Pumpkin Spice Popcorn

So in this week’s low waste seasonal swaps, I’m introducing my favorite low waste snack- popcorn! Back in my old apartment, my roommate and I had a designated popcorn pot that lived on the stove. That’s how serious we took our popcorn.

During fall, I see seasonal popcorns that spring up in stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. I’m usually tempted once to try them and I realize they are just never as good as the homemade version. Plus, the packaging is rarely recyclable. This year, I didn’t even bother. I stuck to the good stuff!

This recipe has minimal ingredients and most are easy to find package-free and/or plastic-free: popcorn kernels, coconut oil, olive oil, salt, sugar and pumpkin pie spice. That’s it.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Popcorn

makes approximately 10 cups.

  • 1.5- 2 TBSP refined coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels
  • 1- 1.5 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  1. Start by mixing together your pumpkin pie spice and sugar and set aside. You aren’t going to use all of this for the popcorn but you can use it anywhere you use cinnamon sugar- toast, homemade tortilla chips, on oatmeal, french toast, etc. You can half the recipe if you don’t want too much leftovers.
  2. In a large stock pot with a cover, add the coconut oil and a few popcorn kernels and cover. Start on medium or medium-high. When I had a gas stove, I was able to cook this on high. With my electric stove, I do medium- high, or a 7.
  3. Once the oil has heated and the few kernels in your pot have popped (roughly 4 minutes), add the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels, cover, and give your pot a good shake so all your kernels are covered in oil.
  4. As your kernels begin to pop, continue to give your pot the occasional shake. Once the popping begins to slow, remove the pot from the heat, keep covered, give it another shake and let the popping come to a stop. Mine took about 90 seconds to fully pop.
  5. Remove the lid. With your popcorn still in the pot, drizzle with olive oil and toss. Add salt and toss. Taste until it is to your liking. You want this step to be good before moving onto your additional toppings.
  6. Add the pumpkin pie spice and sugar topping. I used about 1 TBSP. Gradually add and toss until it’s to your liking.
  7. Pour into large bowl and share, if you’re feeling generous. Or don’t, I certainly won’t judge!

All the ingredients listed above are flexible and can be changed based on your preference. My biggest tip though is not to skimp on the oil you pop the kernels in. If you have too little oil, your kernels will burn or won’t pop as well. You’ll be left with a bowl of unpopped kernels. If you want a fat-free or low-fat popcorn, I would suggest going the air-popper route. Stove top isn’t your best bet, though, in my opinion, it does make the best tasting popcorn.

It can take some time to get the timing and heat of your popcorn correct so don’t fret if it’s not perfect the first time. Start with a lower heat and work up. When I had a gas stove, I just cranked it on high and made it that way for years. When I switched to an electric stove, I started on high and burned the heck out of my first batch. So be patient as you work on this recipe. Your stove and pot will determine how long your popcorn takes to cook.

Once you have the basic timing and recipe down, you can add all sorts of toppings. I always start with olive oil and salt and then add from there- chocolate, nutritional yeast, savory spices, whatever you want! The options are limitless. I always mix my ingredient in the hot pot. I think this produces the best results. The heat melts the chocolate, toasts the nutritional yeast, warms the spices, etc. I think it just produces a better flavor.

I also really like bringing this to get togethers. It’s a budget-friendly recipe that comes together quickly and can be changed based on the season. I also almost always have the ingredients on hand so it saves me a trip to the grocery store.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a bowl of this popcorn and Nightmare Before Christmas waiting for me. “This is Halloween, this is Halloween…”

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