Flavored popcorn recipe?
January 18, 2021 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Do you have a flavored popcorn recipe you like? Will you share it with me? I'm especially interested in lower-calories snacks, but I'm open to any of your favorites! I make it on the stovetop, in case that makes any difference.
posted by NotLost to Food & Drink (39 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Are you interested in toppings that go on once the popcorn has popped?

I think any of these are good with or without a little melted butter/oil to help them stick to the popcorn.

Old Bay seasoning.
Curry powder.
Nutritional yeast flakes.
posted by Guess What at 9:52 AM on January 18

Yes, exactly, I am thinking of toppings for after the corn has popped. We already often use butter, shredded cheese, or Old Bay seasoning. Thanks!
posted by NotLost at 10:01 AM on January 18

My go-to is just airpop + lots of fresh lime juice + a little salt. Lately I've been experimenting with lime juice + nutritional yeast. Looking forward to this thread to learn some new ones!
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:03 AM on January 18

A trick I learned a million years ago from my dietician aunt: low-sodium powdered chicken bouillon will give you more of the butter-substance taste of movie theater goo than you can produce at home with actual butter products of any kind. You do need something to make it stick; her preference is for light olive oil in a pressurized oil sprayer (like a Misto) even though they're a frustrating pain in the ass to clean. I myself prefer the squeeze-trigger Evo spray bottles even though they do not produce as fine a mist. It's also a good umami/flavor-amplifying base for other savory flavors, like cheddar powder or sour cream and onion. (There's a world of powders out there for your concoctions, and I'm buying some of their new Big Daddy Mac powder right now.)

I sometimes do sweet toppings with monkfruit sweetener (either the white or brown) mixed with a flavor - cinnamon, powdered lemon/lime/orange, vanilla powder, pulverized freeze-dried fruit, peanut butter powder, etc. The more fine you can make your mixture, the better it sticks - a clean coffee grinder does a good job, I'm told blenders will but you need enough to actually blend which is kind of a lot of seasoning. Both sugar-free Jello and sugar-free Kool-aid are extremely fine powder, as well.

I use the coffee grinder to make salt powder for savory blends as well. I recently ordered Penzey's kosher flake salt and found that it was not at ALL what I think of as "flake salt" but instead very nearly popcorn salt already.

I have never liked Tajin because something in it tastes like cleaning chemicals to me but I like to make my own chili lime powder with TrueLime powder, a mix of mild chile powder + ancho (for the smokiness) + cayenne in tiny increments until desired heat, plus salt. (And honestly, it could also use some sweetener, especially for popcorn instead of fruit.)
posted by Lyn Never at 10:14 AM on January 18 [1 favorite]

cheese powder!

Melted butter, mix. Sprinkle some salt. Some Trader Joe’s umami powder. A dash of garlic powder. Top off with cheese powder and mix well.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 10:22 AM on January 18

we usually do olive oil + nutritional yeast and garlic powder
(mind blown by Lyn Never's tip to get the salt finer - gonna do that tonight)

Sometimes we do olive oil and parmasan cheese and pepper

Sometimes we do a little soy sauce and sriracha (it's a delicate amount as too much and it'll be mushy).
posted by stray at 10:26 AM on January 18

Nutritional yeast for the win! Was introduced to this approach by a native Saltspring Islander. I sub olive oil for the butter when making this with my vegan partner.
posted by Paper rabies at 10:27 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]

Salt and vinegar flavor is pretty great on popcorn. Here's one brand, for example.
posted by jedicus at 10:33 AM on January 18 [1 favorite]

Spike seasoning, nutritional yeast and a smidge of cayenne powder is my favorite. With a little olive oil or butter.
posted by centrifugal at 10:36 AM on January 18

mushroom powder! You can DIY it really cheaply with dried mushrooms or Trader Joe's has a pre-made one.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 10:42 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]

All these suggestions are excellent. For more of the umami vibe, I very much enjoy the Japanese seasoning furikake (a combo of sesame seeds and nori/kelp) which they now have at Trader Joe's. It does have salt, so you can either use as is or amp up the saltiness based on preference.
posted by jeremias at 10:43 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]

Seconding furikake, but it can have a lot of sugar in it....but also just sesame seeds (black or white) and broken up seaweed. We also like everything but the bagle/everything but the elote/chile lime seasoning from TJ's. Taco/cajun/ranch/bbq seasoning packets can be good, but be careful not to overdo. Combine franks hot sauce with butter and sprinkle over the top... yum.
posted by AnneShirley at 11:18 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]

Oh also...when you cook it on the stove, use bacon grease + rosemary + sea salt.
posted by AnneShirley at 11:20 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]

My favorite is homemade roasted garlic and chive butter with flaked sea salt. (Roast the garlic, dice up the chives, and add all ingredients to softened butter). Excellent on a bunch of different things, but popcorn is my fav.
posted by wile e at 11:25 AM on January 18

Powdered buttermilk is my favorite popcorn topping, even more than other powdered cheeses. I toss the popcorn with melted butter first, then sprinkle on a spoonful of powdered buttermilk.

I also really like nutritional yeast with hot sauce, though the hot sauce does make the popcorn 'melt' a bit if I use too much.

I tried making powdered vinegar which totally didn't work but you can buy powdered vinegar for a salt and vinegar flavor.
posted by carrioncomfort at 11:27 AM on January 18

If you're a kimchi fan, pick up some powdered kimchi. It is fantastic on popcorn with a bit of salt & butter/ghee.

I keep meaning to try popcorn with chaat masala sprinkled on it. I think that'd be pretty tasty too.
posted by burntflowers at 11:38 AM on January 18

My favorite is nooch (nutritional yeast), olive oil, salt, and a little lemon juice -- sprinkling of some sort of chili powder optional.
Sweet paprika, salt, sugar, and butter is also delicious.
Za'atar, salt, and olive oil is awesome.
Have you seen this Serious Eats feature on fancy popcorn flavorings? I've tried a few of the ones on there and I have yet to be disappointed. The instant miso soup powder one is surprisingly good.
posted by ourobouros at 11:40 AM on January 18

My favorite for savory-ish popcorn is putting a little bit of butter or olive oil and then putting curry powder sometimes mixed with a bit of sugar to make it a bit more tantalizing. Curry sugar is also good on bread and butter, sort of a cinnamon toast thing.
posted by jessamyn at 12:05 PM on January 18

Mash some miso into melted butter and pour it on the popcorn.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:14 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]

My new favorite popcorn topping is the Everything But Elote seasoning from Trader Joe's
posted by brookeb at 12:14 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]

This great thing has been my favorite popcorn sprinkle for several years. A little soy sauce is nice too.
posted by erebora at 12:17 PM on January 18

Oil spray (fewer calories, gets great coverage over the kernels than dripping olive oil or butter)

Nutritional yeast
Garlic powder
Onion powder

My husband will not kiss me for the rest of the evening but dayyyym it’s tasty!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:25 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]

While my usual is half/half butter/olive oil on air-popped corn, my change-up is adding just a bit of toasted sesame oil to the mix.
posted by ClingClang at 12:26 PM on January 18

A little butter and quite a bit of hot sauce
posted by meemzi at 12:33 PM on January 18

My family's super secret popcorn seasoning:

Liberal amounts of garlic powder, finely grated parmesan cheese, and fresh cracked black pepper.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 1:27 PM on January 18

With the caveat that I have not attempted to make this so I can't be certain of its tastiness, this delightful comedy video from Brian David Gilbert making pepcorn does look delicious.
posted by NotTheRedBaron at 2:14 PM on January 18

I love tossing some homemade jerk seasoning on my stovetop popcorn. It's spicy, sweet, salty, and super addictive.
posted by ch3ch2oh at 2:42 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]

Cheese powder + cayenne is a magical popcorn topping. Ideally toss the popcorn in a little butter first to help it cling, but if you get decently fine cheese powder, you might not need it.

I started making stuffing-flavored popcorn after Thanksgiving this year, and it's unbelievable. Butter with thyme, sage, powdered chicken bouillon, celery seed or salt, and dehydrated or powdered onion. A little goes a long way with the bouillon and onion, and you'll want to mix it all together first, then toss with the popcorn. If you're using dehydrated onion flakes instead of powder, put it in as you're melting the butter to give it a little extra time to rehydrate and flavor the butter. Taste the final product before you add any additional salt because the bouillon (and celery salt, if you're using that instead of seed) will probably be enough.

Za'atar or sumac are also great.
posted by rhiannonstone at 2:50 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]

With the caveat that I have eaten this but not made it myself: tomato powder and smoked paprika. Ah-mazing.
posted by janepanic at 3:09 PM on January 18

Spray with olive oil and add Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle or Penzey’s Greek Seasoning.
posted by jgirl at 3:19 PM on January 18

Olive oil spray and Moroccan spice seasoning
posted by mapinact at 5:41 PM on January 18

If you like movie theater popcorn, the secret is Flavacol, a butter-flavored popcorn salt. I use a Whirley-Pop, and add the Flavacol to the heated oil (butter-flavored coconut!) at the same time as the kernels. I still miss movie theaters desperately, but at least I’ve got the snacks...
posted by CtrlAltDelete at 9:35 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]

Hunt & Alpine Club's parmesan/green chile popcorn is super great! YMMV with different powdered chiles though - I find 1-2 tsp works best for me. The full amount called for in the recipe gets right up my nose (even though when I've had it at the bar itself it tastes just right). You don't *have* to use quite so much butter.
posted by mskyle at 4:39 AM on January 19

Hurricane Popcorn (previously) is one of my go tos. But sometimes I use on their own or as combos of Old Bay and Chicken Salt or Chien Chaud seasoning or sometimes a combo of Aleppo pepper, nutritional yeast and salt finely ground.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:13 AM on January 19

Thanks for all the great ideas! I look forward to trying these!
posted by NotLost at 8:09 PM on January 19

nutritional yeast but instead of butter or olive oil, use coconut oil. I was skeptical. someone made this for me. OMG i'm not even a big coconut oil fan in general but this was SO GOOD. Particularly when you make the popcorn on the stove in a pan, using coconut oil to pop.
posted by elgee at 11:54 PM on January 19

I like combining a little sugar in some melted butter, pour it on the air-popped corn and toss, then adding either soy sauce or Worchester sauce and finally, some Lawry's seasoning salt. Delish.
posted by BeBoth at 8:51 AM on January 20

Lots of great suggestions here. I like:
- Soy sauce and nutritional yeast
- Olive oil, salt, oregano
- Lime juice and salsa chamoy
- Parmesan grated on a microplane with lots of black pepper
- Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce (and if you’re really pushing the boat out, a little crumble of blue cheese for a buffalo wings vibe. Ate this all the time when I was breastfeeding and ravenously hungry.)
posted by Concordia at 2:53 PM on January 21

This is totally a cheat - but you can get a carton of the stuff they put on popcorn in movie theaters fairly inexpensively. (....The carton itself is ten dollars, but it's a quart-size carton and your average home batch of popcorn will only use a half a teaspoon of the stuff, so that will last you a good while.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:07 AM on January 25

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