Skinny Buttered Popcorn

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An easy, 3-ingredient recipe for buttery air-popped popcorn. With all of the flavor and almost none of the fat, it’ll disappear in seconds!


Skinny Buttered Popcorn -- 3 ingredients, 5 minutes & only 70 calories!


Two weekends ago, Mom and I received an exclusive email from the Oakland Athletics, our favorite baseball team. As season ticket holders, we were invited down to the field before the gates opened to watch warm-ups, batting practice, and get an autograph from a player or two. I literally dropped everything—my baking, my writing, my blog photo shoots—and drove down to my parents’ on Saturday night. No way would I skip that opportunity!  


Skinny Buttered Popcorn -- 3 ingredients, 5 minutes & only 70 calories!


Bright and early Sunday morning, we loaded up Mom’s car with our usual water bottles and sunscreen… Plus a million baseballs, caps, and sharpies. Yes, we were those fans… But in our defense, Dad (the biggest baseball fan of us all) couldn’t come because Grandma was being discharged from the local hospital that afternoon, so we needed to get something signed for him too.


Armed with a special checkered wristband and golden badge, we wove our way through the seats and onto the warning track along with the other season ticket holders, pressing ourselves up close to the colorful Oakland A’s tape preventing us from stepping out onto the grass. I started snapping a thousand photos of the players on my humongous camera, and I definitely caught a few confused and bemused expressions on film!


Oakland Athletics -- Drew Pomeranz & Dan Otero


Two pitchers, Drew Pomeranz and Dan Otero, walked down the line of season ticket holders to sign our various memorabilia items and pose for pictures. With both guys well over 6’ tall, they gamely crouched down a bit to fit in the frame with all 5’2” of me. They’re probably used to it by now, with all of the little kids running around and asking for pictures too…


Eventually, we climbed back up the stairs to our seats, just as the family behind us bought kettle corn from a vendor. With its sweet, almost maple-y scent floating towards our heads, waiting for the game to start was pure torture! But I kept my head down, watched the batters, and scribbled down plays in my scorecard, all while dream of making my own popcorn at home.


Skinny Buttered Popcorn -- 3 ingredients, 5 minutes & only 70 calories!


But for this batch, I went the traditional route and created Skinny Buttered Popcorn instead! Full of rich flavor in every nostalgic handful, it’ll bring back memories of movie theaters and slumber parties… And yes, baseball games too. You just need 3 ingredients and 5 minutes to make your own bowl!


Skinny Buttered Popcorn -- 3 ingredients, 5 minutes & only 70 calories!


We’ll start with a batch of air-popped popcorn. I made mine in the microwave with just a paper lunch bag and regular popcorn kernels. It’s the easiest and cheapest way to make it—no fancy machine required! In 2 minutes, give or take a few seconds depending on your microwave, you’re done and grabbing fistfuls from the bowl.


Skinny Buttered Popcorn -- 3 ingredients, 5 minutes & only 70 calories!


While the kernels burst in the microwave, let’s start on the butter. You do need one tiny piece of equipment for this part: a spray bottle. I bought this one for 97¢ at Walmart in their travel-size section. It’s so cheap, but its wide mist perfectly coats the popcorn with that rich butter flavor without completely drenching any particular piece.


Once you’ve melted the butter, add a tiny bit of hot water. Not cold, not warm… Hot. We don’t want to chill and re-solidify the butter we just melted! Add just enough to help it move through the spray bottle, and give it a gentle shake before you mist to help the water and butter combine.


Skinny Buttered Popcorn -- 3 ingredients, 5 minutes & only 70 calories!


I generally lay the popcorn out across a large sheet of foil. You could also use a cookie sheet, but the foil is much easier to clean up. Just wad it up and toss in the trash! You want to spread out the popcorn in a single layer to ensure every piece gets misted; then grab a handful as soon as you finish and dig in!


Skinny Buttered Popcorn -- 3 ingredients, 5 minutes & only 70 calories!


This healthier Skinny Buttered Popcorn snack literally disappeared in a matter of minutes… Quick, cheap, and easy, it’s perfect for after-school snacks or movie nights, but I highly recommend that everyone gets their own bowl. You really won’t want to share!


Skinny Buttered Popcorn -- 3 ingredients, 5 minutes & only 70 calories!


Skinny Buttered Popcorn

Yield: 8 cups

Serving Size: 2 cups

Skinny Buttered Popcorn

This popcorn is a satisfying alternative to the butter-drenched variety at movie theaters and theme parks. Just 3 ingredients, 5 minutes & you’re done! It’s best if eaten the same day it’s made, but you can store any uncoated popcorn in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Simply mist with the butter before eating.

8 c air-popped popcorn*
1 tsp unsalted butter, melted
¼ tsp hot water
salt (optional)

  1. Spread the popcorn in a single layer on a large sheet of foil or a cookie sheet.
  2. Add the melted butter and hot water to a small spray bottle (see image in blog post above). Gently shake to combine, and lightly spray onto the popcorn. Sprinkle with salt, if desired, and serve immediately.

Notes: I do NOT recommend making this with butter-flavored margarine. It tends to re-solidify and clump when added to water, so you will not be able to spray it on the popcorn.

To prepare the 8 cups of air-popped popcorn, add ¼ cup of popcorn kernels to a large paper lunch bag. Fold over the top twice, pressing very tightly to crease. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes, or until at least 4 seconds elapse between each popping sound. Carefully open the bag and let the steam escape for 30 seconds before eating.

View Nutrition Information


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*Disclosure: Some of the links included in this post may be affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you purchase through those links. I really appreciate your support!


  1. Beth says on August 14, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    I didn’t even know that you could make the butter flavouring at home – I assumed it was full of Chemicals and made in factories! I love buttered popcorn though, so I’m really excited to try this!
    Beth x

    • Amy says on August 15, 2014 at 10:43 am

      Thanks Beth; I really hope you enjoy the popcorn! I’m assuming the ones made in factories are full of chemicals, but it’s really nice to have an easy substitute at home. I think I might make a lot more popcorn in the future! 😉

  2. Chloe Crabtree says on August 15, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    What a great idea! I never thought of making my own butter flavoring! This will be a standard practice at my house!

    • Amy says on August 16, 2014 at 9:34 am

      Thanks Chloe! I really hope you and your loved ones enjoy it! :)

  3. cheryl says on August 16, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Great idea! How do you clean out the spray bottle so it doesn’t get stuck inside and solidify again?

    • Amy says on August 16, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      Thanks Cheryl! I often make a larger batch (think quadruple or more) and add a tiny bit more water. The more water, the harder it is for the butter to re-solidify! (But it does dilute the flavor a little bit, so just be careful.) You can also buy a thin wire brush in the dish washing section of the store to clean out the insides instead. :)

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