4 Addictive Popcorn Toppings That Are Way Better Than Butter
Your guests will love these sweet and savory upgrades to this movie theater classic. All recipes serve four to six people.
Basil Garlic Popcorn
You can create all sorts of fun flavors with this recipe by using your favorite fresh herbs. Substituting cilantro for the fresh basil, for example, gives this popcorn a bold new flavor.
Pour 8 cups popped popcorn into a large bowl and remove any unpopped kernels. Add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil to the bowl. Drizzle 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil over the popcorn. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon garlic salt and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn
This popcorn drizzled in butter and tossed with cinnamon sugar hits the spot every time.
Pour 8 cups popped popcorn into a large bowl and remove any unpopped kernels. In a small bowl, mix together ¼ cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon salt. Drizzle 4 tablespoons (½ stick) melted butter over the popcorn. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Chunky Monkey Popcorn
Banana pudding mix gives this popcorn a unique and delicious flavor, while the walnuts and banana chips give it a satisfying crunch. A chocolate coating seals the deal and makes this fun recipe a winner.
Place 1 cup milk chocolate melting candy in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium power for 1 minute. Stir until melted and smooth. Whisk 1 tablespoon banana-flavored instant pudding mix into the melting candy. Pour the melted candy over the popcorn, but do not stir yet.
Add ½ cup dried banana chips and ½ cup chopped walnuts to the popcorn bowl. Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir to coat. Spread the popcorn mixture on a large piece of parchment paper or a large silicone baking mat. Allow to cool until the chocolate coating has hardened, about 20 minutes. Break into pieces before packaging or transferring to a bowl. The popcorn may be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Buffalo Ranch Popcorn
If you are sensitive to spicy flavors, just be sure to buy a mild Buffalo sauce (the creamy-looking sauces are usually less spicy). But if you’re looking for a little flame, use an extra-spicy sauce, throw in a splash or two of hot sauce, and add a little ground cayenne pepper to the ranch seasoning. You’ll have a fire on your hands in no time!
Pour 8 cups popped popcorn into a large bowl and remove any unpopped kernels. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons melted butter and 2 tablespoons Buffalo wing sauce. Drizzle over the popcorn and gently toss to coat.
Sprinkle half of a 1-ounce envelope ranch dressing mix or 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning and 1 teaspoon salt over the popcorn and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately.
How to Pop the Best Bag of Popcorn
While air popping is my preferred popping method, sometimes the microwave is just the most feasible option for getting the job done. If using microwave popcorn is what works best for you, here are some tips for popping the best possible bag.
1. Buy natural or organic microwave popcorn because these options will have the least amount of flavoring in the bag. You don’t want your ingredients to be overwhelmed by the likes of imitation butter flavoring.
2. Buy fat-free or light popcorn if you can’t find natural or organic. Again, these options will have very little flavoring in the bags.
3. Don’t leave the popcorn alone in the microwave! Stand by while the bag is popping, and be sure to remove it when the popping has slowed to one pop every 3 seconds.
4. Be prepared with more bags of popcorn than a recipe may call for. It’s not unusual to get a “dud” bag of microwave popcorn that does not yield as much popped popcorn as you are expecting.
For more recipes, purchase a copy of Party Popcorn: 75 Creative Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Snack, or visit Ashton’s blog, Something Swanky.