If you want a sweet, decadent version of everyone’s favorite movie-time snack, learn how to make chocolate popcorn!
This will likely be a hit for everyone, regardless of your chosen method. It’s on the naughty side with sweetener and fats added. Still, it’s worth the added calories and effort for the occasional elevated treat to simultaneously satisfy your snack cravings and sweet tooth.
Best Recipe for Chocolate Popcorn
The best recipe for chocolate popcorn depends on the vibe you’re going for. You can choose a quick chocolate drizzle, a dusting of cocoa powder, or go all out with a deluxe crunchy version that’s more like a full-blown dessert than a snack.
The Drizzle Version
One of the easiest methods for making chocolate popcorn is simply adding chocolate. You can do this in three easy steps:
- Pop the popcorn (any method works, but keep it plain)
- Melt your chocolate (chocolate chips, bars, chunks, etc., it doesn’t matter) with the coconut oil
- Lay the popcorn in a single layer on a baking sheet (line it with parchment)
- Drizzle the chocolate over the popcorn
- Sprinkle some salt before the chocolate hardens
The chocolate should harden at room temperature within about 30 minutes. You can quickly speed this up by briefly placing the sheet tray in the freezer. Start with 5 minutes, and be sure not to freeze the chocolate, or you’ll end up with a soggy texture.
You can use any amounts of these ingredients based on your preference, but here’s a suggestion to get you started:
- ½ cup popcorn kernels or 2 cups popped popcorn (plain or just salted)
- ½ cup chocolate
- ¼ teaspoon coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
If you want to add in some additional toppings, wait to do so until the chocolate hardens and is no longer melty. Nuts, pretzels, and coconut chips are just a few ideas!
The Candy Coated Version
This candy-like version is crunchy, almost malt-like. It’s reminiscent of caramel corn, but with a rich, chocolatey flavor that’s dangerously addictive.
Note: you will need a candy thermometer for this method.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 7 cups of popped popcorn (about 2 ounces of unpopped kernels)
- ⅓ cup water
- ⅓ cup light corn syrup
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup chocolate, chopped (preferably dark chocolate)
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt (small granules stick best)
If you want the decadence of this recipe without such a high glycemic index, you could substitute honey or maple syrup for corn syrup. Also, you could substitute a different granulated sugar for brown sugar, such as coconut, maple, or date sugar.
No matter what you decide, the method is the same. Here’s how to make it:
- Pop the popcorn if it isn’t popped yet and set it aside in a large mixing bowl
- Combine water, corn syrup, butter, and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat
- Bring to a boil, then allow to boil, constantly stirring, for 4 minutes
- Stop stirring, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until it reaches 340F (should take about 10 minutes)
- Once the mixture reaches 340F, add the chocolate, baking soda, and salt
- Pour the chocolate mixture over the popcorn and mix until thoroughly coated (can use a spatula or gloved hands)
- Spread popcorn on parchment-lined sheet trays (however many you need to make it in one single layer)
- Allow cooling at room temperature until fully set and hardened, about 45 minutes
Be sure to store this chocolate popcorn in an airtight container to avoid sogginess. You can store the container in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life if preferred.
Using Cocoa Powder Instead of Chocolate
For a simple infusion of chocolate flavor, you can mix cocoa powder with any granulated sweetener and sprinkle it over your popcorn once it finishes popping. This provides a delicious cocoa flavor without the fuss of melting chocolate and waiting for it to dry.
You don’t even need a recipe for this one. Simply use a 1:1 ratio of cocoa powder to sweetener. It will work best with some type of oil melted over the top first, such as coconut or avocado oil. This can also be an equal amount.
If you’re unsure where to start, try using two tablespoons of melted coconut oil, cocoa powder, and your granulated sweetener of choice for every ½ cup of popcorn kernels. Adjust from there as you see fit.
Pro tip: use a paper bag to shake the popcorn with the seasonings for full coverage.
Make Chocolate Protein Popcorn
You can make chocolate protein popcorn to satisfy your sweet tooth and get a chocolate fix while keeping the nutrition of your snack top-notch.
You can follow the same method as the cocoa powder version above. Here’s what you’ll need for the ingredients:
- ½ cup popcorn kernels (unpopped)
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons chocolate protein powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon granulated sweetener
- ½ teaspoon salt
You could use any chocolate protein powder for this recipe. Chocolate collagen peptides, whey protein isolate, and plant-based protein powders are all great options.
How Do You Keep Chocolate Popcorn from Getting Soggy?
The best way to keep chocolate popcorn from getting soggy is to store it properly. Double-check to ensure your container is airtight because oxygen is not your friend when preserving your popcorn snack, especially when coated in chocolate.
Also, keep it cool. If the popcorn gets too warm, the chocolate will melt and cause sogginess.
Can You Freeze Chocolate Popcorn?
You can freeze chocolate popcorn, but the texture will not be the same when you pull it out to eat it. That’s because the chocolate will freeze, but the popcorn will not. If you try to defrost it, the popcorn will get soggy, so you have to eat it right from the freezer.
You might get away with freezing chocolate popcorn if you make the candy-coated version because the consistency of the coating is more caramel-like and may not freeze like plain chocolate.
Check our article on making caramel popcorn next.