This peanut butter popcorn is perfect for the peanut lover in your life. A balanced mix of salty and sweet all in one fantastic popcorn snack!
Why you’ll love it: This sweet-and-salty snack tastes so much better than anything you can buy at the store.
How long it takes: 45 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: saucepan, large mixing bowl, sheet pan, parchment paper
Servings: 6 (about 2 cups each)
I could eat popcorn every day, and peanut butter popcorn is a nice change of pace from traditional butter and salt. It’s everything you want from popcorn: sweet, crunchy, and a little bit salty. It’s sticky too, but that’s just a bonus.
If you love this peanut butter popcorn, try my s’mores popcorn, or blueberries and cream popcorn next! If you’re more of a caramel corn fan, be sure to try my recipe for homemade caramel corn, or dressed up caramel corn with bourbon and bacon and Kahlúa caramel corn with espresso beans.
Reasons to Love Peanut Butter Popcorn
- A gourmet-style treat at home. Bags of store-bought gourmet popcorn are pricy! Plus, they’re usually disappointing: all the added chocolate, nuts, and candy is delicious but the popcorn itself is often stale. Womp womp. This peanut butter popcorn lets you make a tasty popcorn treat at home with minimal effort.
- Easy to make. While we’re on the topic of minimal effort, this peanut butter popcorn requires only 10 minutes of hands-on time and 20 minutes of baking time, so it’s easy to whip up whenever you’re craving a sweet and salty snack.
- Great for a party. Peanut butter popcorn is excellent for birthday parties, holidays, and game-day get-togethers. Everyone loves it!
Ingredients you’ll need
- Popcorn Kernels: Pop the kernels first. I prefer to use a hot air popcorn popper. You can use plain microwave popcorn, too, or buy a bag of plain popcorn. Whichever method works for you will work for this peanut butter popcorn recipe.
- Dry Roasted Peanuts: Roasted peanuts add an element of crunch and extra peanut flavor to this popcorn.
- Honey: That irresistible honey flavor is always delicious with peanuts and peanut butter.
- Granulated Sugar: Adding sugar instead of only using honey helps make the peanut butter mixture form a glaze, rather than just being a sticky mess.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: Because the only thing better than peanut butter with honey is vanilla peanut butter with honey!
- Creamy Peanut Butter: Use the kind that’s shelf-stable and doesn’t need to be stirred before using or refrigerated after opening. It’s more predictable for cooking and baking.
- Fine Sea Salt: For just the right amount of salty finish.
Make sure to remove all of unpopped kernels before making this recipe. The best way to do this is to put the popcorn into a large bowl and shake the bowl lightly, or stir the popcorn in the bowl. The unpopped kernels will sink to the bottom.
How to make Peanut Butter Popcorn
Preheat the oven to 250℉. Stir together the popped popcorn and peanuts in a large bowl. Prepare a large rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat baking mat.
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine the honey and sugar. Bring to a simmer and then continue to simmer for about 2 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves.
Remove the pan from heat and stir in the vanilla and peanut butter until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the hot peanut butter mixture over the popcorn mixture and quickly stir until the popcorn is well coated. Try to do this as quickly as possible.
Spread the peanut butter popcorn onto the prepared sheet pan. Bake it for 10 minutes, give it a stir, and bake for 10 more minutes.
Cool the popcorn for 10 minutes or so before serving it. This treat is best served the day it’s prepared.
I like to use air popped mushroom popcorn for sweet popcorn treats like this because it pops up nice and round and holds the glaze really well without deflating and getting soggy. I dragged my feet forever on buying it online but it is completely worth it. Give it a try and I’m sure you’ll be hooked too.
However, if you have regular popcorn, this recipe will turn out just fine.
Absolutely! Heating up peanut butter changes the consistency so it’s smooth, pourable, and easy to incorporate into other ingredients.
make this Recipe your own
- Make it nut-free. Nut-free peanut butter popcorn? Yes! It’s totally possible. Use sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter. For the peanuts, swap in roasted sunflower seeds or pepitas. If you can find roasted edamame, I’ve found that they have a similar crunch to roasted peanuts.
- Take it over-the-top. Once the peanut butter popcorn cools, add a drizzle of melted dark chocolate, or toss in Reese’s Pieces or miniature peanut butter cups.
- Double it. Want to make this recipe for a crowd? You can easily double it. Just note that the peanut butter mixture will take a few extra minutes on the stove and you’ll need to bake the popcorn on two baking sheets instead of one. Use the largest bowl or pan you have to stir everything together.
Make Ahead Ideas
You can get a head start on this recipe by popping the popcorn a day ahead of time. Cool it completely before storing it in an airtight container until you’re ready to make your peanut butter popcorn.
Peanut butter popcorn is best enjoyed the day it’s made.
- 10 cups popped popcorn, about ⅓ cup unpopped kernels (see note)
- ½ cup dry roasted peanuts, unsalted
- ½ cup honey
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter (natural peanut butter is not recommended)
- Preheat oven to 250℉. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Add popped popcorn and peanuts to a very large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat honey and sugar over medium heat until simmering. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in vanilla and peanut butter.
- Pour the hot mixture over the popcorn and stir to coat, working quickly.
- Spread onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Stir and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes.
- Cool and enjoy. This treat is best eaten the day it's prepared.
- 10 cups of popped popcorn is about the amount in a 3.29-ounce bag of microwave popcorn. Use a plain or sea salt variety.
- A great shortcut for this recipe is to use bagged popcorn. A 5-ounce bag (like Boom Chicka Pop Brand) has about 11 to 12 cups of popcorn. Use a plain or sea salt variety.
- Add ins: Stir in ½ cup of Reese’s Pieces, mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, or M&M’s after popcorn has cooled.
- Chocolate drizzle: After baking, let the popcorn cool slightly. According to package directions, melt ⅔ cup Ghirardelli Dark or Milk Chocolate wafers and drizzle over the popcorn. Let set 15 minutes, and enjoy.
- Do you have to bake this popcorn? You CAN enjoy this without baking; however, it will remain sticky. The additional step of baking helps dry the popcorn and makes it less messy to eat.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.