When you think of popcorn toppings, what comes to mind?
Most people say butter and salt- a few will add cheese powder. Still, those are really the only popcorn toppings people think of. But they only scratch the surface.
Best Popcorn Toppings
There are so many other things that you could add to your popcorn.
Take sweet popcorn toppings, for example. You have caramel, chocolate sauce, and more!
Or try a savory popcorn with ranch or sriracha!
The best popcorn toppings are those that complement the popcorn’s natural flavor.
You don’t want something so overpowering that the topping is all you taste.
With that in mind, here are my picks for the 15 best toppings for popcorn.
I know what you’re thinking. Something like “Duh!” Still, butter is the traditional popcorn topping, so we can’t leave it off the list.
Let’s be honest; plain popcorn is bland. It has its own natural flavor, and that flavor is good. There just isn’t much of it.
Butter enhances that otherwise lackluster flavor. It makes it more complex, richer, and more delicious.
It’s also helpful in helping other non-liquid toppings (like salt) stick to the popcorn.
Whether you like vegan butter, European butter, or somewhere in between doesn’t matter. Butter is practically a popcorn necessity.
2. Cheddar Cheese
Behind butter and salt, cheddar is probably the next most popular popcorn topping. (Say that five times fast: popular popcorn topping.)
It has a sharp, tangy taste that adds tons of flavor. It’s the perfect complement to popcorn’s otherwise bland, light airiness.
You can find cheddar cheese powder in the snack aisle of most grocery stores. Maybe the spice aisle. There are several varieties to choose from, too.
White cheddar is a classic choice. But you could opt for spicy cheddar, bacon cheddar, or something else.
And if all else fails, throw in some fresh shredded cheddar cheese. Its deliciousness may surprise you!
3. Seasoned Salt
Salt is another no-brainer for popcorn toppings. You don’t have to stick to table salt or sea salt.
Try seasoned salt for even more flavor.
There are tons of seasoned salt varieties on the market. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt is one of the most famous.
It features a blend of salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and more.
Try the different brands to see which flavor combination you like best.
4. Buffalo Sauce
Buffalo sauce is a somewhat messy choice for topping popcorn. Still, it tastes so good that most people don’t mind the mess.
Buffalo sauce adds heat, spice, and tanginess. It gives you the flavor of buffalo wings without the wings part of the equation.
You may have to shake the popcorn extra hard to coat it evenly. You could also pour the popcorn into a bowl and mix it with a spoon.
If you use buffalo sauce, try to eat the popcorn in one sitting. Otherwise, it gets soggy after sitting in the sauce too long.
Try a buffalo seasoning salt if you don’t want to deal with the mess. Or a buffalo dry rub works, too.
Caramel is another sticky, messy popcorn topping, but it’s so good. Most of us have had caramel corn at some point. So, we all know what it tastes like.
It’s sweet, salty, crunchy, and sticky. In short, it’s a heavenly treat that’s almost impossible to beat.
You can make your own caramel corn with my Caramel Popcorn recipe.
Or pour some caramel sauce into your bag of freshly popped corn. Melted caramels work, as well. This is messier but still so yummy!
6. Chocolate and Caramel Syrup
Add chocolate and caramel syrups if you want to go over-the-top decadent. (You want to do this.)
Popcorn with these syrups is a sweet, salty, and sticky confection.
It tastes more like a dessert than a movie theater snack. Still, it’s almost too good to pass up.
Remember to toss the popcorn well to coat all the pieces thoroughly.
7. Chili Lime
Chili lime is perfect for those who love zestiness and heat. It’s a bold, robust flavor to make your taste buds stand to attention.
There’s nothing bland about it.
You can find chili lime seasoning on the spice aisle or online. The Trader Joe’s and Tajin brands are the most popular.
You can also make your own. Add lime juice and chili powder to some melted butter. Then, pour the resultant mixture over your popcorn.
Shake, and enjoy!
8. Everything Bagel Seasoning
Everything Bagel seasoning has become pretty prevalent in the culinary world lately.
People put it on everything– from bagels and breadsticks to fish and chicken.
It also tastes fantastic on popcorn!
Different brands use different ingredients in their recipes. However, the seasoning typically includes sesame seeds, onion powder, garlic, and sea salt.
It’s a flavorful, umami-packed seasoning that’ll liven up your popcorn. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do a great job of sticking to the popcorn.
Your best bet is to melt some butter and add the seasoning. Then, pour the season-infused butter over the popcorn.
Otherwise, most of it will end up on the bottom of the bag.
9. Cookies n’ Cream
Cookies n’ Cream is less of a topping and more of a type of popcorn you can make. Don’t worry, though; whipping it up is super simple.
Crush some Oreos in a food processor (or beat them with a blunt object). Then, melt white chocolate. Add the crushed Oreos to the chocolate.
Pour the melted chocolate with Oreos over your popcorn and mix.
The result is a sweet, chocolate and cream popcorn masterpiece. The kids will go nuts for it, but you won’t want to share.
I could eat garlic on just about anything, and popcorn is no exception. It’s also a super convenient topping.
Grab some garlic powder or salt and shake it over your popcorn. Both stick pretty well.
However, they will stick even better if you first coat the popcorn in butter.
11. Cinnamon Sugar
Want a sweet popcorn alternative that’s not chocolate or caramel? Try adding cinnamon sugar.
You can make the mixture by combining equal amounts of sugar and cinnamon.
However, McCormick sells a bottle of pre-mixed cinnamon sugar now!
Locate it on the baking aisle, or make your own. Then, sprinkle it on your popcorn- with or without butter- as generously as you like.
As you can guess, the result is a sweet, cinnamon-flavored, autumn-esque snack.
You can even add pumpkin spice seasoning for a fun fall treat!
12. Italian Seasoning
There are several Italian seasoning brands on the market. My favorite is Simply Organic, but you can use whatever brand you like best.
Most blends contain many of the following ingredients:
- Onion powder
- Black (or cayenne) pepper
One thing missing from the ingredients list in most Italian seasonings is salt. So, you may need to add a little to make this topping work.
Are you someone who puts ranch on everything, including roasted veggies and pizza?
Are you a ranch dip kind of person? Or someone who seasons their meat with ranch seasoning?
Then, you will LOVE ranch seasoning on your popcorn!
You can go with a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch. Or buy a jar of ranch seasoning blend.
Or any other specialty varieties, such as zesty ranch, buffalo ranch, etc. You can also make your own DIY ranch seasoning.
Either way, you only need to sprinkle it over your popcorn. Use as much or as little as you like.
As with most other dry seasonings, it will adhere best if you add butter first.
Sriracha is another popcorn topping that is bound to be messy.
Still, it’s a good choice if you want something sweet, savory, spicy, and scrumptious.
The garlic, salt, and jalapenos combo is too good to pass up. So grab a bottle and pour it over your popcorn.
Then, shake vigorously or mix it up with a spoon. Eat it as fast as you can- to avoid sogginess.
Not in the mood for a mess? No worries. You can purchase Sriracha popcorn seasoning from Amazon.
However, it doesn’t taste exactly like real Sriracha. But it is still tasty!
15. Old Bay Seasoning
Old Bay Seasoning is a common spice in the homes of seafood lovers. But it doesn’t just taste fantastic on crab, lobster, shrimp, and crawfish.
It also makes popcorn pretty delicious.
The seasoning contains celery salt, red pepper, black pepper, paprika, and more. When you add it to popcorn, it delivers loads of flavor.
It also adds a little- but not too much- heat.
It’s easy to add, too. Pop off the cap and shake the bottle over the popcorn. Because it’s small and flaky, it sticks well.
Add butter for more flavor and better adhesion.
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