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September 16, 2022

by Alyssa

Healthy Popcorn Seasoning: 6 Ways

These homemade popcorn seasonings will take your favorite snack to the next level. From sweet cinnamon sugar to savory garlic and herb, we’ve got plenty of ideas that are both delicious and healthy!

6 Ways to Make Popcorn Seasoning

When you’re craving a crispy, crunchy snack, it doesn’t get much better than popcorn. While it might not be quite as nutritious as celery and carrot sticks, it’s so much better than reaching for a bag of potato chips—you get more bang for your buck with popcorn because you can eat 3 whole cups of it without even hitting 100 calories! You’ll also get a healthy snack with protein and fiber, and even some magnesium.

But pop a bag of store-bought microwave popcorn that’s soaked in faux butter and salt and you end up negating all that nutrition. Womp womp. And that, my friends, is where these popcorn seasoning ideas come in. They’re popcorn toppings that add loads of flavor without ruining your healthy snack. And I’ve got 6 different popcorn seasoning ideas, which means there’s something for everyone!

What You’ll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

For the popcorn:

  • Popcorn kernels – The unseasoned kind you buy in bags or in the bulk section, not microwave popcorn.
  • Olive oil – Use light or cooking olive oil, not extra-virgin. Light olive oil has a higher smoke point than EVOO.
  • Cooking spray
  • Popcorn seasoning – Choose one of the recipes below.

Classic Nooch:

  • Nutritional yeast – Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor without cheese. It’s also a great source of vitamin B12!
  • Salt

Umami:

  • Tamari – Coconut aminos, liquid aminos, or low-sodium soy sauce could also be used.
  • Nori flakes

Ranch:

  • Dried dill
  • Dried parsley
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt

Garlic & Herb:

  • Garlic powder
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried parsley
  • Dried sage – This may also be labeled as rubbed sage.
  • Sea salt – Sea salt has a higher mineral content than regular table salt.

Spicy Chipotle:

  • Chipotle chili powder – This is sometimes labeled as chipotle chili pepper, depending on the brand you buy.
  • Lime zest

Cinnamon Sugar:

  • Coconut sugar – Coconut sugar is a less-processed alternative to traditional white sugar. Maple sugar is another option.
  • Cinnamon
Two photos showing process of making popcorn in a pot

How Do You Make Popcorn?

If you’ve never made your own popcorn before (aside from store-bought microwave popcorn!), you might be wondering how to do it. Here are two easy methods that don’t require any special equipment:

DIY Microwave Popcorn

  • Place the oiled popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag—the kind you use for lunches. 
  • Fold the top of the bag twice to seal it.
  • Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, or until there are about 2 seconds between pops. 
  • Open the bag carefully, then season according to the recipe instructions.

Stovetop Popcorn

  • Place a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and add 3 tablespoons of oil.
  • Put a few kernels of popcorn into the pot to test the oil. Once they pop, add the rest of the kernels.
  • Cover the pot, take it off the stovetop for 30 seconds, then put it back on the stovetop.
  • When the popcorn starts popping, crack the lid just a bit to let the steam escape; when most of the kernels are popped and there are a few seconds between pops, remove the pot from the heat and transfer to a bowl.
Overhead view of popcorn seasoning ingredients

How to Make Seasoned Popcorn

Here’s what you’ll need to do to make your own popcorn seasonings and popcorn.

  • Make the popcorn. Toss the popcorn kernels with oil and use your preferred method for popping them—the stove, microwave, air popper, etc.
  • Prepare the seasoning. Mix together the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. If possible, grind or blend the mixture into a fine powder to help it stick better.
  • Season the popcorn. Place the popped popcorn in a large bowl and lightly spray it with the cooking spray. Add the seasonings, toss to coat, and dig in!

Tips for Success

These simple hints and tips will help you make perfectly seasoned popcorn.

  • Use high-quality herbs and spices. If you open the jar and it doesn’t have much of a smell, or it smells stale, it’s past its prime—and that means it won’t add much flavor to your popcorn.
  • Don’t overdo the cooking spray. Too much will make the popcorn soggy. You just need a light coating so the seasoning sticks.
  • Mix in a big bowl. You need lots of room to toss the popcorn and seasonings, so use a bigger bowl than you think you’ll need!

How to Store

As long as you use the cooking spray sparingly, seasoned popcorn should last for about a week when stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Moisture is your enemy when it comes to popcorn, so if it’s wet when you store it, it’s more likely to be stale when you eat it the next day.

Leftover popcorn seasonings can be stored in the pantry for up to 3 months, with the exception of the umami seasoning, which should be used immediately.

Overhead view of popcorn seasonings and popcorn with labels

More Healthy Snack Ideas

Healthy Popcorn Seasoning: 6 Ways

These easy popcorn seasonings add loads of flavor to your popcorn, while still keeping it healthy!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 86kcal
Print Pin
Bowl of umami popcorn with spoon of nori
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon – 1/4 cup seasoning , depending on the seasoning

Classic Nooch

Umami

  • 2 teaspoons tamari
  • 2 teaspoons nori flakes

Ranch

  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Garlic & Herb

  • 1 – 2 teaspoons garlic powder (depending on your preference – start with 1)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Spicy Chipotle

  • 1 – 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
  • Zest of 1 lime

Cinnamon Sugar

Instructions

  • Toss the popcorn kernels with oil. Cook however you like to cook your popcorn (stove, microwave, airpopper, etc.)
  • 
If possible, grind or blend the spice mixture to a fine powder. This will help the seasoning stick better.

  • Once popped, transfer to a bowl and spritz with cooking spray. Sprinkle on the seasoning of choice, toss and enjoy!

Notes

Nutritional info is calculated on plain popcorn. Nutritional info will change based on the seasoning you choose.

Nutrition

Serving: 4cups popped | Calories: 86kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 56mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 0.2g | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

Interested in Healthy Eating? Grab our 7-Day Vegan Meal Plan!

With a week’s worth of simple and healthy meals, Eat Clean will help you see just how easy living a life full of whole foods can be. Recipe are 100% gluten-free and vegan!

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