Tailgate time is upon us, and snacks are in order. Why not get extra miles from your munchies this season by taking advantage of one very inexpensive ingredient—one that's whole grain to boot? We're talking about popcorn, that perfectly crunchy classic snack with a flavor mild enough to complement any combination of sweet, salty or spicy. Here are 13 popcorn recipes that will have tailgate guests lining up around the stadium.
—By Alissa Harb
These bars, packed with popcorn, peanuts and oats, are the portable, less-mess answer to your traditional bowl of game-time popcorn. Sweet, salty, and extra filling thanks to the oat and nut additions, these bars aren't likely to last past halftime. We like to stash a few extra, wrapped in wax paper, for tasty take-away treats.
Get the Recipe: Caramel Popcorn Peanut Bars
This season, opt for a tailgate snack with international intrigue. Crunchy curried popcorn features super-savory curry powder, with just a hint of added heat courtesy of cayenne pepper—all the makings for a perfectly spicy crunch that just won't quit.
Get the Recipe: Curried Popcorn
A grown-up take on classic sweet and salty popcorn recipes, this Honey-Truffle Popcorn comes courtesy of Kir Jensens's cookbook The Sugar Cube: 50 Deliciously Twisted Treats. This snack mix is perfect for the high-brow tailgate crowd, capitalizing on the rich, musky flavor of truffles—in the form of much less pricey truffle oil or truffle salt.
Get the Recipe: Truffle-Honey Popcorn
Game day snacking takes a cue from the candy aisle in this perfectly sweet, buttery, crunchy Popcorn Brittle. Large chunks of this brittle travel especially well, so if you're tailgating at the stadium, this is the way to go. You might want to bring a few copies of the recipe too—fans will want to know your secret.
Get the Recipe: Popcorn Brittle
The perfect combination of salt and spice—thanks to crushed red pepper, Thai chiles and a few generous splashes of soy sauce—this popcorn mix with an Eastern twist is nothing short of inspired.
Get the Recipe: Thai-Style Popcorn
A perfectly unexpected taste of the American South, this mix features aromatic thyme and rosemary, plus a generous dose of crunchy Georgia pecans. With the contrasting hues of white popcorn, deep brown pecans, and fresh green herbs—the colors alone make a lovely addition to any game day spread.
Get the Recipe: Popcorn with Georgia Pecans, Rosemary and Thyme
Popcorn goes decadent in this Cashew Butter Crunch Popcorn—all the way decadent, with a rich, buttery brown sugar coating on every bite. This recipe is snack-worthy, but it's dessert-worthy too. We recommend breaking this popcorn out towards the end of the festivities.
Get the Recipe: Cashew Butter Crunch Popcorn
Starting with the earthy spice of turmeric, chili powder and cumin, this savory mix is taken to the next level of snacking with the added crunch of zesty red onion and roasted peanuts. Would make a lovely pairing with the Curried Popcorn.
Get the Recipe: Indian-Style Popcorn
This stovetop caramel popcorn is made doubly crunchy with the addition of raw almonds. It's a slight twist on a classic treat, just different enough to make it interesting. The rich hues and the sweet scent of caramel will have tailgaters' mouths watering before their hands ever make it to the bowl.
Get the Recipe: Caramel Almond Popcorn
The flavors of maple and pecan are made for fall-season tailgates. Shaped into morsels that are crunchy and chewy all at once, this recipe makes the perfect half-time snack. Like bars and brittles, Maple Pecan Popcorn Balls are a less-mess answer to popcorn snacking.
Get the Recipe: Maple Pecan Popcorn Balls
Courtesy of healthy snack advocate Laura Fuentes, The Superglue Mom, this crunchy snack mix is a textural hodge podge best served in a really, really big bowl. Laced with pretzel sticks, nuts, and raisins, this popcorn mix is a little bit salty and a little bit sweet. Glazed with cinnamon and maple syrup, the flavors are a perfectly comforting mix for fall.
Get the Recipe: Maple Snack Mix
This strictly-savory mix features the classic combination of salt and pepper, only the salt portion is taken to new heights with freshly grated Parmesan. Fresh popped corn, ground black pepper and Parmesan cheese—three ingredients tossed in a bowl. How easy is that?
Get the Recipe: Parmesan Pepper Popcorn
The classics are designated as classics for a reason. And this Classic Caramel Corn just works. Every time. Make it new with interesting presentation—we love filling brightly colored or galvanized tins of all shapes and sizes.
Get the Recipe: Classic Caramel Corn
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