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12 Ways to Spice Up Popcorn

12 Ways to Spice Up Popcorn

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Sweet, savory, and spicy popcorn recipes to satisfy all tastes

Kahlúa and Espresso Bean Caramel Corn

Popcorn — it's addictive, satisfying, and a must-have for any movie-watching night. Whether eaten delicately kernel by kernel or devoured by the handful, popcorn is something that never gets old. But sometimes, one can't help but wonder if there is something more out there. Sure, there's nothing wrong with hot popcorn coated with real melted butter, but there are many other ways to dress up popcorn.

Click here to see the 12 New Ways to Spice Up Popcorn Slideshow

Take, for instance, this Popcorn with Sriracha Butter and Parmesan. Sriracha, if you've never had it, is a popular condiment often served with Chinese and Southeast Asian dishes that's all at once spicy, tart, and ever so slightly sweet. Together with freshly grated Parmesan, it's absolutely dynamite.

Or, if sweet and salty is more to your liking, don't miss out on this fantastic Posh Caramel Corn Recipe, which attempts to replicate Harry and David's popular Moose Munch snack. It makes for a perfect gift, but we won't judge you if you keep it all to yourself.

And coffee lovers will want to try this inspired Kahlúa and Espresso Bean Caramel Corn Recipe, which will keep anyone hopping up and down all throughout their favorite flick. For more recipes and ideas, be sure to check out our slideshow.

Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.

Popcorn recipes

Make the ultimate movie snack for a family film night, or for serving at a party. Our range of perfect popcorn recipes includes sweet, salty and spiced.

Brown sugar & cinnamon glazed popcorn

If you like your popcorn sweet on movie night, then this recipe with a sugary glaze and a hint of warming spice won't disappoint

Toffee popcorn bark

This simple chocolate slab broken into pieces is a crunchy and moreish snack, perfect for a kids party

Sweet & spicy popcorn

Ready in under 10 minutes, this snack is great eaten warm or stored as a snack to stave off hunger between meals

Sweet popcorn

Make a batch of sweet popcorn for a home movie night. It’s a great snack for sharing, or divide into paper cones to avoid bickering!

Sticky popcorn pots

Get your favourite DVD out and whip up some popcorn for a special movie night in

Almond, raisin & popcorn trail mix

Store this nut, raisin and popcorn trail mix in an airtight container and grab a handful for a healthy snack when you’re peckish or out and about

Bombay popcorn mix

A great thrifty homemade snack of salted popcorn with chickpeas, raisins, nuts and Indian spices

Spiced chilli popcorn

Add mixed spice, chilli and black pepper to your standard microwave popcorn for a fuss-free, filling snack. It's a great, grown-up option for movie nights

Chocolate-drizzled popcorn

This chocolatey snack makes a sweet little lunchbox filler. It's quick and easy to prepare too

Salted caramel & popcorn eclairs

Give the classic French bake a modern makeover! Pipe an indulgent salted caramel filling into light choux pastry buns and scatter with crunchy pieces of toffee popcorn

Mussel popcorn subs

Similar to an American po' boy, these battered mussel morsels aren't your average sub filling. Great as a party snack or an alternative fish supper

Salted caramel popcorn pots

Sweet and salty, this decadent dessert is served in individual pots, with a caramel puddle at the base and a creamy panna cotta topping

Kettle Corn

Source: Two Peas And Their Pods

With all the crazy popcorn recipes I found below, I have to say, kettle corn is still one of my favorites by a long shot

What’s better than popcorn and sugar?!

Similar to the previous stovetop recipe, this one is super simple and should only take about 10 minutes to make

Sweeten up your next movie night with this delicious recipe!

Best Popcorn Recipes: The Sweet

7. Cinnamon Toast Popcorn

Mix two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons melted butter, toss vigorously into a large bowl of freshly popped popcorn.

Mix together two tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a separate bowl, and sprinkle over popcorn. Salt to taste.

8. Maple Bacon Popcorn

Mix two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons melted butter, toss vigorously into a large bowl of freshly popped popcorn.

Combine 1/1/2 tablespoons maple sugar and a large pinch of salt and coat popcorn. Add in 4 slices of crumbled bacon.

9. Movie Party Popcorn

Mix two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons melted butter, toss vigorously into a large bowl of freshly popped popcorn.

In a separate bowl put 10 pieces of red licorice chopped into 1/2 inch pieces. Add 3 ounces of m&m or similar candy and two cups mini pretzels. Stir into popcorn and enjoy.

10. Caramel Nutella Popcorn

Start with 10-12 cups of popped popcorn. Heat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine in a microwave-safe bowl 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup corn syrup, and 1/2 cup butter and heat 30 seconds on high.

Stir together and add 3/4 cup of Nutella spread. Microwave again, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. The mixture should be bubbly and double in amount.

Remove from the microwave and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Toss in popcorn. For chewy popcorn lay out on a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper and cool.

For crunchy popcorn, Line cookie sheet with foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper. Bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes. Cool to the desired temperature and serve.

11. Pumpkin Pie Popcorn

Heat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Grease a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray and add 10 cups of popped popcorn.

Combine in saucepan 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup light corn syrup, 6 tablespoons butter, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and two tablespoons water. Simmer over medium-high heat while whisking, until the mixture begins to boil. Let boil for two minutes, whisking occasionally.

Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice. Stir mixture into popcorn until it is coated.

Lay across a parchment-covered cookie sheet and bake 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Cool for 10 minutes and serve.

12. Snickers Popcorn

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Boil 1 cup butter, 2 cups brown sugar, one 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 cup light corn syrup on the stove for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in one teaspoon baking soda. Pour over 8 cups popped popcorn, spread out over waxed paper, and mix in one cup salted peanuts. Transfer to large roasting pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes.

Chop the equivalent of 30 fun-sized snickers candy bars into coarse pieces, and lay across the popcorn, caramel, peanut mixture. Return to the oven for three minutes to melt chocolate from the candy.

Cool on wax paper. Drizzle with additional melted chocolate if desired. Once set, enjoy or store in an airtight container.

Do You Need Bulk Popcorn for Your Restaurant or Business? Shumway Farms Theater Style Popcorn can Help!

Popcorn isn&rsquot just great for movies at home, it is also a great addition to your restaurant or business, giving you a chance to make each customer&rsquos experience a little more memorable. No matter how you pop it, good popcorn starts with quality kernels.

At Shumway Farms Theater Style Popcorn we offer three types of wholesale popcorn butterfly-style popcorn (our most popular), slightly smaller white popcorn, and mushroom style popcorn with the largest kernels, which are great for making caramel corn.

15 Ways to Pop Popcorn

Popcorn is the perfect snack. It’s tasty on its own but it can be topped with anything your creative imagination can dream up. And it can be ready in minutes. While I know that most of us grew up eating popcorn that was popped in that oh so familiar microwaveable bag, there are certainly more ways to pop those little kernels into light, fluffy popcorn.

While munching on a bag of buttered popcorn the other day I starting thinking about how many ways there could be to pop popcorn. I’ve been out searching for a few different ways and I’ve uncovered 15 Ways to pop Popcorn that you may or may not have thought of before. Let’s get poppin’!

#1. Microwave in a Paper Bag

This is probably pretty close to how you’re used to popping popcorn, or at least this is the closest method that I grew up with. Except we’re staying away from the store-bought bags of popcorn here. Using a brown paper bag eliminates the chemicals and pre-mixed flavors you might find on the supermarket self. Andrew shows us how to do it here, with just a paper bag and some popcorn kernels.

#2. Microwave in a Bowl

Another option for popping popcorn in the microwave is the easy and simple Microwave-in-a-Bowl method. It’s similar to the paper bag method but it doesn’t require the paper bag. Just a microwave-safe bowl and a dinner plate.

Get the full story on Popcorn:

Want to venture away from the microwave and move on over to the stove? Christine shows us how to do it over here. All you need is a big saucepan with a lid and some oil with a high smoke point.

This is one of my favorite methods for popping popcorn at home. The Whirley Pop sits on top of the stove and requires just a touch of oil. It pops the kernels while you crank the handle. Josh from Two Peas and Their Pod makes his favorite Kettle Corn Popcorn with this method.

Since we’re still over at the stove, let’s dig on into an option that works as a multi-tasker. Need to season your cast iron pot (or skillet) and get the evening’s movie popcorn made? Ozark Homesteader shows us how to season cast iron by popping popcorn in it.

Air poppers (like this one) use hot air and steam to pop those perfect little kernels into snackable popcorn. Air poppers have been around since the 70’s and Elizabeth from Guilty Kitchen likes to show off her husband’s perfected popcorn popping method with an air popper.

#7. Electric Popcorn Maker

The electric popcorn makers are similar to the Whirley pop and the stove top methods but they use electricity and have an automatic stirrer placed in the bottom to keep the kernels moving.

Don’t want to turn the stove on? Break out the electric skillet to pop those kernels! I even found a video on how to make popcorn in the Electric Skillet. Kitchen Toys Make Cooking Fun shows you exactly how to do it.

Camping out and in need of a snack? It’s so easy and fun to pop popcorn over the campfire. Just let the campfire do all of the work while you tell spooky ghost stories. This campfire popcorn is perfect for when you’re camping or for when you’re out by the fire pit in the back yard. You won’t believe the smoky flavor it takes on. Soooo good.

During the summer months we love to spend time hanging out around the grill. We grill our main entrees and our desserts, so why not our snacks? Karen from Fit Bottomed Eats shows you how it’s done.

I may be stretching here and this may not be that different from a big pot. But…Grace over at Leite’s Culinaria shows us that the perfect popcorn is made in a Wok. All you need is a bit of oil, some popcorn kernels and a large Wok with a lid.

This is one of the methods that I grew up with, but didn’t use a ton. Jiffy Pop was created in the 1950’s as a way to pop popcorn on the stove (or campfire). You buy these ready to heat. You just place the pre-made pan of popcorn kernels and oil over a heat source like a stove top burner and as the kernels heat up they pop and expand the aluminum foil cover.

I have no idea why anyone would want to do this but, thanks to IgaNoKitsune on YouTube, there’s a video that proves that it works!

#14. Popping Popcorn on the Cob

I always thought that the kernels had to be removed from the cob before you popped them into popcorn. I was wrong! MarvPerk3 shows us that an ear of corn can produce a fabulous snack.

Last but not least, we have Fried Popcorn. Carrie from Bite Sized by Carrie shows us how. This popcorn is packed with butter flavor but doesn’t get soggy like other popcorn that has that butter poured all over it.

I had no idea that there were so many ways to pop popcorn! Did I miss any? I dare you to try to think of more!

Pop Stars

½ cup popcorn kernels (which will yield about 12 cups popped popcorn) and cook it however is easiest for you: stovetop, air popper, or the good ol' microwave.

2 cups toasted sweetened coconut

1½ crispy wheat sticks or crispy chow mein noodles

1 cup salted pumpkin seeds, shelled

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Drizzle with melted butter, if desired, and toss again.

½ cup unsalted butter, melted

6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Stir sugar into butter until dissolved.

2. In a large bowl, combine popcorn with remaining ingredients. Add sugar mixture, tossing to coat. Spoon mixture in a single layer onto 2 rimmed baking sheets bake 3 minutes, until mixture is warm and dry.

½ cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup unsalted butter, melted

1½ cups roasted, salted peanuts

1 cup roasted, salted whole almonds

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Stir sugar into butter until dissolved.

2. In a large bowl, combine popcorn with remaining ingredients. Add sugar mixture, tossing to coat. Spoon mixture in a single layer onto 2 rimmed baking sheets bake 8 minutes, tossing halfway through, until mixture is hot and dry.

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Drizzle with melted butter, if desired, and toss again.

1 tsp each Spanish paprika and salt

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Drizzle with melted butter, if desired, and toss again.

1½ tsp each ancho chile powder and ground cumin

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. You don't need melted butter to make most of these recipes better, but go ahead and drizzle some on for total decadence.

recipe by source:

Of course, after all that gourmet popcorn choices, we end with the best and the most classic mix. A bucket of buttered popcorn and a mix of your favorite candies! It can’t get any better than that!

Wow, that was a long list.

And I must admit, it was like torture to write about scrumptious and delectable treats. I kid you not when I say I have drooled over some of the recipes on this list.

As much as I enjoy compiling this for you, I’ve got quite a few of these gourmet popcorn recipes I’ve marked with a star and I can’t wait to try them out.

Who knows how long it will take me to cross out everything on my list and figure out my favorites.

With that, I bid you good day. Go and try the ones you’ve marked as well. Satisfy your curiosity and use the heck out of your Netflix subscription!

Got any recipes you’d like to share? Let us know in a comment below!

How to Make Popcorn 6 Ways

1. How to Make Homemade Popcorn in the Microwave

This method for making homemade popcorn in the microwave comes from recipe creator ACONTORER who says, "Believe it or not, you can make your own delicious, low-fat microwave popcorn using standard popping corn and a brown paper lunch bag. It works perfectly." Save money without sacrificing flavor or convenience by microwaving your own popcorn from a brown paper bag. 

Here&aposs What You&aposll Need: 

  • Small bowl
  • ½ cup unpopped popcorn ($5 Amazon)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste


  1. Combine the popcorn kernels and oil in a small bowl. Pour the coated corn into a brown paper bag and sprinkle with salt. 
  2. Fold the top of the bag over twice to seal. Set the bag upright in the microwave.
  3. Cook in the microwave on high for 2 ½ to 3 minutes, or until you hear pauses of about 2 seconds between pops. 
  4. Carefully open the bag to avoid steam, and pour into a serving bowl. Flavor with additional spices or melted butter if desired.

2. How to Make Popcorn on the Stove

You&aposre probably familiar with this "old-fashioned" method of popping popcorn on the stove. Some people swear the result tastes so much better than microwave popcorn. Find out for yourself using this easy Movie Star Popcorn recipe from Kali: "I like to use peanut oil due to its high smoke point, but if you have allergies, then substitute vegetable oil."

Here&aposs What You&aposll Need:

  • 2-3 quart saucepan with lid
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup unpopped popcorn ($5 Amazon)
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. 
  2. Pour in the popcorn kernels and sprinkle with salt to lightly cover the layer of kernels. Add the butter to the pot and cover with the lid. 
  3. As the kernels start to pop, shake the pan back and forth across the burner until the popping slows down. 
  4. Remove from heat once the pops are about 2 seconds apart. 
  5. Pour into a serving bowl and season as desired. 

3. How to Make Popcorn in the Instant Pot

Fans of the Instant Pot will be thrilled to learn there&aposs yet another use for this multi-functional appliance. Use it to make popcorn from scratch! The best part? You don&apost have to worry about grease splatters on your stove.

Recipe creator Soup Loving Nicole says, "I listed salt as a generic seasoning but feel free to experiment with flavors such as powdered cheese, ranch powder, Frank&aposs® powdered Red Hot® seasoning, etc."

Here&aposs What You&aposll Need:


  1. Turn on the pressure cooker and select the High Saute function. Once the cooker indicates that the pot is hot, scoop the coconut oil in and let it melt. 
  2. Add the popcorn kernels and stir with a rubber spatula until all the kernels are coated. Wait thirty seconds and stir again. 
  3. Cover the pot with the glass lid and cook for 5 minutes. Once the 5 minutes are up, turn off the Saute mode and let it sit for 1 minute, or until kernels have completely stopped popping. 
  4. Transfer the popcorn to a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Flavor with additional spices or melted butter if desired.

4. How to Make Kettle Corn

I don&apost know about you, but I crave this classic fair food year round. Learn to make sweet and salty kettle corn in your own home using this Kettle Corn recipe. You can use either white sugar or brown sugar depending on your taste: "If you use white sugar, it will taste like popcorn balls and if you use brown sugar, it will taste like caramel corn," says recipe creator SUE202. 

Here&aposs What You&aposll Need:

  • Large pot with lid
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup white or brown sugar
  • ½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels ($5 Amazon)


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, stir in the sugar and popcorn. Some reviewers suggest heating a few kernels with the oil, and when they pop you know the oil is hot. 
  2. Cover the pot with a lid and shake the pot constantly to keep the sugar from burning. Once the popping has slowed to once every 2 seconds, remove it from the heat. 
  3. Continue to shake for a few minutes until the popping has completely stopped. 
  4. Pour into a large bowl, and allow to cool. Stir occasionally to break up large clumps.

5. How to Make Caramel Corn

Everybody loves gourmet caramel corn but it can be so expensive. Why not make your own homemade version to give as gifts or to simply enjoy yourself?  This top-rated Caramel Popcorn recipe from BS4U2C has five stars and over 2,300 ratings. This recipe makes enough for 20, so feel free to scale down as needed. 

Here&aposs What You&aposll Need: 

  • Large bowl
  • Medium saucepan
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 quarts popped popcorn. 


  1. Of course your first step is going to be to pop your popcorn (you can use anyone of the methods above!). Once popped, place the popcorn in a very large bowl. Then preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. 
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. 
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Then boil without stirring for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over the popcorn, stirring to coat. 
  4. Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Once the time is up, remove the dishes from the oven and allow the popcorn to cool completely before breaking into pieces. 
  5. Caramel corn makes a great gift when wrapped in cellophane bags ($6 Amazon) and tied with a ribbon ($11 Amazon) as pictured!

6. How to Make Popcorn in a Wok

Although it might sound strange, a wok is actually the perfect helper for making popcorn on the stove. It&aposs wide, sloped surface allows you to easily shake and toss the popcorn without worrying about burning anything. This method is so good, we&aposve dedicated a whole article to. Read our guide on how to make popcorn in a wok.

The concept is not rocket science. Have a bottle of hot sauce? Check? Unbuttered popcorn? Check. Well, you&rsquore in business. But there are some tricks and tips you should follow to avoid soggy popcorn syndrome, unless that&rsquos what you want. Some do love that hot sauce drenched bunch at the bottom of the bag.

Popular hot sauces to use

The basic red hot sauces that you&rsquoll find at your local supermarket do the trick here. Tabasco, Sriracha, Tapatio, Cholula, and Frank&rsquos Red Hot all work very well. Really any tomato and vinegar based Mexican or Cajun hot sauce is acceptable. Avoid mustard based hot sauces, hot sauces with fruit, or super-hot brews. You want that vinegar tang mixed with eatable heat for the best experience.

Prepping method 1: The dip

Simply pour hot sauce into a separate dipping bowl &ndash dip your popcorn at your leisure. If you&rsquore unsure about this combo, this is obviously a good place to start.

Prepping method 2: The drizzle

Simply make your popcorn, place it in a bowl and drizzle it with the hot sauce of your choice. Stir the popcorn to disperse the hot sauce if you&rsquod like. This is the simplest and quickest method (and most often served), but it&rsquos prone to some popcorn not getting coated and other kernels becoming soaked through. For some, this is the exact hot sauce distribution that they prefer. For others, the hot sauce soaked popcorn may be too much.

Prepping method 3: The bag shake

Make your popcorn and place it into a paper bag. Drizzle in the hot sauce, close the bag, and shake thoroughly. This method helps disperse the hot sauce across all of the popcorn more evenly, keeping it crunchier and the taste the same throughout. The paper bag method is also terrific for creating popcorn on the go for family and friends.

Prepping method 4: The spray down

Put your hot sauce into a small kitchen spray bottle. Make your popcorn, place it into a bowl, then use the spray bottle to evenly disperse the hot sauce across the popcorn. There is, of course, the need for an extra tool, but if you find yourself often eating hot sauce on popcorn, keeping a spray bottle of hot sauce at hand may be much handier than paper bags.

Toss freshly popped popcorn with homemade Sriracha salt to add tangy-salty spice to every bite.

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