Remember those giant tins of popcorn, often divided by flavors into three sections — DayGlo orange cheese, caramel corn, and plain buttered popcorn — that are usually gifted around the office during the holidays? While the popcorn itself is often not that great, there is something irresistable about popcorn that always has our hands reaching inside.
While I'm not a popcorn fan, the buckets had me thinking: why not create your own flavor of popcorn?
Create-Your-Own Popcorn Bar
The next time you have some friends over for movie night, have them bring along their “dream” popcorn flavorings, or supply your own, for a create-your-own popcorn bar. Start with plain popcorn, perhaps popped the old-fashioned way (over the stove, or cheat and buy a big bag from the store), as it will likely be a much healthier alternative to the butter and sodium-laden popcorn you can find at the movie theater (a large popcorn, with about 20 cups of corn, has about 1,200 calories!). Make sure you have a large bowl for each guest to toss their custom popcorn creation in, and then maybe some fun cone-shaped holders for serving each flavor. Movie night will never be the same again.
Custom Popcorn Flavors
Even if you’re not hosting a movie night, create your own custom popcorn blend to serve as a lighter alternative to snack mixes or nuts at your next gathering. When deciding on the flavor, think about the theme of the evening, and then make a big batch to serve alongside a tray of crudités and dips. We like the idea of creating your own Valentine’s Day-themed popcorn, adding Red Hots for a spicy bite, or making glittery popcorn for the Oscars.
From savory to sweet, there are a lot of flavor combinations to explore, when it comes to popcorn. Here are some of The Daily Meal’s favorite flavorings — and dream concoctions — to inspire you when creating your own custom blend.
Already have a go-to popcorn flavor? Share it with us by commenting below!
1. Pop the corn in clarified butter with chopped rosemary. Then sprinkle with truffle salt.
2. Toss plain popcorn with freshly grated Gruyère cheese (or substitute in your favorite).
3. Toss plain popcorn with bacon bits (we’ve yet to try popping the corn in bacon fat… but might have to try).
4. Toss plain popcorn with lemon zest and chopped dill.
5. Pop the corn in truffle-infused butter.
6. Toss plain popcorn with gourmet popcorn salts. We especially like the Kauai Guava smoked salt that tastes like smoky bacon, and the Black Truffle salt.
7. Toss plain popcorn with Marmite and fresh ground pepper.
8. Toss plain popcorn with nutritional yeast and sea salt.
9. Pop the corn in a sesame oil-infused oil and then top with toasted sesame seeds and chile flakes.
10. Toss popcorn with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and pesto.
1. Toss plain popcorn with cayenne and cumin.
2. Toss plain popcorn with Sriracha.
3. Toss plain popcorn with hot ancho chile powder and grated cheddar cheese.
4. Toss plain popcorn with curry powder, then drizzle over a garam masala-flavored melted butter.
5. Toss plain popcorn with wasabi powder and crispy edamame or peas.
1. Toss plain hot popcorn with your favorite M&M’s flavor (the heat is key to melting the candies; we’re also partial to peanut M&M’s for a sweet and nutty taste).
2. Toss plain popcorn with pretzels, and then drizzle melted dark chocolate on top.
3. Mix kettle corn with peanut butter and form round balls to make kettle corn peanut butter balls.
4. Toss plain hot popcorn with dark chocolate chips, drizzle with warm caramel sauce, and sprinkle with Maldon salt.
1. Valentine’s Day: Toss plain hot popcorn with Red Hots candies.
2. The Oscars: Toss plain popcorn with melted honey butter and a sprinkling of sparkling gold luster dust.
3. St. Patrick’s Day: Toss plain popcorn with melted garlic butter and a variety of chopped fresh and dried green herbs (think basil, parsley, dill, cilantro, mint, rosemary).