Cinnamon Popcorn

cinnamon popcorn with cinnamon sticks

Pete Scherer 

Prep: 2 mins
Cook: 8 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 15 servings
Yields: 15 cups

Sometimes you’ve got to get creative with your snacks. The right snack variation adds much needed novelty to average events like movie night at home. All of a sudden, there’s a total experience—maybe even the emergence of a theme. It could be as simple as using sea salt to enhance your popcorn for a screening of Titanic.

Popcorn is, of course, an essential, even fundamental snack. It’s easy to make: Delicious, cheap, and equally craveable in sweet and savory forms. This version leans in a sweet direction. With the warm woody flavor of ground cinnamon, it's reminiscent of a certain crunchy, toasty breakfast cereal. The sweetness is light, not as syrupy as more thickly-coated caramel corn, so it still qualifies as a snack rather than candy. A bit of salt helps to balance the flavor.

The preparation here is very basic. There’s no baking, no melting of sugar. The one innovation, if you can call it that, is the use of an old fashioned mortar and pestle to grind the sugar into a finer sandy texture that sticks to the popcorn better than granulated sugar would. You can buy superfine sugar instead, but every kitchen should have a mortar and pestle. There’s nothing better than fresh ground spices, herb powders, and pastes. Powdered sugar is not a recommended substitution, as the tossing step tends to get a little dusty.

Kids and adults alike are guaranteed to love this popcorn. Teenagers will consume huge quantities. It’s mild sweetness heightens rather than weakens this popcorn’s addictive power. Luckily, popcorn is a naturally high fiber food, so you needn’t feel too guilty about your kids putting away more than a bowlful... or three.


  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add 1 tablespoon of ghee and 3 individual popcorn kernels to a large pot over medium high heat. Put the lid on the pot.

  3. When you hear the first kernel pop, remove the lid from the pot, add all remaining popcorn and replace the lid.

  4. Shake the pot periodically until the popping eventually comes to a stop. Remove from heat.

  5. Transfer popcorn to a large bowl.

  6. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of ghee to the pot. Melt the ghee using the residual heat.

  7. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt to the bowl of a mortar and pestle. Grind to a consistency like find sand, something between granules and powder.

  8. Pour the melted ghee evenly over the popcorn and quickly toss it around in the bowl to coat.

  9. Sprinkle the fine cinnamon sugar onto the popcorn and toss again. Adjust seasoning as you see fit. Serve immediately.

Recipe Variation

  • If you don't have ghee, use a high-heat oil such as canola. It won't have the same buttery flavor, but won't scorch like regular butter does.

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