Create the Ultimate Popcorn Bar This Holiday Season

popcorn bar

Is there any snack that’s better than popcorn? I think not.

Popcorn is a whole grain that provides about three grams of fiber per cup. Since we usually eat more than one cup per sitting, that’s a good start toward the minimum of 25 grams most Americans need per day. Popcorn not only helps us feel full and satisfied, but it also has small amounts of nutrients such as B vitamins, iron, and magnesium, and contains a variety of polyphenols – a type of antioxidant which is linked to better circulation and digestive health.

And with the holidays just around the corner, we’re always looking for something fun to set out for family and friends to snack on, or for the perfect nighttime nosh that everyone will love while they snuggle up to binge watch holiday movies.

The great thing about a popcorn bar is that you can offer toppings and additions that are both savory and sweet, so there’s something for everyone.

What type of popcorn you use is up to you, and the amount of time you have to prepare it. Air-popped is the healthiest, if you have an air popper appliance or want to use a no-oil microwavable popcorn bowl like these inexpensive and popular ones from Amazon. Of course, there’s always microwavable bags from the grocery store, with whatever amount of butter and salt you want on them. (Check labels for fat and sodium grams if you’re trying to keep it a bit healthier.)

Once you’ve decided on what popcorn you’re using, it’s time to select seasonings and toppings. Dry additions will stick better with a little spritz of melted butter, water, or lime juice before adding them!

Here are some great ideas for those who enjoy savory flavors:

Chili powder, BBQ rub spices, garlic powder, Italian herbs, cayenne pepper, Parmesan cheese, any shredded cheese, Tajin, Buffalo seasoning, Balsamic vinegar, and cinnamon. You can also offer savory mix-ins like nuts, pretzels, and cheese puffs.

Kernel Season’s sells a fun variety pack of eight different popcorn seasonings, including delicious flavors like Bacon Cheddar, Ranch, and Cheesy Jalapeño.

For those who love their popcorn with a sweet flavor, consider these add-ons:

Melted white or dark chocolate, M&M candies, caramel ice-cream topping, chocolate or butterscotch chips, sprinkles, cinnamon-sugar seasoning, candy corn, chocolate covered raisins, gummi bears, mini marshmallows, Red Hots candies, Junior Mints, Reese’s Pieces, and Skittles.

As with every food or beverage you can feed a crowd with, the DIY presentation level of your popcorn bar can go from “I’m tired and just putting forth minimum effort today” all the way up to “Hold my Pinterest-Queen Crown” intensity.

Use what you have on hand, like plastic or paper bowls, cups, and the seasoning jars in your pantry. Or, check out some ways to be extra with kraft paper popcorn boxes, mini acrylic scoops for toppings, and clear plastic spice jars with shaker lids and labels.

Another wonderful thing about a popcorn bar is that it pairs well with any beverages you and your people like. Consider setting up a hot-chocolate station for kids, and a hard cider or holiday cocktail station for the adults.

Be creative and have a poppin’ good time this holiday season!