Skip to main content
Close Menu

3 Popcorn Toppers

3 Popcorn Toppers

 

Many people, too many people, think of popcorn as a purely situational snack, only to be eaten under the flickering twilight of movie night or the bright lights of the workday. Yes, it’s classic in both those scenarios, but it also makes a fantastic appetizer or dessert (kettle corn, we’re looking at you), especially if you make it from scratch and top it with a bunch of gourmet ingredients. It’s low-key fancy and cocktail-worthy, and it has the same element of delighted surprise that comes with throwbacks like beer nuts and potato chips and French onion dip — people are always glad to see popcorn, and they will gobble it up.   

We like these simple combinations because they feature pantry and fridge staples, like raw sugar, garlic, limes, and Parm, so they’re perfect for throwing together at the last minute. They’re also a fun cooking project for the kids, once the popcorn is popped — there’s lots of sprinkling and shaking.

Our tip: As the holiday season will attest, flavored popcorn makes a great gift. Make up a giant batch of one (or all three!) of these popcorns, and drop them on your BFF’s porch. 

 

How to Make Popcorn

 

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

½ cup popcorn kernels

 

Directions

 

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a tall, large, thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn kernels and swirl to combine.

  2. Cover with a lid and heat the popcorn until there are 2 seconds between each pop, about 3 to 4 minutes.

  3. Pour the popcorn into a bowl and enjoy with your favorite toppings!

 

Butter, Parm & Garlic Popcorn

 

This is basically the popcorn equivalent of Doritos — it’s so savory, cheesy, and punchy, you just kind of want to stuff it in your face ‘til it’s all gone. And even then, if you’re anything like us, you’ll consider making a second batch. 

 

Ingredients

 

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

½ Tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp kosher salt, divided

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

 

Directions

 

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter and garlic powder.

  2. Pour half of the garlic butter over the popcorn, and sprinkle ½ tsp salt and ¼ cup Parmesan on top. Shake the popcorn to mix it up and evenly coat. Repeat with the remaining garlic butter, salt and Parmesan to coat evenly.

 

Tajín & Lime Popcorn

 

Tajín is a Mexican seasoning blend that’s made with mild chile peppers, lime, and sea salt. For this topping, we play up the citrus by tossing it with a couple pinches of lime zest — it’s buttery, spicy, and bright in a way that never gets old. We could eat this one all day.

Our tip: If you don’t have Tajín seasoning on hand, try subbing in some chili powder. (And then pick up a bottle of Tajín the next time you’re at Gelson’s. It’s great on fresh corn too, like our air fryer elote and Mexican corn salad.)

 

Ingredients

 

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, divided

1 tsp kosher salt, divided

1 ½ Tbsp Tajín seasoning, divided

Zest of 2 limes, divided

 

Directions

 

  1. Pour half of the melted butter over the popcorn, and sprinkle ½ tsp salt, ¾ Tbsp Tajín, and the zest from 1 lime over the popcorn. Shake the popcorn to mix it up and evenly coat. 

  2. Repeat with the remaining butter, salt, Tajín, and lime zest to coat evenly.

 

Kettle Corn

 

This kettle corn tastes exactly like the stuff you get at the farmers market, and it’s so easy to make. We like it for a late afternoon sweet, a cocktail pairing (think bourbon), or a star-gazing dessert.  

Our tip: if you don’t have raw sugar, you can use white, granulated sugar.

 

Ingredients

 

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

3 Tbsp raw sugar

½ tsp kosher salt

½ cup popcorn kernels

 

Directions

 

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the sugar, salt, and popcorn kernels. Swirl to combine.

  2. Cover with a lid and swirl the pot continuously as the popcorn heats and pops so that the sugar doesn’t stick and burn. Pop the corn until there are 2 seconds between each pop, about 3 to 4 minutes.

  3. Pour the kettle corn into a bowl and enjoy!

 

Calculate nutrition information for this recipe.

Sign up for Email

Email savings right to your inbox!