popcorn toppings
April 20, 2010 10:55 AM   Subscribe

I want to perk up my popcorn. What toppings that are probably sitting around the house, or are easily found at a typical grocery store, do you all find the yummiest? Wet, dry, shake, stir, good-for-you, bad-for-you (real butter!!), I don't care, just suggest anything that tastes good and is readily available.
posted by luvmywife to Food & Drink (103 answers total) 252 users marked this as a favorite
Pumpkin pie spice is my favorite.
posted by soelo at 10:56 AM on April 20, 2010

the cheese powder from Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.
posted by Lucinda at 10:57 AM on April 20, 2010 [5 favorites]

A shake of tamari (soy sauce) and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast (aka brewer's yeast).
posted by dlugoczaj at 10:58 AM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Black/red/white pepper (less of the latter two, obviously.)

Parmesan cheese.
posted by PMdixon at 10:58 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Powdered salad dressing mix such as Ranch flavor
posted by amethysts at 10:58 AM on April 20, 2010

I like to use either soy sauce or Tabasco sauce on my popcorn.
posted by ralan at 10:59 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by aquafortis at 11:01 AM on April 20, 2010

My mom and brother both put Old Bay Seasoning on their popcorn and go totally nuts for it. Personally, I can't stand the stuff, but I don't like popcorn either, so maybe I'm not the best judge.
posted by phunniemee at 11:02 AM on April 20, 2010 [5 favorites]

Old Bay.
posted by jocelmeow at 11:03 AM on April 20, 2010

Ha! Great minds, phunniemee.
posted by jocelmeow at 11:03 AM on April 20, 2010

I was going to suggest Old Bay Seasoning too. Not too much, and I like it combined with butter. (Also good on tortilla chips, no butter neccesary.)
posted by Jahaza at 11:03 AM on April 20, 2010

Just came in to recommend Old Bay.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:03 AM on April 20, 2010

nthing Old Bay.

Also, and this is totally weird, celery salt and cinnamon sugar.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 11:05 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

My wife sprinkles lime on it. Why, I do not know.
posted by Kskomsvold at 11:07 AM on April 20, 2010

Yes, Old Bay, which is also good on plain' ol unpopped yellow kernel corn.

I like plain cracked pepper too, with just enough butter to get the pepper to stick to the popcorn. (Also good on plain ol' yellow kernel corn.)
posted by caution live frogs at 11:09 AM on April 20, 2010

I really like celery salt on popcorn. And nthing the parmesan cheese.
posted by lysimache at 11:10 AM on April 20, 2010

I often use Jalapeno Salt on my popcorn for a spicy kick.

Dill is good too, along with salt. Some places carry dill pickle popcorn powder. But the herb itself will do. Yeah, I thought it sounded weird too, but I tried it after I walked into a popcorn store in Austin and they told me that Dill Pickle was their most popular flavor by far. Preyy addictive.

Try popping your corn in coconut oil. It gives the corn a nutty, faintly sweet taste which would go very well with sweeter toppings or just salt.

Not off-the-shelf available, but I do like to use tapioca maltodextrin (which you can get at places like Willpowder) to create powdered butter. (TM can allow you to powder just about any fat-based liquid, like salad dressing, for instance. It's a fun food toy.) I like powdered butter because I can eat real buttered popcorn that is dry and a lot less oily. The powdered butter granules reconsitutes in the mouth. Yum.
posted by cross_impact at 11:11 AM on April 20, 2010 [5 favorites]

Butter with Engevita Yeast.
posted by squeak at 11:11 AM on April 20, 2010

- Mini chocolate chips
- Cinnamon sugar
- Sweetened coconut flakes

- Parmesan cheese
- Melted butter with a few shakes of garlic powder
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 11:12 AM on April 20, 2010

My dad will dip popcorn into mustard or hot sauce, using chopsticks, naturally, for dinner. He seems to like it and that does sound...perky.
posted by 6550 at 11:12 AM on April 20, 2010

I'm probably not adding anything substantial to this thread, but I had to add my voice for Old Bay. A perfect go-with for popcorn.

*Caveat: Born'n'raised Marylander. YMMV.
posted by Gussio at 11:14 AM on April 20, 2010

I don't know what's with AskMe Food's bizarre synchronicity with my cookbook filing habits lately, but two days ago I made note of a section on flavored butters for popcorn in a Best Recipe book I just got back from my mom. Here's some, and you quickly see the simple pattern and realize the possibilities are endless. I think a curry/turmeric butter would be delish, personally.

Melt 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter in a small skillet and add one of the following mixtures and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Cover and keep warm until ready to toss with the popcorn.

Hot and Sweet: 2 Tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder.

Warm-spiced: 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne.

Cajun-spiced: 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 3/4 teaspoon hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme.

Super-garlic: 4 minced garlic cloves. Once sauteed, season with salt and pepper.

Garlic and herb: 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh herbs of your choice (rosemary, thyme, and dill are good options). Once sauteed, season with salt and pepper.

Parmesan and black pepper: 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Once sauteed, season with salt. When it's time to serve the popcorn, add 1 cup grated Parmesan with the melted pepper butter and popcorn and toss thoroughly to coat.
posted by ifjuly at 11:16 AM on April 20, 2010 [12 favorites]

A friend of mine pops her popcorn in bacon grease, and if you like bacon, you will love bacon grease popcorn.

I watched a friend empty a box of Junior Mints into her movie popcorn many years ago and I've fantasized about it (but never done it) ever since.
posted by pinky at 11:19 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also, when I roast pumpkin or squash seeds I use the following spice blend, found on Chowhound:

Dash each of:
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
Powdered ginger
Mustard powder (might want to put less of this in than the rest)
Fennel seeds, ground
Brown sugar

I toss the seeds in oil and then in the spice blend to coat, and roast in the oven. The thing is, this spice blend is so freaking good on the seeds I feel like it could possibly be as crack-like on popcorn...to get the same sort of release of flavors, I'd follow the CI method above of melting oil or butter and then putting this spice blend in the butter and sauteeing just long enough to release fragrance, about a minute or so. Mm.
posted by ifjuly at 11:22 AM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

Oh, edit: but I wouldn't add the salt until after done sauteeing, of course.
posted by ifjuly at 11:23 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

peanut m&ms
posted by dstopps at 11:24 AM on April 20, 2010

Parmesan cheese...not anything fancy...the kind in the green can works best.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:24 AM on April 20, 2010

Lightly brown some minced garlic in a pan. Dowse your popcorn with some nice extra virgin olive oil. Add the minced garlic and some parmesan. Eat.
posted by sid at 11:25 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

There's nothing I can add to this list that's not already here, besides insisting that you mix your salty with sweet...something like a Frosty, or even something bittersweet like dark chocolate. Crispy salty meet chewy chocolatey. I did have some wasabi powder popcorn once that was pretty good.

Can I piggyback this question to ask how anybody is making their (from scratch) popcorn? I've got some really awesome hull-less Amish stuff that's soooo good...but...it's nasty in the air popper (all popcorn is nasty in the air popper). I was putting butter in the bottom of a pyrex bowl and dumping in corn and some salt and letting it microwave w/ a plate on top...but the new microwave literally takes about 12 minutes to work and the popcorn likes to burn. I grew up on the "big ass pot" method (melt butter add corn, shake over fire) but it leaves me with boring, no butter taste. Are you all adding toppings AFTER popping? My mom used to do that when I was a kid, in a paper bag....but now we have no paper grocery bags.
posted by TomMelee at 11:26 AM on April 20, 2010

Oh I go for the fresh grated Parmesan cheese with a few dashes of Tabasco Chipotle.
posted by mmascolino at 11:30 AM on April 20, 2010

I like a bit of Jerk Spice on mine. But then, I like that stuff on just about anything.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 11:35 AM on April 20, 2010

Old Bay! I also like Penzey's Sandwich Sprinkle on popcorn, but then again I like that stuff on everything.

Mr. Arkham says I'm obsessed.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:35 AM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

There is a product sold in the baking aisle of the store that is powdered buttermilk, and it goes great on popcorn, along with salt. It's cheesy-buttery-yogurty-tangy.

Also, Mrs. werkzeuger insists I give a shout out to the use of chopsticks with popcorn.
posted by werkzeuger at 11:38 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Melt butter in a pan. Stir in Sriracha sauce. top the popcorn with this, never look back.
posted by rocketman at 11:38 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

My boys have been enjoying bacon salt, which I bought at the local upscale liquor store, on their popcorn. They like it with butter or with bacon grease (which has less saturated fat than butter, so it's practically a health food).

I'd rather have plain salt and butter, myself, but it has to be real butter.
posted by Ery at 11:38 AM on April 20, 2010

butter + Parmesan+ Tabasco = serious nom.
Also pretty much anything from Penzy's mixed with butter
posted by pointystick at 11:41 AM on April 20, 2010

Can I piggyback this question to ask how anybody is making their (from scratch) popcorn? ... My mom used to do that when I was a kid, in a paper bag....but now we have no paper grocery bags.

Buy some brown paper lunch bags. Add a handful of popcorn and just a dash of oil or melted butter -- only enough to barely coat the kernels. Fold the bag closed and pop for 2-3 minutes, or until the popping slows down. Add seasonings, shake, serve.

posted by mudpuppie at 11:42 AM on April 20, 2010 [5 favorites]

Seconding nutritional yeast (or as we like to call it, "nooch"). It's vaguely cheesy, and the texture is perfect for sprinkling on popcorn.

really I just wanted to say "nooch".


posted by mendel at 11:50 AM on April 20, 2010

BACON SALT!! Especially on homemade kettle(or caramel) corn.

1. get your favorite chocolate/caramel candy(Rolos, Caramello, Cadbury Caramel Egg, whatever)
2. place one piece/bite of candy in mouth
3. stuff mouth to capacity with salted popcorn
4. chew furiously
5. there is no five(unless you count swallow and repeat and ohmygoshsogood)
posted by owtytrof at 11:53 AM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Fine-grated aged cheddar and medium-grind fresh black pepper.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:53 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Taco seasoning! I used to bring a bag of popcorn and a container of taco powder to school with me for lunch sometimes.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:55 AM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

Can I piggyback this question to ask how anybody is making their (from scratch) popcorn? ... My mom used to do that when I was a kid, in a paper bag....but now we have no paper grocery bags.

Missed this...

1. add a few tablespoons of oil to pan, over high heat
2. add 3 kernels to oil
3. cover
4. when kernels pop, pour 1 cup of kernels into oil
5. allow to heat/pop, shaking frequently, until done

If you like kettle/caramel corn, add white/brown sugar(1/2 cup) with the 1 cup of kernels. Watch out for burning.
posted by owtytrof at 11:55 AM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

Here's a Cheddar Cheese Popcorn recipe from The Spice House in Chicago (via Gail Gand), and their Taylor Street Cheese Sprinkle also works really well (I sometimes eat the stuff straight, heavenly)
posted by asuprenant at 12:03 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

adding to owtytrof's excellent advice, I cover my popping pan with aluminum foil with holes punched in it. Lets out the steam which makes for a dryer, and I think, fluffier pop. Saw this on Alton Brown's awesome popcorn episode.
posted by cross_impact at 12:04 PM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

Kool Aid. The dry Kool Aid powder that you mix with water to make the drink. It's important that you buy the kind that does not require sugar, otherwise you'd be in a world of hurt.

Other, possibly less revolting, things I have enjoyed on popcorn:
  • Lawrey's Seasoned Salt
  • Soy Sauce. Actually, I prefer Bragg's.
  • Brewer's Yeast
  • Honey and Cardomon

  • posted by dirtdirt at 12:05 PM on April 20, 2010

    Great topic.

    I n'th cinnamon sugar.

    To help the cinnamon sugar stick, I use the spray butter, although the coverage of butter on the popcorn can be inconsistent.
    posted by fizzix at 12:12 PM on April 20, 2010

    Furikake (might require a trip to an Asian market) It is sweet and salty. Yum!
    Also, sugar and salt together.
    posted by rachums at 12:22 PM on April 20, 2010

    Can I piggyback this question to ask how anybody is making their (from scratch) popcorn?

    I have some of that amazing white hull-less farmer's market corn. It's lifechanging.
    I use a brown paper bag, folded closed, and nuke it plain, dump the corn into a bowl and then add the toppings. I've seen that some people put olive oil or butter and salt into the bag with the unpopped kernels, but I think that might lead to fires.

    I love that list of things to add to butter - thanks!
    posted by CunningLinguist at 12:24 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

    an I piggyback this question to ask how anybody is making their (from scratch) popcorn?

    Another popcorn addict here. My formula: 1/3 cup of popcorn, in this popper, which then spends about 3 1/2 minutes on high in microwave. Dump result into bowl, shake some butter buds and a little cheese powder on top, sometimes a little coarse salt, drizzle about 1-2 tbsp of melted butter -- 20 secs max in microwave to melt -- over it all, and then eat up.

    This is surprisingly healthy considering how deliciously salty and buttery and cheesy it tastes.
    posted by bearwife at 12:24 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

    P.S. I swear by organic popcorn, which I buy in bulk. It tastes worlds better, who knows why.
    posted by bearwife at 12:25 PM on April 20, 2010

    Also, Mexican lime salt, and the lemon salt with chili, is amazing with corn.
    posted by CunningLinguist at 12:26 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

    I came to recommend mccormick seasoning salt, but I can't help to wonder if its not similar to old bay seasoning.
    posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:26 PM on April 20, 2010

    Highly recommended: butter + fresh parmesan + truffle salt. You don't need much salt, but the truffle flavor with the parm is fraking fantastic.
    posted by griffey at 12:29 PM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

    A sprinkling of sweet, syrupy balsamic vinegar.
    A dusting of cayenne pepper.
    Sometimes: both plus a little bit of salt.
    posted by reren at 12:37 PM on April 20, 2010

    The possibilities are nearly endless! A few of my favorites (and always on stove-popped popcorn!):

    Equal parts curry powder, cumin and salt.

    Cook bacon topped with brown sugar in the oven. Cook popcorn in the bacon fat. Toss crumbled bacon, popcorn and smoked Spanish paprika. Heaven.

    Melted peanut butter is surprisingly delicious.

    Garlic olive oil, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese.

    I love Penzey's Spices, especially the Mural of Flavor. Awesome way to enjoy popcorn without needing salt!

    Not such an easy item to find, but this Truffle Salt is divine (on popcorn and pretty much everything else!)

    This thread is making me hungry!

    Oh, and about the stove-popped thing. I think I cheat but I just add some vegetable oil to barely coat the bottom of a medium sized pot (with a cover), put popcorn in a single layer on the bottom of the pan (I never measure, which sometimes leads to the popcorn popping the lid off...oops!) Turn heat to medium/medium high and cover with lid. When popcorn starts popping I tilt the lid a bit to let steam out. Turn off the heat as soon as the popcorn has stopped popping for a few seconds. Presto!
    posted by koselig at 12:41 PM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

    A hearty second and third for CunningLinguist's suggestion of Mexican "sal y limon" from Mr. and Ms. Kaseijin.
    posted by kaseijin at 12:46 PM on April 20, 2010

    If Old Bay isn't your thing, consider Emeril's Essence, which you can either buy at the store or make yourself. (Essence is also fantastic on eggs and casseroles.)
    posted by Wild_Eep at 12:49 PM on April 20, 2010

    Warm Balsamic Popcorn recipe
    posted by susanvance at 12:50 PM on April 20, 2010

    Damn you, damn you all. Been living on popcorn as it's the quintessential diet snack, but not covered in all these wonderful butter/cheese variations...

    That being said, kettle corn can be made stove top using Splenda (instead of sugar), and it works quite well.
    posted by cgg at 12:55 PM on April 20, 2010

    I see that a couple folks have already mentioned it, but I came here to say that while Bacon Salt on popcorn might SEEM like a good idea, I found that it tasted kind of funky. Which sucks, because it's amazing on other stuff!
    posted by illenion at 12:55 PM on April 20, 2010

    Can I piggyback this question to ask how anybody is making their (from scratch) popcorn? ... My mom used to do that when I was a kid, in a paper bag....but now we have no paper grocery bags.

    Years ago my partner bought me a WhirleyPop for my birthday and I will never be without one again. It has a handle you turn to stir the kernels constantly. You can use a very modest amount of oil, it's very fast, and leaves almost no unpopped kernels. It comes with a little book of popcorn recipes. A couple I like from the sweet end of things are that you can just toss a teaspoon of sugar in with the oil, and you will get a very lightly sweet popcorn (that you can then salt if you want). Or you can toss in some Red Hots candies with the oil and you will get sweet cinnamon popcorn that also looks really cool.
    posted by not that girl at 12:56 PM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

    We love buffalo wing popcorn at our house--make the sauce by dumping equal parts of Frank's Red Hot and butter together, then adding a little garlic. Drizzle over the popcorn, and then top with blue cheese crumbles. Delicious.

    Also tasty is hot italian-seasoned popcorn, which is also inspired by wing sauce. Melt butter, and sautee some garlic in that butter. Add some hot sauce, and then sprinkle in Italian dressing mix to taste. Pour over popcorn; top with parmesan.

    Curry is nice, too--mix curry powder and cumin into your butter before you pour it over the popcorn.

    Try lime (I used TruLime, since actual lime juice makes the popcorn soggy), cumin, garlic, and chili powder.

    Chocolate popcorn is really good, too. A handful of M&Ms or chocolate chips will go a long way towards more deliciousness.
    posted by MeghanC at 12:59 PM on April 20, 2010 [7 favorites]

    I've been on a sea salt and fresh ground pepper kick lately.

    Second the idea of getting a Whirley Pop. My wife and I got one a while back and use it at least twice a week.
    posted by Twicketface at 1:17 PM on April 20, 2010

    Another favorite:

    Brown sugar and chili powder. Yum!
    posted by koselig at 1:33 PM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

    Salmon Magic seasoning.
    posted by hovizette at 1:36 PM on April 20, 2010

    butter and icing sugar is good if you have a real sweet tooth.
    posted by gaspode at 1:58 PM on April 20, 2010

    The easiest elway to make butter flavored popcorn is to spray the popped corn with butter flavored Pam. It doesn't get the popcorn all wet like real butter and is easier to distribute evenly than the powdered kind. I have made enormous pots of this stuff for pool parties, etc. and people always eat it all. The adults will sometimes try to hide it from the kids. Extra yum is to dump a bunch of m&m's in while it's still hot. Dark chocolate ones are even better.
    posted by artychoke at 1:58 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

    One combination we often use is maple syrup and liquid smoke (we add them when we melt the butter in the microwave).

    We're also big fans of the Penzey's 4S seasoned salt mix with the smoked paprika.

    Garam masala and various curry powder mixtures work well, too.
    posted by nicepersonality at 2:09 PM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

    Response by poster: I'm the original poster--thanks for all the great ideas--they all look so good, I think I'll be quite busy testing most of them.
    Keep the ideas coming as I'm sure many others will keep reading this post. . . .
    posted by luvmywife at 2:22 PM on April 20, 2010

    Parmesan&Romano + Raisins.
    posted by fings at 2:26 PM on April 20, 2010

    I have a co-worker who swears by popcorn with Chicharron and Jalapenos. Haven't given it a try myself, but she loves it.
    posted by Palmcorder Yajna at 2:42 PM on April 20, 2010

    I'm too stupid for popcorn.. can someone explain to me how to put anything involving butter on popcorn without the popcorn becoming disgusting and soggy? All these ideas sound so good!
    posted by srrh at 3:19 PM on April 20, 2010

    Nthing the truffle salt. The stuff I have is mostly salt and a little truffle, so it just adds a umami kick to the popcorn. Nom nom nom!
    posted by immlass at 3:30 PM on April 20, 2010

    Lawry's Seasoning Salt.
    posted by Mendl at 4:06 PM on April 20, 2010

    I am a big fan of adobo + melted butter
    posted by bignerds at 4:15 PM on April 20, 2010

    omfg this is like popcorn erotica.

    buttered popcorn + box of glosette raisins. i'm obsessed.
    posted by crawfo at 5:06 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Powdered Truvia (stevia + erythritol) mixed with popcorn makes it taste like delicious, yet lowish glycemic-load, kettle corn. (Truvia is granulated, so you need to powder it yourself.)
    posted by sentient at 5:08 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

    yes to kraft dinner powdered cheese! when i was a kid we would usually have at least one kraft dinner box from which the cheese would be missing. you can get it at bulk stores, now, i think.
    posted by janepanic at 5:22 PM on April 20, 2010

    late to the party, but either black pepper, Zatarain's Cajun seasoning, or a light dusting of sugar are all fantastic.
    posted by Ghidorah at 5:47 PM on April 20, 2010

    Ketchup. Just dip the popcorn in it you would a french fry. Tastes like a shrimp cocktail. One of the few things I like ketchup on.

    Curry ketchup is also good. Nth'ing Old Bay. Cinnamon sugar as well.
    posted by alikins at 6:20 PM on April 20, 2010

    I pop mine in oil on the stove, then add popcorn salt (very fine), nutritional yeast, and a bit of garlic powder. It's savory and awesome.
    posted by kirst27 at 6:28 PM on April 20, 2010

    Olive oil & fleur de sel.
    posted by kevin-o at 6:34 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Lawry's Seasoning Salt. Truffle salt. Kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Salt, pepper and granulated sugar. Each would be added after gently buttering the popcorn. Not all together, obvs.

    (Looks like buffalo wing popcorn will be our snack tonight...mmmmm.)
    posted by ms.v. at 7:02 PM on April 20, 2010

    nthing Parmesan cheese (or Parmesan cheese & butter), yummm!

    I was a big fan of this popcorn that's drizzled with a mixture of cocoa and brown sugar. It's an awesome sweet-and-salty combination.

    Also, I seriously learned the 'recipe' for this cajun popcorn in a 9th grade home-economics class and have been making it ever since. It's worth the hassle of measuring out all those ingredients because the proportions are just right.
    posted by nuclear_soup at 7:02 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Lime juice.

    Related: Caramel Corn
    This is the recipe from the Los Angeles Times "Best of the year collection"
    posted by SLC Mom at 7:09 PM on April 20, 2010

    As I have mentioned before on the blue, I make the best popcorn in the world: Large sauce pan, coat the bottom of the pan with a shallow layer of Planters Peanut oil, add about a half teaspoon of dark toasted sesame oil. Pop the corn. Add salt. Add grated Parmesan if you're feeling especially indulgent.
    posted by tula at 8:21 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Don't judge me!
    posted by chairface at 8:36 PM on April 20, 2010

    Salt and white vinegar.
    Melted butter and harissa.
    posted by bokinney at 9:14 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

    1. WhirleyPop (already recommended in this thread)
    2. 1 TB Peanut Oil to pop
    3. Ancient Organics Ghee melted (like movie theater popcorn butter, only not horrible for you)
    4. Curry powder (either store-bought or homemade, e.g. turmeric, ginger, ground poppy, cardamom, cayenne, cumin, and either hing or garlic powder)

    #1 and #3 i'd stress as the vitals, #2 and #4 are nice to have.
    posted by SeƱor Pantalones at 9:40 PM on April 20, 2010

    My sister makes some delicious popcorn with Sugar Babies candies. She throws them in with the hot popcorn and mixes them around. She then adds butter and a touch of salt. The chocolate melt a little on the popcorn and the caramel softens some, too.
    posted by bubonicpeg at 6:01 AM on April 21, 2010

    Butter, salt and pimenton de la vera, a spanish smoked paprika. Tastes like bacon, which is to say, amazing.
    posted by hungrybruno at 7:09 AM on April 21, 2010

    I like drizzling my corn with cayenne pepper-infused oil.
    posted by anthill at 8:17 AM on April 21, 2010

    I have lived my whole life in the hope that someone would ask me this question. I've been perfecting my flavored popcorn since the age of 9, when my 5-cents-a-bag classroom popcorn syndicate was shut down by The Man (but not before I'd made a whopping $3.40). Then as now, my popcorn could be relied on to win me friends. My childhood standby was butter and Old El Paso taco or fajita seasoning, but I've also enjoyed Ranch and Italian dressing mixes. Any powder that comes in a supermarket sachet is fair game.

    The Cheese Popcorn for which North Londoners Will Come South of the River:

    Air-pop the popcorn into a very large bowl. While it's popping, melt some butter in a small frying pan over low heat and leave it for a few minutes so the milk solids can settle. Pour off the clarified butter and butter the popcorn. You don't need as much butter as you think if you coat the popcorn thinly and evenly -- I do this by drizzling over the butter and then turning the popcorn gently with my hands, a la Elizabeth David, which is why the very big bowl helps.

    Then sprinkle on some cheddar cheese powder sauce, the kind that comes in envelopes in the supermarket. Go for the one with the highest real cheese content. Turn with your hands again.

    Grate some fresh nutmeg over the cheesy popcorn. Then coarsely grind some black peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and add that. Give it a few more turns and you're good to go -- cheesy, buttery, zingy, aromatic and nomtastic. Transfer to a smaller, lap-sized bowl and enjoy.
    posted by stuck on an island at 9:13 AM on April 21, 2010 [21 favorites]

    My roommate loves to put his popcorn in the freezer.
    posted by chris p at 10:33 AM on April 21, 2010

    I use the brown paper bag in nuke method (without oil). Do be careful, you can end up with Flaming Bag of Corn.

    Before I toss the bag in, I melt some butter with maybe a half tsp of chipotle powder. After the corn pops, I dump it in a big bowl, pour the butter and chipotle on, add a bunch of salt and toss the popcorn around a bit so it mixes.

    Then, of course, I inhale it.
    posted by QIbHom at 11:43 AM on April 21, 2010

    nthing teh nooch (nutritional yeast). Delicious!
    posted by halfguard at 1:34 PM on April 21, 2010

    I would like to check back in to thank MeghanC profusely - Buffalo popcorn, it turns out, is the greatest thing EVER.
    posted by CunningLinguist at 3:01 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

    red hots
    posted by notned at 4:53 PM on April 21, 2010

    I second peanut butter. The easiest way to do this is just to get a jar of peanut butter and a spoon, scoop up some peanut butter, and then scrape it off with your popcorn. This is possibly my favorite snack in the world.
    posted by naoko at 9:44 PM on April 21, 2010

    Put a little oil in the pan with sone chili seeds - when hot add your kernels - The biggest difference in taste cones fron naking your own popcorn - Don't nicrowave it
    posted by xammerboy at 9:26 AM on April 23, 2010

    What's the best way to toss the popcorn? I keep finding my delicious flavorings end up coating the bowl a lot more than the popcorn. This makes for a sad grouse.
    posted by grouse at 10:53 PM on September 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

    My new favorite: butter + salt + a little sugar + a whole lot of paprika (the good stuff -- I like the "Hungarian" red tin, regular not hot). Mmmmm.
    posted by ourobouros at 6:18 PM on December 19, 2010

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