7 Best Butter Substitutes for Popcorn

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Popcorn is a whole grain that is rich in fiber, contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is made from a variety of corn that pops.

However, popcorn is commonly buttered and salted for enhancing flavor. Buttered popcorn may be a favorite snack food, but it is high in calories and, therefore, increases the heart disease risk.

If you want to avoid butter in popcorn due to dietary restrictions or health reasons, we present you with different ingredients that may be used as butter substitutes in popcorn.

7 Best Butter Substitutes for Popcorn

This subsection will present you with some butter alternatives for the popcorn to make it a nutritious and healthy snack. The factors to be considered while using a substitute for butter are nutritional factors, flavor, and smoke point.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids (lauric acid) that have cardio-protective roles. It is commonly used as a butter replacement for popcorn.

Coconut oil may be poured over the popcorn as a topping in place of melted butter. It may also be used to pop the corn resulting in crispy and well-popped kernels. Add salt for savory popcorn or sugar for a sweet snack.

It is preferable to use unrefined coconut oil. Check out this link for coconut oil popcorn

Summary

Coconut oil works well as a butter substitute for salt, sweet, and flavored popcorn.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats that are associated with anti-atherogenic effects and benefit heart health.

Extra virgin olive oil remains stable when heated and therefore may be used in place of butter while making popcorn.

Toss the olive oil with cooked popcorn in place of butter. Popcorn can also be popped in a small amount of olive oil over medium heat for even flavor distribution.

Here is the link for making olive oil flavored popcorn

Summary

Olive oil is the popular butter substitute and may be used to toss or flavor the popcorn.

Canola Oil

Canola oil obtained from canola plant seeds is a heart-healthy oil with a low level of saturated fats. It helps in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. It is the third most consumed cooking oil in the world.

It has a neutral taste and light texture, making it ideal for different applications. It also has a smoke point of 468oF which makes it suitable for popping popcorn.

Check out this recipe for canola oil flavored popcorn

Summary

Canola oil may be a healthy substitute for popping popcorn due to its neutral taste, leaving no aftertaste.

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is oil obtained from the avocado fruit with a nutritional profile similar to olive oil. It has a good source of oleic acid, vitamin E, lutein, and HDL cholesterol that has potential health benefits.

Avocado oil may be used as a butter substitute for popping popcorn on the stovetop due to its mild taste. It also has a higher smoke point meaning that it does not burn and smoke as quickly, making it ideal for popping popcorn.

Check out this recipe for popcorn using avocado oil.

Summary

Avocado oil may be a healthy substitute for butter in making popcorn. However, it may be expensive compared to other oils.

Ghee

Ghee is prepared by heating butter or cream and is also known as clarified butter. It is shelf-stable because of its low moisture content and antioxidative properties.

Ghee has a high smoke point (about 250oC) with a nutty, buttery flavor. It is a valuable source of vitamins A, D, E, K and may be used as a butter substitute. It may be used to flavor popcorn by pouring melted ghee over popcorn or popping the popcorn with ghee.

Here is the link to the recipe for making ghee popcorn.                      

Summary

Ghee may not be a healthy substitute for butter in flavoring popcorn. However, it has a butter flavor and may be used in place of butter in making popcorn.

Grape Seed Oil

Grape seed oil is obtained from grape seed, a byproduct of the winemaking process. It is rich in phenolic compounds and vitamins that have beneficial properties for health.

It has a neutral flavor with organoleptic properties. It has a high smoking point and, therefore, may be used to pop popcorn instead of butter.

Check out this recipe for popping popcorn using grape seed oil.

Summary

Grape seed oil may be a healthy butter substitute for popping popcorn due to its neutral flavor and high smoking point.

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil has a significant amount of micronutrient vitamin K, sterols, tocopherols, and natural lignans. It contains more monounsaturated fatty acids that have potential health benefits.

It has a slightly nutty flavor and high smoke point. It makes it ideal to pop popcorn. If individuals don’t prefer the nutty flavor, one may choose a light sesame oil variety.

Check out this link for popcorn using sesame oil.

Summary

Sesame oil may work as a butter substitute for popping popcorn due to its nutty flavor and high smoke point.

FAQs

What is diacetyl butter popcorn?

Diacetyl is a chemical constituent in the butter flavoring of microwave popcorn. It has been associated with severe lung disease when inhaled in large amounts.

Can I substitute butter with flaxseed oil for making popcorn?

Flaxseed oil is full of nutrients, including potassium, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. However, it may not work for making popcorn. It has a very low smoke point causing the nutritional quality of oil to be affected when heated.

Bottom Line

Popcorn is rich in fiber and a good source of polyphenols. It can be enjoyed as a healthy, inexpensive snack by substituting butter in popcorn with healthy ingredients. You may choose a butter substitute depending on taste preference, availability, and nutritional factors.

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About Barbara Foster

Barbara is a traveler who has traveled to more than 25 countries. She loves the variety of food she gets to experience on her trips and maintains detailed journals of her travels which she plans to publish as a book someday. She loves to bake. Her favorite cuisines are Italian, French, and Mexican.

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