How do I Season Popcorn?

by Jackie Lohrey

Popcorn can easily go from healthy to horrible with the wrong seasoning ingredients. Butter, salt, caramel and cheese are the main fat- and calorie-adding culprits. To bring popcorn back to a less-than-100-calorie snack, start with 3 cups of unseasoned, air-popped popcorn and experiment with a variety of healthy popcorn seasonings.

Season by Substituting

Mix in non-traditional but tasty alternatives as a substitute for traditional popcorn seasonings. Spread your popcorn out on single layer on a baking sheet or, alternately, add seasonings to popcorn in a large bowl.

Lightly spray the popcorn with a butter-flavor vegetable spray, then sprinkle on a few shakes of a salt-free commercial seasoning.

Transfer the popcorn from the baking sheet to a bowl using a spatula, or toss with large spoon to coat popcorn in a bowl.

Make It Italian

Mix to combine Italian seasonings such as oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Additional seasonings can include black pepper, cayenne pepper and Parmesan cheese.

Spread your popcorn out in a single layer on a non-stick cookie sheet. Spray lightly with a vegetable or olive-oil cooking spray, sprinkle on the seasonings and spray again lightly.

Toss the popcorn by lifting and turning it with a spatula.

Bake the seasonings into your popcorn in an oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Use the spatula to turn and toss the popcorn after five minutes of cooking time, then cook for five additional minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowl with the spatula and enjoy.

Think Orange

Lightly coat popcorn in a large bowl with vegetable oil spray.

Sprinkle on the orange drink mix and orange peel and toss the popcorn with a spoon.

Spray with a final light coat of vegetable oil spray, toss, serve and enjoy.


  • Single seasoning ingredients on dry popcorn can provide a calorie-free seasoning kick to popcorn. Add a sprinkling of cinnamon, chili powder, garlic powder or dried parsley to dry popcorn and toss or lightly season handfuls as you eat.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

About the Author

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.