Chili Parmesan Popcorn

Snacks, by definition, are a small portion of food or drink in-between regular meals.  And while in theory this mini-meal is a delightful idea, more often than not snacks have gotten a bad rap.  We’ve all heard about the perils of snacking – from ruining our appetite to ingesting excess, empty calories – snacks have gotten the short end of the stick.  And while these warnings do hold some merit, I like to view snacks as a way to balance out my diet, not jeopardize it.


melting butter


butter + chili powder














A quick stroll through any grocery store will make it clear why snacks have developed such a negative connotation.  Doritos, Fruit Roll-Ups, Handi-Snacks, and my personal childhood favorite, DUNK-A-ROOS (seriously, how kick-ass were those?!) are hardy pillars of nutrition.  But even though we eventually graduate beyond these lunch box staples, are our adult choices of pretzels and tortilla chips really that much better?


prep station


Apples & cheese, bananas & peanut butter, celery & hummus, and a serving of almonds are all popularly promoted choices for the health-conscience snacker.  But does responsible snacking have to be so..  boring?  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Granny Smith Apple & Baby Bonbel Cheese, but who wants to eat these handful of suggestions everyday?  Because this routine can get very bland very quickly, I decided to break up the monotony with something new.  The key to stepping up your snack game is to build upon a simple food and make it more enticing.  Fat-free popcorn is a perfect example.  With solid bang-for-you-buck value, a 3 cup serving will only run you about 100 calories.  Starting with this light-yet-filling foundation, I added a dash of spice and a bit of fat to make this decidedly not boring Chili Parmesan Popcorn.


Chili Parmesan Popcorn

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3.5
  • 1 bag 94% Fat-Free Popcorn (~15 cups popped)
  • 3 tbsps Light Butter
  • 2 1/2 tbsps Chili Powder
  • 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  1. In microwave pop popcorn as directed, then set aside in large bowl.
  2. In small pot or skillet, melt butter slowly over low flame, stirring constantly. When fully melted, remove from heat and cool.
  3. While butter cools, on small cutting board grate fresh parmesan. (If you have store-bought grated parm, skip this step).
  4. When butter is at room temperature, combine with chili powder and whisk thoroughly. Drizzle mixture slowly over popcorn, tossing with your hands as you pour so all kernels are well coated.
  5. Transfer popcorn to baking sheet, then top with parmesan. Heat in oven at 250F for 12 minutes, then immediately serve.
Calories: 139 Fat: 7g Carbohydrates: 15g Protein: 5g

>> Taste butter as you stir in chili powder – depending on your palate, you may want more or less seasoning.


ready to snack!


a good balance of fat, carbs, & protein make this snack a healthy splurge


perfectly popped 🙂