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Popcorn is one of my family’s favorite snack foods. It’s:
- Easy to clean up
- Easily customizable
- Quick to make
Popcorn is afternoon snack on Friday this year. And we pop some up if we’re having a family game night or family movie night. Pretty much any night is a great time to make up another couple batches of popcorn!
How I Pop Our Popcorn
Whenever we need a batch of popcorn, it’s easy to pop up on the stove. I just add a tablespoon or so of olive oil or coconut oil to a cold pan.
Then I pour in enough popcorn to cover the bottom of the pan. Too many kernels can cause them to burn, so I aim for just one kernel thick all the way around.
I’ve found it best to add the popcorn to the oil before it heats up. Otherwise it starts burning quickly.
Once I add the kernels, I add a couple shakes of popcorn salt. That let’s it easily distribute throughout the whole batch without being too salty.
Then I put the lid on the pan, turn the heat to medium high, and start gently shaking. I shake gently throughout the popping process.
Once the popping slows down, I turn the burner off. But I leave the pan on the burner (with the lid on) until the popping stops completely.
Then I dump it into a big bowl and it’s ready for toppings!
If one of the middle kids asks to make popcorn for the family, I have them use a simple air popper. It’s easy for them to make a couple of batches in on their own, with fewer variables to deal with.
Here are ten of our favorite kinds of popcorn.
1. Caramel Corn
It might sound complicated, but in reality, caramel popcorn only delays snack time by 15 minutes.
I love using this recipe because it’s super simple! And it doesn’t use corn syrup, which I don’t always have on hand.
The baking process really does help, so I don’t recommend skipping it. At least with this recipe. It’s a bit sticky without the baking.
2. Parmesan Popcorn
Add some melted butter to your popcorn, and sprinkle 1/4 cup or so of Parmesan cheese over it. I don’t actually measure this, I just sprinkle with one hand and gently toss the bowl with the other. That helps get it all covered.
Some of the younger kids don’t like this type of popcorn, but I love making it in the evening for my husband and I to snack on after they’re in bed.
I can’t really blame them for not liking it. After all, I used to call this kind of cheese “Stinky Foot Cheese.”
Tastes definitely change as you get older!
3. Jell-O Popcorn
Jello-O popcorn is similar to caramel popcorn, except it’s fruity and colorful.
I’ve written about Jell-O popcorn before! Here are the details.
You can make it any color and flavor you’d like. And this one really reminds me of the colorful popcorn my parents used to buy my sisters and I at the mall.
Fun flavors and good memories. Now that’s a combination!
4. Popcorn Trail Mix
What do you get when you add popcorn to chocolate chips, Craisins, and raisins?
Feel free to add whatever else you have hanging out in your cupboards. We’ve tried it with nuts, sunflower seeds, oyster crackers, and a ton of other random add-ins.
We’ve never had a bad batch!
This snack is fun for packing in individual bags for a long shopping day.
We’ve also done a “make your own” trail mix with the kids. We set out all the ingredients and let them mix their own batch in a small bowl. The only rule is you can’t have all of one thing! 😀 M & Ms on their own do not count as trail mix…
5. Cheesy Popcorn
Remember those Christmas tins full of three flavors of popcorn? Well, I’ve figured out how to make the cheesy variety!
Then you add melted butter to your popcorn, and sprinkle the cheese powder over it. It doesn’t take as much as you might think. I start with about 1/4 of a cup of powder, mix it well, and then give it a taste. I sometimes add a little more.
6. Movie Theater Style
This one is a couple of my older kiddos’ favorite! It definitely isn’t skimping on any flavor. Or calories!
Over a batch of popped corn, drizzle a 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil and a 1/4 cup of melted butter. Then salt it with some good popcorn salt.
The combination of oil and butter is fabulous, and really reminds me of movie theater popcorn.
7. Pepper Popcorn
I know it sounds odd, but it is tasty! Well, my husband and I think it is. Our kids just think we’re weird when we eat it.
I simply add some fresh cracked pepper to the kernels along with the salt at the beginning of the popping process. It’s easy, and gives it a nice flavor profile.
Once it’s done popping, I add a bit of butter and a little more salt too. You can also add a little more pepper if you want more flavor.
8. Kettle Corn
A sweet variety that’s a tad easier than caramel corn, kettle corn is the perfect blend of sweet and salty.
But, a warning:
I have a scar on my arm from peeking at my kettle corn too soon. It happened way back when I was pregnant with Ellie, and she’s 9 now!
The sugar in this recipe gets really hot. Be careful!
For kettle corn, I start it like a regular batch of popcorn. Except, before I put the lid on, I stir in 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. I use a wooden spoon and makes sure the sugar gets distributed.
Then I put the lid on and proceed as above. Except I shake it more vigorously, because the sugar burns easily.
Be sure not to remove the lid until the popping has completely stopped. Then let it cool before you enjoy.
But stir it as it cools, so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
9. Chocolate Marshmallow
This one is sticky, so it definitely doesn’t clean up as easily as the other batches. We save it for special occasions, like our Home Alone marathon at the beginning of the Christmas season.
To the hot popped corn, add about 1 cup of mini marshmallows and about 1 cup of chocolate chips (I’ve been known to add more of each, but that’s a good starting point!). Shake well to distribute. The heat will begin to melt the chocolate and marshmallows so it’s a gooey, delicious combination!
10. Taco Popcorn
Once you’ve popped your corn, add melted butter. Then sprinkle on about 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning. Shake well to add the seasoning throughout.
What’s Your Favorite Popcorn Flavor?
Please leave a comment letting me know your favorite variety. We love experimenting with new flavors!
No matter which kind you love, it’s the perfect night to settle down with a big bowl of popped corn and a good movie. What a fun way to spend time together!