You can’t knock the classics – salt, sweet, salt AND sweet, or toffee – but also, sometimes popcorn deserves to be jazzed up.
While the rise of gourmet popcorns – from Propercorn to Joe & Seph’s – has meant our cinema snack needs are being met in ever more inventive ways, they can also be pretty pricey.
Luckily for us, popcorn is one of the easiest and cheapest treats to whip up at home. Just follow this basic recipe, and add one of our flavoursome toppings below.
How to make plain popcorn
Heat one teaspoon of vegetable oil in a large saucepan, over a medium heat. Add 50g of dried corn kernels to the pan, pop the lid on and shake until you can hear that the kernels have stopped popping. Will serve two hungry people.
1. Lemon and thyme
Melt a knob of butter in a small pan, stir in a tablespoon of chopped thyme leaves until they release their aroma. Add a pinch of salt, and stir through your popcorn, before grating over the zest of one lemon.
2. Chilli, lime and black pepper
Again, melt a knob of butter in a small pan, add a teaspoon (or more, depending how hot you like your chilli) of fresh chilli/chilli flakes/paprika/cayenne pepper and sea salt. Stir through your popcorn then top with a good grind of black pepper and some lime zest.
3. Peanut butter and banana
Melt a tablespoon or two of peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, you choose) in the microwave or on the hob, and pour over your popcorn. Top with chopped dried banana chips.
4. Cinnamon sugar
Sprinkle your hot homemade popcorn – still in the pan – with a tablespoon of brown sugar, and shake again with the lid on (the sugar should caramelise slightly). Then add a teaspoon of cinnamon – you could chuck in some nutmeg or ginger too – as well as a handful of dried apple rings for an even more autumnal flavour.
5. Chocolate, fruit and nut
Grab a handful of your favourite nuts (we’d go with pecans) and dried fruit (cranberries work well). Chop them up and mix in with your popcorn, then drizzle with a melted bar of dark chocolate (you may need to eat this with a spoon).
6. Maple syrup and rosemary
Sweet and savoury, for this one, just melt a knob of butter in a pan and add a teaspoon or two of chopped rosemary needles. Let them release their oils and stir through your popcorn, before drizzling over with maple syrup and a sprinkling of sea salt.