The REAL Stars of Movie Night—Popcorn Seasoning Blends


Part 2 of the Series on
DIY Holiday Gift Giving from the Kitchen


The Herb Lady here. Today we will explore one of my favorite subjects, SNACKS! Caricature1Healthy snacks can improve mood, boost energy, and satisfy cravings. And popcorn has a lot of bulk for its calories (about 31 calories per cup of air-popped), so it helps fill you up. Plus, 3½ cups contains one of your three recommended daily servings of whole grains.

Popcorn is a very healthy snack if you prepare the popcorn and seasonings yourself. The facts speak for themselves: a single portion of popcorn contains more antioxidants than all the fruit and vegetables most people eat in a day, as noted in a study by Scranton University. Popcorn also has a large amount of vitamins; folate, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamins B, A, E, and K, as well as being a source of iron, potassium, zinc, and polyphenols which contain the antioxidants to fight off cancers and cardiovascular health problems.

These days, when you scan the shelves of a supermarket, you will be confronted with an impressive selection; butter, toffee, salt, and sweetened flavors are all mass produced and readily available. Just stick with wholegrain kernels and steer clear of those little microwaveable variety packs that are so expensive anyway. Unfortunately many commercial popcorn microwave brands are mass produced, chemically overloaded varieties which often tend to be crammed full of unpleasant junk.

Popcorn and seasonings also make a great gift for that person on your list who can’t get enough for those Friday movie nights. It is an inexpensive way to give a truly wonderful gift that will be remembered AND eaten. I have given some recipes below that you can experiment with. Your recipient will only need a bit of oil, a stove, pan, and a cover to prepare the popcorn. Enjoy!

The Cast of Players for Emmy-Winning Popcorn

Popping Kernels

Popcorn Collage

If you use 1/4 cup popcorn (4 tablespoons) in a 1/2 tablespoon of oil, that equates to one serving (about 4 cups popped), depending on the brand you buy. Look for 100% Whole Grain NON-GMO Yellow Pop Corn. This usually gives you 6-7 servings per pound of popping corn. You may get more servings depending on the brand.  I have found that some of the “recommended serving sizes” on the various brands can be quite misleading so my suggestion to you is to test your brand first—not a bad reason to experiment, eh?

Oils and Butters

Coconut oil gives you the taste of movie popcorn, since this (and palm oil) is what theaters used exclusively until 1994. That’s when the Center for Science in the Public Interest blew the lid on the movie corn’s fat content―about 80 grams of fat for a large tub. For something less artery-clogging, try olive oil. Olive oil is high in good monounsaturated fat (about 75%) and gives popcorn a richer flavor, but olive oil has a low smoking point and tends to burn quickly.Raw filtered peanut oil is also a good candidate for popping corn kernels. Many people enjoy butter too and I have used lard to add bacon flavor to a popcorn seasoning.

While herb infused oils can be wonderful for giving a bowl of popcorn a bit of extra shine, I do not recommend including them in gift baskets as they need to be refrigerated. You can include a small sealed bottle/jar of oil if you wish as long as it does not need to be refrigerated.

Popcorn Seasonings

Use Your Favorite Spice Blends. You can use ANY of your favorite spice blends—All Purpose Spice Blend, Apple Pie Spice Blend , Baharat Spice Blend, Cinnamon-Sugar Spice Blend, etc. — to flavor you popcorn. I usually start with 1/2 tablespoon added dry (or to 2 tablespoons of butter) to start, shake my bag/bowl of popcorn, and taste. If need be, I add more. Recipes in Part 1 of this series may all be used in this way.

Dry Seasoning Mixes add Flavor Too. Add dry flavored seasoning mixes—Onion Soup Mix, Dry Rub Buffalo Wing Seasoning, Ranch Dressing Dry Seasoning Mix, etc.—to give your popcorn lots of flavor. Again, start with 1/2 tablespoon, shake, and add more to taste. One of my son’s favorites is Buffalo-Ranch Popcorn Seasoning, a mixture of the two dry seasonings.

But Wait, There’s More! Dry Meat Rubs make tasty popcorn seasonings too. A nice dry barbecue or jerky rub is delicious. The BBQ seasoning below is an example of one such dry rub adapted to popcorn.

Extra Yummies. I also buy the freeze-dried butter powdergranulated honey crystals
sour cream powder, buttermilk powder, and cheddar cheese powder and use to sprinkle over popcorn. Additionally, adding my own powdered vegetables and fruits like tomato, spiced orange peel, or pineapple is a nice change from the heavier blends I normally use. It adds a great flavor without a lot of work.

And for a few popcorn hacks to make life easier, check out this video from my friend The Crazy Russian Hacker on 5 Popcorn Life Hacks.

Popcorn Seasoning Recipes


BBQ Popcorn Seasoning

1/4 cup paprika
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon onion powder

Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until they are combined, and transfer to an airtight container for storage. If properly stored, your seasoning blend while last 6 months to 1 year.

To make popcorn: Add the popcorn to a large bowl and drizzle with butter. Sprinkle with the BBQ Seasoning, and Parmesan cheese if desired. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and toss thoroughly.

Smoked Bacon Variation: Melt 1 tablespoon of lard, add ½ tablespoon seasoning blend, and drizzle over fresh popped popcorn.

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Slap Your Mama Cajun Popcorn Seasoning

2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until they are combined, and transfer to an airtight container for storage. If properly stored, your seasoning blend while last 6 months to 1 year.
  2. Season freshly popped popcorn to taste while still warm. OR melt coconut oil or butter. Stir in seasonings. Toss with popcorn to coat evenly.

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Mexican Chocolate Popcorn Seasoning

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until they are combined, and transfer to an airtight container for storage. If properly stored, your seasoning blend while last 6 months to 1 year.
  2. Season freshly popped popcorn to taste while still warm. OR melt coconut oil or butter. Stir in seasonings. Toss with popcorn to coat evenly.

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Curry Popcorn Seasoning

1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons salt
1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until they are combined, and transfer to an airtight container for storage. If properly stored, your seasoning blend while last 6 months to 1 year.
  2. Season freshly popped popcorn to taste while still warm. OR melt coconut oil or butter. Stir in seasonings. Toss with popcorn to coat evenly.

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South of the Border Popcorn Seasoning

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
cayenne pepper to taste

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until they are combined, and transfer to an airtight container for storage. If properly stored, your seasoning blend while last 6 months to 1 year.
  2. Season freshly popped popcorn to taste while still warm. OR melt coconut oil or butter. Stir in seasonings. Toss with popcorn to coat evenly.

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Herbie the Love Bug Popcorn Seasoning

4 tablespoons celery salt
4 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
6 teaspoons garlic powder
6 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
3 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground sage

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until they are combined, and transfer to an airtight container for storage. If properly stored, your seasoning blend while last 6 months to 1 year.
  2. Season freshly popped popcorn to taste while still warm. OR melt coconut oil or butter. Stir in seasonings. Toss with popcorn to coat evenly.

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Pickled Popcorn Seasoning Mix

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons sour cream powder (optional)

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until they are combined, and transfer to an airtight container for storage. If properly stored, your seasoning blend while last 6 months to 1 year.
  2. Season freshly popped popcorn to taste while still warm. OR melt coconut oil or butter. Stir in seasonings. Toss with popcorn to coat evenly.

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Buffalo Popcorn Seasoning

1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons sea salt (or to taste)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground red pepper
1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until they are combined, and transfer to an airtight container for storage. If properly stored, your seasoning blend while last 6 months to 1 year.
  2. Season freshly popped popcorn to taste while still warm. OR melt coconut oil or butter. Stir in seasonings. Toss with popcorn to coat evenly.

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Ranch Popcorn Seasoning

1/2 cup dry buttermilk powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley, crushed
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until they are combined, and transfer to an airtight container for storage. If properly stored, your seasoning blend while last 6 months to 1 year.
  2. Season freshly popped popcorn to taste while still warm. OR melt coconut oil or butter. Stir in seasonings. Toss with popcorn to coat evenly.

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Note: Instead of eating popcorn straight from the bowl, how about a trail mix made with popcorn, dehydrated fruit, and roasted nuts—maybe even dusted with white chocolate powder or fruit or vegetable powder?


Download Free Printable Labels for you own containers here: Popcorn Seasoning Blends (labels).

Footer for Part 3 ROUND

4 thoughts on “The REAL Stars of Movie Night—Popcorn Seasoning Blends

  1. janet says:

    saw this on facebook and really liked. any way to follow you? new to internet

    1. cebohrer46@yahoo.com says:

      Hi Janet,
      We have a Facebook page that you are welcome to “like”: https://www.facebook.com/21stCenturySimpleLiving.
      Also, we have the Facebook group, Cooking with Herbs, Spices, Seasonings, and Homemade Mixes. You are welcome to join if you have an interest. https://www.facebook.com/groups/CookingHerbsSpices/

  2. Katie B. says:

    Oooh, I’m going to have to try the Buffalo Popcorn Seasoning for our Saturday Movie Night! My son is wild about anything Buffalo sauce-flavored. I bet he loves this!

    1. cebohrer46@yahoo.com says:

      So is my son Katie. He especially likes the combo of Ranch and Buffalo Seasonings together…lol

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