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Popcorn Party

Snowed in again? Host a movie night (or day) and do this popcorn taste test with your family!  Did you know that popcorn is a whole grain?  When you make popcorn from scratch, the old-fashioned way, it’s a natural whole-grain, high-fiber snack (with none of the gross chemicals that can be in microwave popcorn).  Our recipe is below.

For a fun family snack, host a Popcorn Topping Taste Test with your family.  Skip the traditional butter and salt and have a spread of different toppings to try. Here are some we recommend:

  • A little olive oil (instead of butter)
  • Grated lemon or lime zest
  • Spices such as ground cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, or curry powder
  • A dash of hot sauce (not too much or the popcorn will get soggy)
  • Dried or fresh herbs such as dill, rosemary, oregano, or thyme
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Garlic powder
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Put each topping in a separate bowl or container and sprinkle or pour them on a bit of popcorn.  Compare each taste.  Use this prompts to guide the discussion and give every family member a chance to answer.

  • Which topping did you like the most?  Why?
  • Have you ever tasted any of these toppings before?
  • What kinds of tastes did each topping have? 
  • Were there any tastes you didn’t like? Why?
  • Would you like to add any of these ingredients to your popcorn next time?
  • Are there any other toppings you have tasted before today that you think would go with popcorn?
  • Did you try something new today? Did you like it?


If you don’t have a popper, try this method. Make sure to get an adult’s help with this recipe, since you have to shake a hot pot on the stove top!


Measuring spoons
Large pot with lid
Measuring cup
Pot holders 
Large bowl


3 tablespoons canola or olive oil

1⁄3 cup popcorn kernels

1⁄2 teaspoon salt


  1. Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Carefully add the oil to the pot. 
  2. Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pot.
  3. When the kernels pop, add the remaining popcorn kernels in an even layer. Turn the heat off and cover the pot. Count to 30 (or time half a minute on a stopwatch). 
  4. Turn the heat back on to medium. When you hear a lot of popping (this will not take long) use potholders to gently shake the pot, moving it back and forth over the burner. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, turn the heat off. 
  5. Dump the popcorn into the large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. 

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