If you’re ready to add some new bites to your homemade snack ideas – this is it! You’re going to love this bright and zesty lemon popcorn seasoning.
It starts with my 5-minute classic stovetop popcorn recipe, which is totally the way to go because nothing beats homemade popcorn.
Until, of course, you branch out into savory popcorn recipes to mix it up! There’s the classic salty cheddar cheese popcorn when you need a cheesy fix. And a kid-friendly favorite, ranch-seasoned popcorn.
And now, this irresistibly zesty lemon popcorn! It’s an unexpected homemade popcorn seasoning idea, but one that’s quickly going to become a favorite. The subtle hint of lemon in fresh parsley is accentuated with the fresh lemon zest for a bright, fresh, citrusy flavor!
What You’ll Need for Lemon Popcorn
As long as you are starting with homemade popcorn, you’ll need two basic ingredients for it: popcorn kernels and oil.
Be sure to check out my entire post on how to make stovetop popcorn for more info on the best oil to use, and the differences between white and yellow popcorn kernels.
As for the lemon popcorn seasoning, here’s what you’ll need:
- Lemon Zest – the lemon flavor in this recipe comes from lemon zest. Lemon zest is full of bright, lemony flavor and it won’t weigh down or leave you with soggy popcorn kernels. You can still add a quick squeeze of lemon juice for brightness in addition to the zest if you’d like, too.
- Red Pepper Flakes – ah, the spicy kick. Adjust the level of pepper flakes you add to match your desired spice level. Not into a little spice? Totally leave them out.
- Fresh Parsley – bright, peppery, and a perfect pair with lemon, fresh parsley adds a beautiful brightness to this recipe. Bonus? Parsley is full of health benefits!
And the two things every savory popcorn needs:
- Unsalted Butter – I prefer high-quality unsalted butter so I can adjust my own salt levels. And high-quality, because it’s only the best for popcorn.
- Salt – I recommend using high-quality fine sea salt on any kind of popcorn. A touch of freshly ground black pepper compliments the pepper nicely too if you’d like to add it.
First, Make the Popcorn
Let’s briefly cover how to make homemade popcorn here, but for all the tips, tricks, and information, be sure to check out my full homemade popcorn tutorial.
- Heat the oil and the three test kernels.
- Once the test kernels pop, add the entire 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels.
- Remove from heat and swirl for 20 seconds.
- Return the pan to the heat and let the popcorn pop away, cracking the lid halfway through the popping.
- Once the popping stops, immediately transfer the popcorn to a serving bowl.
Finish with Lemon Popcorn Seasoning
Now that you have freshly popped popcorn, it’s time to toss it with lemon and parsley to add the perfect balance of bright, fresh, zesty flavor!
The best way to ensure the flavor is incorporated throughout the entire bowl of popcorn is to make sure the butter is flavored.
Mix the lemon zest and red pepper flakes (if using) into a bowl of melted butter. Pour the lemon butter mixture on top of the popcorn, tossing as you drizzle it, for the best coverage.
I like to use two spoons to toss it all together after I pour the butter, too. It helps to evenly coat the popcorn.
Once the kernels are coated, sprinkle on fine sea salt to taste, again tossing to coat evenly, along with chopped parsley.
The more finely the parsley is chopped, the more it will be incorporated throughout the popcorn. A touch of freshly ground black pepper compliments the pepper nicely too.
Taste test (for good measure, of course, not to sneak the first few bites ;)) and then dig in!
Frequently Asked Questions
Homemade popcorn is healthier in general, as you can control the oil type and amount, along with the butter. Lemons and parsley also have many nutrients and antioxidants, making them excellent in terms of healthier popcorn toppings.
Absolutely! You can substitute any herb you’d like, really. The herb you substitute will obviously change the flavor profile from the recipe, but feel free to adjust as you desire.
Yes, you can! I would recommend about 1 tablespoon.
I don’t know what you speak of!
Only kidding… store it in an airtight container then reheat it in the oven at 250F to crisp it back up. Do note, if it’s been tossed with butter, it can be reheated but the texture will not be the same.
Love homemade popcorn? Check out these recipes, too!
- Spicy Parmesan Garlic Popcorn
- Dill Pickle Popcorn
- Ranch Seasoning Popcorn
- Caramel Popcorn
- Chocolate Covered Popcorn
- Homemade Cheddar Cheese Popcorn
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Lemon Parsley Popcorn
- In a large (8-12 quart) heavy-bottomed stockpot or dutch oven, add the oil and three popcorn kernels, heating over high heat. Cover the pan. These are the "test kernels" and once they pop, it signals that the oil is officially hot enough to pop all the kernels at the same time. Meanwhile, measure out the remaining 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels and begin preparing your butter by melting it either in a microwave-safe bowl or on the stovetop.3 Tablespoon high-heat neutral oil, 1/2 cup popcorn kernels, 4 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- Once the three test kernels have popped, immediately add the 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels to the pan. Cover and remove from heat, gently swirling from side to side for 20 seconds. Return the pan to the heat, and the popcorn kernels will almost immediately beginning popping.
- Once the kernels are about halfway done popping, slightly crack the lid to allow excess steam to escape. Do this when the stockpot is approximately halfway full with popcorn, or about 30 seconds to 1 minute after they've popped – this does not have to be exact.
- Once the popping has slowed or just stopped, immediately pour the popcorn into your serving bowl.
- Add the lemon zest and red pepper flakes to the melted butter. Pour evenly across the bowl of popcorn, tossing to combine.1 lemon, Dash of red pepper flakes, 1/4 cup fresh parsley, Salt, Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Add salt as desired, as well as freshly ground black pepper, if using. This is the perfect time to taste test to be sure the salt level is where you'd like. Sprinkle on the chopped parsley, again tossing to coat the popcorn with the parsley leaves. Enjoy immediately!
This post was originally published in July 2015; the text and photos were updated in April 2021 for clarity.