Home Articles The Best Popcorn Toppings- 15 Ideas To Try

The Best Popcorn Toppings- 15 Ideas To Try

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. 

The Best Popcorn Toppings- 15 Ideas To Try featuring Homemade Popcorn in a Glass Bowl on a Wooden Table with a Blue and White Dishcloth

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. 

1. Butter

Pile of Small Pats of Butter on a Saucer on a Woven Mat on a Wooden Table

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

Whole and Grated Cheese Cheese on Parchment Paper on a Wooden Table

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

Wooden Shallow Bowl with Truffle Seasoned Salt on a Wooden Table And A Wooden Spoon in the Bowl

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

Spicy Hot Organic Red Buffalo Sauce in a Small Glass Bowl on a Wooden Table

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.

5. Caramel

Caramel Sauce Pouring into a Jar of Caramel Sauce on a Wooden Board with Square Caramel Cadies in the Background

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

Chocolate Syrup Pouring into a Bowl of Chocolate Syrup on a Burlap Cloth with Chunks of Dark Chocolate and Nuts All Around the Bowl

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

Homemade Chili Lime Seasoning in a  Small Bowl on a Wooden Table

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

Close-Up of Raw Organic Everything Bagel Seasoning in a Small Bowl

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

Small White Bowl Filled with Ground Oreo Crumbles and One Whole Oreo in the Middle

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. 

10. Garlic

Garlic Powder Piled High in a Glass Bowl and A Clove of Garlic on Burlap

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

 Cinnamon Sugar in a Small Bowl on a Wooden Table with Cinnamon Sticks Around the Bowl

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

Italian Seasoning on a Wooden Spoon

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:

  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Onion powder
  • Black (or cayenne) pepper
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Marjoram

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. 

13. Ranch

Homemade Organic Ranch Dressing in a Bowl with a Striped Cloth, Lemon Wedge, and Parsley in the Background

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. 

14. Sriracha

Bowl of Sriracha, Fresh Chili, Bottle of Sriracha Sauce, and Wooden Spoon on a Wooden Table

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

3 Containers of Old Bay Seasoning on Shelves

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. 

The Best Popcorn Toppings- 15 Ideas To Try

Butter and salt used to be the main popcorn topping. But these days, there are so many popcorn toppings available. Try chocolate, cheese, ranch, & more!


  • Butter

  • Cheddar Cheese

  • Seasoned Salt

  • Buffalo Sauce

  • Caramel

  • Chocolate and Caramel Syrup

  • Chili Lime

  • Everything Bagel Seasoning

  • Cookies n’ Cream

  • Garlic

  • Cinnamon Sugar

  • Italian Seasoning

  • Ranch

  • Sriracha

  • Old Bay Seasoning


  • Select your favorite topping option.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a delicious popcorn topping in 30 minutes or less!
Popcorn Toppings

Did you like the recipe?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 3.7 / 5. Vote count: 3

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.


Share on social media:

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

Leave a Comment