What tastes good sprinkled on popcorn?

Popcorn is a beloved snack food that’s been around for centuries. It’s a simple food – just corn kernels heated until they pop – but it’s versatile and can be customized in many ways. One of the best things about popcorn is that it serves as a perfect canvas for flavor additions and toppings. With just a dash of seasoning or sprinkle of an extra ingredient, boring old popcorn transforms into a crave-worthy snack.

Quick Answer: The Most Popular Toppings

Some of the most popular popcorn toppings and seasonings include:

– Salt – This classic seasoning enhances popcorn’s already salty-sweet flavor. Plain salt, flavored salt blends, or seasoned salts all taste great on popcorn.

– Butter – Melted butter helps popcorn taste extra rich, creamy, and indulgent. Real butter is best, but powdered butter flavors or olive oil work too.

– Parmesan cheese – The nutty, salty flavor of parmesan perfectly complements popcorn. Grated parmesan adds a savory kick.

– Chili powder or cayenne – For spicy popcorn, a dash of chili powder, cayenne pepper, or other hot spices create a tongue-tingling snack.

– Sweet add-ins – Cinnamon sugar, brown sugar, or powdered sugar contrast nicely with popcorn’s saltiness.

Most Popular Savory Toppings

Savory seasonings and spices make popcorn a more complex-tasting snack. Here are some of the most popular savory toppings for popcorn:


Cheese is one of the best mix-ins for popcorn. Melted cheese coats each kernel, adding creamy texture and savory flavor. Popular options include:

– Parmesan – This hard Italian cheese has a sharp, nutty taste that balances popcorn’s mild flavor. Grated parmesan sprinkled on hot popcorn melts slightly for delicious results.

– Cheddar – Sharp cheddar or white cheddar lend buttery, tangy notes to popcorn when grated or melted over the top.

– Nacho cheese powder – Powdered nacho cheese seasoning clings to popcorn and mimics the indulgent taste of movie theater nacho cheese flavor without artificial ingredients.

– Blue cheese – The funky, rich flavor of blue cheese crumbles takes popcorn from boring to gourmet.

Spices and Seasonings

A variety of dried spices add robust flavor to popcorn with just a light sprinkle. Good options include:

– Chili powder – The blend of chilies and spices in chili powder brings mild heat and robust flavor.

– Garlic powder – This seasoning adds a savory garlic punch. Combine it with salt for extra flavor.

– Onion powder – Like garlic, onion powder gives popcorn a tasty, savory edge.

– Cajun seasoning – The bold blend of paprika, garlic, onion, and peppers in Cajun seasoning give popcorn zip.

– Old Bay – This classic seafood seasoning also nicely seasons popcorn with its blend of celery salt, paprika, mustard, and other spices.

– Italian seasoning – Oregano, basil, rosemary, and garlic flavors infuse popcorn with Italian flair.

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast with a nutty, cheesy flavor. It adds nutritious protein and vitamin B12 to popcorn while giving it a savory, almost cheese-like taste.

Bacon Bits

Bacon bits infuse popcorn with smoky, salty, meaty flavor. Real crumbled bacon is best, but bacon-flavored bits also taste great.

Seafood Seasonings

Seafood spices meant for boiling crab, shrimp, or other shellfish also taste delicious on popcorn. Old Bay is the classic choice, but other zesty seafood blends also work well.

Sweet Popcorn Toppings

If you prefer sweet flavors on your popcorn, there are plenty of options to sprinkle on this iconic snack.


Basic white sugar adds sweetness to popcorn when sprinkled on top. For stronger flavor, try brown sugar or powdered sugar. The molasses notes in brown sugar give it more complexity, while powdered sugar creates a sweet coating on kernels.

Cinnamon Sugar

This mixture combines white sugar with warming cinnamon for a classic sweet and spicy taste. Adjust the ratios to your taste – more cinnamon for stronger spice flavor or more sugar for max sweetness.


Chocolate is a beloved popcorn topper. Drizzle melted chocolate over air-popped popcorn or sprinkle chocolate chips to create a sweet and salty snack. Mini chocolate chips work best to adhere to popcorn.


Fun rainbow or chocolate sprinkles transform popcorn into a festive, sweetened treat. This works especially well if you drizzle popcorn with melted chocolate first so the sprinkles stick.

Powdered Sugar

A light dusting of powdered sugar adds just a hint of sweetness and makes popcorn resemble snow-capped peaks.

Maple Syrup

The rich flavor of real maple syrup takes hot popcorn to new levels of tastiness. The syrup lightly coats each fluffy kernel.


Buttery, chewy caramel mixed into popcorn or drizzled over the top Turns it into an indulgent candy-flavored snack.

Savory and Sweet Combos

For popcorn with complex flavors, consider using a blend of savory and sweet toppings:

– Chili powder, lime juice, and brown sugar
– Parmesan and maple syrup
– Cinnamon and bacon bits
– Peanut butter chips and pretzel pieces
– Cajun seasoning and chocolate chips

Don’t be afraid to experiment with creative combinations and come up with your own signature popcorn blend. The possibilities are endless!

Movie Theater Popcorn Flavors

Movie theater popcorn is so addicting partly thanks to the ultra-savory seasoning added to it. Here are some copycat recipes to create famous movie theater popcorn flavors at home:

AMC Butter Popcorn

– Popcorn
– 1/2 cup melted butter
– 2 tablespoons canola oil
– 2 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon salt

Combine butter, oil, garlic powder and salt. Pour over hot popped popcorn and toss to coat evenly.

Cinemark Movie Theater Popcorn

– Popcorn
– 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
– 1/4 cup butter, melted
– 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, butter, sugar, garlic powder and salt until the sugar has dissolved. Drizzle over popcorn while tossing to distribute evenly.

Regal Cinemas Popcorn

– Popcorn
– 1/3 cup canola oil
– 2 tablespoons butter
– 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
– 1 teaspoon brown sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Melt butter with oil. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Drizzle over hot popcorn, tossing constantly to coat each piece.

Worldly Seasoning Inspiration

Popcorn tops menus across cuisines worldwide. Look to international flavors to inspire your popcorn toppings:

Tex-Mex Popcorn

Top popcorn with taco seasoning, salsa, Cotija cheese, cilantro, and lime juice for Mexican flair.

Indian Popcorn

Sprinkle curry powder, garam masala, chopped cashews, raisins, and a squeeze of lime over hot popcorn to give it an Indian twist.

French Popcorn

For a taste of France, use herbes de Provence seasoning and grated Gruyère or Comté cheese as popcorn toppers.

Middle Eastern Popcorn

Za’atar seasoning, sesame seeds, olive oil, and feta cheese lend Middle Eastern flavor to popcorn.

Japanese Popcorn

To make Japanese shichimi togarashi-flavored popcorn, top with sesame seeds, dried seaweed flakes, ginger, orange zest, and chili pepper.

Unexpected Topping Ideas

Once you’ve tried all the classics, get more creative with unexpected popcorn toppings to shock your tastebuds:

– Crumbled Feta or Goat Cheese – Salty, tangy crumbles

– Honey – Sweet, sticky drizzle

– Lemon or Lime Zest – Citrusy fresh flavor

– Pesto – Nutty basil flavor

– Crispy Fried Onions – Fun crunchy texture

– Crushed Potato Chips – More salty crunch

– Chopped Olives – Briny flavor bombs

– Coconut Flakes – Tropical twist

– Ground Coffee – For a mocha vibe

– Chili Crisp – Sweet and spicy

Homemade Flavored Popcorn Oils

For next-level flavored popcorn, try using homemade seasoned oil instead of plain oil or butter.

Here are some easy recipes:

Garlic Popcorn Oil

Simmer 2 to 3 minced garlic cloves in 1 cup canola oil for 5 minutes. Strain out garlic and use oil to pop and toss popcorn.

Rosemary Popcorn Oil

Steep 3 fresh rosemary sprigs in 1 cup hot canola oil for 10 minutes. Discard rosemary and use oil for popcorn.

Chili Popcorn Oil

Add 3 tablespoons chili powder to 1 cup canola oil. Heat on low 2 to 3 minutes to bloom spices. Strain out solids before using.

Lemon Pepper Popcorn Oil

Whisk 2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning into 1 cup warm canola oil until combined.

Concoct Your Own Crazy Combos!

Once you’ve tasted all the classics, don’t be afraid to get creative and dream up your own signature popcorn toppings!

Think about flavors you enjoy and how they’d pair with popcorn. Get inspiration from other cuisines or your favorite recipes.

Customize popcorn to suit your taste by mixing sweet, spicy, salty and savory flavors. Popular add-ins like chocolate, nuts, pretzels or seeds can provide delicious topping textures.

Keep tasting popcorn with new toppings until you discover your own go-to combinations! No matter what you sprinkle on top, popcorn remains the perfect blank canvas for endless flavor possibilities.


Popcorn may seem like a basic snack, but with the right toppings it transforms into a truly crave-worthy treat. Whether you prefer sweet, salty, spicy or savory flavors, the options for seasoning popcorn are endless. Simple ingredients like butter, olive oil, and salt make popcorn taste even better. Or get creative with cheeses, spices, sugars, chocolate, caramel – the possibilities are infinite! The next time you make popcorn, experiment with new toppings to create your signature popcorn masterpiece.

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