HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >



  • c

Does anyone have any good, tasty recipes for plain old popcorn? I don't want to use salt or butter (maybe a lttle salt). What about using cooking spray instead of butter?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. cooking spray is horrible for you- use oil and cayenne or garlic as a spice

    1 Reply
    1. re: kpaxonite

      Yes, I thought so. When I used it (1 time) I cringed. You know, I did use cayenne as a spice...

    2. Use corn oil (grapeseed oil is good but more neutral, so you probably would appreciate corn oil here). If you want to reduce the saturation of the popped corn with the oil, cover the top of the pot with paper towel (leave a slight gap somewhere so steam can escape, or you get soggier corn) and cover it with a splatter screen or most of a pot cover, et cet.

        1. re: ferret

          Well, I don't need all that sat-fat.

          1. re: crn

            no sat fat in Bacon Salt. it's bacon-flavored salt.

          2. re: ferret

            What rock have I been living under that I did not know this fantastic product existed? I've never seen it in a store, but jumping over to amazon right now...

            1. re: enbell

              +1 on the yeast. Our local movie house turned us on to this popcorn topping-delicious!

              1. re: amyamelia

                +2 on the nutritional yeast. I received it as a birthday gift. It is excellent. It is expensive (I have seen a HUGE tub for $12 at Whole Foods), but it is a good investment in your health and you can sprinkle it on tons of items for added nutrition.

              2. re: enbell

                +3 for nutritional yeast. I drizzle a little soy sauce over the popcorn, add garlic powder, grate some parmesean cheese (or hard cheese i have on hand)...my go to comfort snack (reminds me of my hippy mother).

              3. I've given this suggestion before, but I put balsamic vinegar in a spray bottle and use that....it's really really good with a little salt....it can make a few kernels a little soggy, but great flavour with no extra fat/calories...
                also check out the flavour shakers they sell at the supermarket..I live in Canada and Kernels sell their shakers at supermarkets and Bulk Barn sells popcorn seasoning in bulk

                1. if you're popping in oil, some of the tastiest popcorn I've ever had was popped in Peanut oil and seasoned with a tiny bit of salt. Marvelous!

                  Another seasoning (not cooking) oil that would be good is Toasted Walnut Grapeseed Oil by Cuisine Perel.. I find it in gourmet grocers or kitchen goods stores near the olive oils. It is my Secret Ingredient; I use it in dressings, brush it over meats. It's Sooooo good. Use in place of butter on popped corn.

                  I use an Poppery II air popper, and dress with a bit of butter melted in some grapeseed oil and toss with a little finely grated parmesan and fresh ground pepper.

                  I find it difficult to flavor with things like soy--it wets the popcorn and makes it mooshy.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: toodie jane

                    I sometimes pop with bacon grease, sometimes with olive oil, and use Old Bay as seasoning.

                  2. 1/4 cup popcorn in a paper bag, lunch size, barely a tablespoon of peanut oil, coupla teaspoons salt...in a microwave...mine does a good job in 2 minutes, adjust your time when the popping drops off. Into a bowl, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, a touch more salt. I've never gone back to butter

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: BiscuitBoy

                      This sounds yummy and I would like to try it, but how do you seal the bag so everything doesn't pop out all over the microwave? Scotch tape?

                      1. re: Awwshucks

                        Just fold it 3 times. And don't overfill. You don't need a staple or seal (in fact, it's good to let some steam escape).

                          1. re: BiscuitBoy

                            V. cool! Can you sub a different oil for the popping part, like canola?

                            1. re: grayelf

                              sure...I've tried canola and veg, they work fine too...you can even dial back the amount a little, just not so much that it burns (in my little microwave anyway)

                              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                You can even leave out the oil completely before microwaving...that's how I do it...1/4 or less in a lunchbag...after it's done, THEN I add a small amount of melted butter and a little salt. Have also enjoyed nutritional yeast on it.

                      2. Use: 1/2 cup of popcorn, 3tbsp coconut oil, Diamond Crystal popcorn salt (or even better - Flavacol) to your taste/allowance.

                        Put all of the above in a pot over medium-high heat with the lid slightly ajar. Cook until the popping slows down and enjoy.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: CDouglas

                          Coconut oil is by far the best tasting thing to cook popcorn in. SO GOOD!!!

                        2. Spicy Ranch dressing mix...just the dry powder.

                          1. Olive oil, crushed red pepper and orange zest.

                            1. Love popcorn, my absolute favorie snack. If I am feeling reckless, I lke it with butter, garlic salt, and parmesan. Butter is the greatest but if I want to avoid the 100 cals/tbsp, I have been known to use a butter substitute. I am also a fan of various popcorn seasonings I buy online at Spicebarn.com. If I am really feeling degenerate, I cook up some bacon, the # of slices depends on how crazy you feel, then cook the popcorn in the bacon drippings. Then I crumble the bacon into the popcorn and toss it with some finely shredded cheddar cheese. While I don't eat it often, I think I could eat it every day. Trouble is, I have been on a strict diet for 440 days so all I do is dream about it. Have some for me so I know someone is having fun.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: extaca

                                Smoked Black Pepper does it for me.

                                1. re: extaca

                                  Try the bacon salt - it's not sourced from actual bacon but it's a pretty good facsimile.

                                2. I use the thick kicap or soy sauce it isn't very salty but has a great taste and mixed with a mild curry powder and a little sale doesn't even need butter

                                  1. I have been limited to microwave popcorn for the last while, definitely not my favorite, but still edible. My preference is traditional popped in oil approach and as a teenager some years back, I would adulterate the oil with bacon grease. I loved that bacon flavor. Recently I simply do a small bit of butter and a tablespoon of bacon fat melted together to dress the popcorn. Not the best choice in terms of health, but a nice little powder keg of flavor. And I try to limit that to a "not very often" indulgence.

                                    If I was going to eat it very often, say more than once every week or two, I think shifting to an air popper would be the way to limit the amount of total oil consumption. The suggestion of balsamic vinegar misted sounds kind of interesting to me. As does the salt and parmigiano, gosh I love parmigiano-reggiano! Curry powder is another interesting alternative I had never considered. Great Thread!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Tatoosh

                                      i love a sprinkle of old bay and a lttle sugar together,,,,

                                    2. Love the corn that doth pop. Good PC requires good popping corn, I use one called Fireworks. They have several varieties. Then I take coconut oil and heat on med-high with three kernels. When the kernels pop it is ready to add the corn. I am not a big shaker and I leave the lid ajar to let out the steam. I use different toppings but like a good steak seasoning. When I am in a wild mood I will add a spoon of butter or bacon fat (duck fat better) to the coconut oil. I let mine burn a little on the bottom. It makes a crisper corn and I like the little burn kernels. Do a search for popcorn there are several good places to order from. I use: http://www.popcornlovers.com/

                                      1. If you love popcorn you have to have a WhirlyPop popcorn maker. You can get them at Bed, Bath & Beyond usually at the holiday time or maybe anytime at their online store. I keep mine on the stove top ready to go all the time. No need to wash every time & it makes the best popcorn!!
                                        I use only coconut oil & tiny rice size popcorn that I get at the farmers market in Madison Wisconsin. Best popcorn you've ever tasted. People rave about my popcorn. I also like to put nutritional yeast on it. Makes it taste cheesy.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: karenjane8

                                          ONe day, while looking for a cheap snack, I bought some microwave popcorn at Costco. It was much cheper than chips and much cheaper than at the grocery store. Then, I noticed the big 8lb container of popcorn at Costco. Far far cheaper than the microwave variety and, I soon found, much cheaper. I then became a popcorn maniac. I found my favorite vessel to cook the popcorn is my 14" Circulon wok with the generic domed lid i bought somewhere else. It makes great popcorn in almost the same time as microwave popcorn withouth the funny aftertaste. I have amassed scads of popcorn recipes. If I am cravng dessert, I throw two tablespoons of butter with two tablespoons of oil into the pan and drop three kernels. When the kernels pop, I add 1/2-2/3 cup kernels and 1/2 cup brown sugar. You must keep moving the pan but in about 5 minutes you add salt and you have kettle corn.

                                          1. re: karenjane8

                                            I grew up with whirly pop and it was the one thing I had to have in my college apartment(aside from the basic cookware). I still get comments on it...but while most people were living on easy mac and ramen in college...I was living on popcorn. Every. single day. and I never got sick of it. Pretty healthy in comparison because I've always made it with olive oil and salt - sometimes a little butter. Roommates always got excited when I made it, even with just olive oil/salt it's so good! Now I'm known at work for bringing popcorn almost every day for a mid-morning snack.

                                          2. So I have a few..popcorn has been my favorite thing for years..I crave it---Okay last night I had Popcorn popped in Virgin Coconut Oil tossed with Truffle Oil and Sea Salt. Another way that people rave about is Popcorn tossed with Tamari and Butter and a smidge of Seseme Oil. And then there is my Aunt Martha's Fave which 1 cup peanut butter and 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup karo syrup ----bring to a boil for 1 minute, and pour over popcorn! Almost like Caramel Corn! So yes I adore popcorn!!

                                            1. Try air popping then spray with Truffle oil and a pinch of salt, toss well.... finish with a fine grated Parmesan.... VERY YUMMY

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Michael J Schanzer

                                                Yes, truffle! :) I like to use truffle salt instead of truffle oil because I use a neutral grapeseed oil for popping, then add the truffle salt at the very end and, in my opinion, I get the best flavor out of it! :) Anyway, no matter how you "get there", oil or salt, it's that delicious truffle aroma and flavor that make them irresistable!

                                                1. re: damo267

                                                  I second the truffle salt. Great with red wine,

                                              2. I will add cajun seasoning, jerk seasoning, and sometimes kernel corn.

                                                1. I mix Kosher salt with hot curry powder from Penzey's and grind them together in my electric spice grinder until they're super fine. (They stick to the popcorn better that way.) This makes a wonderful popcorn salt/seasoning, but be careful not to inhale the stuff or you'll be coughing and sneezing for a solid 30 minutes. I've also found that putting a little bit of the curry powder into the popping oil before popping really brings out the flavor and aroma of the curry, and it gives the popcorn a nice golden color.

                                                  1. I like popcorn with furikake, which is a japanese topping containing nori and sesame seeds. It comes in several different flavors.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Kaname650

                                                      I recently made some sweet potato fries and seasoned them with furikake. It was new to me and they were so good!

                                                    2. My favorite flavorings include Penzeys Black and Red Spice, garlic powder, various cheese powders, and Butter Buds...all at the same time. I also do salt.

                                                      Many other good ideas here, tho. Hmmm, Bacon Salt!

                                                      1. I love popcorn. I pop it in olive oil the old fashion way on the stove top. I like to season it with a little butter, Jane's Crazy mixed up salt, and fresh parmesean cheese. Also good is Creole seasoning. I went to college in New Orleans and every party I went to had the spicy pop corn seasoned with New Orlean's spicy seasoning. Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning is what I use. Works greats for blackened meats or fish also, if you like that too.

                                                        1. I like to make mine with olive oil and douse it with a little Lea and Perrins, some flax seed oil (you read that right...it's healthy and tasty), and a shake of Garam Masala or Ras a Hanut. Homemade spice mixtures are best. Sometimes I add sea salt (the large crystals). Yum alternative to butter, which of course I love the most.

                                                          1. When I need to feel real patriotic I get my pop corn, a fist of Kentucky brown mountain water, and put on some jazz. It don't get no more American than that. And if I really want to get super patriotic I put on a jazz version of This Land is My Land. Problem if I am not careful I want to invade a developing country for my own wealth.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: swampguy

                                                              "This Land is your land, this land is my land.....
                                                              From Bonavista to Vancouver Island..
                                                              This land was made for You'N'Me

                                                              1. re: swampguy

                                                                ..."Kentucky brown mountain water..." Had to think about that one for a minute. I may try that next time, instead of the St Louis amber fizzy water

                                                              2. I make my popcorn on the stove in a nice hot pot... i do use a veggie oil and some salt. I also put the lid on the pot to keep the heat in... it doesn't make it soggy.

                                                                IF you want to use butter... my sister introduced to me melted butter with soy sauce - it may sound odd but let me tell you the first time she made it for me... we immediately made a second batch. It is AWESOME!

                                                                1. Fresh-squeezed lemon juice and a little salt. Got that from Film Forum in NYC.

                                                                  1. Tabasco! On microwave or air-popped, tabasco along with butter, butter salt, flavacol (whatever you prefer). Might end of with a few soggy kernels. Our preference here is tabasco in the popping oil in the popper/pan/fireplace popper. No soggy kernels thay way, and once again add your preffered butter-type flavor.

                                                                    1. What's with all the savoury recipes? I like mine popped in a pot with a little corn oil, with melted, caramelized sugar drizzled on top at the end. Toss and add some freshly grated black pepper for a kick.

                                                                      1. My go to oil is EVO, then coconut and then peanut. On my wilder days I will add bacon fat, duck fat, or butter. I heat this oil with 3 kernels when they pop I add the rest of the corn. I pop with the lid ajar until there is enough popped corn to hold the popping then I remove the lid altogether. My wife does not like burn popcorn and I do so I remove hers and led the bottom get a little burn. Then I add whatever seasoning I am in the mood for that night.
                                                                        I do want a whirlybird because that is supposed to be the cat's meow when it comes to popping.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: swampguy

                                                                          Re: Whirlybird .. better think about this, maybe read reviews on Amazon. I read the reviews (some said they now come with plastic parts that melt off) but ordered one, anyway. I know I take really good care of things and thought these others probably had heat too high or something.

                                                                          Well, it happened to me, gear melted and broke apart. I wrote the company and they sent me another part (thank God I was able to figure out how to replace). After about 2 more batches of popcorn, the same thing happened to the new gear so I threw everything into the garbage can.

                                                                          1. re: swampguy

                                                                            I too will recommend you think again about the whirlybird/whirlypop. They are a PITA to wash and no matter what anyone says, eventually you do have to wash them. They also are made with thin aluminum or stainless steel so it is easy to scorch/burn the popcorn. We used one for years then I decided to use a 5 quart kettle and never went back.


                                                                            We have never once had popcorn burn and it's not a unitasker. It's also extremely easy to wash.

                                                                          2. I learned from my grandpa. The only thing I do different is the oil and that is for my heart. I like my corn crispy and that is why I let the moisture out.

                                                                            1. I've been burnt out on truffle oil, butter, and parmesean popcorn so lately I've been using butter or oil and smoked paprika.

                                                                              However, nothing beats salt, butter, and freshly cracked black pepper.

                                                                              1. Oh my gosh! So many ideas here. I have duck fat, white truffle butter (Aux Delices des Bois brand) and Kerrygold Irish butter in the fridge. Also Garam Masala, soy sauce, Bragg's Amino Acids, bacon salt, various finishing salts, tandoor seasonings, OK balsamic and great balsamic on the way, good parmesan, good olive oil, and various other seasonings. Where to start.....

                                                                                1. i make popcorn using the organic yellow kernels from the whole foods bulk food dept.
                                                                                  i pop them in a plain brown paper bag in the microwave.
                                                                                  it's important, when about half the corn has popped, to remove the popped kernels from the back before returning it to the microwave to pop the second half.

                                                                                  1. I pop it on my stovetop with either peanut oil or corn oil and then it just depends on my mood. Yesterday, I had some with just extra virgin olive oil sprayed on it and tossed it with salt and pepper. But VERY OFTEN, I'll throw either some tabasco sauce or Cholula hot sauce. I've also been known to treat my popcorn as potato/corn chips and dip it into some chile con queso that I make. I tell myself that this is healthier. But really, it's just so good.

                                                                                    1. I see that it hasn't yet been mentioned, so I will. When my best friend went to Italy for an exchange program in high school, she brought me back a nutella cookbook. The only recipe that we were able to discern effectively was nutella popcorn. Our version is to melt equal parts butter and nutella in the microwave and then pour it over popcorn. I usually use air-popped for this (though I generally prefer oil-popped) as there's no notable difference in flavor with all the nutella smothering it, and there are certainly fewer calories. Top with a pinch of kosher salt and start attacking it.

                                                                                      1. Virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. Saturated fat has gotten an unjustified bad rap.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: Nate650


                                                                                          A friend of mine once popped popcorn in lard and topped it with bacon salt. It was a revelation.

                                                                                        2. Fresh herbs and butter!!

                                                                                          I like to make Rosemary Butter. It is so good! Take fresh Rosemary only melt butter right before it clarifies add fresh Rosemary cook until the aroma hits. If you mince the Rosemary you can leave it in but it may over power. I use it whole and remove it after then use as a garnish.

                                                                                          Happy Popping!!

                                                                                          1. This is the great thing about popcorn, it is a neutral flavor that takes on just about anything you add to it. Add some sugar to you oil when the sugar is dissolve pop your corn.

                                                                                            We call that frizzy water "Cajun Soda Pop" I make a drink called the Smitty that goes great with popcorn. I take a large tea glass fill with a little ice, add a shot of orange liquoir then bill with a nice sauviongn blanc or pinot grigo. I will top with a orange slice. You can try lemon cello or frambious. Be careful on a hot day you can down a few of these before you know what is happening. For sparkling add a nice Spanish bubbly.

                                                                                            1. The last time I ordered from Penzey's, they included a freebie of adobo seasoning. That stuff is fantastic on popcorn.

                                                                                              1. My preference is for Louisiana butter- melt, butter, add a couple splashes of hot sauce (Louisiana brend, Tabasco chipotle, or frank's chili lime). Don't need enough to make it hot, just enough for that wonderful savory aroma...

                                                                                                Nutella on popcorn sure sounds mighty good though.

                                                                                                1. I like furikake, which is a Japanese condiment usually sprinkled over rice. It's got toasted nori and sesame seeds, and lots of different kinds of savory flavor elements. Mildly addictive...


                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. Olive oil with one of these:
                                                                                                    garam masala blend
                                                                                                    sweet curry powder
                                                                                                    cinnamon with a bit of salt
                                                                                                    smoked paprika--hot
                                                                                                    cracked pepper
                                                                                                    grated parmesan cheese

                                                                                                    And sometimes, I just douse it with tabasco. It gets soggy, but it's tasty.

                                                                                                    1. Chipotle chili powder. Yum.