• 10 Best Healthy Popcorns in 2022 (Nutritionist-Reviewed) 1
  • 10 Best Healthy Popcorns in 2022 (Nutritionist-Reviewed) 2
  • 10 Best Healthy Popcorns in 2022 (Nutritionist-Reviewed) 3
  • 10 Best Healthy Popcorns in 2022 (Nutritionist-Reviewed) 4
  • 10 Best Healthy Popcorns in 2022 (Nutritionist-Reviewed) 5

10 Best Healthy Popcorns in 2022 (Nutritionist-Reviewed)

Snacking is a hard habit to kick, and not all snacking options are healthy; popcorn, unfortunately, is one of them. Even though popcorn is mostly air, many conventional options are full of fats, preservatives, and artificial flavors. That’s why we decided to look into healthier options.

In our research, we found that the best popcorns contain only whole foods ingredients, have limited fat and sodium, and may be organic or gluten-free. Both pre-popped and microwave popcorns can be equally healthy. With these things in mind, we handpicked our favorite healthy popcorns available online and prepared a handy buying guide with the help of nutritionist Kara Swanson.

Experts featured in this article

Kara Swanson
  • Last updated: 04-26-2022
Table of Contents

In Collaboration With Nutritionist Kara Swanson

In Collaboration With Nutritionist Kara Swanson

Kara Swanson is a certified nutritionist and the founder of Life Well Lived. She is married to her best friend and the proud mother of three. Her passion is to make nutrition simple, easy, and delicious! You can find her amazing nutrition plans and learn tips and tricks to staying healthy on her website, Instagram, or Facebook.

5 Best Healthy Bagged Popcorns

If you’re looking for convenience, pre-popped bagged popcorn could be the way to go. Here are some of the best out there.

※Please note that these products were not picked by Kara Swanson, but chosen through extensive research and by combing through customer reviews by our staff at mybest.

1

LesserEvilOrganic Popcorn

Himalayan Pink Salt, 12 pack

$35.76

Main ingredientsOrganic non-GMO popcorn, organic coconut oil, Himalayan salt
Official certificationsOrganic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, kosher
Available flavors8
2

G.H. CretorsOrganic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Popcorn

12 pack

$31.80

Main ingredientsOrganic popcorn, organic extra virgin olive oil, sea salt
Official certificationsOrganic, non-GMO, gluten-free
Available flavors4
3

Pop ZeroCinnamon Toast Healthy Popcorn

9 pack

$34.99

Main ingredientsAir popped popcorn, algae oil, evaporated cane juice, whole algae flour, cinnamon
Official certificationsNon-GMO, gluten-free, vegan
Available flavors4
4
Main ingredientsAll natural popcorn, sunflower oil, salt
Official certificationsNon-GMO, gluten-free, kosher
Available flavors3
5

Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOPWhite Cheddar Popcorn

$44.32

Main ingredientsPopcorn, sunflower oil, whey, cheddar cheese
Official certificationsNon-GMO, gluten-free, kosher
Available flavors14

Compare the Best Healthy Pre-popped Popcorns

Image
1
LesserEvil Organic Popcorn 1

LesserEvil

2
G.H. Cretors Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Popcorn 1

G.H. Cretors

3
Pop Zero Cinnamon Toast Healthy Popcorn 1

Pop Zero

4
SkinnyPop Original Popcorn 1

SkinnyPop

5
Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP White Cheddar Popcorn 1

Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP

Name

Organic Popcorn

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Popcorn

Cinnamon Toast Healthy Popcorn

Original Popcorn

White Cheddar Popcorn

Features

Three Simple Ingredients for a Healthy Snack

Heart-Healthy Olive Oil and Sea Salt for Great Taste

Sweet but Healthy Popcorn to Satisfy Cravings

Low on Calories, Sodium, Sugar, and More

Cheese Popcorn That You Can Enjoy Healthily

Price$35.76$31.80$34.99$2.96$44.32
Main ingredientsOrganic non-GMO popcorn, organic coconut oil, Himalayan saltOrganic popcorn, organic extra virgin olive oil, sea saltAir popped popcorn, algae oil, evaporated cane juice, whole algae flour, cinnamonAll natural popcorn, sunflower oil, saltPopcorn, sunflower oil, whey, cheddar cheese
Official certificationsOrganic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, kosherOrganic, non-GMO, gluten-freeNon-GMO, gluten-free, veganNon-GMO, gluten-free, kosherNon-GMO, gluten-free, kosher
Available flavors844314
Link

5 Best Healthy Microwave Popcorns

If you’re low on space or need a longer shelf-life, microwave popcorn may be for you.
1

Quinn SnacksJust Sea Salt Microwave Popcorn

3 pack

$25.27

Main ingredientsOrganic popcorn kernels, salt
Official certificationsOrganic, non-GMO
Available flavors6
2

Black JewellNo Salt No Oil Microwave Popcorn

6 pack

$24.99

Main ingredientsPopcorn
Official certificationsNon-GMO, kosher
Available flavors1
3

Smude'sBrand Microwave Popcorn

$6.89

Main ingredientsPopcorn, sunflower oil, salt
Official certificationsNon-GMO, gluten-free
Available flavors1
4

Newman's OwnTouch of Butter Organics

12 pack

$37.34

Main ingredientsOrganic popcorn, organic palm oil, sea salt, natural flavor
Official certificationsOrganic, non-GMO
Available flavors2
5

Jolly TimeSimply Popped

Butter, 4 pack

$18.98

Main ingredientsNon-GMO popcorn, palm oil, clarified butter, sea salt, rosemary extract
Official certificationsNon-GMO, gluten-free, kosher
Available flavors2

Compare the Best Healthy Microwave Popcorns

Image
1
Quinn Snacks Just Sea Salt Microwave Popcorn 1

Quinn Snacks

2
Black Jewell No Salt No Oil Microwave Popcorn 1

Black Jewell

3
Smude's Brand Microwave Popcorn 1

Smude's

4
Newman's Own Touch of Butter Organics 1

Newman's Own

5
Jolly Time Simply Popped 1

Jolly Time

Name

Just Sea Salt Microwave Popcorn

No Salt No Oil Microwave Popcorn

Brand Microwave Popcorn

Touch of Butter Organics

Simply Popped

Features

Microwave Popcorn Without the Bag Coating

Plain, Air-Popped Popcorn for a Pure Corn Flavor

Healthy Microwave Bags Made by a Small Business

Organic and Non-GMO Popcorn With Real Butter Flavor

All-Natural Ingredients Big on Health

Price$25.27$24.99$6.89$37.34$18.98
Main ingredientsOrganic popcorn kernels, saltPopcornPopcorn, sunflower oil, saltOrganic popcorn, organic palm oil, sea salt, natural flavorNon-GMO popcorn, palm oil, clarified butter, sea salt, rosemary extract
Official certificationsOrganic, non-GMONon-GMO, kosherNon-GMO, gluten-freeOrganic, non-GMONon-GMO, gluten-free, kosher
Available flavors61122
Link

How to Choose a Healthy Popcorn – Buying Guide

Finding a healthy popcorn is actually pretty easy. Just keep these few factors in mind when making your choice.
Kara Swanson
Nutritionist
Kara Swanson

Popcorn is a great source of fiber! This is really good news for all of you who love popcorn. But that doesn't mean all popcorn is created equal. Make sure you are aware of the ingredients and choose a popcorn that works for your health and not against it.

Look for Popcorn With Simple, Whole Food Ingredients

Look for Popcorn With Simple, Whole Food Ingredients

Popcorn - even packaged popcorn - should be little more than corn, salt, oil, and maybe some spices or cheese as seasoning. If you want the healthiest popcorn, avoid products with additional ingredients like artificial flavors or dyes.


You can also start with a plain, air-popped popcorn that just contains corn and maybe salt, and then you can add your own flavorings! It's more work, but it can turn into a fun activity.

Look for Popcorn With Simple, Whole Food Ingredients
You may even want to pay attention to the kind of oil used. Generally speaking, the most healthful oils you might find include olive, coconut, and sunflower oil. Sunflower oil in particular is rich in the essential vitamin E. 

Some oils that you may want to avoid due to the generally high level of processing that they go through include canola, vegetable (or soy), corn, and grapeseed oil.

Kara Swanson
Nutritionist
Kara Swanson

Simple is always best. We often confuse what nutrition is, but when it comes down to it, simple and few ingredients are the way to go. Paying attention to ingredients is really important so make sure you grab popcorn that has few ingredients and ones you actually know like corn, salt, and oil.

Be Careful of Fat, Sugar, and Salt Content

Be Careful of Fat, Sugar, and Salt Content
Because popcorn is so light, people often believe that it’s automatically healthy and it actually can be. But even if it’s not movie theater butter-flavored, you still want to pay attention to the nutrition label

In particular, it’s important to keep an eye on the fat and salt content. Generally speaking, you want to keep it under five grams of fat and 100 milligrams of sodium per two-cup serving. This will leave you plenty of wiggle room in terms of the rest of your meals for the day.

When it comes to flavored popcorn, especially sweet varieties, you should also pay attention to the sugar content. Less than six grams is ideal since that would be a quarter of your recommended daily intake of added sugar of 25 grams or less. And of course, always remember to check nutrition labels against serving size!

Kara Swanson
Nutritionist
Kara Swanson

Popcorn is actually really healthy because it's got fiber and is low in calories. Three cups of popcorn has four grams of fiber and only 100 calories. But that doesn't automatically mean all popcorn is healthy. Be careful and pay attention to added fat and sugar.

Decide Between Pre-Popped and Microwave Popcorn

Decide Between Pre-Popped and Microwave Popcorn

In terms of health and safety, there isn't a huge difference between pre-popped and microwave popcorn. Harmful chemicals like PFOA that used to be included in the lining of microwave bags have been mostly done away with, so which type you choose depends on effort, space, and preference.


Pre-popped popcorns take up more space but are less effort to prepare. They also might not taste as fresh as microwave popcorn since they've already been popped for a while. On the other hand, you're less likely to end up with unpopped kernels in pre-popped versions.


Microwave popcorns are great if you want snacks that have a longer shelf life and don't take up a lot of space. They do take some time and electricity to prepare, but the end result is a hot and fresh taste.

Kara Swanson
Nutritionist
Kara Swanson

I'm still a little weary of microwave popcorns because of all the chemicals in them, but if you choose the microwave route, make sure you stick with brands that are healthier like the ones mentioned above. We love having a pre-popped bag on hand for quick snags for the kiddos or when we are too lazy to pop our own.

How to Cook Microwave Popcorn on the Stove

How to Cook Microwave Popcorn on the Stove
If you’re concerned about possible chemicals in your microwave popcorn bag lining, it’s actually fairly easy to cook it on the stove instead. This allows you to bypass the bag completely.
Use a two- or three-quart saucepan with a lid. Open your bag of popcorn and empty it inside and cover it. If the kernels are dry or don't have a coating of oil on them already, add a tablespoon of oil to the pot. This will prevent the kernels from burning as they book.

Turn the heat to medium and give the pot a shake every 15 seconds. It should begin to pop in about 30-45 seconds, and once it does, shake the pot consistently to prevent burning. Once the popping slows, remove the pot from the heat and take the cover off to let the steam out. Empty the popcorn and assess if you need to return any remaining kernels to heat.

Kara Swanson
Nutritionist
Kara Swanson

It's a little more effort but well worth it to cook on the stove because there's nothing better than stove-top popcorn. And it's really easy too! This is also a great way to control how much oil and salt you use. Plus, it's fun and kids love watching it pop.

More Tips from Kara Swanson

More Tips from Kara Swanson

Now that you've gotten the basic information about how to choose a healthy popcorn down, expert Kara Swanson has a few more tips to add into the mix about making your own popcorn and flavoring it in a healthy way.

Kara Swanson
Nutritionist
Kara Swanson

I highly recommend making your own popcorn! We love air popping our own and adding a little coconut oil or vegan butter. Or if you don't have an air popper you can make it on the stove. This way you also have control over how much salt you add. I've even come to love popcorn without added salt in my attempt to cut down on sodium.


If you love cheesy popcorn, try adding nutritional yeast to your popcorn. This works best if you make your own popcorn so the nutritional yeast sticks to the popped kernels better. Nutritional yeast has a cheesy flavor and is very nutritious and high in B Vitamins.

An Easy, Delicious, and Healthy Chocolate and PB Popcorn Recipe

An Easy, Delicious, and Healthy Chocolate and PB Popcorn Recipe

Peanut butter cups are an amazing sweet treat that is hard to keep away from! However, it can be high in calories and fat. Instead of pigging out on the candies, why not try this healthier, popcorn-inspired alternative? Kara Swanson's prepared an amazing, healthified recipe. You can find the exact same recipe on her site, here


*Please note that the picture provided is not of the completed recipe.

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup Hy-Vee white popcorn kernels
  • ¼ cup Hy-Vee honey
  • ¼ cup Hy-Vee coconut sugar
  • ¾ cup Hy-Vee peanut butter (no oils or sugar added)
  • 6 oz Hy-Vee dark chocolate
  • 6 Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, chopped

Directions:

  1. In an air popper, air pop the popcorn kernels. If you can have an air popper, you can make the popcorn on the stove with a little bit of oil.

  2. In a small saucepan, combine honey and coconut sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the peanut butter. Stir until combined.

  3. In a large bowl, pour peanut butter mixture over popcorn. Gently toss with a wooden spoon until popcorn is coated. Spread popcorn on a sheet of parchment paper. Drizzle popcorn with melted chocolate.

  4. Cool completely and stir in the chopped peanut butter cups.

More Healthy Snacks to Keep You Satisfied

If you want something else to munch on with your popcorn, consider one of these options!

Author: Jacqueline Oshiro

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