fancy savory popcorn 3 ways

've never been a big popcorn person, but I remember when I was in like 4th or 5th grade and I was over at my best friend's house and she sprinkled parmesan cheese over popcorn and it kind of changed my life.  So awesome.  Granted, most things are improved with the addition of parmesan cheese, but I had just never thought of popcorn being anything more than the bag you toss in the microwave that has weird butter flavor, or the popcorn from the movies that comes in size tiny and size costco-pallet. 

Over the years I forgot about popcorn, mostly because the last time I had a microwave was when I watched it fly off the top of my refrigerator in the rearview mirror in my Winnebago as I attempted to drive up a horrifyingly steep, potholed, one-way Seattle street because a friend gave me the wrong directions to his house.  When I finally did get to his house, my microwave was a mangled mess on the floor and I tossed in in the nearest dumpster and haven't had one since.  I'm sure deep down I knew that popcorn could be made other ways than just the microwave bag stuff, but I had never seen it done and never thought about it.

So, before we get to the fancy part, here's how to pop popcorn if you don't have a microwave, or just want to pop it the old fashioned way!

3 tbsp butter (or peanut, grape seed, canola oil)
1/3 cup popcorn kernels

1. Heat the butter in a large 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat.

2. Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the butter and cover the pan.

3 When those kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover the pot and remove from heat for 30 seconds.

4. Return the pan to the heat and the popcorn should begin popping.  Once the popping is consistent, gently shake the pan, moving it back and forth over the burner.  Keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release, which will make your popcorn drier and crisper. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat and dump the popcorn immediately into a large bowl or paper bag.
Makes ~ 2 quarts of popcorn.

Now for the fancy stuff!  Here are three different savory popcorn toppings that will take your popcorn to the next level!  Fancy popcorn makes for an awesome appetizer, and it's quick and super easy to whip up.


2 quarts of popped popcorn
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 small jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 c Cotija cheese, crumbled

In a medium bowl whisk together the butter, lime juice and zest. Add the minced jalapeno. In a small bowl combine the black pepper, salt, red pepper, and cumin.  If you want less spiciness you can omit the jalapeno and red pepper flakes, or just reduce the amount you use.

Drizzle half of the butter/lime/jalapeno mixture over the popcorn, and mix until the popcorn is coated and moist. Taste. Add more of the butter mixture to taste, and mix it up again.  Take the small bowl of your seasonings and sprinkle most of the mixture over the popcorn, shake and mix to coat the popcorn. Taste, and if you'd like more flavor add the rest of it.  Sprinkle the crumbled Cotija over the popcorn.


2 quarts of popped popcorn
4 slices bacon
4 tbsp butter
½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
smoked salt

Cook bacon until crispy.  Place bacon on a paper towel lined plate to drain, then crumble or slice into small pieces and add to popcorn.

Melt the butter and pour over popcorn, then sprinkle with smoked salt to taste. Mix to combine. Then add parmesan cheese and toss to coat. 


2 quarts of popped popcorn
4 tbsp butter
4 to 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 c finely grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
smoked salt

In a sauce pan, melt the butter then add the minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves.

Drizzle the garlic and thyme butter over all of the popcorn and mix well.  Next, add the parmesan cheese and mix again.  Add salt to taste and then sprinkle the remaining thyme leaves over the popcorn.