Bagged microwave popcorn yields about 3-5 cups popped, but you can stretch your budget by popping bulk corn kernels yourself. Simply scoop them into a brown paper lunch bag, then fold the top over twice. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, until popping slows to 1-2 pops per second. The yield depends on the type of kernel, but as a guideline, 1/4 cup kernels yields about 10 cups popcorn.
10 Flavored Popcorn Recipe Ideas
For the best flavor and freshest taste, start with plain, unsalted popcorn and serve immediately.
1. Chocolate Drizzle Popcorn: Spread 5 cups popcorn on a baking sheet. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave 1-2 cups chocolate chips in 30-second increments until smooth and melted, stirring frequently. Using a back and forth motion, drizzle chocolate over popcorn. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired, then refrigerate until set. Break apart.
Tip: Mix in almonds and dried cherries with the chocolate before drizzling, and you’ve got one delicious, nutritious trail mix.
2. Candied Popcorn: Grease a large roasting pan, then fill with 20 cups popcorn. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/4 cup water, then boil for 3 minutes. Let cool to lukewarm, pour over popcorn and toss to coat. Scoop onto parchment paper and let cool completely before breaking apart.
Tip: Add 1-2 drops red food coloring to the syrup to make old-fashioned pink popcorn, or color it to match the holiday or occasion you’re making it for.
3. Chili Lime Popcorn: Toss 10 cups popcorn with melted butter to taste, then mix in 1 teaspoon chili powder and 2 teaspoons fresh lime zest.
4. Sugar & Spice Popcorn: Grease a large roasting pan, then fill with 20 cups popcorn. In a saucepan over low heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons water, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring until sugar dissolves. Let cool to lukewarm, then pour over popcorn and toss to coat. Bake at 250 F for 20 minutes, stirring once after 10 minutes.
5. Italian Herb & Cheese Popcorn: Keep 10 cups popcorn warm in a 200 F oven. Melt 2-4 tablespoons butter, then stir in 1-2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Toss with still-warm popcorn.
6. Maple Bacon Popcorn: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then spread with 10 cups popcorn. Sprinkle with 1 pound thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled (reserve 2 tablespoons bacon drippings). Combine reserved drippings, 3/4 cup maple syrup, 1 teaspoon black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt, then drizzle over popcorn, tossing to coat. Spread in a single layer and bake 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. Popcorn balls: Use our quick and easy recipe for cute individual popcorn balls.
8. Caramel Corn: Toss 3 cups pre-popped popcorn with 1/2 cup of caramel sauce. Serve immediately. For an extra flavor kick, toss it with 1 teaspoon of course sea salt.
9. Peanut Butter Popcorn: Spread 10 cups popcorn on a baking sheet. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine 1/2 cup honey and 1/3 cup sugar. Simmer, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup peanut butter until melted, then mix in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Pour over popcorn and toss well to coat. Let cool before serving.
Tip: Hosting a party? Set out an assortment of flavored popcorn for guests to try.
10. Personalized Popcorn: Mix together your favorite herbs, spices and other seasonings to create one-of-a-kind blends, then funnel them into salt shakers. When it’s snack time, just toss popcorn with melted butter or olive oil and seasoning mix to taste.
Tip: If your mix contains anything fresh, like grated cheese or citrus zest, slip a piece of parchment or wax paper over the shaker, then screw on the lid and store in the fridge.