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Homemade Popcorn Seasonings

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Homemade popcorn seasonings are a must have for your next movie night! Learn the basics for making your own popcorn seasoning recipes to level up this healthy snack.

This recipe is part of the cozy mystery cooking club series.

DIY Popcorn Seasoning

What happens when our Cozy Mystery Cooking Club selection happens to collide with my favorite snack? Lovely, lovely things…like, popcorn for lunch!

This month’s book is Kernel of Truth by Kristi Abbott from the Popcorn Shop Mystery Series. The heroine creates lots of treats to satisfy your sweet tooth, but I’m going savory with my book-inspired recipe. 

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that trustworthy standby, salted, buttered popcorn, sometimes you want to mix things up a bit. I’ve come up with three great popcorn seasonings using ingredients you already have in your pantry (probably).

But, even better, I’ll show you how easy it is to create your own popcorn seasoning flavors to take your popcorn to the next level anytime!

(Showcase your DIY popcorn seasonings with a themed popcorn bar. It’s a great last minute entertaining solution!)

Homemade Popcorn Seasoning Ingredients

If you’ve got a spice rack, you’ve got the beginnings of a tasty seasoning mix! 

Chili Cilantro Lime

  • Lime zest
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Dried cilantro
  • Kosher salt

Basil Coconut Curry

  • Curry powder
  • Dried basil
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Kosher salt

Rosemary Garlic Lemon

  • Lemon zest
  • Fresh rosemary 
  • Garlic powder
  • Kosher Salt

{For taco flavored popcorn, try incorporating some of this Homemade Low Sodium Taco Seasoning!}

Seasonings that Stick

There’s nothing worse than sitting down to a large bowl of popcorn to find that it’s bland because all your salt or seasoning has sunk to the bottom of the bowl. There are ways to prevent that from happening!

  • Start with fine seasoning — that is, the smaller the grains of seasoning, the easier it will stick to your popcorn. (Don’t worry…I’ll explain how to get there!)
  • Use melted butter — or a light drizzle of olive oil to help seasonings stick to popped corn.
  • Season ASAP — don’t wait too long to season your popcorn. As soon as it’s done popping, dump into a big bowl and get seasoning. Any residual oil or steam still clinging to the popcorn will help the seasoning stick (as will that melted butter!).

How to Make Homemade Popcorn Seasonings

Spice Grinder Method (Electric)

I think this is the quickest and best way to get a fine texture. Simply place all the ingredients into the spice grinder (I use a Krups coffee/spice grinder) and pulse a few times. Give the grinder a little tap or shake to loosen things up and pulse again.

The blades of a spice grinder sit flat and very close to the bottom of the bowl. It’s also a small space and gets a good vortex going. This makes it ideal for grabbing up and processing all the bits.

Mini Blender Method (Electric)

The next quick option is to use a mini blender, something like a Magic Bullet smoothie blender. It’s got extra blades, but also those that sit close to the bottom…that’s key! 

The method is the same…add all ingredients to the blender and pulse a few times until fine.

Mortar + Pestle (Manual)

The mortar + pestle will take longer to achieve a fine texture than a spice grinder will, but it can still improve the stickability of your spices. Place your ingredients into the mortar (bowl) and use the pestle to pulverize larger bits. 

PRO TIP: for ingredients like flaked coconut and fresh herbs, use a knife to mince them as fine as you can before adding to the mortar. 

Spices being ground in a mortar with a pestle.

Helpful Recipe Tips

Give fresh ingredients time to dry.

Spread fresh lime or lemon zest across a plate and leave it on the counter for an hour or more. Do the same with fresh minced rosemary. Letting some of the moisture evaporate will prevent your ingredients from clumping together or turning into a paste.

Don’t blend too long.

If using an electric spice grinder or mini blender, pulse in short bursts and check often to make sure the mix isn’t turning into a paste.

How to store popcorn seasoning.

These are small batch quantities, enough for maybe 1 cup of unpopped kernels, which is about two nights worth of popcorn for my small family. Place any leftover seasoning in an airtight container, small spice jars are great, and store it along with your other spices or pantry items. 

Make Your Own Variations

Use the combinations and measurements in the recipe card as a guide or jumping off point to create your own flavors. 

  • Increase or decrease any of the ingredients in my recipes to customize the blend to your taste. For instance, if you like spicy popcorn, increase the amount of red pepper flakes or add a pinch of cayenne pepper. 
  • Add grated parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast to your blends for a cheesy flavor.
  • Do you make your own ranch seasoning blend for dips and dressings? Turn that into popcorn seasoning. 
  • The next time you’re throwing spices together for a recipe, ask yourself if you can use it for popcorn.

My Method for Making Popcorn

While this is really about the seasonings, I thought it couldn’t hurt to share my favorite way to make popcorn…on the stove top! Microwave popcorn is full of who knows what and an air popper is just another contraption to store in the cupboard, so a large pot or saucepan is my go-to.

For two servings:

  • 1 tablespoon of oil (unrefined coconut, olive or avocado)
  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels (I prefer organic varieties)
  • 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter

Steps for crunchy popcorn:

  • Add the oil and 3 corn kernels to a heavy-bottomed pot. Put the lid on and place over medium heat. 
  • As soon as all 3 kernels pop, move the pot off the burner. Add the remaining popcorn kernels and give the pot a little shake to evenly distribute. Place the lid on and count to 30, still off the burner (this distributes the heat and primes the kernels for popping).
  • Move the pot back to medium heat, then tip the lid just a bit so steam has a way to escape (because, steam = not crunchy). 
  • Once the kernels start popping, give the pot a shake every now and then and listen closely. When the popping sounds reduce to only every couple of seconds, turn off the heat. 
  • Tip the popcorn into a bowl, drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with homemade seasoning. Give it a toss and season more, if needed.

A 3-quart saucepan works for two servings. If I’m doubling the recipe for the whole family, I’ll use my 6-quart pot.

More Snack Time Fixes…

Closeup of a bowl of popcorn.

Homemade Popcorn Seasonings

Linda Feller
Homemade popcorn seasonings are a must have for your next movie night! Learn the basics for making your own popcorn seasoning recipes to level up this healthy snack.
Prep time.5 minutes
Total time.5 minutes
Course.Snack
Cuisine.Indian, Italian, Latin American, Thai
Number of servings.2

Ingredients

Chili Cilantro Lime

  • zest of one lime, spread out on a plate to dry for at least an hour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried cilantro
  • teaspoon red pepper flakes

Basil Coconut Curry

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • teaspoon curry powder

Rosemary Garlic Lemon

  • zest of one lemon, spread out on a plate to dry for at least an hour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

Spice Grinder + Mini Blender Instructions

  • Place ingredients into the spice grinder. Pulse several times until the blend has a fine texture, but not so much that it becomes a paste. Give it a tap or shake partway through to make sure the grind is even.

Mortar + Pestle Instructions

  • With a knife, mince any larger ingredients as small as possible (like coconut flakes and rosemary). Place ingredients into the mortar bowl. Use the pestle to pulverize large bits and combine the ingredients.

Notes

STORING POPCORN SEASONING: These are small batch quantities, enough for maybe 1 cup of unpopped kernels, which is about two nights worth of popcorn for my small family. Place any leftover seasoning in an airtight container, small spice jars are great, and store it along with your other spices or pantry items. 
MAKE IT YOUR OWN: Adjust the ratio of ingredients for any of these blends to suit your taste.
Keywords.make ahead, no cook
Did You Make This Recipe?Be sure to share a comment below!

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