Maple and browned butter popcorn

A healthy alternative to store-bought kettle corn!

Pretty much my whole life, popcorn has been my favourite snack – even more so now that I know it’s high in fibre and has lots of nutrients too. I like to use heritage red popping corn – I it pops up very white with a red centre and has a really delicious, almost nutty flavour. Though the kernels are smaller than some varieties, they have very thin shells which shatter completely so the popcorn has a wonderfully light and crispy texture. I grew up popping corn on the stove as I describe below;  of course you can use an air or microwave popper if you prefer or, if you’re lucky enough to find cobs of popping corn at your local farmers’ market, those are great too – just put them in a paper bag, fold the top several times, then pop on high heat for 2 minutes (or until popping subsides) in the microwave. I’m not usually a calorie counter but I checked and this recipe has just 85 calories per serving (assuming each portion is 2 cups) versus at least 130 calories in most commercial brands of kettle corn. If you’re a big popcorn fan like me, you might also enjoy making (and eating) these festive lion cupcakes.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom (optional but delicious)
  • 1 tablespoon canola or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • Few pinches sea salt, to taste


  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Swirl the pan or whisk the butter continuously for 1 – 2 minutes until it has browned; be careful not to let it burn. Add the cardamom and the maple syrup (it will foam up) and let the mixture bubble for about a minute before removing it from the heat. Set aside.
  • Place oil and 2-3 popcorn kernels in a large, heavy-duty pot placed over medium heat. When kernels are sizzling, add the remaining kernels to the pot and place the lid on top.
  • Allow the popcorn to pop, shaking the pan continuously. When the popping slows down, remove the pot from the heat and pour the popped corn into a large bowl.
  • Quickly reheat the maple-butter mixture over medium heat just until it comes to a boil. Drizzle over popcorn and toss gently to coat evenly. Sprinkle with salt; toss again and serve.

Makes approximately 4 servings.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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