Air-popped popcorn has a pure, fresh taste, but it’s hard to beat the old-fashioned method for making popcorn. When cooked on the stove top, each kernel of this perfect popcorn is uniformly coated with just the right amount of oil and salt and has that rustic campfire type bite. But to up the ante just a little more, I’ve included six different seasoning blends, to suit your moods.
Perfect Popcorn plus Six Easy Seasonings to Mix Things Up
I originally shared this recipe way back in 2007, but have some more notes, tips, photos, and nutrition information to help you create your perfect popcorn.
- Seasoning Mix or Powder: You can simply shake the ingredients together and sprinkle, or whiz them together in a spice grinder if you prefer powdered seasonings.
- Salt to Taste: I opt to omit the salt from the seasoning mixes, because it’s easy to overpower flavors with salt. Instead, I add salt to the perfect popcorn as it cooks (this infuses the saltiness better, too!), or if using air-popped popcorn, I sprinkle a little on to taste.
- Oil Options: If making via the perfect popcorn method, you want to use a good high heat oil, to ensure you don’t hit the smoke point. You can use a buttery spread, if you want a buttery flavor, most will work fine. If you are air-popping, you can use any type of oil, since the oil isn’t heated. I prefer not to use buttery spread on popped popcorn because the moisture in it tends to make the kernels a little soggy.
- Air-Popped Popcorn Option: You want to use a little oil, or the seasonings won’t stick. We love coconut oil on popcorn, and since it isn’t heated, you can use unrefined coconut oil. In fact, you can use any type of nutritive oil. Just keep the oil flavor in mind. I drizzle on just a teaspoon at a time, and toss, until it looks just lightly coated.
- Microwave Popcorn Options: A lot of microwave popcorn brands contain dairy. Some that do not include SkinnyPop Butter Flavor, SkinnyPop Sea Salt, Newman’s Own Sea Salt, and Newman’s Own Tender White.
- Organic vs Non-Organic: At the time of writing, all popcorn on the market is non- GMO. They do not use genetic engineering to product the type of corn used for popcorn kernels. People typically choose organic popcorn to avoid certain insecticides that are reportedly damaging bee populations.
Special Diet Notes: Perfect Popcorn
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, and top food allergen-free.
- 3 tablespoons peanut, grapeseed, or other high smoke point oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ⅓ cup of organic popcorn kernels
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- ½ tablespoon ground cumin
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- ⅜ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
- 2 teaspoons dried dill
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried chives
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- Pinch black pepper
- Heat the oil and salt in a 3-quart (large) saucepan or pot with a lid on medium-high heat.
- Put 3 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan. When the kernels pop, add the remaining popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. When the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove it from the heat.
- Serve as is, or shake on a seasoning mix.
- Place the ingredients for your chosen mix in a bowl, shaker, or zip-top plastic bag and combine.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature fr up to a few months.