I could write an ode to popcorn quite happily, but I’ll stick to just saying that it’s more than a snack you should only enjoy whilst watching a film.

sweet, sticky and spicy popcorn

As a snack food this is an incredibly versatile staple, you can make cereal bars or other breakfast treats, and you can go as sweet or as salty as you like. It doesn’t lean itself better to one flavour profile than the other. It’s a delightfully indecisive base ingredient and I respect that about popcorn. But because popcorn is usually introduced to us as a fatty, buttery indulgence we tend not to think of it as a healthier snack option.

Until I had left home for university and was constantly budgeting, I didn’t really consider the fact that you could make popcorn at home in anything other than a microwave. Even if I had seen it made on a stove it was in some disposable foil pan that was pre-packed with butter, salt and sugar. It was likely to be soggy at the bottom because the corn had just absorbed so much oil. Of all the things it could be called, a “healthy option” was not one of them. But in reality, you can dress it up, or down, be healthy or unhealthy — it really is your call.

After some furious Googling I found a methodI liked which seemed simple enough, so thank you to the Domestic Geek for introducing this one to me. It just comes down to popcorn kernels and a little bit of vegetable oil. From there, the world is your oyster (though I’ve yet to try oyster flavoured popcorn…)

There are several toppings I love, but for now I’m sticking to one recipe to share with you all. That may only be 5 or so people, but still, all. It’s sweet, a little salty, sticky, spicy, more-ish and the perfect thing for when you aren’t ready for your next meal, but just want to satisfy your cravings.

sweet, sticky and spicy popcorn

Sweet, sticky and spicy popcorn


  • 1x large saucepan with close fitting lid


  • 1/2 measuring cup of popcorn kernels
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tbsp runny honey
  • 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce (you can add more or less depending on how much spice you want)
  • 20g salted butter

Method for popcorn

  1. Add oil to your saucepan and heat as high as you can, don’t use olive oil for this as it will start smoking at a much lower temperature than vegetable oil will. Once the oil is hot, make sure the entirety of the pan’s base is coated so your popcorn won’t catch or burn.
  2. Reduce the heat to a medium high level and place two corn kernels into the pan.
  3. Wait for those two kernels to pop, once they have done, your pot is ready. (I tend to fish these out before proceeding with the next step, but you don’t have to remove them and if you do make sure you take extreme care doing this!
  4. Pour the corn kernels into the pan in a single layer and replace the lid, shake slightly to ensure that the kernels are coated all over.
  5. Listen closely for when the popping starts, when it does, lift the pan and shake for ten seconds and then return to the heat.
  6. Alternate ten seconds on the heat with ten seconds of shaking, your aim is to move the popped kernels to the top of the pan, leaving only the un-popped kernels in contact with the heat.
  7. When the popping slows, turn off the stove and shake your pot until the last pops stop.
  8. Pour the popcorn into a bowl and save hot pan for preparing the toppings.

Method for topping

  1. Allow the pan to cool for 3 minutes or so, otherwise your topping ingredients will burn as soon as they make contact with the pan.
  2. Add olive oil, butter and soy sauce to the pan, melt and stir to combine.
  3. Add the sriracha and honey and continue stirring.
  4. Coat as much of the inside of the pan with this sauce as possible to even distribution of topping.
  5. Pour reserved popcorn back into the pan and stir/fold to combine with the topping.

Your aim whilst stirring is to coat the popcorn without breaking too many of the kernels, to do this lift your spoon or spatula as you stir to almost fold in the topping. This will allow the uncoated kernels to fall to the bottom and get their share of the added flavour.

Typically, I’ll put this into 5 resealable bags and it’ll keep for up to 5 days in my desk at work. For now, it’s all in one bowl and I’m going to binge on movies.


Originally posted on Confessions of a Burnout. For more recipes, just click here.

By Parker, Restaurants of Leeds Share this story