Food & Drink

8 Popcorn Topping Ideas

A basic popcorn recipe + 8 topping ideas from from Leanne Brown’s bestselling Good and Cheap

Popcorn is such a great snack. It’s easy to forget how simple and cheap it is to prepare at home when there are so many prepackaged varieties available at ten times the price.

It’s also fun to get kids involved since the transformation is so dramatic and explosive. Science! Make the popcorn your own by adding your favorite flavors to it. My family went for Parmesan and black pepper on Sunday nights when I was growing up.

Be sure to experiment and figure out what suits you best. I’ve suggested a few toppings below. This recipe makes 10 to 12 cups of popped popcorn—enough for four people. Eat it while it’s hot!

Basic Popcorn

Serves 4 as a snack


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup unpopped popcorn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • salt, to taste


  1. Place a large pot with a tight-fitting lid on the stove. Pour in the vegetable oil, then the popcorn kernels. Put the lid on and turn the heat to medium.
  2. Using oven mitts, gently shake the pot from side to side to make sure the kernels are evenly distributed in the oil. Once the popcorn begins to pop, turn the heat down to medium low and shake again.
  3. Once the popping slows to 5 to 10 seconds between pops, turn off the heat. Wait until you’re sure the popping has stopped, and remove the lid.
  4. Dump the popcorn into a large bowl, pour the butter over the top, and sprinkle with salt and any other toppings. Gently toss to coat.

Popcorn Topping Ideas

  1. Minced Scallion and Cilantro
  2. Turmeric and Coriander
  3. Spice Oil (see recipe here)
  4. Parmesan and Black Pepper
  5. Cayenne Pepper and Smoked Paprika
  6. Brown Sugar and Orange Zest
  7. Chili Powder and Lime
  8. Parmesan and Dried Oregano

About the Book:

By showing that kitchen skill, and not budget, is the key to great food, Good and Cheap will help you eat well—really well—on the strictest of budgets.

Created for people who have to watch every dollar—but particularly those living on the U.S. food stamp allotment of $4.00 a day—Good and Cheap is a cookbook filled with delicious, healthful recipes backed by ideas that will make everyone who uses it a better cook. From Spicy Pulled Pork to Barley Risotto with Peas, and from Chorizo and White Bean Ragù to Vegetable Jambalaya, the more than 100 recipes maximize every ingredient and teach economical cooking methods. There are recipes for breakfasts, soups and salads, lunches, snacks, big batch meals—and even desserts, like crispy, gooey Caramelized Bananas. Plus there are tips on shopping smartly and the minimal equipment needed to cook successfully.

And when you buy one, we give one!  With every copy of Good and Cheap purchased, the publisher will donate a free copy to a person or family in need. Donated books will be distributed through food charities, nonprofits, and other organizations. You can feel proud that your purchase of this book supports the people who need it most, giving them the tools to make healthy and delicious food.

An IACP Cookbook Awards Winner.

Buy the Book
Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Workman

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