Learn how easy it is to make homemade microwave popcorn. Then, turn it into a fun popcorn snack mix with one of our yummy combinations!
I’m a reeeeeal big popcorn fan.
It’s one of my top favorite Disneyland snacks, one of the best parts of going movie theaters, and (since neither of those things is happening for me anytime soon) a delicious afternoon snack to make at home.
There are LOADS of ways to make your own popcorn (and I love most of them!), but one of my favorites is actually in the microwave. It creates minimal mess (just a paper bag!), cooks up in less than 3 minutes, and gives me really consistent results.
Butter (or ghee or olive oil) + salt are my usual stand-bys, but today I thought I’d also walk you through how to turn homemade microwave popcorn (or any popcorn!) into healthy popcorn snack mixes.
I learned this method from Mark Bittman back in 2008 and I’ve never looked back. It’s completely simple and makes delicious popcorn in a flash. Here’s how you do it…
How To Make Homemade Microwave Popcorn, Step By Step
- Open a paper bag (lunch bag size)
- Add 1/4 cup popcorn kernels.
- Fold the top of the bag down 2-3 times to help secure it.
- Place in the microwave fold side down + microwave on HIGH power 2-3 minutes until no more popcorn kernels are popping within 3-4 seconds of each other.
- Carefully remove the popcorn bag from the microwave.
- Snip a small hole in a bottom corner of the bag and shake over the trash can or a bowl (holding the still-closed bag closed!) to get rid of any un-popped kernels.
- Enjoy popcorn plain, add butter & salt, or use for one of our popcorn snack mixes!
Is Popcorn Healthy?
Fun Fact: Since it’s made with whole corn kernels, popcorn is considered a whole grain! And while corn isn’t necessarily bursting with vitamins and minerals the way vegetables are, you’ll still find 3.6 grams of fiber and 3.1 grams of protein in 1 oz. of popped popcorn. Air-popped popcorn is naturally low in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol & sodium, so it can definitely be a healthy snack!
Popcorn Toppings & Mix-Ins To Try
Classic popcorn (plain air-popped popcorn or with added butter & salt) is delicious, but it’s also fun to turn into a popcorn snack mix by adding a few other toppings to go with it!
- NUTS OR SEEDS. Macadamia nuts, peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc.
- DRIED FRUIT. Coconut chips, raisins, cranberries, pineapple, mango) I especially love those without added sugar.
- FREEZE-DRIED FRUIT. strawberries, raspberries, etc.
- CHOCOLATE CHIPS OR CHUNKS. I’ll never say no to chocolate!
- MELTED CHOCOLATE. I melt 1 1/2 Tablespoons semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips with 1/2 tsp. coconut oil and drizzle it over the popcorn. Chill for a few minutes to set quickly.
- CANDIES OR EXTRAS. Candy-coated chocolate candies (like M&Ms), chocolate-covered almonds, pretzels, etc.
- SEASONINGS. Cinnamon-Sugar, salt, chili powder, Tajin seasoning, nutritional yeast, parmesan cheese, curry powder, garlic powder, dill seasoning, ranch seasoning, etc.
8 healthy popcorn snack mix recipes to try
- CHOCOLATE BERRY: add chocolate chips or chocolate chunks and freeze-dried berries (like strawberries or raspberries). Go all out and drizzle some melted chocolate on top, if you like!
- CINNAMON-SUGAR. Add a little melted butter, ghee, or melted vegan butter (or mist with spray coconut oil) and sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon sugar. We love this cinnamon-sugar made with maple sugar. It’s delicious! Add some cinnamon apple chips for a double-dose of yum!
- TRAIL MIX. Add peanuts, raisins, coconut chips, banana chips, chocolate-covered candies, or anything else you might toss in a trail mix (This post has a TON of ideas to get your wheels turning!)
- CHUNKY MONKEY. Similarly, you can add peanuts, banana chips, coconut chips, and chocolate chips (or melted chocolate on top). Feel free to swap in peanut butter chips if you’re not dairy-free!
- COCONUT MACADAMIA NUT. Salty macadamia nuts and coconut chips make a delicious combination. Take the tropical note a step further with dried mango or dried pineapple pieces, too!
- CRANBERRY ALMOND. Add dried cranberries, almonds, and a little chocolate (or white chocolate!).
- CHOCOLATE DRIZZLED. Keep things simple by drizzling a little melted chocolate on top with a pinch of flaky sea salt. I melt 1 1/2 Tbsp. chocolate chips + 1/2 tsp. coconut oil, then drizzle that over the popcorn. Feel free to refrigerate for a few minutes to set quickly!
- PARMESAN + BLACK PEPPER. In my pre-dairy-free days, I loved adding olive oil + freshly grated parmesan and a hefty pinch of salt & pepper to my popcorn. It’s AMAZING. These days, I sometimes add Nutritional yeast (nicknamed Nooch) instead.
FAQ + TIPS & TRICKS FOR THE BEST HOMEMADE POPCORN + POPCORN SNACK MIXES:
DON’T LIKE USING A MICROWAVE? TRY THIS! Not everyone has or likes to use a microwave. If that’s you, no worries! Try using an air-popper, or learn to make popcorn on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot!
HOW LONG WILL POPCORN STAY FRESH? Popcorn tends to go stale rather quickly, so even well covered, you’ll probably only be able to get 1-2 days out of it before it starts to get stale.
TRY ADDING A LITTLE OIL TO THE BAG. If you’d like to add salt or seasonings, you can add 1/2 teaspoon or so of oil (extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, or avocado oil) to the bag along with the popcorn kernels before popping. This’ll help seasonings and toppings stick well without the need for extra butter, but it will make the bag a bit greasy.
DAIRY-FREE OPTIONS. If you avoid dairy, but still want that buttery taste, I love using ghee. It’s butter with the dairy solids removed. It’s got an intensely buttery flavor, so a little goes a long way! Otherwise, some spray avocado oil or coconut oil (I look for brands without added propellants) can be a great option!
MORE YUMMY SNACKS TO LOVE:
- Cinnamon Churro Popcorn
- Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn
- The Ultimate Guide to Trail Mix
- Perfect SOFT Granola Bars
- The BEST Healthy Homemade Popsicles
- Apple Nachos
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