Smoky Spiced Buttered Popcorn

Karen, FamilyStyle Food

My cooking style is simple: I like to keep it real. I look for whole ingredients that are as minimally processed as possible; lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, sustainable meat, seafood and dairy products. Even the snacks in my house lean toward the natural side. My kids definitely love it when root beer, tortilla chips and cookies appear at home, but for the most part they’ve learned to look for other foods – like grapes, carrots, pickles and their all-time favorite, popcorn – to satisfy their urge for all things sweet-salty-crunchy. It’s hard to ignore that craving when it calls, but there are ways to indulge without relying on junk food.

Popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks around, especially when you make it yourself. Once you taste a batch of homemade popcorn with real melted butter you’ll remember that butter + popcorn is absolutely one of the most delicious combinations on the planet! Once you’re hooked, it’s simple to build on your bowl of plain buttered popcorn with add-ons like fresh herbs, spices, grated cheese, chunks of dark chocolate…you get the idea.

This recipe for Smoky Spiced Buttered Popcorn combines zesty spices and butter – it’s perfect to set out for a treat during movie night or March Madness game time.

Tip: I make sure to buy popcorn kernels in bulk at a grocer with a high turnover to be sure they’ll be fresh, and I use a microwaveable popcorn bowl to make batch after batch of perfect air-popcorn in just a few minutes,

Smoky Spiced Buttered Popcorn
By Karen
Servings: About 16 cups


1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (Pimenton de la Vera)
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fresh chopped thyme


Put the popcorn kernels in the bowl of a microwave popcorn maker. If you don’t have one, use a large brown paper lunch bag with the top folded over firmly once or twice.

Cover the bowl; select the popcorn setting on your microwave, adding an additional 30 seconds if needed to pop all the kernels. Transfer the popcorn to a large mixing bowl.

Place the butter, paprika, granulated garlic, onion, salt and pepper in a small microwaveable dish. Microwave at 50 percent power in 30 second increments until the butter is just melted. Stir the mixture to combine.

Pour half the spiced butter over the popcorn and toss to coat; add the remaining butter and toss again to coat the kernels evenly. Sprinkle with the chopped thyme.

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9 thoughts on “Smoky Spiced Buttered Popcorn

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  1. Sarah Kornbrek said:

    The more I ate of this the more I began to like it. It is so different from any popcorn I have ever eaten. One of the people I shared it with strangely thought it tasted like cheese popcorn. To make the recipe I used the recipe for “Microwaved Popcorn” from Allrecipes. It called for the same amount of popcorn and salt anyway, and I am familiar with it. I love that recipe. Since it is microwaved with salt, I left the salt out of the butter mixture. I was not sure what granualted onion and garlic were so I used the powder form. For the paprika, I just used standard store shelf paprika. With the thyme I used a pinch of dry. It made about 3 large servings. ty

  2. Deb C. said:

    We have popcorn very often and just add butter and salt, so this was a nice change of pace. I always make popcorn on the stovetop and then add the flavorings. It was very tasty and didn’t last long in our house.

  3. Penny said:

    Thank you so much! This is really good. Addictive really – I think I better go make more – one batch is not enough of this delicious treat for my family.

  4. Suzzanna said:

    I agree with Sarah Kornbeck’s comments, except that I popped the popcorn according to the directions. I also used garlic powder and onion powder, regular paprika, and dried thyme. I thought it tasted like cheese popcorn, even though there’s no cheese in it. It tasted even better after it sat a couple of hours. My husband had a hard time putting it down without eating tyhe whole bowl.

  5. Shearone said:

    Made this according to recipe using a microwave popcorn. If you need to add some spice to your life, this is the recipe for you! Enjoy!

  6. Jillian said:

    Wow – now this really takes regular ‘ol popcorn to a whole new level of deliciousness! I LOVE popcorn for a crunchy, buttery snack but add some herbs and spices and you have yourself a fabulous treat. The smokiness from the smoked paprika is a nice touch that gives this a bit of a “Southwestern” flair. Next time I might add a bit of grated Parmesan cheese for that little extra something special! This was so good, I made a bit more of this seasoning to store in a small plastic container so it’s easy to take out the next time I want to make this and there’ll definitely be a next time!

  7. Paula said:

    First of all, who would ever think to pop popcorn in a brown paper bag in the microwave? It works great! Secondly, this spiced butter is delicious. As Jillian said, it takes popcorn to a whole new level.

  8. Kelly G. said:

    My husband and I didn’t care for this at all. The flavor was just too much – and way too garlicky for us. Sorry!

  9. Keri said:

    Oh my goodness, this is SO good! I used the paper bag method to pop the popcorn, which worked very well. I didn’t have fresh thyme or Spanish paprika, so I used regular paprika and added dried thyme to the butter mixture. We don’t eat popcorn very often, but we’ll certainly keep this recipe handy for whenever we want to have a movie night!