Lemon Pepper Popcorn Recipe (with Pepper!)

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Transform a classic snack into a gourmet treat with this amazing Lemon Pepper Popcorn Recipe.

Lemon Popcorn Recipe (with Pepper!) featured image above

Forget simple buttered popcorn. Gourmet popcorn flavors like this Lemon Pepper Popcorn are all the rage.

Popcorn has a long history, with evidence that folks first started popping corn in 4,700 BCE. By the 1900s, the snack continued to gain popularity. Not only was it an inexpensive treat, but folks could make it at home. The taste of popcorn is nostalgic for most of us, I’d say, reminding us of movie theaters and family TV nights. And don’t get me started on the smell! You’re not alone if the smell of popcorn makes you pay top dollar at a theater for the buttery delight. There’s a scientific reason for this: popcorn contains high levels of certain chemicals that have powerful aroma compounds.

Popcorn is so popular that at least six communities claim to be the “Popcorn Capital of the World.” One of those is North Loup, Nebraska, which probably has a leg up on the others since Nebraska produces a quarter of all the popcorn in the US. Indiana, with two cities proclaiming their status as Popcorn Capital, is a close second.

It’s no surprise that foodies would find a way to elevate popcorn into a gourmet treat. This particular recipe for Lemon Pepper Popcorn is one of my favorites. The combination of lemon and black pepper enhances the flavor of the popcorn, giving the savory snack a hint of bright and tangy flavor. If you prefer a sweeter option, try this recipe for Homemade Caramel Corn. And for a simpler recipe, try this stovetop popcorn.

Ingredients //

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon zested
Lemon Popcorn Recipe (with Pepper!) featured ingredients

How to Make // The Steps

Step 1: In a medium to large cast iron pot with a lid (Dutch oven), pour in the oil (it should cover the bottom of the pot). Add 2 popcorn kernels, then put the lid on the pot and place the pot on medium to high heat.

Lemon Popcorn Recipe (with Pepper!) step 1

Step 2: Listen for the two kernels to pop, then immediately add in the rest of the kernels; they should cover the bottom of the pot in a single layer. Replace the lid again and listen for when popping to start again. Move the lid slightly over so that there is a crack for steam to escape. When the popping starts slowing down, turn off the heat and let the last few kernels pop.

Lemon Popcorn Recipe (with Pepper!) step 2

Step 3: Sprinkle salt and pepper over the popcorn and use a fine grater or a microplane to grate the lemon zest. Toss the popcorn to make sure all the flavorings are distributed, then serve in a bowl.

Lemon Popcorn Recipe (with Pepper!) step 3

Top Tips For a Perfect Lemon Pepper Popcorn

  • Shake the pot gently while cooking to help prevent the popcorn from burning.
  • After the popping slows down, remove the pot from the heat but allow it to sit for a minute to let any remaining kernels pop.
  • If you want to amp up the lemon flavor, sprinkle a bit of lemon juice on the popcorn.
Lemon Popcorn Recipe (with Pepper!) featured image below

FAQs

What else can I add to this recipe?

Feel free to experiment with different amounts of the seasonings. Some people like to add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese to the mix as well.

Can I use microwave popcorn?

In a pinch, you can. It probably won’t have the same flavor, but sometimes, you have to go for expediency. Just be sure to use a plain or simple flavor of popcorn so it doesn’t clash with the lemon pepper.

How can I make my popcorn extra “crispy?”

Make sure the kernels are just barely above the level of the oil.

Lemon Popcorn Recipe (with Pepper!) featured image below

Serving Suggestions //

Popcorn tastes best when it’s freshly popped. To make sure the seasoning is consistent, apply it in layers, pouring off the top of the popcorn into a new bowl and seasoning the next layer. For some extra flourish, garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

How to Store //

Store your completely cooled popcorn in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag for up to four days. If you won’t be using all of the popcorn at the initial sitting, store the remaining amount before you season it.

Lemon Popcorn Recipe (with Pepper!) featured image below

Lemon Pepper Popcorn

Transform a classic snack into a gourmet treat with the Lemon Pepper Popcorn Recipe
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon zested

Instructions
 

  • In a medium to large cast iron pot with a lid (Dutch Oven), pour in the oil; it should cover the bottom of the pot. Add in 2 popcorn kernels. Place the lid on the pot, then place the pot on medium to high heat.
  • When the two kernels pop, immediately add in the rest of the kernels. They should cover the bottom of the pot in a single layer. Replace the lid again and listen for when the kernels start to pop. Move the lid slightly over so that it has a crack for the steam to escape, then listen for the popping to slow down. Turn off the heat and let the last few kernels pop.
  • Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the popcorn and use a fine grater or a microplane to grate over the lemon zest. Toss it to make sure all the flavorings are distributed around the popcorn, then serve in a bowl.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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