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Spiced Herb Popcorn

Change it up a bit with this savory spiced herb popcorn. Herb-y, lemon-y, garlic-y, smoky and a bit of heat.

Great as a snack or appetizer. Addictive!

Spiced herb popcorn with smoked paprika, lemon zest, garlic and fresh herbs. Addictive!

I recently went to a wedding in Santa Barbara and attended a rehearsal dinner at The Lark Santa Barbara (fabulous food by the way). Sitting on the long tables as we entered the private room were bowls of popcorn.  I didn’t want to spoil my dinner, but I couldn’t stop eating it. And I couldn’t get that popcorn out of my head for weeks.  So I decided to give it a whirl.  

Pretty close.  A hint of lemon, a bit of smokiness from the paprika and a taste of herbs which I had to increase each time I tested the recipe. Needless to say, once you’ve mixed it all together, it’s easy to add more of this or that to your taste.  I prefer butter, but you can substitute olive oil if you like.  You could also add a pinch of cumin.

Shortcuts for Herb Popcorn

(these shortcuts will reduce total time to less than 5 minutes)

  • Instead of popping the popcorn kernels yourself, use a microwave bag of plain popcorn.  Or, buy plain popcorn at a kiosk at a mall if you have one nearby.
  • Use dried herbs and garlic powder instead of fresh garlic – then just heat/melt the topping for 30 seconds in the microwave.

Tailor To Your Taste

  • Play around with the herbs and spices you like.

Make Ahead

  • This spiced popcorn is best fresh, but is will last for a couple of days in an airtight container or ziploc bag. I suggest using dried herbs and garlic powder if you’re making it ahead.

Love sweet popcorn?

If you have a sweet craving, try our Best Ever Caramel Popcorn (pictured at the end of this post).

Step by Step

oil, popcorn kernels, lemon, herbs, spices, butter

popped popcorn

seasoning mixture in pot

seasoning on freshly popped  popcorn

Spiced herb popcorn in bowl close up


Spiced Herb Popcorn in 3 bowls on placemat


Spiced herb popcorn with smoked paprika, lemon zest, garlic and fresh herbs. Addictive!
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4.93 from 13 votes

Spiced Herb Popcorn Recipe

Change it up a bit with this savory Spiced Herb Popcorn. Herb-y, lemon-y, garlic-y, smoky and a bit of heat. Great as a snack or appetizer. Addictive!
Prep Time4 minutes
Cook Time7 minutes
Total Time11 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 cups
Author: Cheryl


  • 1/3 cup corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Seasoned topping

  • 3 tablespoon butter (or neutral tasting olive oil)
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 2 teaspoon finely minced garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 3 tablespoon finely chopped herbs (or 1 tablespoon dried) e.g. any combination of rosemary, thyme, basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • optional: pinch of chili powder or cumin


  • MAKE POPCORN: Place 1 tablespoon oil in pot with a lid and heat to medium. Add 2-3 corn kernels and cover pot. When kernels pop, add the rest of the kernels and cover. Continue popping, shaking regularly, until popping stops and all (or most) of kernels are popped. Transfer to large bowl.
  • PREPARE SPICES and MIX WITH POPCORN: In same pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and chili flakes. Cook for 30 seconds. Mix in rest of the seasonings and herbs. Cook for another 30 seconds. Pour over popcorn and combine well. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Recipe Notes

To Store:  When cooled, store in airtight container or ziploc bag for up to 3 days.
Nutrition values are estimates for 1 cup (8 grams) of popcorn


Calories: 61kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 29mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 402IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?We'd love you to rate it above under 'rate this recipe' or in the comment section below. Thanks!

adapted from the Dirty Gourmet

Here’s another popcorn recipe you will love!

Best Salted Caramel Popcorn

salted caramel popcorn in a tall clear jar on table.
No, you can't just eat a handful of this homemade salted caramel popcorn. It's addictive! Crunchy popcorn and nuts with a mouth-watering buttery salted caramel coating.
Get the recipe

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