Photo: Basil Garlic Popcorn | Food Republic via Yummly
From buttered movie theater popcorn to baseball game cracker jacks, popcorn has been a favorite snack for generations. It’s light, shareable, delightfully crunchy, and comes in so many flavors and varieties it never gets boring.
On its own, plain popcorn can be quite the healthy snack. For starters, popcorn is a whole grain, low in fat and a good source of fiber, at approximately 5 grams of fiber per serving of 3–4 cups popped. It’s also lower in calories by volume than many other snacks. For comparison, 1 cup of plain popcorn only has 30 calories, while 1 cup of potato chips has approximately 130 calories.
The tricky side of popcorn is when it comes from a pre-purchased package, often full of hidden fat, sodium, added sugars and excess calories. Microwave buttered popcorn isn’t much better — even low-fat varieties typically contain a variety of chemical additives, such as diacetyl, which can be damaging to the respiratory tract and negatively impact our health in other ways. The good news is that you can easily make your own unique, delicious flavored popcorn from scratch in no time at all. Below are some easy tips for getting started!
How to Make Your Own Popcorn at Home
First up, let’s get things popping! You can always purchase plain popcorn and flavor it yourself, but there’s nothing like making your own from scratch and enjoying fresh, warm crunchy goodness. Plus, making your own popcorn is fast, easy and inexpensive.
Homemade Stovetop Popcorn
Equipment: Choose a tall, 3 to 4 quart pot with a lid, making sure it is fully dry before use.
Oils: In order to pop on the stovetop, you’ll need to use 1–2 tablespoons of added oil. Try to choose one with a high smoke point, such as canola, vegetable, coconut or peanut oil.
Yield: 2 tablespoons of unpopped popcorn makes approximately 2 ½ cups popped popcorn.
- The general rule of thumb is to use 1–2 tablespoons of oil for every ½ cup of unpopped popcorn kernels. Heat the pot on medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons oil, waiting for a few minutes until it is hot.
- Add 2–3 popcorn kernels to the oil and cover, waiting until they pop. Once the initial 3 kernels pop, you are ready to go! Remove the popped kernels from the pot and add the rest of the popcorn, coating the kernels in the oil and spreading them evenly across the bottom of the pot, then cover immediately.
- Once a significant amount of the popcorn starts to pop, crack the lid a bit to let out some of the steam.
- When the popping subsides, remove from heat, keeping the lid on fully until you hear the last few pops.
- Serve and enjoy!
Need more inspiration? Try this recipe for a basic, tasty 10-minute stovetop popcorn.
Homemade Microwave Popcorn
Place 2–3 tbsp of unpopped popcorn to a brown paper bag, rolling down the opening several times until the opening is securely closed. Microwave on the High setting for 2–3 minutes, or until most of the kernels have popped. You may need to experiment with your microwave to find the perfect setting.
Popcorn Topping Ideas
You can customize your popcorn any variation of unique flavors by using a variety of toppings, such as spices, herbs, dry fruits, nuts, seeds and oils. We’ve compiled some fun DIY popcorn ideas below for any tastebuds to enjoy.
If you have a sweet tooth, try this recipe for Cocoa Cinnamon Popcorn. It only takes 4 minutes to make, and 5 ingredients (not counting the popcorn, of course).
If you like spice, try this vegan recipe for Sriracha Popcorn. If you’re making popcorn on the stovetop, this recipe calls for coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. If you make your popcorn in the microwave, you can skip oil, or melt 1 tbsp coconut oil separately (in the microwave or on the stovetop) and drizzle it on the popcorn immediately after popping, either in the paper bag or once you’ve transferred the popcorn to a bowl.
If you’re craving something savory, try this indulgent recipe for Truffle & Rosemary Popcorn, with fresh rosemary, truffle oil, and Parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast if vegan). Or, consider these other savory DIY popcorn options:
If you want a snack with added benefits, try these recipes:
- Curry Popcorn is made with anti-inflammatory spices including turmeric and cinnamon.
- Seaweed Popcorn features nori, the seaweed used in sushi rolls and handrolls, which is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Do you have another favorite homemade popcorn topping? Share it in the comments!