White Chocolate Popcorn
White chocolate peppermint popcorn from Gary Poppins. Photo by Saidi Granados | THE NIBBLE.




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MELODY LAN is a member of THE NIBBLE editorial staff.


July 2006
Last Updated April 2012

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Snacks

Popcorn Flavors

Page 4: What Makes Popcorn Kernels Pop



CAPSULE REPORT: This is Page 4 of a four-page article on the history of popcorn, up through modern popcorn flavors and recipes. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.

Flavored Popcorn


Today’s popcorn lovers can enjoy much more beyond the basic plain, salted or buttered varieties. There are dozens and dozens of flavors, from anise to watermelon. Here’s a sampling:

  • Buttered Popcorn.  The first and most popular, butter, or butter-flavored soy mixes, are the number-one favorite popcorn flavor.
  • Caramel Corn. Also called toffee popcorn, caramel corn is popcorn covered in caramel or molasses and often contain nuts, like peanuts or almonds. Certain types of caramel corn are made with a white sugar-based caramel rather than the traditional brown sugar versions, for a lighter and more buttery flavor. The commercial candy Cracker Jacks, sold in a box, is caramel corn with peanuts. Invented in 1896 by F.W. and Louis Rueckheim, the name, a then-current term for “cool,” was bestowed by a salesman. The inexpensive toy “prizes” for which the product is famous were added in 1912. 
Caramel corn. Photo courtesy Popcorn.org.
  • Cheese Corn.  Popcorn flavored with cheddar, parmesan or other cheeses is a savory favorite. Dale and Thomas makes a Buffalo Blue as well as a Southwest Cheddar-Chipotle.
  • Chocolate-Covered Popcorn. These include milk, dark and white chocolate, peanut-butter-blended chocolate, Aztec (spicy) chocolate, and other variations including chocolate-caramel combines two or more of America’s favorite snack flavors. (Click here to read our article on chocolate-covered popcorns.)
  • Kettle Corn. This sweet-and-salty variety is now made with granulated sugar, salt, and oil. A Colonial invention, the corn was popped in iron kettles and then sweetened with sugar, honey, and sometimes molasses before adding salt. It is less sweet than caramel corn and appeals to those who like a sweet-and-salty profile.
  • Spicy Corn.  Garlic and jalapeño are two flavors that work well with corn. We buy them when we find them—and we like them. Barbecue-flavored corn, like Dale and Thomas’s Sweet & Spicy BBQ is another favorite.
  • Wild Frontier of Flavors. There are popcorn companies out there that make almost anything—Pickle Popcorn, Banana Popcorn, Blueberry Popcorn, Cherry Popcorn, Peppermint Popcorn, Root Beer Popcorn and flavors that sound more like potato chips than popcorn, i.e., Salt and Vinegar Popcorn and Loaded Potato Popcorn. We’ll try anything—we just haven’t gotten around to them yet. If you get there before we do, let us know. Places to start: JuliesPopcorn.com, PopcornPalace.com
  Wasabi Popcorn
Bombay (curry), wasabi and Cajun popcorns. Photo courtesy Popcorn.org.

How far does it go? Popcorn Palace has 27 flavors of popcorn, including Cookies & Cream, Spiced Apple and Sour Cream & Chives.

Flavor Your Own: Popcorn Recipes


Place eight cups of popped corn in a large bowl and melt 3 tablespoons of melted butter or margarine.

  • Easy Cheesy Corn. Mix 2 teaspoons finely chopped or snipped thyme into the melted butter and drizzle over the corn. Toss to blend. Sprinkle with 1 cup grated quality parmesan or cheddar cheese. Taste and add up to 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus pepper. Toss to blend.
  • Taj Mahal Munchies. Mix 2 teaspoons curry powder into the melted butter and drizzle over the corn. Toss to blend. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and sugar. Toss to blend. Then 1/2 cup each of coconut, golden raisins and sliced almonds. Toss to blend.
  • Wasabi Popcorn. Mix 2 teaspoons of prepared wasabi into the melted butter and drizzle over the corn. Toss to blend. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to taste. Toss to blend.