In my town, we have a little popcorn shop that sells a varying selection of hundreds of flavors of popcorn. And I thought that was really weird until my family decided to stop in for the first time and the owner encouraged us to taste some of everything that was available. I can now say that I am totally sold on popcorn flavors other than butter. With National Popcorn Day happening this time of year (January 19), I have found myself motivated to try my making my own deliciously flavored popcorn. Here are some popcorn recipe ideas to try if you want to pop along with me!
Kettle Corn: This is my husband’s go-to popcorn recipe and it’s one of the easiest ones I know. We use a Whirley-Pop to make ours, but you can also use a plain skillet with a tight-fitting lid. If you use a skillet, don’t pour the sugar in until the first kernel pops. Then quickly stir until in the sugar until it’s dissolved, replace the lid, and shake the pan while you hold the top. Careful when you make this, though—the sugared popcorn will burn more quickly than plain popcorn. Oh! And when we make it at my house, we double the popcorn. It means that we have more of a salty-sweet snack than a candy-coated dessert.
Peppermint Bark Popcorn: I don’t know about you, but it’s possible that I just might have (lots of) leftover candy canes hanging around. I never would have thought to put peppermint with popcorn, but I just tried some and omg. so. good. If you’re not a fan of dark chocolate, try using white chocolate or vanilla almond bark instead.
Mexican Street Popcorn: One of my favorite side dishes is a corn salad inspired by the corn sold by Mexican street vendors. And—lucky us!—here it is in popcorn version. Margaritas optional.
Pumpkin Pie Kettle Corn: Pumpkin spice season may be over at Starbucks, but that’s no reason we have to stop enjoying that delicious flavor combo! Add pumpkin spice to popcorn for a sweet yet still-pretty-healthy snack. And that little bit of salt in the recipe? Perfection.
Caramel Apple Popcorn: Do you like the idea of pie and popcorn, but you’re so over pumpkin pie spice? How about popcorn that brings to mind apple pie instead? This recipe even uses dried apples—and you know the inclusion of fruit automatically means it’s a good-for-you snack, right?
Lime and Dill Pickle Popcorn: Much to my husband’s dislike, I love all things dill. And hey, if it’s good on potato chips, why wouldn’t it be awesome on popcorn? (By the way, isn’t this the best “photo” ever? I’m just going to slap this sucker up on my Instagram continuously; I’m always too busy eating my food to take pictures.)
Healthy Popcorn Trail Mix: We all know that fresh, air-popped popcorn is a healthy snack option. It can be kind of boring to eat, though, right? Here’s a recipe that incorporates popcorn as part of a trail mix with protein-packed nuts and yummy dried fruit mixed in. And while this recipe uses store-bought pre-popped popcorn, you can easily make your own in about three minutes with my new favorite invention. (Seriously, I looooooove this thing.)
Sweet and Salty Popcorn Snack Mix: If you’re looking for a popcorn mix that’s more snacky and less healthy, I’ve got you covered. This one’s got cereal, candy, pretzels, and a caramelly glaze. (It uses microwave popcorn, but again, use the super-amazing popcorn popper I recommended above to make your popcorn just as fast, but without all the additives you’ll find in microwave popcorn.)
Buffalo Wing Popcorn: The Superbowl is coming up soon, and with it comes tailgating and parties and all the food that goes with them. Like wings. Saucy, drippy, chicken wings. Why not flavor your popcorn Buffalo-style instead, for a less messy way to enjoy that spicy wing taste?
Ooey Gooey Salty Sweet Mallow Popcorn: Okay. I’m not normally up for recommending anything with “ooey gooey” in its name, but I was sold once I learned that there are melted marshmallows involved! Enjoy this recipe that is the equivalent of eating all the marshmallows out of a box of cereal, but crunchier.
Have fun trying out these recipes. I hope they inspire you to experiment with your own ideas—and that you share the delicious results with the rest of us, so we can make them, too!