Sweet or Salty: Popcorn Seasoning Ideas

Last Updated on April 16, 2021
Doug Stephen

A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.  

Doug is a hardcore barbeque enthusiast and connoisseur. While he spends most of his time on editing and research,
he sometimes moonlights as a product tester for particularly interesting things he comes across.

popcorn

Whether you’re at the movie theater, the fairground, or settling down for a quiet night in front of the television, popcorn is a popular snack choice that everyone loves. It’s an affordable, healthier alternative to potato chips that still gives you something to munch on throughout the evening.

One of the reasons popcorn is so well-loved by everyone is how diverse its flavor can be. Popcorn is a chameleon, completely transforming in taste depending on how you season it. Whether you prefer your snacks salty or sweet, there’s a popcorn seasoning available for everyone to love; all you have to do is find your favorite.

Satisfy That Salty Craving

If you love traditional buttered popcorn for its addictive, salty flavor, then you can stick to savory seasonings and leave the sugar out of the equation. There are countless popcorn seasoning ideas for changing up the taste of your classic movie theater butter popcorn, and they’re extremely simple. Chances are, you have several of the ingredients in your pantry already.

1. Pesto Popcorn

Craving your favorite pasta but trying to stay away from carbs? Pesto popcorn seasoning is the next best thing. Mix 1 tablespoon of chopped basil leaves, a sprinkling pine nuts, and a light coating of olive oil into your popcorn.

2. Dill Pickle

Dill pickle is not the flavor for everyone, but if you love it, then no taste in the world compares to the salty, tangy, zest of dill. Prepare a mixture of dried dill, ground coriander, garlic powder, a dash of onion salt, and a tablespoon of salt. Then, you’ll drizzle a combination of melted, unsalted butter and the powder ingredients over your popped corn on low heat.

3. Cilantro and Lime

For a hint of flavor besides salt, this is a simple and classic seasoning option. You’ll need a teaspoon of fresh cilantro, a teaspoon of salt, and a generous dousing of lime juice. Toss your popcorn in this combination for tangy, sour, and salty goodness.

4. Buttermilk Ranch

pouring-sweat-caramel

A popular flavor for chips and chicken wings, you can also enjoy buttermilk ranch in a healthier form when you season your popcorn with it. Combine 1 teaspoon of buttermilk powder, a half teaspoon of garlic powder, and ground black pepper for a tasty popcorn treat. 

Do You Have a Sweet Tooth?

For many people, something sweet mid-afternoon is a ritual, but what if you’re trying to cut back on the cookies? You can still enjoy a low-calorie snack like popcorn with some sugary popcorn seasoning ideas that enhance the flavor and satisfy your sweet tooth.

1. Dark Chocolate and Matcha

Fans of matcha will adore this perfect combination of sweet and salty. Combine high-quality dark chocolate and coconut oil to warm in a saucepan until the chocolate is melted. Sprinkle matcha powder on your popcorn, so it's well coated before drizzling the melted chocolate over the top. Top with sea salt for some extra flavor.

2. Salted Caramel

Get this classic flavor in the comfort of your own home by combining a teaspoon of salt, brown sugar, and a drizzling of caramel sauce on your freshly popped corn. For results, warm the caramel sauce before mixing to dissolve the brown sugar and then let it cool before devouring.

3. Canadian Bacon

Bacon and maple syrup is the classic Canadian combination. Get a tablespoon of bacon that has been cooked until crispy and finely crushed. Mix it into your popcorn along with a teaspoon of real maple syrup (skip the synthetic sugars) and enjoy a burst of flavor from the North.

4. Raspberry Chocolate

Add some fruity flavor to the mix by combining dried raspberries with cacao powder and sugar to coat your popcorn. The rich, dark chocolate flavor from the cacao powder enhances the raspberries’ sweet and sour taste to create a seasoning you can’t get enough of.

5. Cookies and Cream

Everyone loves cookies and cream, so why not try it on your popcorn? Granted it’s not as healthy as some of your other options, but you know it’ll be delicious. You’ll need Oreos, melted white chocolate, and coconut oil. Melt them all together in a saucepan before coating your popcorn to perfection.

If you prefer to eat it cold, you can let the finished product chill in the fridge before serving.

6. Pumpkin Spice

Assorted cooking spices

Pumpkin spice is the perfect marriage of sweet and savory for cozy autumn movie nights. All you’ll need is melted butter, salt, ground cinnamon, and ground ginger.

Some Like It Hot

If you prefer your popcorn to have a serious spicy kick, then these are the seasoning recipes you’ll want to try. Spicy popcorn makes the perfect snack for pairing with a cold beer while you watch the game on TV.

1. Buffalo

Classic spicy buffalo is a favorite for almost anyone who’s a fan of hot wings. To get this flavor for your popcorn, combine two tablespoons of buffalo-style hot sauce with a tablespoon of butter and coat your popcorn to your liking.

2. BBQ

Depending on your tolerance for hot foods, it’s possible that you classify BBQ as “spicy.” You can control the spice level depending on how much paprika and cayenne pepper you decide to add to this mixture. Combine with black pepper and brown sugar to give your taste buds something to get excited about.

3. Chili Cheese

To get the cheesy flavor that makes Smartfood® so good, you’ll need to invest in some nutritional yeast. Combine it with unsalted melted butter, chili powder, and salt for a satisfying and spicy seasoning. You control the spice level with how much chili powder you add.

4. Sriracha and Lime

Almost everyone has a bottle of sriracha sauce kicking around their fridge and a few limes in the produce drawer. Combine melted butter with lime juice, lime zest (grated), and a drizzling of sriracha sauce for a flavor that packs a punch.

5. Thai Curry

Grab your curry powder off the spice rack and combine it with coconut flakes and melted (unsalted) butter to emulate a delicious and spicy Thai curry in your popcorn seasoning.
Doug Stephen

Doug Stephen

Find the Flavor You Love

Spoiled for choice and can’t decide which mouthwatering flavor to try? No problem, simply pop three bags of popcorn and make a movie night of it. Try one salty, one sweet, and one spicy recipe the first time around, and see what you prefer. Most popcorn seasoning options are easy to whip up with ingredients you already have in your kitchen.

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