grains. It’s not until you get to the snack counter at the movie theater and find yourself ordering an XL with butter that this once-healthy option becomes just another fat-packing pick.

Microwave popcorn was once formerly known as the solution to low-calorie binge snacking because one cup of the air-popped treat has only 30 calories. But because of the perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the ingredients, we simply can’t ever recommend it; PFOA is a toxic chemical that lines the bag of popcorn and is linked to infertility, cancer, and weight gain. Plus, the quick microwaveable popcorns are usually loaded with too much sodium, and usually have ingredients like hydrogenated soybean oil and added colors that all lead to belly fat and inflammation.

So, there’s really no reason to resort to theater or microwave popcorn when it’s crazy-simple to make your own homemade popcorn. There are tons of ways to add some bold taste to the mild flavor of popcorn and jazz it up to your liking! Sweet, savory, and tangy— there’s no short of ways to make this a treat that you won’t feel guilty about.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.



Serves: 5
Nutrition: 57 calories, 1.2 g fat (1.1 g saturated), 233 mg sodium, 19 g carbs, 2.1 g fiber, 1.9 g protein

Kettle corn is a crowd pleaser because of its sweet and savory flavor blend. But it’s usually processed with excess sugar and unnecessary calories. Instead, try out this recipe, which uses coconut oil instead of butter and tons of warming spices. Ingredients like these leave lasting benefits on the body like weight loss and heart health while also reducing your appetite and inflammation! It’s quick and easy to whip this up and indulge yourself in something you won’t feel bad about.

Get the recipe from Amy’s Healthy Baking.



Having 11 Doritos Nacho Cheese Flavored tortilla chips is 140 calories—but honestly, who stops at 11? With ingredients like maltodextrin, a highly processed thickener linked to bad gut health, and MSG, an ingredient that increases appetite and taste, you’re bound to forget about serving size and munch on an entire bag. Instead of licking your fingers clean of fake ingredients, make this healthy popcorn that has the same great flavor without all the unnecessary additives. You can eat two full cups of popcorn for only 109 calories and .7 grams of sugar!

Get the recipe from Natural Chow.



It’s true: Chocolate can help aid weight loss! When eaten right, that is. Consuming dark chocolate with more than 70% cocoa is known to reduce cravings and decrease body fat. Melted over freshly popped popcorn and you’ll be getting a flavor explosion and sweet tooth fix! It’s also topped with even more chocolate (in protein powder form) that increases the benefits of this tasty snack even more.

Get the recipe from Pancake Warriors.



Serves: 2
Nutrition: 98 calories, 5.1 g fat, 1 mg sodium, 12 g carbs, 2.4 g fiber, 2.4 g sugar, 3.1 g protein

Popcorn that tastes like banana bread, could it be? It most definitely could! You get the same great flavors of the classic banana bread in a crunchy snack form. Make your own banana chips by baking ⅛-inch slices of 2-3 ripe bananas brushed with lemon juice on 225 degrees for around 3 hours. This way you avoid the added sugars and oils and know exactly what you’re eating. Along with the heart-healthy walnuts, this snack is sure to fill you up without filling you out.

Get the recipe from Simply Tara Lynn.



Serves: 4
Nutrition: 63 calories, 3.9 g fat (.6 g saturated), 292 mg sodium, 6.8 g carbs, 1.5 g fiber, 1.1 g protein

Chili pepper is a powerful spice that has proven to help clear sinus inflammation and reduce blood pressure. It also has weight loss qualities because of the metabolic boost it gives the body from the intense increase in heat. Combined with lime to cool down your taste buds and give you that extra tangy flavor profile, this spicy popcorn is an addictive snack without any guilt.

Get the recipe from Well Worn Fork.



Serves: 4
Nutrition: 110 calories, .5 g fat, 2 mg sodium, 26.6 g carbs, 1.8 g fiber, 17.4 g sugar,1.6 g protein

The title says it all, naturally sweet with no refined sugars, these balls are sure to please your sweet tooth cravings. The sugar count may be high, but raw, unprocessed honey has an abundance of health-healing benefits from the amount of good bacteria in it that kill pathogens found in humans. It also reduces inflammation.

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.



Apple and cinnamon come together as a duo that never disappoints. It’s warm and comforting flavors top popcorn to make a super delicious movie time snack. Swap the sugar with natural sweetener stevia to reduce the calories and cut back on the sugar count.

Get the recipe from Around My Family Table.



Serves: 8
Nutrition: 309 calories, 21.4 g fat (6.4 g saturated), 134 mg sodium, 23.8 g carbs, 4.1 g fiber, 9.8 g sugar, 9.4 g protein

Warning: This snack may be habit-forming. With all the salty, chocolatey, crunchy goodness in this recipe, it’s bound to make your taste buds go wild. The almonds and pumpkin seeds add an extra bite that’ll boost your energy and keep you going. At a holiday party or as an after-dinner treat, this sweet and savory popcorn is one you’ll have a hard time getting yourself away from. To help with portion control, predetermine how much you’re going to eat by having your own personal bowl instead of just mindlessly picking!

Get the recipe from What’s Cooking Good Looking.



Serves: 8
Nutrition: 181 calories, 9.9 g fat (2.2 g saturated), 61 mg sodium, 21 g carbs, 2.2 g fiber, 12.2 g sugar, 3.9 g protein

This recipe has no fake sugars involved and still gets a great caramel taste from using maple syrup and almond butter instead. Research from the journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology found that maple syrup helps antibiotics defeat disease-causing bacteria. A snack that has benefits like these is a snack to stick to!

Get the recipe from Cookie and Katie.



Serves: 5
Nutrition: 235 calories, 16.2 g fat (.7 g saturated), 8 mg sodium, 20.9 g carbs, 2.1 g fiber, 10.8 g sugar, 3.9 g protein

It’s not always easy to pack a healthy snack, but here’s a way to change that! This easy make-ahead popcorn will become to your go-to, that’s going to give you all the added nutritional benefits. Heart-healthy protein-filled nuts and seeds, high fiber oats, and a sweet touch from cranberries, chocolate, and honey make a flavor that’ll imitate your favorite packaged nut bar, without any of the gross, processed ingredients.

Get the recipe from Running to the Kitchen.



Serves: 5
Nutrition: 228 calories, 18.3 g fat (9 g saturated), 471 mg sodium, 13.2 g carbs, 2.2 g fiber, 5.5 g protein

Popcorn sprinkled with parmesan cheese and some mega flavorful spices make for a wholesome snack option. Parmesan is rich in protein with about 10 grams per 1 ounce serving and loaded with calcium. The slightly nutty taste usually accompanies Italian dishes but why not get that same great flavor in a snack. This popcorn resembles the flavors of pizza without all the heavy calories!

Get the recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking.



Bacon. On. Everything. There’s really no wrong way to eat bacon, but this bacon popcorn is a sure right way. This recipe uses bacon salt, a low-sodium, all-natural seasoning that tastes just like the real thing. We calculated this snack without the added bits, but feel free to top with some of leaner stuff by using sliced center cut pork bacon that’ll give you a little extra protein without all the fat!

Get the recipe from Katie’s Cucina.



Serves: 10
Nutrition: 93 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated), 90 mg sodium, 11.7 g carbs, 1.2 g fiber, 4.8 g sugar, 1.1 g protein

The maple sauce is a cross between maple glaze and caramel sauce that uses only the real maple syrup. Stay away from the processed, artificial sugar kinds to avoid all the added corn syrup that’s sure to keep you from your body goals. With the added spices like cayenne, this sauce comes out with so much bold flavor and tons of metabolism boosting health benefits.

Get the recipe from Macheesmo.



Serves: 5
Nutrition: 229 calories, 7.2 g fat (4.8 g saturated), 436 mg sodium, 42.2 g carbs, 11.3 g fiber, 7.3 g protein

This super-healthy superfood popcorn uses spirulina, microalgae that grow naturally in oceans and salty lakes. It’s high in nutritional value, antioxidants and has tons of weight loss benefits. It also contains high amounts of calcium, niacin, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and iron. Adding spirulina, garlic powder and cayenne to plain old popcorn gives it a bit of spunk in taste, and in color!

Get the recipe from The Whole Tara.



Serves: 8
Nutrition: 79 calories, 5.5 g fat (4.5 g saturated) 347 mg sodium, 6.8 g carbs, 1.4 g fiber, 1.2 g protein

Wasabi is best known for its enjoyable burn that usually comes paired with Asian cuisines. But this little paste actually has some health benefits, too! It comes from a root vegetable that has heart strengthening properties and helps reduce bad gut bacteria. Topped on popcorn with a little low-sodium soy sauce and you’ve got your Chinese takeout, minus all the MSG!

Get the recipe from Brooklyn Farm Girl.



Serves: 12
Nutrition: 299 calories, 21 g fat (11.3 g saturated), 807 mg sodium, 19 g carbs, 4.8 g fiber, 12.7 g protein

Mexican seasonings, cheese, and popcorn are a trio you can’t deny. The spices build a flavor that’s hard to resist and easy to enjoy. To cut back on some of the fat use half the butter recommended.

Get the recipe from Culinary Ginger.



In search of a salty treat that’s not going to bust the button off your pants? Look no further, this popcorn tastes just like the sour cream and onion flavored snack chip and no added oil. Just combine ingredients and grind down to a fine powder before topping your popcorn. Effortlessly simple and oh-so-delicious!

Get the recipe from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken.



Serves: 3
Nutrition: 123 calories, 9.6 g fat (7.9 g saturated), 1 mg sodium, 10.4 g carbs, 1.8 g fiber, 1.4 g protein

For a more nutritious spin on the fall time staple, try this apple pie popcorn. The same great spices are used and are sure to warm your belly. Cinnamon is one of the healthiest spices to get in your diet because of its ability to balance blood sugar and prevent diabetes. With properties like these, it’s an obvious pick!

Get the recipe from Sweet as a Cookie.



Serves: 4
Nutrition: 152 calories, 7.9 g fat (6.5 g saturated), 3 mg sodium, 20.8 g carbs, 1.3 g fiber, 14.4 g sugar, 1.3 g protein

Popcorn that tastes like your favorite ice cream flavor? It can’t be. But it is! It has a light minty flavor and nibs of chocolate that resemble that cold yummy treat, without all the fat and calories. The green color is just food dye but gives the illusion that you’re really getting that dessert favorite. This is a fun way to make a healthy snack for yourself or the kids!

Get the recipe from Cupcakes and Kale Chips.



Serves: 8
Nutrition: 173 calories, 10.6 g fat (5.3 g saturated), 333 mg sodium, 19.3 g carbs, 3.5 g fiber, 1.1 g sugar, 3.3 g protein

When you get a healthy snack that’s both sweet and salty, it’s hard to pass up. This tastes just like a full Indian style dinner that takes half the ingredients and nearly no effort.

Get the recipe from The Kitchn.

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Easy Homemade Popcorn Seasoning

Making homemade popcorn seasoning is so much easier than you would think. Today I’m showing you how to make 7 of my favorite popcorn flavors, from herby ranch to gingerbread!

The day I learned that popcorn is a whole grain was a pretty big day. Suddenly my favorite mindless-munching snack was a healthy one, and let’s just say I ate a lot of popcorn after that discovery. But while many store bought flavored popcorns are loaded with butter and sugar, you can make your own homemade popcorn seasoning at home that’s healthier (and cheaper!) than the store bought stuff.

How to make flavor stick to homemade popcorn

There are a few ways to make the seasonings really stick to the popcorn. I always like to spray the popcorn lightly with either flavorless or olive oil (depending if I want the olive flavor to shine through, like in the savory seasoning recipes). Simply spray or drizzle the oil over the popcorn and toss to coat the whole batch. Then sprinkle on your seasoning and toss once more for evenly coated popcorn.

Another way to ensure your seasonings stick is to swap out regular sugar for powdered sugar in the sweet recipes. This light sugar will coat each kernel without all sinking to the bottom. Ready to get popping?

Savory Popcorn Recipes

Ranch Popcorn Seasoning: ½ tsp dried dill, ½ tsp dried chives, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper

Dorito Popcorn Seasoning: 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp chili powder, ¼ tsp salt

Taco Popcorn Seasoning: 1 Tbsp taco seasoning, 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

Coconut Curry Popcorn Seasoning: 1 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut, ½ tsp curry powder, ¼ tsp salt

Sweet Popcorn Recipes

Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn Seasoning: 2 Tbsp powdered sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt

Gingerbread Popcorn Seasoning: 1 ½ Tbsp powdered sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground ginger, ¼ tsp ground cloves

Mexican Chocolate Popcorn Seasoning: 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 Tbsp powdered sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt, pinch of cayenne pepper

Making homemade popcorn seasoning is so much easier than you would think. Today I’m showing you how to make 7 of my favorite flavors, from herby ranch to gingerbread! Pin Course: Snacks Keyword: popcorn, popcorn seasoning Diet: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian Occasion: Christmas, Game Day, Halloween Time: 15 minutes or less, 30 minutes or less, 45 minutes or less Prep: 5 mins Cook: 3 mins Total: 8 mins Servings: 4 cups Author: Sarah Bond 5 from 6 votes


Pick a Seasoning
  • Ranch: ½ tsp dried dill, ½ tsp dried chives, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper
  • Cinnamon Sugar: 2 Tbsp powdered sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt
  • Gingerbread: 1 ½ Tbsp powdered sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground ginger, ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • Coconut Curry: 1 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut, ½ tsp curry powder, ¼ tsp salt
  • Dorito: 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp chili powder, ¼ tsp salt
  • Mexican Chocolate: 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder,1 Tbsp powdered sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt, pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Taco: 1 Tbsp taco seasoning, 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 4 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 tsp oil 5 mL


  • Mix: In a small bowl, combine the ingredients to your seasoning of choice.
  • Pop: Prepare popcorn in either the microwave or traditionally on the stove. Spray or drizzle oil onto popcorn, tossing to evenly coat.
  • Serve: Sprinkle seasoning over popcorn and toss to coat once more. Serve warm.


These seasonings are also great on oven-baked or air fried kale chips!

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I first published this recipe over on Amanda’s Cookin’.

23 Ways to Top Your Popcorn (for Under 150 Calories)

My favorite snack of late is air-popped popcorn. A whopping 3 cups of air-popped popcorn is a mighty filling whole-grain snack yet only has 92 calories, plus 19 g carbs, 3 g protein, and 4 g fiber. But have you ever eaten plain air-popped popcorn? It can be rather bland and dry. As the saying goes, the secret’s in the sauce. For under 150 calories, you can flavor your popcorn in plenty of ways. Salty or sweet, spicy or savory–it’s up to you.
Once you’ve popped your popcorn, it’s time for the seasoning. To get your dry herbs, spices and other seasonings to stick, you’ll need a little liquid, usually in the form of a fat. A little goes a long way, but you can even have butter on your popcorn without going over 150 calories!
Wondering how these varieties stack up against the tins of gourmet popcorn we’re all bombarded with during the holidays? While these all have 150 calories or less, the cheese, buttered or caramel versions can have up to 300 calories in a little more than a cup, with 18 g fat!

Let’s get popping!

Melt your fat and use a mister if possible for even spreading. Tip: Pour half your popcorn into a bowl, add half the fat, half the seasonings, then repeat for better distribution of ingredients.

Fat (1 teaspoon) Calories Fat (g)
Olive oil 20 2
Butter (salted)* 34 4
Truffle oil or other flavored oil 50 5
Coconut oil 39 5

* plus 27 mg sodium
I also use a spritz bottle of Bragg’s liquid aminos in place of salt (0 cals, 55 mg sodium in 1/4 tsp) and fat sometimes.
Ready for some pumped-up popcorn toppings?

Sweet Popcorn Toppings

Chocolate: Sprinkle on hot popcorn 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips (50 cals). You don’t need any fat, but maybe a pinch of salt. Toss well, and grab napkins. This one is messy. You could also swap in other flavors of chips: peanut butter, butterscotch, mint-chocolate… the possibilities are endless (and messy)!
Mexican Chocolate: Sprinkle on a teaspoon of butter, then a few shakes of cinnamon a dash of cayenne and a teaspoon or so of unsweetened cocoa powder (20 cals).
Cinnamon-Sugar: 1 teaspoon unsalted butter (34 cals) or coconut oil (39 cals), 1 teaspoon sugar (16 cals; choose brown sugar for more flavor), cinnamon to taste (3 cals). Sprinkle the sugar on the buttered popcorn, then shake on the cinnamon. Other good combos: sugar and chai spices, sugar and pumpkin pie spice, powdered ginger and sugar, vanilla or lavender sugar.
Buttery Maple: Drizzle on 1 teaspoon salted butter (34 cals) and 1 teaspoon maple syrup (17 cals). Eat immediately because this will get soggy in places. For added flavor, sprinkle on ground rosemary or black pepper.

Savory Popcorn Toppings

The possibilities here stretch the length of the herbs and spices aisle at the supermarket. Start with your teaspoon of fat, then sprinkle on as many herbs and spices as you desire. They’re virtually fat-free and incredibly low in calories.
If your herbs and spices are not powdered, use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle so they’ll sprinkle on popcorn more easily.
Here are some suggestions (be sure to choose salt-free seasonings):

  • Italian seasonings (oregano, fennel, red pepper flakes, marjoram, and basil) with olive oil
  • Curry powder (red or yellow) with coconut oil
  • Lemon-pepper and butter
  • Garlic powder and butter or olive oil
  • Rosemary, thyme, and sage with olive oil
  • Jerk seasoning and coconut oil
  • Old Bay seasoning, dried lemon zest, and butter
  • Herbes de Provence and butter
  • Tarragon, dried mustard and butter
  • Smoked paprika and olive oil
  • Five spice powder and coconut oil

Salty Popcorn Toppings

Cheesy: Skip the oil and sprinkle on 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese (23 cals). You can use the fancy stuff, but the canned variety works really well on popcorn! For pizza popcorn, add dried oregano and red pepper flakes.
Cheezy: If you don’t eat cheese, go for nutritional yeast. Sprinkle on two tablespoons of “nootch” (60 cals) atop popcorn drizzled with Bragg’s (0 cals). Take this over the top with a sprinkle of smoked paprika (3 cals). BONUS: 2 T nutritional yeast has 8 g protein and 6 g fiber!

Gomashio: This Japanese condiment is perfect atop popcorn. A mix of sesame seeds, nori (seaweed) and salt, it adds texture and saltiness. Sprinkle on 1 tablespoon (30 cals) along with 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (20 cals).
Ranch: Start with a teaspoon of unsalted butter (34 cals), then sprinkle on one teaspoon ranch dressing mix (15 calories). This amount contains 405 mg sodium, so feel free to cut back.
Flavored Salt: Used sparingly, you can accommodate a bit of salt on your popcorn. In 1/4 teaspoon, you’ll add 581 mg sodium to your day. Choose flavored salts for an extra boost of flavor. Sprinkle on after adding your fat of choice.

Spicy Popcorn Toppings

Buffalo: Mix equal parts hot sauce and butter, then sprinkle on your popcorn. This will make it a bit soggy and messy, but it’s so good. Sprinkle on nutritional yeast (30 cals per tablespoon) for more flavor.
Chili-Spiced: If you don’t want such a messy snack, reach for chili powder. (Try chipotle powder, which will add a bit of smoky flavor.) You can also use a teaspoon of taco seasoning, but choose salt-free varieties.
Fiery Wasabi: For a sinus-clearing snack, sprinkle on wasabi powder to taste (0 cals in 1/4 teaspoon) along with 1/4 teaspoon Bragg’s or low-sodium soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (20 cals).

Here’s a bonus recipe for all your sweet popcorn fans out there. Try Chef Meg’s Caramel Popcorn, from The SparkPeople Cookbook, now in paperback!

Which kind of popcorn do you prefer? Salty or sweet? Savory or spicy? Do you have any other toppings suggestions?

Want more healthy recipes from me and fellow SparkPeople members? Be sure to subscribe to SparkPeople’s Recipe of the Day email. !

Like this blog? Then you’ll love “The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight.”

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Healthy Snacks – Popcorn, A Whole Grain Snack, Can Be Healthier Using A Salt Free Popcorn Seasoning By Debbie Benson

When we think of healthy snacks, popcorn doesn’t usually make the list. We think of popcorn and we think of butter, salt and sometimes sugar. However, popcorn can be a very healthy snack by choosing healthy popcorn toppings like a salt-free popcorn seasoning.

Popcorn is a whole grain snack that is naturally high in fiber, low in calories, no sodium and 1 gram of fat (from the corn). It’s the popcorn toppings and how we pop the popcorn that turns this otherwise healthy snack into a high sodium, high calorie, high fat, not so healthy snack.

One serving is quite a bit, about 2 tablespoons of popcorn kernels yields about 5 cups of popped popcorn at only 110 calories and 7 grams of fiber. That is a lot of munching with not a lot of calories.

Here are some tips to help make popcorn a healthy snack:

Tip #1 Choose organic popcorn which means no pesticide residues. Non-organic or regular popcorn was listed on the FDA’s top ten of the most commonly contaminated foods with pesticides and chemicals.

Tip #2 Learn to pop your own popcorn and avoid the microwave packets. There are still health concerns about microwave popcorn packets and the chemicals added to promote popping and less sticking.

  • Use an air popper to eliminate the need for fat. There are many electric air popcorn poppers and there are also popcorn poppers for the microwave.

  • Another way to pop popcorn is in a paper bag, in the microwave. Use about 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels in a paper lunch bag. Fold over top of bag a couple of times at the very top of the bag. Leave plenty of room for popping. Allow about 3 minutes for popping depending upon the wattage of your microwave oven. Stop when the popping sounds slow way down but not finished, or the popcorn may start to burn. That’s it. Pour popcorn into a bowl, add toppings and you can re-use the bag.

  • You can learn to pop popcorn the old-fashioned way. Heat a skillet or pan on top of the stove dry or (with a little oil works better), add popcorn, place a lid on it, and shake the pan back and forth (with one hand on the pan and one hand on the lid to keep them together). Keep the lid a little to the side to let steam escape but not the popcorn. Pop over medium-high heat until it has finished popping. Immediately pour into a bowl. This is not only makes a healthier popcorn but you can actually burn some calories in the process, especially if you are making several batches for everybody.

Tip #3 Choose healthier popcorn toppings.

  • Lower sodium popcorn: Instead of adding salt, or a popcorn salt, try adding a salt substitute, a low sodium seasoning or a salt-free popcorn seasoning. This will help turn an otherwise high sodium snack into a much more heart healthy snack.

  • Chili popcorn or a spicy popcorn is popular and flavorful: Add cayenne or a salt free chili seasoning and try a chili flavored oil.

  • Use unsalted versions of butter, or butter substitutes and oils in moderation. No hydrogenated oils or trans fats. Try other oils like olive oil (some even taste buttery). Try heart healthy nut oils like a macadamia nut oil which has a nice buttery taste.

Tip #4 Healthy snacks to go. Make your popcorn snack and take it with you. Here is a different healthy snack idea. Create a popcorn trail mix by adding nuts, raisins, coconut, dried fruits even vegan chocolate chips, or cocoa nibs and make this healthy snack even healthier, more flavorful and it’s delicious. Also, try adding popcorn to granola.

When eating popcorn choose healthier options for your popcorn. Be creative and try other ways to flavor your popcorn with healthier flavored oils, healthy seasonings, and lower your sodium intake with a salt substitute or a salt free popcorn seasoning.

Now you can put popcorn on your list of healthy snacks.

Published on October 30, 2014
Updated on May 13, 2018

From Sweet to Savory to Kinda Spunky … Popcorn Toppings and Seasoning Recipes for Any Mood or Occasion!

If you’re a regular THKer (you totally rock!!), then you remember we just shared a fantastic and absolutely simple method for popping 100% butter-free and oil-free popcorn, right in your microwave.

Steaming hot, it’s perfect in its own all-natural way – so fresh and nutty, and literally the easiest thing you’ve ever made in your whole life. Like, the entirety of your life.

Easiest. Ever.

After testing and retesting our recipe for Microwave Popcorn (using just a microwave and a brown paper lunch bag!), we’ve got loads of tips and suggestions to share! Just click here to check it out … and start making the best, easiest, healthiest popcorn ever!

But, while that incredibly simple microwave popcorn really is scrumptious in all its whole-grain glory, sometimes you might want to kick it up a notch. It could start with a little sprinkle of salt … but then maybe you want to kick it up another notch! Mmmmmmm … we get it!

We’d actually started brainstorming some really great recipes for popcorn seasonings …

But then, sadly, three of our four kiddos got braces. (You see the problem already, don’t you?) Yeah – orthodontics kinda take all the fun out of family popcorn night! Makes testing deeee-licious popcorn toppings in front of kids who can’t have any feel like a cruel, cruel joke. So, we put our own ideas on hold (for now) …

And what did we do instead???

Well, we turned to some of the most amazing bloggers out there in the ‘sphere, and are giddy-excited to share the very best popcorn seasonings, toppings, flavor combos and mix-ins we could find!

Oh … and … these are all healthy, too! You saw that coming, right?

There are thousands (millions! billions!) of popcorn recipes on the web … but most (while they may sound yummy) are just not very healthy things to add to a beautifully, perfectly popped bowl of fluffy, whole-grain goodness (aka popcorn!).

We were searching for delicious AND healthy!

Something a little better for you than movie theater popcorn. (Which, in case you were wondering, is not good for you. A small bag will not only set you back $6, but can also contain more than 600 calories and 40 grams of fat. Yeeeesh.)

We’ve got something way better! Actually, 25 somethings! Our list of healthy popcorn recipes will have you poppin’ every day to the tune of a new flavor!

We were literally cheering on the phone as we discussed these! Oh yes, friends … they’re that good. Cheer worthy.

No matter what you’re craving, we’ve got a flavor combo you’ll love! From recipes that’ll satisfy your sweet-tooth to ideas for when you need something a little salty. And if you just can’t decide between those, we’ve got spunky flavors that are the perfect blend … a little sweet, with a kick!

So, mix away! And hey … happy snacking!!

Pssssst … the collaged photos below are formatted so that (on most computers and some mobile devices), you can simply mouse over the photos to see each recipe’s name, and then click directly on the image you’d like to read more about. Alternately, you can also just click on the text links below each photo to view the full recipes, too!

Sweet Popcorn Recipes (from left to right):

Mint Chocolate Chip Glazed Popcorn from Brianne at Cupcakes & Kale Chips

Peach Colada Popcorn Snack Mix from Meg at The Housewife in Training Files

Chocolate Popcorn from Annemarie at Real Food Real Deals

Maple Gingerbread Popcorn from Annemarie at Real Food Real Deals

Kettle Corn from Britney and Cherie from Grain Crazy

Vanilla Almond Popcorn from Annemarie at Real Food Real Deals

Tropical Popcorn Snack Mix from Amy at Amy’s Healthy Baking

Pumpkin-Glazed Popcorn from Annemarie at Real Food Real Deals

Clean Eating Caramel Popcorn from Tiffany at The Gracious Pantry


Savory Popcorn Recipes (from left to right):

“Cheesy” Taco Popcorn from Jen at Frugal Living Mom

Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn from Caroline at Taste Love & Nourish

Chili Cheese Popcorn from Kellie at The Suburban Soapbox

Skinny Buttered Popcorn from Amy at Amy’s Healthy Baking

Wasabi Soy Sauce Popcorn from Pamela at Brooklyn Farm Girl

Garlic Parmesan Popcorn from Sylvia at Feasting at Home

Sriracha Popcorn from Caroline at Taste Love & Nourish

Smoky Curried Popcorn from Julie at Savvy Eat


Spunky Popcorn Recipes (from top to bottom, starting from left):

Chipotle Brown Sugar Lime Popcorn from Danae at Recipe Runner

Glazed Mexican Chocolate Popcorn from Brianne at Cupcakes & Kale Chips

Popcorn Three Ways from Arielle at Arielle Likes to Cook

Ras el Hanout Popcorn from Autumn at Autumn Makes and Does

Sea Salt Honey Coconut Popcorn from Katie at 24 Carrot Life

Thai Lime & Chili Popcorn Snack from Deanna at Teaspoon of Spice

Coconut Curry Popcorn from Jesse Lane at Jesse Lane Wellness

Perfect Popcorn Spice Mix from Cat at Breakfast to Bed


“Nooch” (Nutritional Yeast) Popcorn

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

“Nooch” (a.k.a. Nutritional Yeast) Popcorn is super-easy to make on the stovetop, it’s naturally both vegan and gluten-free, and it’s always a crowd fave!

Guys, if you haven’t tried nooch popcorn yet — it’s time. ♡

I made the switch nearly a decade ago from making my stovetop popcorn with butter to making it with nutritional yeast instead — or “nooch”, for short — and I’ve gotta say, I haven’t looked back since. We are 100% obsessed with this popcorn in our house. And over the years, dozens upon dozens of friends who have tried our nooch popcorn recipe have become instantly obsessed as well.

It’s easy to whip up a quick batch in just 5 minutes with 4 pantry ingredients. And I’m telling you — the nooch adds this cheesy, buttery, nutty, magical flavor that is just downright irresistible with popcorn. Nutritional yeast is also obviously much lighter than butter, and it’s naturally gluten-free and vegan as well. So over the years, it has become our go-to snack to whip up when having people over to our place. Or anytime we need a good munchie for a road trip, or a picnic, or a happy hour with friends. Or — most often — when we’re hangin’ out at home watching Netflix on a weeknight and get a case of the munchies.

Nooch popcorn will always be there to save the day.

Let’s make some!!

Nooch Popcorn Recipe | 1-Minute Video

What Is Nutritional Yeast?

If you’re new to our starring ingredient here, you may be asking — just exactly what is nutritional yeast? I know, the name sounds hopelessly unappetizing. But nutritional yeast — or “nooch”, for short — is one of my favorite ingredients! It’s simply a deactivated yeast that is typically sold in a flaky or powdery form. It has an irresistibly cheesy, nutty, savory flavor. It’s naturally both vegan and gluten-free. And best of all, it’s a rich source of vitamins, protein and fiber.

I’ve long been partial to Bragg’s nutritional yeast, especially when making popcorn. But different brands of nooch can vary in flavor, so I recommend doing some taste-testing to see which one you love best. ♡

Nutritional Yeast Popcorn Ingredients:

The best thing about nooch popcorn? All of the ingredients are easy to keep on hand in your pantry so that you can pop up a quick batch when the craving strikes. You will need:

  • Popcorn kernels: I’m a big fan of the “jumbo” kernels, but any kind of popcorn kernels will do. (Here’s to my favorite brand, although it is usually considerably cheaper in stores.)
  • Oil: I’ve always used coconut oil for this recipe, which gives it a super-subtly-sweet undertone that everyone always comments on and loves. But avocado oil, olive oil, or safflower oil are good alternatives too.
  • Nutritional yeast: I always use Bragg’s!
  • Salt: Fine sea salt (or even regular iodonized table salt) will do. Just add however much you like, to taste.

Also, very importantly, you will need:

  • A saucepan or stockpot: I’ve written the recipe below to work in a medium saucepan. But feel free to increase the proportions a bit for it to work in a larger stockpot for a bigger batch.
  • Large food storage container (with a lid): It’s also essential to have some sort of large food storage container with a lid, such as this one, in order to shake the popcorn together with the nooch and salt.

How To Make Stovetop Popcorn:

To make stovetop popcorn with nutritional yeast, simply:

  1. Prepare the nooch and salt. Before you begin popping the popcorn (or you can multitask this step while it’s popping), go ahead and shake a bunch of nooch into a large food storage container, along with your desired amount of salt. I recommend adding a liberal amount of nooch, and then if there is any extra, you can always shake it up with a second batch of popcorn afterwards.
  2. Heat the oil. Next, in a medium saucepan, add enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan (about 2mm or so deep). Heat over medium-high heat until the oil is nice and hot. Then to test when the oil is ready to go, just drop 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the pan. And once they pop, it’s ready!
  3. Add the popcorn kernels. Add in enough popcorn kernels to cover the bottom of the saucepan in a single layer. (If you add any more, the saucepan will not have room for them once the pop!)
  4. Pop that corn! Then once the kernels begin to pop, stay close by to keep an eye on them, giving the pan a good shake every 15 seconds or so in order to make sure that the kernels fall to the bottom of the pan. Let the popcorn continue popping until it slows down significantly and there are a few seconds remaining between pops. Then immediately…
  5. Pour the popcorn into the storage container. And do so quickly so that the kernels don’t burn in the pan and the popcorn stays nice and hot. Then quickly place the lid on the container and give the popcorn a good 10-second shake until it is evenly coated with the nooch. Then…it’s popcorn time!
  6. Serve warm and enjoy. This popcorn definitely tastes best right away. Although you’re welcome to store it in the food storage container for a few days. (It will just start to get a bit chewy over time, as cooked popcorn tends to do once it has set out awhile. But even if it’s chewy, it will still taste good.)

Possible Variations:

Want to customize your nooch popcorn? Feel free to also add in some:

  • Freshly-cracked black pepper: So simple, but it kicks the flavor up a big notch!
  • Everything bagel seasoning: Always delicious.
  • Cayenne: Add a generous pinch of cayenne powder in with the nooch for a subtle kick.
  • Parmesan cheese: Not vegan, obviously, but always a winner on popcorn.
  • Other seasonings: Taco seasoning, Cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, Za’atar seasoning, curry powder — whatever sounds good! Seasoning blends are a fun way to jazz up your popcorn.
  • Finely-chopped fresh herbs: Basil, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, parsley or even mint can all be delicious!
  • Truffle oil: Drizzle a little on the popcorn after it has popped (and before shaking it up with the nooch) and the flavor is unreal.


Nooch popcorn is the BEST butter-free popcorn! It’s also vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and made with no artificial ingredients.

Scale 1x2x3x

  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoons fine sea salt, or more/less to taste
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, or enough to thoroughly coat the bottom of the pan
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  1. Add the nutritional yeast and salt to a large food storage container (with a lid). Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Place 3-4 individual kernels in the pan. Once the kernels begin to pop, add in the rest of the kernels so that they form a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Cover the saucepan with a lid and give it a shake so that the kernels all get coated with the oil.
  3. When the popcorn kernels start popping, give the pan a good shake every 15 seconds or so to help the un-popped kernels fall to the bottom. (This will also help prevent the popcorn from burning.) Once the popping slows down and there are a few seconds between pops, immediately transfer the popcorn to the prepared food storage container. Place the lid on the container, and give it a good shake for 10 seconds to coat the popcorn.
  4. Serve warm and enjoy!

This recipe contains affiliate links.

posted on March 15, 2019 in Appetizers, Snacks

Low salt popcorn seasoning

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