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7 Zero or Low Waste Homemade Popcorn Recipes

Do you love popcorn and enjoy mixing it up with a few new flavors? Not only can popcorn be a fairly healthy snack, depending on how you prepare it, but it’s also a great zero waste snack. Forget the pre-packaged alternatives full of chemicals, and make popcorn at your house for a quick and easy zero waste snack kids and adults will love.

My younger son loves popcorn, which is a relatively new discovery for me. I’m a chocolate girl, so salty snacks aren’t usually my default, and M doesn’t have much of a hankering for popcorn either. I suppose when parents don’t each much of something, their kids don’t eat it either. Until recently, I don’t think I’d ever made popcorn at home.

The store-bought microwave popcorn packets often have lots of chemicals in them, so I steer clear of them. I didn’t want a large popcorn maker in my house, and I had no idea about smaller alternatives because, frankly, I never looked for them.

Single-Serve Homemade Popcorn Makers

Then J told us how much he loved making popcorn with his grandmother and asked to buy a popcorn maker for our house. For the holidays, his grandmother gave him a little single-serving popcorn maker that pops kernels in the microwave. Here are a couple of types of single-serving popcorn makers you can try: a glass popcorn maker and a silicone popcorn maker.

Now J is all set to make popcorn as a snack whenever he wants (and he doesn’t make more than he plans to eat). 

If you don’t have a popcorn maker, you can also pop the kernels in a brown paper bag in your microwave for about 2 1/2 minutes and recycle or compost the bag after you’re done using it.

Grow Your Own Popcorn

Popcorn is such a great zero waste snack. In the past, we have purchased plain popcorn kernels in glass jars or from the bulk section at the grocery store. But did you know that you can grow your own popcorn?

We have a friend who grows their own popcorn. It looks pretty easy, and we definitely have the garden space. My younger son is already stoked to grow our own popcorn in our garden next season by sprouting some of the kernels we have in our cabinet now.

When I do eat popcorn, I’m a purist preferring a bit of butter and salt. There are plenty of fancy popcorn recipes though to up the ante on your popcorn game (many of which can be made with little to no waste) that we should definitely try.

7 Zero or Low Waste Homemade Popcorn Recipes

Here are seven fancy popcorn recipes worth checking out. I calculated each of the recipes to make a single or double serving of popcorn, but you can always make a larger batch if you are feeding a crowd.

Butter and Salt | I know it’s basic, but it’s great. And it totally counts!

Sriracha-Lime | Mix 1 tablespoon melted butter with 1 1/2 tsp Sriracha, a pinch of grated lime zest, and 1/2 tsp lime juice; drizzle over 2 cups hot popcorn and toss. Season with salt.

Salt and Vinegar | Combine 1 1/2 tsp malt vinegar and 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt in a jar; shake to dissolve the salt. Add 2 cups of hot popcorn and toss. You can also try spraying the mixture over the popcorn if you have a spray bottle handy, to ensure the coating is light. 

Ranch | Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1/4 of a 1-ounce packet of ranch seasoning mix; toss with 3-4 cups of hot popcorn. Season with salt to taste.

Peanut Butter Banana | Combine 1/4 cup natural peanut butter and a 1/4 cup of honey. Melt together and pour over 2 cups of hot popcorn. Add 1/2 cup of dried banana chips and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips to the mixture.

Garlic, Oil, and Pecorino | Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil with 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss the mixture with 2 cups of hot popcorn. 

Chocolate-Mint | In a double boiler, melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips, 1 tsp peppermint extract, and 2 tablespoons butter; stir until smooth. Pour over 2 cups popped popcorn; toss to coat. Immediately spread onto parchment paper; let stand until set. Break into pieces.

Do you have any favorite popcorn recipes? Share in the comments!

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