4 Irresistibly Tasty, Kid-Approved, Oil-Free Popcorn Flavors

According to National Today, over 90 percent of Americans love this fluffy, white snack, eating 45 quarts of popcorn per person per year. That makes it one of the most widely consumed snacks on the planet.

It helps that when eating it air-popped, we can actually feel pretty good about popping it with no oil and then downing those thirty-one, healthy calories per cup without adding to our waistline.

We pay less than 50¢ a pound for this tasty treat when we buy in bulk. Our family eats popcorn nearly every single day as a mid-morning snack and we want it to be both healthy and satisfyingly filling.

The challenge is to come up with topping combinations that are healthy without adding any extra oil or butter.

With the addition of butter or oil, that enticing calorie count goes out the window really quickly. Thankfully, it’s actually surprisingly easy to create fun flavors, without adding any additional oils.

Jazz up your favorite, daily bowl of air-popped popcorn with these irresistible, family-friendly flavor combinations.These sensational flavor combinations were devised by my 17 year old son, Daniel, who loves creating healthy, new recipes.

Begin by placing 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels into an air popper. This should yield approximately 12 cups of air popped popcorn.

The trick to getting toppings to stick to warm popcorn without adding oil, is lightly misting the popcorn with water mixed with another liquid that adds flavor, but not calories. You need to use a light coating of the liquid to avoid over-saturating the popcorn. Overuse of the water mixture will result in wet, messy, soggy popcorn.

The goal is to add just enough dampness for the topping to stick.

#1: Snickerdoodle Popcorn

Reminiscent of the cookie flavors, in this recipe, Daniel used a combination of homemade vanilla and water to add moisture to the popcorn.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 1/2 tsp. real vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2-3 tsp powdered sugar

Instructions

Pour the vanilla and water mixture into a small, glass or plastic bottle with a spray top. Lightly mist the popcorn, turning with your hand to ensure that all pieces are coated with the water. Pieces should be only lightly dampened.

Mix the powdered sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Lightly sprinkle over the top of the popcorn, turning to coat each piece. Add more cinnamon or powdered sugar if needed.

If you are out of powdered sugar (we were), place a small amount of granulated sugar into a high-speed blender or coffee mill. Blend until powdered. Then, proceed with the recipe.

#2: Cup of Hot Cocoa Popcorn

This popcorn reaches across age divisions and will be a favorite of every family member.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 1/2 tsp. real vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • Pinch of cinnamon (optional)

Instructions

Pour the vanilla and water mixture into a small, glass or plastic bottle with a mister top. Lightly mist the popcorn, turning with your hand to ensure that all pieces are coated with the water. Pieces should be only lightly dampened.

If using granulated sugar: Place cocoa powder and sugar into a coffee mill. Grind to a very fine consistency. Remove from coffee mill and place in a small bowl and spoon over dampened popcorn.

If using powdered sugar: Pour the powdered sugar and cocoa into a small bowl. Stir to combine and then spoon the mixture over the popcorn.

This recipe makes a really generous amount of topping. So easy and delicious.

#3: Chinese 5 Spice Popcorn

This was, once again, my son, Daniel’s, brain child and although I was hesitant at first, I admit that this flavor wound up being a universal favorite and a definite “make again” for our family.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Chinese 5 spice powder

If you don’t have Chinese 5-spice powder, you can make your own by mixing together a combination of cinnamon, anise, fennel, ginger, and cloves.

Instructions

Pour the soy sauce into a small, glass or plastic bottle with a mister top. Lightly mist the popcorn, turning with your hand to ensure that all pieces are coated with the water. Pieces should be only lightly dampened.

Lightly sprinkle the Chinese 5-spice powder over the top of the popcorn, turning to coat each piece. Add more as needed.

#4: Middle Eastern Curry

Curry is Daniel’s favorite seasoning. He tries to add it in some form to most of his original recipes. If you like the kick of curry, then you are sure to enjoy this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp curry powder

Instructions

Pour the soy sauce into a small, glass or plastic bottle with a mister top. Lightly mist the popcorn, turning with your hand to ensure that all pieces are coated with the water. Pieces should be only lightly dampened.

Mix the garlic, onion, and curry powders in a small bowl. Lightly sprinkle over the top of the popcorn, turning to coat each piece. Add more of the spice mixture if needed.

What’s Your Favorite Flavor Combination?

Popcorn is such an inexpensive, fun treat. Plus, you never run out of topping flavors to try. Tell me in the comments section what topping flavors we should try next.

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