Spiced Popcorn

This spiced popcorn is easy and fun and requires only pantry essentials—oil, popcorn kernels, butter, salt, along with whatever spices strike your fancy—to glam up the ordinary. Movie night, anyone?

Ten bags of spiced popcorn with assorted flavors

Popcorn has its moods. A movie-watching must. A nostalgic nosh. A little low-calorie something to satisfy. And, at times, a sexy little something to knock back with cocktails as a pre-dinner party teaser. This spiced popcorn recipe suits them all. Whether low-key or a little glam. And it’s done, start to finish, in less than 5 minutes. And if all you want from your popcorn is the perfect popping technique, no adornment necessary, this recipe offers that as well.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Spiced Popcorn

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 10 M
  • Makes 8 cups
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Ingredients

  • For the popcorn
  • For the sweet and spicy chili peanut popcorn
  • For the chaat masala popcorn
  • For the garlic mint pepper popcorn

Directions

Make the popcorn

In a 3-quart (2.7-l) heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium-high heat, warm the oil.

Toss 3 or 4 popcorn kernels in the oil and cover. When you hear those kernels pop, add the remaining kernels in an even layer. Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and wait 1 minute. Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn will pop. Once you hear the popping, shake the pan carefully, cracking the lid 1 inch (2.5 cm) to release the steam. Continue to gently shake until you hear the popping stop, 60 to 90 seconds or so. Immediately remove from the heat and dump the popcorn into a large bowl. Drizzle with butter and sprinkle with salt or add one of the desired flavorings.

Make the spiced popcorn

To make the sweet and spicy chili peanut popcorn, set a small saucepan over medium heat and combine the oil, chili powder, peanuts, and sugar. Cook for a minute and then drizzle the mixture evenly over the popcorn and toss to combine.

To make the chaat masala popcorn, set a small saucepan over medium heat and combine the chaat masala, oil, peanuts, and turmeric. Cook for a minute and then drizzle the mixture evenly over the popcorn and toss to combine.

To make the garlic mint pepper popcorn, use a mortar and pestle to gently mash the garlic, mint, and pepper together. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic mixture and cook until slightly softened and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour over the popcorn and toss to combine.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This recipe provided some good ideas for spiced popcorn! My husband and I really love popcorn and make popcorn with different flavorings very regularly. We have an air popper that we usually use but I followed the recipe for this batch.

I used coconut oil for the popcorn. Taking the pan off the heat for one minute worked really well! I had very few unpopped kernels of corn. Popping the corn took about 1 1 /2 minutes after I placed the pan back on the heat.

I used the garlic and mint spice combination. I cooked the garlic mint paste for about a minute but would have preferred a little longer.

This technique is a game changer for me! I usually wait for the first test kernels to pop and then just dump the rest of the corn in and go from there. I followed the instructions, though, and let the popcorn rest in the hot oil for a full minute before returning it to the heat. The result—perfect popcorn! No burnt bits, no unpopped kernels, just 100% perfect popcorn. And 10 puffy cups of it.

I made the brown sugar, chili, peanut version and it had just the right mix of sweet and savory for us. I can see this becoming my go-to instant snack food. Under 5 minutes start to finish, ingredients that I always have on hand, and absolutely delicious.

Start to finish was under 5 minutes.

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