12 Perfect Popcorn Butter Substitutes

Popcorn is a favorite snack for many reasons. It’s quick, convenient, and can be a healthy choice. It’s also a fun snack because you can put so many different seasonings on it while satisfying that buttery, salty craving. 

Popcorn is a great snack because it can be a blank canvas to a variety of toppings and seasonings that can be just as delicious as butter. If you are looking to replace butter on this whole grain snack, you can use: various oils, balsamic vinegar, dill flavoring, hot sauce, or even drizzle some dark chocolate over your popcorn. 

Why Replace Butter on Popcorn?

Popcorn is such a tasty snack, but sometimes we order the extra butter at the movie theater and it quickly becomes very unhealthy. Or, perhaps you can’t eat butter or are simply just looking for another flavor. 

No matter the reason for wanting to find a good substitute for butter on popcorn, rest assured – there are several different options that will be just as delicious!

What Can I Use Instead of Butter on Popcorn? 

Looking for a good alternative to butter on popcorn? Whether for diet reasons or just to shake it up a bit, there are several different options you can use on popcorn. 

1. Olive Oil

Olive oil serves as a great alternative to butter on your popcorn. It is dairy free, has a bright flavor, is a much healthier choice than butter, and most people have a bottle in their kitchen. 

Olive oil is also a great heart healthy choice.  Simply drizzle on some olive oil after your popcorn is popped and shake it up to evenly distribute. 

2. Avocado Oil

Another great choice to use instead of butter on your popcorn is avocado oil. Avocado oil provides a healthy fat and is even considered to be anti-inflammatory

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Avocado oil has a buttery and slightly nutty flavor to it, therefore providing a nice butter substitute to the popcorn. 

3. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil may be the best replacement for butter on popcorn if you are still craving the rich butter flavor. It is a healthy fat and has a very creamy texture and flavor. The healthy fat in coconut oil can also help reduce your cholesterol

Coconut oil does a good job of coating your popcorn like butter does and you can even pop your kernels in coconut oil!  

4. Canola Oil

Canola oil is a good alternative to buttery popcorn for a variety of reasons. It is healthier than butter, having a lower level of saturated fats and it has a neutral taste allowing you to add your own flavorings. 

Canola oil is also readily available in grocery stores and is much cheaper than most other oils. This oil also works great to pop the kernels in. 

5. Ghee

Ghee is simply clarified butter, or in other words butter that has had the moisture removed from it leaving just the creamy fat. Since ghee is a form of butter, using it won’t be healthier than butter, but you may get away with using less ghee than you would butter.  

Ghee is also shelf stable since all of the moisture has been removed from the butter, so it does not need to be refrigerated and it will provide that delicious butter flavor of popcorn.

6. Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil is another great neutral tasting oil to use in replace of butter on your popcorn. It can have a slightly nutty flavor, but tends to be pretty mild. Grapeseed oil has high levels of Vitamin E, meaning it is also very healthy for your heart. 

7. Sesame Oil

Using sesame oil to flavor popcorn instead of butter is a great way to get an intense nutty flavor. You may have sesame oil in your pantry for Asian cooking or salad dressings and you can absolutely use it to drizzle on your popcorn. Try drizzling a little sesame oil, salt, and parmesan on your popcorn for a great flavor.

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8. Garlic Parmesan

If you are looking for a tasty gourmet popcorn that is also healthy, try tossing some grated garlic (powdered works just fine, too!) and parmesan cheese onto freshly popped popcorn while it is still warm. 

The heat of the popcorn will help the garlic and parmesan to stick to the popcorn and make for a super flavorful snack. The strong garlic flavor won’t make you miss the lack of butter and the nuttiness from the cheese will help provide that salty flavor we often crave with popcorn. 

9. Dill Pickle

Love anything dill-y? Try tossing your popcorn with a few teaspoons of neutral oil and fresh or dried dill for an out of this world dill pickle treat. Not only does dill taste great, it has such a strong flavor that no added salt is needed. 

10. Dark Chocolate Drizzle

Have a bit of a sweet tooth? There are a lot of sugary-sweet popcorn options available, but they are all riddled with sugar, fat, and other ingredients that are not so healthy. 

If you are still wanting a healthy but sweet snack option, melt some dark chocolate while your popcorn is popping then drizzle it over the popped kernels. A little pinch of sea salt would make the combo even better!

11. Balsamic Vinegar

Another great and healthy flavor option for popcorn, is to use balsamic vinegar instead of butter. This deep colored vinegar has a good balance of tang and earthiness to it without being too overpowering, like other vinegars. 

If you cook down, or reduce, the balsamic vinegar before drizzling it on your popcorn, it will completely change the taste and viscosity of it. Balsamic vinegar that has been reduced down becomes a nice thick glaze with a fruity and sweet taste to it. This would be delicious drizzled on some freshly popped corn kernels.

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12. Hot Sauce

Some like it hot! Tossing your fresh popcorn with your favorite hot sauce is a great idea and much healthier than drenching it in butter. The spice of the hot sauce pairs well with the earthy popcorn and makes for an addictive snack that won’t make you regret eating. 

Which Is the Healthiest Substitute for Butter on Popcorn?

Popcorn can be such a healthy and tasty snack, when made the right way. Sure, who doesn’t love that movie theater butter popcorn? But, when you realize how bad it is for you, you may think twice about ordering it and you may be trying to find a good substitute for it. 

While there are several different ways to enjoy popcorn as a healthy snack, if you are trying to get that same butter taste, but without the guilt of all that butter – try using coconut oil instead of butter. Not only does it have great health benefits to it, it also has a creamy, buttery, and nutty flavor. You could even cook the kernels in coconut oil for a toasted coconut flavor that can’t be beat!

Final Thoughts

Who doesn’t love a big bowl of popcorn that is loaded with salty butter? Not only is it addictive, but also incredibly bad for you when eaten with those added ingredients. All that extra fat and salt, not to mention any other ingredients added to the mix cause the whole grain snack to be unhealthy. 

If you are looking to lighten things up and enjoy popcorn without skimping on flavor, there are several options to try. Tossing freshly popped kernels in: coconut oil, balsamic vinegar, or even some melted dark chocolate are all better choices. Popcorn has the potential for being such a great, healthy snack!