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: Flavored popcorn makes a great anytime gift, too. Make a giant batch of one (or all three!) of these popcorns, and surprise a favorite teacher — or drop them on your BFF’s porch.
3 Popcorn Toppers
- Heat the vegetable oil in a tall, large, thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn kernels and swirl to combine.
- Cover with a lid and heat the popcorn until there are 2 seconds between each pop, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Pour the popcorn into a bowl and enjoy with your favorite toppings!
- In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter and garlic powder.
- 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.
- 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.
- Repeat with the remaining butter, salt, Tajín, and lime zest to coat evenly.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the sugar, salt, and popcorn kernels. Swirl to combine.
- 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.
- Pour the kettle corn into a bowl and enjoy!