22 Popcorn Recipes for Snack Attacks (2024)

Crunchy, soft, and buttery, popcorn is the ultimate happy food. No wonder it’s such a popular party appetizer and late-night snack — and the ultimate companion for movie nights.

Popcorn has health benefits. It’s a whole grain with important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, and it’s high in fiber. Unfortunately, popcorn is made unhealthy with additions at every turn.

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At concession stands, it’s drenched in table salt and something that kinda resembles butter (but is it?). And then there are the warnings about the linings in microwave popcorn.

While it is possible to find healthier versions of microwave popcorn (they contain corn, oil, salt, butter, turmeric or paprika for color, and vitamin E as a preservative), we like to skip the packaged stuff and make our own.

We’ve found 22 recipes that create the flavors we crave. Get ready for movie night! As a bonus, we’ve paired each recipe with a recommendation for a film to watch while you munch away.

1. Salted caramel popcorn

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With just a handful of ingredients, caramel popcorn doesn’t get any easier than this. This blogger cuts out the refined sugar by using maple syrup and coconut cream. Yum.

Movie: Caramel

2. Vegan maple caramel popcorn

We love this recipe, which makes a crunchy, nutty popcorn. A blend of maple syrup, nut butter, and vanilla is drizzled over popcorn and toasted nuts. Then all you do is bake it for a few minutes. Plump up the pillows and get that couch ready!

Movie: Dead Poets Society

3. Caramel apple popcorn

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Salty popcorn joins apples and cinnamon, adding a bit of richness and an even bigger punch of fall flavors to the mix. This recipe throws in actual dried apples, so you have plenty of crunchy snacks to munch on at once.

Movie: Chocolat

4. Pumpkin popcorn

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Unlike many pumpkin-spice snacks, which often rely on artificial flavorings, these morsels are glazed with a spoonful of real (canned) pumpkin, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Think of this as fall-ifed kettle corn.

Movie: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

5. Strawberry popcorn

This is party popcorn, perfect for a kid’s birthday or a shower. The secret to the pretty color and deep flavor is dehydrated strawberries. Since it’s a party, we’re cutting you a break on the refined sugar.

Pro tip: Feel free to substitute another type of oil if you prefer not to use coconut.

Movie: Legally Blonde

6. Vanilla almond popcorn

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Dates, almonds, vanilla, and coconut oil are puréed into a rich mixture that’s poured over the popped kernels and baked until crisp.

Movie: The Royal Tenenbaums

7. Dorito popcorn

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Satisfy your nacho cheese craving with this popcorn instead of going for the bag. It’s vegan and dairy-free, and you’ll recognize every item in the short ingredient list.

And don’t worry — the best part of the original remains the same: yummy, cheesy orange dust to lick off your fingers.

Movie: Wayne’s World

8. Real cheese popcorn

This is terrific basic recipe that uses real Parmesan cheese. You can keep it simple or use the suggestions for powdered seasonings you might have in your pantry, like paprika, curry, or — for a nod to the Chesapeake — Old Bay.

Pro tip: If you don’t have coconut oil, you can use extra-virgin olive oil in this recipe.

Movie: Dirty Dancing

9. Vegan cheese popcorn

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Vegans and dairy-free eaters, get your cheesy popcorn fix here. Nutritional yeast is the star of this recipe. It’s the plant-based source of cheddar-like flavor. The recipe calls for only half a serving, but we say sprinkle away!

Movie: Chef

10. Skinny buttered popcorn

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Amid all the fancy iterations here, let’s take a minute to go back to popcorn’s humble beginnings with everybody’s favorite ingredient: butter.

However, the amount from a movie concession stand dispenser is excessive (and is it really butter?). Instead, this blogger calls for just a teaspoon of the real stuff to mist over the popcorn so every morsel gets in on the buttery goodness.

Movie: Real Genius

11. Dark chocolate popcorn with sea salt

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Almonds and pumpkin seeds join fluffy, crunchy popcorn in clumps of melted bittersweet chocolate, minced rosemary, olive oil, and sea salt. Sophisticated flavorings worthy of top ingredients, like a bar of 80 percent cacao chocolate.

Movie: Bridesmaids

12. Chocolate-covered popcorn

This is the easiest recipe: Just drizzle on the melted dark chocolate and coconut oil mixture. The hardest part is waiting until the chocolate hardens. But who really minds chocolate-covered fingers?

Movie: Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

13. Chocolate and coconut popcorn

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Coconut flakes get toasty in the oven before joining a generous heap of chocolate chips and freshly popped corn. If a macaroon and a chocolate chip cookie had a baby, we bet it would taste something like this.

Movie: Stranger Than Fiction

14. Spicy cilantro-lime popcorn

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How does this blogger get the lime flavor in there? Easy: She starts with a bag of kernels preseasoned with salt and lime. After popping, she doctors them with garlic powder and cayenne. Then she serves them with homemade salsa and melted queso. Yeah.

Note: We’re pro-queso, but you may choose to go easy on it or skip it altogether, depending on your dietary needs.

Movie: No Country for Old Men

15. Sweet and spicy wasabi popcorn

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Wasabi isn’t just for sushi — it also gives this popcorn that zing. Cut the heat of the wasabi and cayenne with a touch of butter and brown sugar. You end up with a snack that tastes as irresistible as wasabi peas.

Movie: Jiro Dreams of Sushi

16. Rosemary-Parmesan popcorn

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Using fresh (not dried) rosemary, fresh (not bagged) popcorn, and fresh (not processed) Parmesan, this recipe is as all-natural as it gets.

It serves a crowd, so make sure you’ve got plenty of hungry snackers around when you make it — it’s too delicious not to share.

Movie: Rosemary’s Baby

17. Coconut curry popcorn

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Using curry powder and ginger powder makes this Thai-inspired popcorn a snap. Toast the unsweetened coconut flakes to bring out more flavor before tossing the coconut with coconut oil, seasonings, and sea salt.

Pro tip: If you don’t have coconut oil, go for heart-healthy olive oil in it’s place.

Movie: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

18. Masala popcorn

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Dress up your popcorn in Bollywood glam with chili powder, turmeric, and a pinch of curry leaves. The blogger cooks the blend of herbs and spices in oil to bring out their flavors before tossing the pungent mixture with the popcorn.

Movie: The Lunchbox

19. Tangy tequila popcorn

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There’s actually real tequila in this recipe, plus lime and a little sweet and spicy action with cayenne and brown sugar. Coat the popcorn with the mixture and then bake for 5 minutes, until it’s dry. Serving with margaritas is highly encouraged.

Movie: ¡Three Amigos!

20. Spicy curry popcorn

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This recipe uses a fair amount of butter, but it’s also the vehicle for spices like coriander, ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne. A little brown sugar adds a contrasting sweetness that makes the flavors pop.

Pro tip: Since butter is higher in saturated fat, you may want to substitute olive oil, depending on your dietary preferences

Movie: Mississippi Masala

21. Simple sweet and salty popcorn

Honey is the sweetener here (and use the good stuff). It’s mixed with a teaspoon of butter, a drop of vanilla, and a dash of salt, and the result is pure comfort food.

Movie: When Harry Met Sally…

22. Vegan peanut butter popcorn

This 10-minute recipe makes enough for two, but the nutty, salty, slightly sweet popcorn is so good you may not want to share. It calls for vegan butter, but you can substitute coconut oil if that’s all you have on hand.

Movie: Mean Girls

It’s never been simper to make your own flavored popcorn at home. All you need is a cup of kernels and whatever is in your pantry or fridge to create a delicious, creative movie night snack.

Whatever you’re craving, no doubt there’s a recipe to satisfy it. Now all you need is a cozy place to lounge, something endlessly entertaining to watch (*ahem* “Tiger King”), and a few napkins for your fingers — though it’s also fine to lick them clean. Enjoy!

22 Popcorn Recipes for Snack Attacks (2024)


What is the healthiest popcorn to eat? ›

The 10 Best Healthy Popcorn Brands of 2022, According to...
  • Bjorn Qorn.
  • Pipcorn Truffle Mini Popcorn.
  • Newman's Own Organic Touch of Butter.
  • Whole Foods 365 Organic Yellow Popcorn Kernels.
  • Trader Joes Organic Popcorn With Olive Oil.
  • Anthony's Organic Yellow Popcorn Kernels.
  • How to Choose a Healthy Popcorn.
Sep 27, 2022

Is popcorn considered junk food? ›

Popcorn is a healthy snack when it's air-popped and served without ingredients high in fat, salt, or sugar. Popcorn is high in important nutrients, including fiber. Popcorn is one of the world's healthiest and most popular snack foods. It is loaded with important nutrients and offers a variety of health benefits.

Is homemade popcorn a healthy snack? ›

Yes, popcorn is fun, but it's also healthy. Popcorn is a whole grain and a good source of fiber. And 3 cups of plain, air-popped popcorn weighs in at only about 95 calories. For the healthiest results, pop your corn in an air popper or in the microwave.

What is good to mix with popcorn? ›

Whether you want a sweet and salty mix or a strictly sweet treat, these 9 awesome candies will work wonderfully in your recipe.
  • White Chocolate Chips. White chocolate chips are amazing with salty popcorn. ...
  • Candy Corn. ...
  • Sprinkles. ...
  • Milk Chocolate Fudge. ...
  • Oreos. ...
  • Peanut Butter Cups. ...
  • M&M's. ...
  • Mini Marshmallows.
Apr 17, 2023

What is the most unhealthy popcorn? ›

Worst: Lance's Movie Theater Butter Popcorn

"With 11 grams of fat 2.5 cups serving, Lance's Movie Theater Butter Popcorn is on the unhealthier side when it comes to bagged popcorn," says Megan Huff, RD, LD, Cardiac ICU Dietitian.

Is popcorn OK to eat everyday? ›

Even though popcorn is healthy, it is possible to eat too much of it. Both dietitians say that eating an excessive amount of popcorn can lead to bloating, gas and constipation because of its high-fiber content—especially for people who aren't used to eating a lot of fiber.

What happens when you eat too much popcorn? ›

It can cause gas

If this is the case, Shapiro suggests watching your portions, chewing your food, and making sure you drink water. "Popcorn is a great source of fiber; however, without adequate water, high fiber diets can lead to discomfort and constipation," says Shapiro.

What are the disadvantages of eating popcorn? ›

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. Added butter, sugar, and salt can make popcorn an unhealthful snack.

Is popcorn healthier than potato chips? ›

If you're choosing between those two items, popcorn is the healthier choice. Potato crisps/chips have minimal nutritional value and in regular form are very fatteneing; in baked form they're less fattening, but still not big on nutrients and often full of chemicals.

Does popcorn help you sleep? ›

A midnight munchie to get excited about! Popcorn is a whole grain packed with fiber and carbs. Carbohydrates make tryptophan, an amino acid important for sleep, more available to the brain. A study found that food such as popcorn and nuts provided a longer sleep duration than food such as burgers and pizza.

Can dogs eat popcorn? ›

Is Eating Popcorn Safe for Dogs? Yes and no. Plain, air-popped popcorn is safe for dogs to eat in small quantities. Buttered popcorn or popcorn with other toppings is not safe for your dog on a regular basis, although eating a few dropped pieces here and there probably won't hurt them.

Is popcorn good for your gut? ›

As a high-fibre snack, popcorn promotes regular bowel movements, supports a healthy gut microbiome, and contributes to weight management. Its gentle nature makes it an ideal choice for individuals with digestive sensitivities, and its versatility ensures that you can enjoy it in various ways while reaping the benefits.

What can I put on my popcorn instead of butter? ›

Butter Substitutes for Popcorn
  • Olive Oil. Olive oil is a healthy and tasty alternative to butter. ...
  • Trail Mix. Adding trail mix to your popcorn can introduce a variety of flavors while also providing a healthy alternative to butter. ...
  • Coconut Oil. ...
  • Avocado Oil. ...
  • Ghee. ...
  • Canola Oil.
Jan 3, 2023

What seasoning is good for popcorn? ›

For savory popcorn: Olive oil, kosher salt, and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is the perfect seasoning if you want cheesy flavor but also want vegan popcorn seasoning. For sweet popcorn: Olive oil, cinnamon, and a dash of brown sugar. This will satisfy your sweet cravings without making your teeth hurt!

Which popcorn is healthiest white or yellow? ›

Nutritional Value

Approximately 31 calories and 1.2 grams of fiber are found in one cup of air-popped white popcorn, while 35 calories and 1 gram of fiber are found in one cup of air-popped yellow popcorn. Both varieties of popcorn are regarded as nutritious treats despite these minor variations.

Is SkinnyPop healthier than microwave popcorn? ›

Given its name, a consumer might well think that SkinnyPop is lower in calories and fat, but it actually contains more of both than the other four popcorns have. On its website the company defines "skinny" not as diet-friendly but as "using the fewest, cleanest and simplest ingredients possible."

Which is better SkinnyPop or lesser evil? ›

I tried three different brands of salted popcorn to find out which snack was the most satisfying. I loved Lesser Evil's popcorn because it was flavorful, satisfying, and kept me reaching for more. I thought Skinny Pop's snack tasted a bit plain and the kernels were kind of soft.

What kind of popcorn can I eat on a diet? ›

Here are some tips for incorporating popcorn into a weight loss diet: Stick to plain, air-popped popcorn: Avoid flavored or pre-packaged popcorn that is high in salt, sugar, and unhealthy additives.

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