University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

Helping you prepare healthy foods in a hurry

Alice Henneman, MS, Registered Dietitian and Extension Educator
University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County


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Quick Tip - April 2003

A Poppin' Good Idea

Seasoning Tips for Air-Popped Popcorn

If you've tried eating air-popped popcorn to cut back on salt and fat, but it tastes pretty bland, here are some speedy tips to spice it up ...

After popping your corn, put it in a large bowl where the popcorn is a couple of inches below the rim so you can mix the corn and seasonings without spills over the side. Spray your corn lightly with a butter-flavored cooking spray. Add seasonings and mix thoroughly until all kernels are coated. NOTE: It's the spray that makes the spices stick to the corn in the absence of fat.

Some seasoning ideas:

  1. Sugar/cinnamon mixture. Mix sugar and cinnamon together using a ratio of about 2 teaspoons cinnamon per 1/3 cup sugar. Store any extra mixture in a covered container to keep moisture out and prevent sugar from hardening.

  2. Sugar/Chinese 5 spice powder mixture. Use the same ratio as in number 1 for cinnamon and sugar.

  3. Chili powder. Though some chili powders contain salt (check label), the amount of sodium in a teaspoon of chili powder averages 26 milligrams according to the USDA National Nutrient Database <>. This is much less than a teaspoon of salt which has 2,325 milligrams of sodium. To make your own salt-free chile powder check RecipeSource at

  4. Tex Mex Mix. Try this hot and spicy popcorn recipe from the National popcorn board at

  5. Experiment with saltless seasoning blends. Check out the various seasoning blends available at your grocery store or favorite Internet spice site.

NOTE: The National Popcorn Board recommends AGAINST storing popcorn in the refrigerator. The kernels are more likely to dry out in the refrigerator and do not pop as well. It's the water inside a popcorn kernel that expands when the popcorn is heated, causing the kernel to explode or "pop."



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Developed By:

Alice C. Henneman, MS, RD
Extension Educator
University of Nebraska
Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

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Phone: (402) 441-7180
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