It’s poppin’: recipes for National Popcorn Day

Jill O'Brien

As Lil’ Mama said in her song “Lip Gloss,” it’s poppin’.

Friday is National Popcorn Day, and these four recipes put nontraditional twists on a traditional snack. Here are a few recipes to try in preparation for the “holiday.” 

Movie Theater Butter Popcorn

(Note: made this recipe using 16 cups of popcorn, but a bag of plain popped popcorn will work instead for a more manageable amount of popcorn). 

1 stick butter

16 cups popcorn

2 tsp kosher salt

Melt 1 stick of butter in a small saucepan over low heat, and skim off the foam and any remaining solids. Pour over popcorn and toss with 2 tsp kosher salt. 

Recipe courtesy of

Garlic Parmesan Popcorn

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes 

3 tbsp unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic minced

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup popcorn kernels (substitute microwave popcorn if you can’t use a stove)

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper


Melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stir and set aside to cool. 

Warm vegetable oil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over high hear. When oil is hot, add unpopped popcorn, cover and cook for one minute. Slide back and forth over burner until popcorn begins to pop. Continue cooking and shaking, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat and transfer to large serving bowl. 

Pour butter-garlic mixture over popcorn, sprinkle with Parmesan and cayenne and toss to coat. Season with salt and serve. 

Recipe courtesy of

Vanilla Popcorn

Prep time: 10 minutes

3 quarts popped popcorn

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/4 light corn syrup

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Place popcorn in a large bowl and set aside. In a saucepan, combine sugar, butter, corn syrup and baking soda. Bring mix to a boil medium heat. Boil and stir until mixture is golden, about two minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over popcorn, toss to coat and let cool. Break apart while warm. 

Recipe courtesy of

Taco Popcorn

Prep time: 1 minute

Cook time: 5 minutes

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 cup popcorn (unpeopled or popped)

2 tbsp taco seasoning (homemade or store bought)

1 tsp salt

For taco seasoning:

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 black pepper

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Stir or whisk ingredients together until combined. Store seasoning in an airtight container for up to six months. 

Heat oil in a medium saucepan on high heat until melted. Add popcorn. Pour into serving bowl when done. Immediately sprinkle with taco seasoning and salt, and toss to combine. Season to taste with additional seasoning or salt if desired. 

Note: for a healthier or vegan option, toss popcorn in nutritional yeast. 

Recipe courtesy of