From Caramel to Masala, Here's How to Upgrade Your Popcorn

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From Caramel to Masala, Here’s How to Upgrade Your Popcorn

Whether you prefer savory or sweet, we’ve got something for everyone on this list of snack-worthy popcorn recipes.


Normally, we’d be just fine with drizzling a pot of freshly popped corn with melted vegan butter and a dusting of nutritional yeast, but when we’re feeling a bit more inspired, this list of game-changing recipes has us thinking that we can always find a good reason to celebrate with popcorn. From mint chocolate chip to rosemary truffle, here are the best ways to jazz up your popcorn, whether you prefer your snacks sweet or savory.

But first, what actually is popcorn? And what makes it vegan?


What is popcorn made of? 

It turns out, the word “popcorn” is actually pretty self-explanatory. This simple snack is just corn kernels, which expand and puff out (or pop!) when they are heated. There are a few different ways to heat up popcorn: you can choose to put it in the microwave or on the stovetop. But one important tip: when the popping sounds slow down, that’s when it’s time to take your popcorn away from the heat, or you’ll end up with a disappointing, burnt snack.

RELATED: Popcorn Is the Ultimate Snack. These 9 Brands Prove It.

Is popcorn vegan? 

Because popcorn is just corn kernels, it is naturally vegan. However, if you’re grabbing a bag from the store, make sure to check the ingredients list first. Sometimes, cheese, butter, or milk chocolate are added to liven up the simple snack, for example. That said, you can find vegan versions of cheesy and buttery popcorn, too. For more on the best vegan popcorn options on the shelves, follow our guide to the best vegan popcorn snacks you can buy

Is popcorn healthy?

Popcorn is a great healthy snack option. According to Healthline’s Kayla McDonnell, RD, popcorn “is a healthy snack when it’s air-popped and served without ingredients high in fat, salt, or sugar.” Plus, it packs a number of nutrients. Popcorn is high in fiber and contains essential nutrients such as zinc, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and more. 

Lightly salted popcorn as a regular snack can be a part of a healthy diet, as can flavored options (think cheesy or chocolate-drizzled) when enjoyed in moderation. Here, we explore the more indulgent options perfect for when you’re craving a little something more. 

Vegan popcorn recipes

For the days when you want to indulge in flavored popcorn, liven up your bowl with these tasty recipes. 

VegNews.veganpopcorn.JodimorenoJodi Moreno

1Dark Chocolate Popcorn Party Mix 

Blogger Jodi Moreno tosses her popcorn with a homemade rosemary sea salt blend, along with toasted almonds and pumpkin seeds. It is only then that the mix is doused with hot melted chocolate and refrigerated until ready to serve. Fit for a crowd or a party of one, this recipe won’t last long!
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2 Vegan Miso Butter Caramel Corn

White miso imparts a touch of umami while maple syrup ups the sweetness factor in this popcorn recipe. The perfect balance of sweet and salty, this is one movie-night snack everyone can agree on. 
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VegNews.veganpopcorn.TurniptheOvenTurnip the Oven

3 Rosemary Truffle Popcorn 

This light and herby recipe from Turnip The Oven starts with homemade rosemary oil. Once the popcorn is popped and infused with the fragrant oil, more is drizzled in, along with truffle oil. Sea salt is the final touch to this elegantly simple recipe.
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VegNews.veganpopcorn.ThehealthfulideasThe Healthful Ideas

4Cheesy Vegan Popcorn 

You won’t miss the cheese with this salty and satisfying recipe from The Healthful Ideas. Nutritional yeast is the star ingredient in this addictive blend, but turmeric, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and sea salt are also key players in this seasoning medley that will have you eating every last kernel in the bowl.
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5 Vegan Kettle Corn

You read that right; this is technically kettle corn, not popcorn. But what exactly differentiates the two snacks? Traditionally, popcorn is popped with oil or butter whereas kettle corn is air-popped in an iron kettle (hence the name). Kettle corn, too, has added sugar for a touch of sweetness, whereas popcorn does not. This homemade snack serves as the perfect base for dairy-free chocolate syrups, chocolate chips, and creamy nuts. Or, enjoy on its own. Homemade is better, after all. 
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VegNews.veganpopcorn.CokkieandkateCookie + Kate

6 Cinnamon Maple Caramel Popcorn 

Cookie + Kate ditches the butter and corn syrup found in traditional caramel corn with this naturally sweetened, healthier version that will still have you licking your fingers. Maple syrup, almond butter, and spices are the only ingredients you’ll need to achieve salty-sweet cinnamon-flavored crunchiness in this recipe.
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VegNews.veganpopcorn.WholenewmomWhole New Mom

7 Doritos Popcorn 

Enjoy all the flavors of the classic chip in this all-natural recipe from Whole New Mom, whose homemade seasoning blend is tastes just like the “real” thing. One bite and former Doritos fans will rejoice over this dairy-free twist on a classic snack.
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VegNews.veganpopcorn.NaturallyEllaNaturally Ella

8 Vegan Curry Popcorn With Coconut 

Curry, ginger powder, and unsweetened coconut flakes are tossed with popcorn clusters in this inventive recipe by Naturally Ella. Ready in five minutes and featuring a mere six ingredients, this versatile recipe can easily be customized by using different curry powders. Want it sweeter or spicier? Just add a bit of sugar or cayenne.
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VegNews.veganpopcorn.CupcakesandkalechipsCupcakes & Kale Chips

9 Mint Chocolate Chip Glazed Popcorn 

One of our favorite ice cream flavors is transformed in this fun and colorful recipe from Cupcakes & Kale Chips. The popcorn is full of whimsy, with a light minty flavor, reminiscent of summer days and ice cream scoops. Miniature chips add pops of chocolate throughout this irresistible snack.
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VegNews.veganpopcorn.KitchenConfidanteKitchen Confidante

10Sweet and Spicy Wasabi Popcorn 

Can’t decide between sweet or spicy? Get them both in this grown-up recipe that packs a bit of heat into each mouthful. Potent wasabi powder and sugar coat freshly popped kernels, along with a dash of cayenne pepper in this zesty blend from Kitchen Confidante.
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VegNews.veganpopcorn.Real Food Real Deals

11Vanilla Almond Popcorn

Real Food Real Deals glazes homemade popcorn with a gooey, golden sauce and then bakes the concoction until crunchy. Sweetened with dates, this flavorful batch is full of nothing but healthy ingredients.
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VegNews.veganpopcorn.101cookbooks (1)101 Cookbooks

12 Chile Lime Tequila Popcorn 

101 Cookbooks combines all the flavors of a jalapeño margarita in this popcorn version of the cocktail. You don’t have to be a mixologist to savor this tasty blend that whisks melted dairy-free butter, lime juice, zest, and minced jalapeño, then dresses it over a just-popped bag of kernels. A spicy pepper combination is sprinkled on top, and the mixture is shaken (not stirred!) vigorously to ensure every piece is seasoned to perfection.
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VegNews.veganpopcorn.PureVegetarianBitesPure Vegetarian Bites

13 Masala Popcorn 

This Indian-inspired recipe from Pure Vegetarian Bites is exploding with flavor thanks to the inclusion of chaat masala, garam masala, curry, coriander, and turmeric. Slices of green chili peppers and curry leaves are fried and tossed with seasoned popcorn for an addicting snack.
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VegNews.veganpopcorn.ChocolateCoveredKatieChocolate Covered Katie

14 Healthy Caramel Popcorn 

Add roasted peanuts to this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie for a healthier version of Cracker Jack. This caramel sauce comes together with three ingredients and can be ready in five minutes if you microwave your popcorn. 
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