Do you love popcorn as much as I do? It’s my favorite snack. During fall, I love to give it a fall flavor twist. I have two pumpkin popcorn snacks – one spicy and one sweet.
Originally I served these two pumpkin popcorn snacks at Halloween. But recently, as I’ve been focusing on preparations for Thanksgiving, I’ve thought about yummy snacks for the kids to enjoy before and during Thanksgiving.
The grown-ups might also like a little snack for football watching or as a late-night snack.
What is an easy snack to make, easy to eat, and will have no leftovers to store? Then I remembered these two pumpkin popcorn snacks. If they are delicious for Halloween, they are just as delicious for Thanksgiving.
When Sweet Shark and I first started dating, I knew he might be the right one for two reasons – well, actually a lot of reasons, but two really stood out:
1. He doesn’t drink coffee and neither do I.
2. He loves popcorn almost as much as I do.
Over the years, we’ve shared thousands of bowls of popcorn.
Since October is National Popcorn Month, a few years ago I created a new popcorn snack suitable for Halloween and fall.
Pumpkin Popcorn Snacks
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What flavor is more iconic for fall than pumpkin? Pumpkin! So I created a Spicy Pumpkin Popcorn Snack.
And then, since I don’t know any kid who doesn’t like something a little sweet, I created another popcorn snack a little on the sweet side. So I can now share 2 Pumpkin Popcorn Snacks ~ 1 Spicy and 1 Sweet.
Sweet Pumpkin Spice Popcorn
For my first pumpkin popcorn snack, I wanted a popcorn treat with a little bit of sweetness.
Rather than use regular granulated sugar, I opted for turbinado (sugar in the raw), as a little bit healthier choice. Less processed than brown sugar, turbinado is made from the first pressing of sugar cane and retains some natural molasses. It has a light caramel flavor that makes it a good replacement for regular white sugar and adds a little bit of crunch to the popcorn.
I also wanted to include a bit of pumpkin flavor – not too much to overpower the popcorn, but just enough to add a sense of fall seasoning.
Years ago, my kids gave me an air popper for Mother’s Day. After thousands of bowls of popcorn, it just keeps popping its little heart away. This is a newer version of the one I have.
You could, of course, use a ready-to-go popcorn like Original SkinnyPop Popcorn instead and skip the popping. Personally, I love freshly popped popcorn.
1/3 cup unpopped kernels make 8 cups popped kernels. Place the popped corn kernels in a large bowl.
For the Sweet Pumpkin Spice Popcorn, you will need:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (I used the microwave.)
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin spice
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Add the sugar, pumpkin spice and salt to the melted butter and stir to combine.
Drizzle the melted butter mixture over the popcorn and toss to thoroughly coat the popcorn and distribute evenly. Taste for any additional seasoning.
For Halloween trick-or-treaters, I placed about 1/2 cup of popcorn in a plastic bag and tied it with a festive ribbon.
For Thanksgiving, you could put all the sweet pumpkin popcorn in ” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener sponsored nofollow”>one cute bowl. Then provide cute small popcorn bowls for people to serve themselves.
Spicy Pumpkin Popcorn Snack
Have you ever found a recipe in a magazine or on Pinterest, even one of your own cookbooks that you really wanted to make? Something that looked and sounded delicious?
When you are ready to shop for ingredients or make the darn thing, you can’t remember where you saw it. You search frantically, trying to remember which magazine, which website, racking your brain to remember what the magazine cover looked like, what was the name of that site?
Why didn’t I dog-ear the page, Pin It, rip out the page, print it, save it? That happened to me last year. In addition to all the pumpkin recipes that I do have on file and have made, I’ve been on the lookout for others. Something a little different, something I’ve never tried.
I found one that looked interesting (I’m sure I Pinned it, but I searched and can’t find it!). It was a combination of popcorn and pumpkin seeds – in Texas, we call them pepitas. If you can’t find them at your local grocery store, pepitas are available online.
They are good for you and we always have them on hand for snacking. You already know I love popcorn – always drizzled with extra virgin olive oil: try it and you’ll never go back to butter and a little salt.
Add some spices and you have an easy snack.
Well, the recipe was not to be found, so I just opened the spice cabinet, pulled out some that I thought would make a tasty, spicy mix, and here’s what I came up with – and it’s really, really good.
I think this Spicy Pumpkin Popcorn Snack is a perfect fall munchie for serving on football-watching weekends. It’s super quick (about 10 minutes in the oven).
I knew that I would make another great Thanksgiving snack.
Do you remember what gathering all your ingredients is called? Mise en place.
You can smell the spices when you mix them with the pumpkin seeds. You know it’s going to be good.
Smells even better in the oven.
I popped the popcorn while the pumpkin seeds were toasting.
Spicy Pumpkin Popcorn
- 1 air popcorn popper
- measuring cups and spoons
- half sheet pan
- mixing bowls small and larger
- 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ⅛ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F. Cover a half-sheet pan with foil.
- Bake the pumpkin seeds for 10 – 15 minutes until lightly toasted. Immediately remove from sheet pan to a bowl.
- While the pumpkin seeds are baking, combine all the spices in a small bowl.
- Pop your popcorn and place it in a large serving bowl. Drizzle the popcorn with extra virgin olive oil just until lightly coated.
- Add the spice mix to the pumpkin seeds and gently toss to combine.
- Add the pumpkin seeds to the popcorn and gently toss to combine.
- Taste the pumpkin popcorn for spiciness. Add more spice mix, if desired.
Make sure that you toss the toasted pumpkins and the popped popcorn together really well and put them in a pretty bowl. I used my trifle bowl so the mixture would show.
Store extra or leftovers in an air-tight container. You can reheat it in a 250˚F. degree oven.
Some cold beer would be really good with this snack. Sweet Shark loved it. I hope you and your football fans and your Thanksgiving guests like it too.
Ingredients/Supplies for Making the Popcorn Snacks
Whether you make the Spicy Pumpkin Popcorn or the Sweet Pumpkin Spice Popcorn, I know you will enjoy both.
Want to keep these 2 Pumpkin Popcorn Snacks for future snacking? Then, be sure to PIN this post.
Do you want some other pumpkin-flavored recipes?
- Pumpkin Risotto Bites
- Pumpkin Spice Martini
- Creamy Southwest Pumpkin Soup
- Chocolate-Pumpkin Cupcakes
- Pumpkin Bacon Bars with Caramel Frosting