Sea Salt Honey Butter Popcorn

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Sweet and salty snacks are my jam.

Vertical image of a wooden bowl filled with popped white corn kernels next to a red-striped white towel on a wooden surface, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth, so if I’m going to indulge in something sugary, I like it to be balanced by a flavor that touches down on my taste buds in a different way.

Case in point: my first-prize winning breakfast sandwich.

No, really. Rachael Ray said so.

Five years ago, I entered a national competition held by Rachael Ray and won the grand prize of a cookbook to be published under her Simon & Schuster imprint (if you’re interested, it’s available on Amazon. The first recipe I submitted that got my foot in the door was an English muffin egg creation that featured funky taleggio cheese and orange lavender fig jam.

Orange, Lavender & Figs: Deliciously Different Recipes from a Passionate Eater, available on Amazon.

Months later, as the contest came to a close on the stage of Rachael’s daytime television show, I was asked for one more recipe (and was told it could be one I had used previously). I’m a sucker for things coming full circle, so right back to my beloved breakfast sandwich I went.

Needless to say, things turned out alright.

Vertical image of spoon pouring a thick yellow syrup over a bowl of popcorn next to a bowl of the same syrup, a bowl of kernels, and a red-striped white towel on a wooden surface.

Although it was likely my determination, eagerness to prove my cooking chops, and the universe putting me in the right place at the right time that led me on this life-changing adventure, that fig jam-taleggio combo was pretty damn dope.

The orange’s bright citrus notes balanced out the floral lavender in the jam, and when it merged with the fruity tang of the cheese, a whole new level of salty-sweet was born.

Now that I’ve got you good and hungry, let’s get to poppin’.

Truth be told, I didn’t grow up with stovetop popcorn. My only memory of kernels bursting over an open flame is the opening scene of Scream when Drew Barrymore meets her unlucky fate before ever getting to enjoy her salty nighttime snack.

Vertical image of a white towel with red stripes, a cup of honey, a bowl of kernels, and a large wooden bowl filled with popcorn on a wooden surface.

My husband, however, remembers countless childhood evenings at home when his mom would break out the Dutch oven and rattle the kernels out of their jar. He and his three siblings would snuggle up in front of the TV and share overflowing bowls of buttery goodness.

Today, he’s still a sucker for that rich movie theatre-style kind, while I’m more partial to something with a hint of sweetness. This snack is the perfect blend of our two favorites.

The sticky honey provides my palate with that gentle sugary zip I crave, and the melted butter gives him the warm, nostalgically nutty flavor he loves. A good-quality, distinctively flaky sea salt gives the popcorn an addictive crunch.

Vertical close-up image of a wooden bowl with puffed white corn kernels on a wooden surface next to a bowl of thick syrupy liquid.

The only issue? Deciding on a movie.

Now that I’ve crossed over into the land of stove-top popcorn, my mind is exploding with a fusion of flavor ideas. Maple and cheddar, caramel and kosher salt…

The moral of the story?

Sweet and salty wins every time.

Print
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Horizontal image of a pot filled with white puffy kernels.

Sea Salt Honey Butter Popcorn


  • Author: Fanny Slater
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings (approximately 4 cups per person) 1x

Description

Looking for an easy way to satisfy that sweet-and-salty craving? This addictively delicious honey butter infused popcorn is the answer.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup organic popcorn kernels

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the butter begins to foam and sizzle, add the honey and 1/4 teaspoon salt and whisk to combine. Keep the mixture warm over low heat.
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add two of the popcorn kernels to the oil and cover the pot with a lid. Turn the heat to up medium-high.
  3. As soon as you hear the test kernels pop, add the remaining kernels, cover the pot, and shake so that the kernels are evenly coated in oil. Once they start to pop, reduce the heat back to medium, give the pot another few shakes, and leave the lid a tiny bit tilted so some of the steam can be released.
  4. When the popping sounds begin to dissipate, after about 2 minutes, take the pot off the heat and immediately sprinkle the popcorn with the remaining salt.
  5. Transfer to a large bowl, evenly drizzle the honey-butter mixture over the top, and gently fold to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and serve warm. 
  6. The freshly popped popcorn (without the honey-butter mixture added) will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 2 days. And the flavored butter can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated on the stove or in the microwave at 50% power.
  • Category: Popcorn
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Snacks

Keywords: honey, butter, popcorn

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Make the Sea Salt Honey Butter Mixture

Horizontal image of a pan with melted butter and syrup pouring into the pan.

Melt the unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

When the butter begins to foam and sizzle, add the honey and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and whisk to combine.

Keep the mixture warm over low heat.

Step 2 – Warm the Coconut Oil and Test Two Kernels

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the coconut oil.

Horizontal image of a hand pouring kernels into a pot with oil and more kernels.

Add two of the kernels to the oil and cover the pot with a lid. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Listen for them to pop, indicating that the oil is hot enough. You’ll add the other kernels as soon as they pop.

Step 3 – Add the Remaining Kernels, Shake the Pot, and Let It Pop

Horizontal image of a pot with kernels and a lid with an orange handle.

Once the test kernels pop, add the remaining kernels, re-cover the pot, and shake so the kernels get evenly coated in the oil.

Alternatively, once all of the kernels are in and the pot is covered, you can remove the pot from the heat for 30 seconds, and then return it to the stove. This helps the kernels get to an even temperature where they’re almost ready to pop, so when they hit the heat again, they all pop around the same time. This approach often results in fewer un-popped and burnt kernels. Give it a try!

Once the kernels start to pop, reduce the heat back to medium, give the pot another few shakes, and leave the lid a tiny bit crooked so some of the steam can escape. This also helps to keep the popcorn dry and crisp.

Step 4 – Listen for the Popping to Slow Down and Remove the Pan from the Heat

Horizontal image of a pot filled with white puffy kernels.

When the popping sounds begin to dissipate, after about 2 minutes, take the pot off the heat and immediately sprinkle the popcorn with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Step 5 – Transfer to a Bowl and Season with the Sea Salt Honey Butter

Transfer the popcorn to a large bowl, evenly drizzle the honey butter mixture over the top, and gently fold to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and serve warm.

The freshly popped popcorn (without the honey butter mixture added) will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Horizontal image of a glass bowl filled with puffed white kernels next to a bowl of kernels, a bowl of syrup with a spoon on top, and a red-striped white towel.

You can make the popcorn and sea salt honey butter ahead of time, but don’t combine them until you’re ready to serve. Otherwise, the popped kernels will get mushy.

A Kernel of Truth

Why buy the bagged microwaveable stuff when you can shake up a freshly popped snack of your own that you can dress to your heart’s delight?

Horizontal image of a white towel with red stripes, a cup of honey, a bowl of kernels, and a large wooden bowl with puffed white corn kernels on a wooden surface.

If this sea salt honey butter medley rang your bell, try this out for size next:

Leave the butter over medium-low heat, whisking so it doesn’t burn, until it’s golden and nutty. Mix in pure maple syrup, orange zest, and salt for a ferociously good fall or winter-themed treat.

Hungry for more? Skip the store-bought munchies and make these sweet and salty snacks instead:

Are you a homemade popcorn topping aficionado? Share your secret sprinkles in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.

Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on January 15, 2013. Last updated: August 24, 2020 at 17:47 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Fanny Slater

Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”

21 thoughts on “Sea Salt Honey Butter Popcorn”

  1. You know what I love about this outlook? I love that recipes like these are what make Tuesday nights in front of Friday Night Lights reruns feel more special. Everyone can make a fancy dinner for fancy occasions, but your blog and your recipes give us all the chance to make Wednesday lunch leftovers, Friday breakfast, and snacktime feel a little luxurious. That’s what makes the good life.

    Reply
  2. Scrolling from the shot of popcorn kernels casually disorganized to the next frame of the same kernels popped and transformed just made my eyes pop wide open. What a great visual, that pair of photos!!

    Reply
  3. Yum! In our house we make a lot of popcorn on the weekends, always popped stove top, with the preferred topping being butter and nutritional yeast (and sometimes a sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning). Honey butter sounds so good!

    Reply
  4. Fancy recipes are great, but I love the reminder that all of these recipes (particularly these simple go-tos) are a part of a life well-lived.

    Reply
  5. This popcorn looks outstanding! I have always loved either butter or honey on my popcorn, but to combine them is pure, simple genuis.

    I will definitely be giving this a try!

    Natasha

    Reply

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