Once we’ve made a commitment to follow a healthy lifestyle, everything seems to fall into place. With a bit of hard work, we can eat more veggies, include more fruits, and boost our health.
We feel happier and have a certain glow. But one aspect of a healthy lifestyle can be harder to satisfy: snacking. With unhealthy snacks off the table, it's hard to know what to eat at snack time. At least, until we discover how to make popcorn at home.
When you’ve decided to remove all prepackaged potato chips and junk food from your diet, you need to find a new way to satisfy your desire for salty, sweet, and crunchy. That is where popcorn comes in!
2 cups of popped plain popcorn have less than 200 calories, making it the perfect snacking food. Add whatever delicious toppings you want, and you’ve got a snack that you’ll come back to again and again.
The most important way to keep popcorn healthy is to make it at home, in an all natural way, using all natural ingredients.
You’ll want to make sure you’re starting from a good place, buying all natural popcorn kernels. Using natural popcorn increases the number of nutrients that you can find in your food.
Then, I’ve pulled together my favorite homemade popcorn recipes, so you can enjoy a salty, sweet, crunchy snack that will satisfy all your taste buds.
Before we get to the recipes, I wanted to first go over some of my best tips for cooking popcorn at home, the equipment that you’ll need, and how to make healthy, vegan popcorn in your kitchen.
Although you can choose to pop popcorn in an air popper, which pops it dry, popcorn undeniably tastes better and is more flavorful when you pop it using oil.
The best oil for popping popcorn has a high heat threshold and a flavor that you enjoy. I’ll go over some of my favorite oils for popcorns, and I suggest you experiment until you find the right oil for you.
A quick note, the worst oils to use for popping popcorn are those which burn really quickly. When oil burns, the fats in the oil can turn into trans fats, toxic chemicals that create free radicals in your body.
These oils include olive oil and sesame oil. Both of these oils are delicious, but if you want their flavor on your popcorn, better to drizzle the oil over the top after you cook it.
Now let’s get to the fun part. Here are my three top oils for cooking popcorn:
Cooking popcorn on the stovetop is actually incredibly easy! You don’t even need any special equipment, just a large enough pot with a cover that won't go flying off while you’re trying to cook popcorn.
To be totally honest, I cooking microwave popcorn at home for years, because I mistakenly believed that cooking popcorn on the stove would be too difficult for me. Once I realized how unbelievably simple it is, I was a popcorn making friend!
Just go to your nearest market, pick up a big back of popcorn kernels, and get popping!
In order to cook popcorn on the stovetop, you’ll need a deep pot with a cover, 1-2 tablespoons of oil, and 1/2 cup popcorn kernels.
Let’s talk about making popcorn in the microwave. Some people do believe that microwaves are bad for our health so you shouldn't use in the cooking process.
There is a persistent myth that cooking with a microwave will remove all nutrients from your food. But rest assured, this myth has been debunked by the exceptional scientists over at Harvard.
That being said, I would caution you to stay away from prepackaged, easy pop popcorn. This style of popcorn usually has tons of unnecessary calories and added sodium. It is bad for your health and the health of your family.
Why bother making popcorn that has a terrible flavor and no health benefits, when you could make healthy homemade popcorn quickly and easily? If you want to make homemade popcorn in the microwave, you need to buy a microwave popcorn popper, like this one.
This popcorn poppers allow you to make popcorn without using any oil, so you can enjoy your popcorn snack guilt free. It also is a hand free popcorn cooker, so you don’t need to stand by the stove watching a pot while your popcorn cooks.
Whether you choose to cook your popcorn on the stove or in the microwave, make sure you’re choosing healthy, all natural popcorn that will give nutrients and flavor to your family.
Now that we know how to cook popcorn and what oil to use, I’m so excited to present to you my 13 absolutely favorite popcorn recipes. These recipes are delicious, sweet, salty, and an absolute hit with my kids and their friends.
When I was a little kid, I was totally obsessed with the cheesy flavor of artificial cheddar cheese popcorn. During sleepovers with friends, I would devour buckets of the stuff while we watched movies and played truth or dare into the night.
Happily, now that I am a bit older, I realize I can’t shove artificial cheese into my face all day, but I still love the flavor of sharp cheddar cheese over popcorn.
So with that in mind, I did some research in my kitchen and came up with the perfect homemade recipe for cheddar cheese popcorn.
It took more than a few tries, and a few ugly results, to come up with this recipe.
This popcorn recipe will satisfy all your savory, salty, and crunchy cravings in one deliciously cheesy bite.
With the crisp popcorn coated in flavorful, slightly melted cheddar, you’ll get a little bit of everything in each mouthful.
You’ll notice, as you chew on this delicious popcorn creation, a slightly spicy undertone. Or, if you decide to be heavy handed, it can be a super spicy flavor!
Depends on how much cayenne you include. If I’m feeling spicy, I’ll double up on the cayenne. But just a warning, it can be pretty hot!
This recipe is a creative take on the Cheddar Cheese Popcorn recipe found at Houseful of Handmade. Without further ado, here is my recipe for savory, cheesy, and a little bit spicy, cheddar cheese popcorn.
Black popcorn is less of a recipe and more of a type of popcorn kernel.
In fact, the first time that I ever heard of black popcorn, I thought it sounded totally crazy! It sounded, to me, like a type of popcorn that had already gone bad and started to mold!
Why would I want to eat black popcorn? But it turns out that I was totally wrong. You won’t believe how cool black popcorn is!
Completely opposite to what I expected, black popcorn is an extremely healthy popcorn variety that you can easily exchange with your usual choice of popcorn kernel!
Its dark color comes from the type of corn that it is made from: Dakota black corn or Aztec black corn.
Both of these types of corn are indigenous to the Americas. This is an ancient grain brought to the modern day, and it brings so many health benefits along with it.
The biggest benefit that black popcorn provides is extra antioxidants. Antioxidants, for those who don’t know, are nutrients in our food that promote health within our bodies.
Antioxidants can help us fight inflammation, disease, and even help reduce and prevent cancer!
All organic popcorn has one type of antioxidant: polyphenols. But black popcorn has the highest amount of antioxidants of any popcorn on the market.
Along with the polyphenols, black popcorn also provides anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid. The anthocyanin causes the black color of the popcorn and helps your body fight against free radicals, toxic molecules that can damage cells and cause cancer.
Black popcorn can be exchanged for regular organic popcorn in all of the recipes in this list.
But in general, it has a stronger flavor than traditional popcorn and doesn’t need to have too many ingredients added to it to make a delicious snack.
Popcorn is acknowledged as a healthy snack throughout the health and wellness world. It’s the guilt-free potato chip substitution, and the way to get your crunchy salty fix without adding extra calories.
But sometimes, you just want to take that healthy snack and make it a little bit decadent. You know?
I love eating healthy food. I love making healthy food for my family and giving my children nourishing snacks that help them grow into healthy adults. But when it’s time to make a treat for my kids, I turn to chocolate popcorn.
This recipe is such a hit in my household. I try to make enough for everyone to eat, but whenever I make a bowl of it, it disappears before I even have time to blink!
There is something so deliciously opulent about crunching on chocolate covered popcorn. It’s a little bit salty, a little bit sweet, and very chocolatey. And although I try my hardest to be a healthy person, I definitely have a sweet tooth, and that sweet tooth loves chocolate.
Luckily, I found a way to satisfy my sweet tooth without bringing on hundreds of calories. What’s my secret? I’ll let you know: It’s dark chocolate!
By coating the popcorn in dark chocolate, you get a whole host of health benefits while also satisfying your sweet tooth and chocolate cravings in one delicious snack.
Dark chocolate is the health food world’s secret weapon against cravings. It’s a little bit sweet, very decadent, and full of vitamins and minerals. By coating your popcorn in dark chocolate, you get added iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese in your diet.
On top of that, you also get trace amounts of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. That’s a lot of minerals! They help improve your brain function, bodily function, and so much more.
On top of those minerals, dark chocolate also packs a list of antioxidants! To boost your bodies cancer-fighting abilities, dark chocolate provides polyphenols, flavanols, and more. Perhaps the names aren’t super important, but the health benefits are.
Remember when you were a kid and you’d go to the carnival? Beyond all the flashing lights, clowns, and people calling out to get you to play games, the best part of the night was the snacks.
I used to beg my mom to buy me carnival popcorn and cotton candy. I’d munch away on those sugary snacks to my heart’s content, oblivious to the after effects of the sugar bomb I was putting into my stomach.
As I got a bit older, I wanted a way to enjoy that same carnival flavor, and effect, without putting so much sugar into my body.
So you can imagine how excited I was when I stumbled upon photos of bright blue popcorn on the internet. It was the perfect combination of the sugary blue cotton candy, and the salty sweet carnival popcorn I remembered from my youth!
I tried a few different varieties of cooking techniques, using butter, then oil, then corn syrup, to find the method that worked best and got me the closest to the flavors I remembered as a child.
It wasn’t the quickest creative process, and my kitchen was a disaster by the end of it, but I finally figured out how to make carnival blue popcorn!
As popcorn snacks go, this is a pretty sweet popcorn, with just a little bit of salt added, to give that amazing salty sweet character that I love so much.
If you aren’t into the salty sweet thing, you could easily omit the salt and just enjoy a deliciously sweet blue popcorn.
Ah, rainbow popcorn. So bright, so colorful, so attractive on the table. This little snack is such a delight to make, and it is always the centerpiece of the dessert table at my parties.
Having a bowl full of rainbow popcorn just reminds me of unicorns and happiness, plus it really brightens up a table.
If you’re ready to take your party popcorn to the next level, you have to try this rainbow popcorn recipe. The cooking process can get pretty messy, but that makes it a super fun project to do with the kids!
Let them get their hands a bit dirty, all covered in rainbow sugar, and the best part is that they can still lick it off their fingers! No eggs are a win, in this recipe.
This recipe definitely kicks the sugar level up a notch, using corn syrup to get that sweet, candied flavor in the popcorn. The rainbow colors obviously come from food dye.
Make sure you pick up at least 5 different food dyes to get the best rainbow effect in the bowl of popcorn. A splash of vanilla extract gives the candy flavor just a touch of a sophisticated edge, without taking it into the realm of snacks that the kids don’t enjoy.
Ah, the simple pleasure of buttered popcorn. The flavor of movie theaters everywhere. The warm, homey smell of melted butter, and the salty crunch of popcorn.
Eating buttered popcorn always reminds me of rainy weekends from my childhood, heading out to the movies with my grandparents.
But whenever I tried to make buttered popcorn at home, I always seemed to turn it into a soggy, buttery mess. I guess my ratio of butter to popcorn was off.
I also struggled to get the butter to evenly coat the popcorn. I’d pour the butter into the popcorn, but it never worked out right.
I’d get a few pieces that were completely soaked with butter, and the rest of the popcorn would have no butter at all! It was devastating.
Luckily for you, I figured out the magic way to get evenly coated buttered popcorn with minimal effort. The only things you need to make delicious, perfectly coated butter popcorn are popcorn, melted butter, and a paper bag.
Sound too good to be true? I promise you, it isn’t. I used to avoid making buttered popcorn at home because I always hated the results. But since I figured out this trick, I can make healthy(er) buttered popcorn whenever I’m watching movies at home.
Every Christmas, the most popular gift in my friend group is a big bag of Moose Munch. The only problem with this is how expensive it is!
Buying bags of Moose Munch for all my friends can really deplete my wallet some years! My solution? Make my own moose munch at home! And moose munch is really quite simple, it’s just chocolate caramel popcorn!
No one is going to mistake chocolate caramel popcorn for healthy food. But around the holidays, calories stop existing, and everything is guilt free snacking!
Seriously though, this popcorn is so outrageously delicious, even the strictest clean eaters should make an exception once a year to eat this stuff. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
The secret to making it so unbelievably tempting is the lethal combination of the chocolate, caramel, salt, and macadamia nuts!
Oh yes, we go all out in this recipe to make the most deliciously sweet and salty, crunchy and all around incredible snack that has ever come out of your kitchen. Your family will be begging you to make this again as soon as they finish the first bowl.
When I want to wow my friends, delight my kids, or bring the most popular dessert to a house party, I always go for this incredible recipe for chocolate caramel popcorn.
My husband and I have a Valentine’s Day tradition. On Valentine’s day, he buys me a bag of white chocolate, and then I turn that white chocolate into our favorite holiday snack: white chocolate popcorn.
Then we sit down together and watch a romantic movie on the couch at home. It might not be the most extravagant tradition, but it’s ours, and I look forward to it every year. I wanted to share my recipe, honed over years of preparations, with you.
The most important ingredient in this popcorn is not in the ingredient list, however, and you won’t find it on the shelves in any grocery store. No, as cheesy as it sounds, the most important ingredient in this popcorn is love.
If you try to make this popcorn without love in your heart, it just won’t taste the same. Other than the love, the richest flavors in this popcorn come from the white chocolate, but that is balanced beautifully with the salted peanuts and touch of sea salt.
I think it’s the combination of the sweet chocolate and the salty crunch of the peanuts that make this dessert snack so irresistible.
Straight from my heart to yours, here is my secret recipe for completely unforgettable white chocolate popcorn. Okay, I admit it was at least in part inspired by this post on Luxe With Kids.
If you want that buttery, delicious movie theatre popcorn flavor that you remember from your childhood, but you want to keep it a simple, vegan recipe, you need to try coconut oil popcorn.
The first time I ate coconut oil popcorn after I found this recipe over at The Coconut Mama, it was a revelation for me. I was completely obsessed with it and wanted to make it every single day.
Coconut oil brings health benefits that other oils don’t. There is a reason why coconut oil is so popular in the health food community these days, and its due to coconut oil’s incredible health benefits.
Being a saturated fat, it acts differently than other vegetable oils. It increases your healthy LDL cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol.
The fats in coconut oil can actually trigger fat burning in your body, and they will help you feel fuller quicker, promoting weight loss. Additionally, coconut oil is anti-microbial, fighting infections in our bodies.
These are just a few of the benefits that coconut oil can bring. Have I convinced you yet?Back to the popcorn at hand, coconut oil brings a rich, tropical flavor to your popcorn.
It doesn’t need any additional help, just a pinch of salt and you’ve got a delicious bowl of popcorn that you won’t be able to put down.
If you’re used to shopping for prepackaged popcorn, you might believe that vegan popcorn is difficult to make.
But actually, the opposite is true! Popcorn itself is naturally vegan, so you just need to make sure you’re adding only vegan, ethical ingredients to your popcorn recipes, and you have vegan popcorn!
You may noticed that many of the recipes on this list are vegan popcorn recipes. The vegan lifestyle is a commitment to eating all natural, ethical foods that are good for our bodies and for the planet.
But at the same time, that doesn’t mean that we need to sacrifice flavor or delicious snacks!
I want to share with you my favorite, simple vegan recipe. It is bursting with flavor, while at the same time being simple, and ethical.
You get lots of vitamin E from the olive oil, and cancer-fighting antimicrobials from the black pepper. You get to enjoy guilt-free snacking with this decadently simple vegan popcorn recipe.
When you’re craving something a little sweet, a little salty, and a little crunchy all in one bite, there is only one snack that can satisfy all those cravings without giving you an unnecessary overload.
This snack is guilt-free, delicious, and even healthy! If you haven’t discovered it yet, you need to try peanut butter popcorn.
Honestly, this snack is so simple to make but hits all the cravings right on the head. If I’m feeling a bit hungry in the middle of the day, this is almost always my go-to snack.
You get nutrients from the whole grain popcorn, healthy fats and proteins from the peanut butter, and a full tummy from all the fiber. It’s an all-around win.
Raise your hand if you ever made rice krispy treats as a kid. I bet that you did. I know I did. I loved making those deliciously sweet bars with my mom on the weekends.
And let’s be real, we all know that the homemade variety was so much more delicious than the store-bought, pre-packaged kind.
Well, what if I told you that you could have all the sweet, gooey, chewy goodness of a rice krispy treat, combined with the satisfying crunch of a handful of popcorn. I know, it sounds too good to be true.
But it’s totally possible!
I want to say that I came up with this idea myself, but to be honest it was my daughter who first gave me the idea. We were making rice krispy treats together when she mentioned, out of the blue, that these would be delicious if we made them with popcorn.
From that moment one, there was no question, we had to try it. I spent some time looking for a recipe online, found this one from Your Home Based Mom, and got creative from there.
Marshmallow popcorn is my daughters favorite snack to eat on movie nights. It’s not the lowest sugar recipe I’ve ever invented, so we don’t eat it every week, but it usually turns up in the kitchen once a month!
It’s a totally delicious and low-fat way to get your sweet fix in a moderately healthy, whole grain popcorn kind of way.
For this recipe, I’ve given instructions for making it on the stove top. It’s a little more labor-intensive, but the end result is so much more delicious than the microwave flavor.
Homemade caramel seems like an intimidating and difficult process, but the truth is that it doesn’t have to be.
If you follow the right recipe, you’ll be able to make caramel from scratch in your own kitchen, and be able to give up the store bought, corn syrup caramel that is no good for your family or your body.
The one thing you need to remember before you try making homemade caramel for the first time is that it will be messy. You might make a mistake and not get perfect caramel at first.
Once you get the hang of it, it is really an incredibly easy sauce to make, and you’ll be wondering why you didn’t start earlier.
We all know and love caramel. It’s sweet, gooey, and has the most delicious flavor. But what makes caramel even better? Combining it with the salty crunch of popcorn.
I started with this recipe from The Kitchn, but over the years, I’ve tweaked my caramel popcorn recipe to get it just how I love it, and how my family loves it as well.
Follow along, and let me show you how to make homemade caramel, combine it with stove popped popcorn, and end up at the simplest and most delicious sweet snack in the books.
There you have it! 13 incredible recipes that I guarantee will wow your friends and delight your family. Every time I make one of these recipes, it is gone in a matter of minutes.
I hope you will find the same delight in these popcorn recipes that I have. And then, come back and let me know what new and delicious recipes you discover!
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