Popcorns Substitutes: What Are The 5 Best?

Popcorn is one of the most popular snacks out there, especially when you’re settling down to enjoy a movie.

Of course, you can buy popcorn in a store, but it never quite compares to the delicious popcorn you can make at home, with its luscious and buttery smell when it’s popping on your stove.

Even better, homemade popcorn is totally easy to make! And once you’ve thrown some together, ready for a movie night, then you can mix it up with all kinds of toppings.

Popcorns Substitutes What Are The 5 Best

You can keep it sweet by adding something like melted chocolate, or you can even turn it savory by adding some cheese and salt. 

However, whichever way you go, we can’t deny that popcorn isn’t always the healthiest treat. In fact, it’s not something that you can have all the time!

Thankfully, though, there are plenty of healthy alternatives that you can have instead, which still give you plenty of flavor and fill you up as a fun snack.

In our tasty guide below, we’ve got a list of healthier popcorn substitutes. From nuts to special crisps, you’re sure to find popcorn alternatives that you love!

What Is Popcorn?

Before we get onto our list of terrific popcorn alternatives, it’s worth looking at what popcorn is in the first place and what makes it so great.

After all, it’s got to be pretty great if you want to find substitutes for it that still offer plenty of flavor! 

Though you might think of it as a recent snack enjoyed all over the world, popcorn has actually existed for centuries.

Its origins are believed to date back to Mexico, where ancient cultures such as the Mayans and the Aztecs made use of it as a simple and delicious snack.

Naturally, this tasty treat made its way across the seas, catching on in Europe during the 17th century. On top of that, its popularity also started in North America with Native Americans enjoying it every now and then.

But what actually is the tasty snack? Well, it’s a type of corn and its kernel has an out shell that’s hard.

However, when you heat the corn up, pressure builds and builds until it bursts the hull, which then makes the kernel pop. You see, it’s “pop” “corn”!

How Do You Make Popcorn?

Making homemade popcorn is easy and delicious, which is why it’s such a popular snack around the world. 

All you need is ½ a cup of unpopped popcorn kernels, and then you can pick the additional toppings or seasonings you might want.

For example, if you want a more savory salted popcorn, then you’ll need salt. Meanwhile, butter or caramel make great toppings.

The Recipe

  1. First, find a medium-size pot that has a lid. Put your half cup of unpopped popcorn kernels into the pot. Add some salt to them, if you want, and you can also throw in a tablespoon of oil. 
  2. Next, turn a medium heat on and place the pot over it with the lid on. After a little time, you should hear the popcorn kernels begin to pop. As soon as they do, ensure you’re shaking the pot every now and then, so that the popcorn doesn’t stay in one place and burn.
  3. The rate of the popping should soon slow. When it does, carefully remove the pot and turn the heat off. Pour the contents of the pot into a bowl, then add any toppings and extra seasonings you want.

Popcorns Substitutes: What Are The 5 Best?

Now that we’ve looked at popcorn in more detail, it’s time to look at some healthier substitutes that you can try instead of it!

1. Roasted Chickpeas

We’re starting our list off with this great healthy alternative to popcorn, which is packed not only with plenty of flavor and texture, but also lots of nutrition and good stuff!

That’s right, because roasted chickpeas are low in their fat content and high in their protein, making them the ideal snack to eat lots of. Even better, they’re much lower in calories than popcorn as well!

When eaten in their natural state, you’ll find that chickpeas have some sweetness to them, but have a predominantly nut-like taste.

This all changes when you roast chickpeas, because they become a lot sweeter, making them an ideal replacement for sweet popcorn. On top of that, they naturally become very crispy too.

It’s totally quick and easy to make some roasted popcorn too! Simply preheat your oven, then pat the chickpeas dry and remove any of their loose skins.

Put the chickpeas onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, when roast them in the oven for 20-30 minutes until they’ve gone golden brown.

Even better, you can season your chickpeas with whatever you want before you put them in the oven!

2. Nuts

One of the all time classic snacks, nuts are an ideal substitute for popcorn. Naturally, they’re a lot healthier than popcorn, because they contain plenty of healthy fats and lots of protein that should help you. 

Even better, you’re spoiled for choice with nuts, because there are so many different varieties available! Each has their own subtle differences too, with different tastes and textures, meaning you can find the nut ideal to you.

For example, a cashew nut is one for somebody who wants a savory snack, while something like a walnut will give you a mild flavor with hints of tanginess and sharpness.

Meanwhile, an almond is a lot sweeter, making it a great substitute for those who want their crispy popcorn sweet. On top of that, you can make the nuts chewier or crunchier based on how you cook them. 

3. Freeze Dried Fruits

It’ll surprise nobody that freeze dried fruits are going to be a far healthier alternative to popcorn! After all, fruit is fantastically healthy on its own, and you should aim to have some everyday. 

However, while fruit is delicious in its natural form, you can make it taste and feel a bit more like popcorn if you have it freeze dried. This makes them crisper and crunchier, as well as a little chewy. 

Even better, freeze-drying fruit helps the fruit to keep up to 90% of its original nutritional value and contents, keeping them plenty healthy for you. 

4. Fruit And Vegetable Chips

It may have already occurred to you that a potential substitute for popcorn would be potato chips. After all, they’re packed with flavor and they’re really crispy and crunchy!

However, potato chips aren’t exactly the healthiest substitute, especially with their salt contents. So what can you do?

Fruit and vegetable chips are the answer! Rather than being made from potato, these chips are typically made from very thin slices of fruit and vegetables that have then been baked or fried until they are perfectly crisp.

Admittedly, these aren’t quite as healthy as simply eating the fruit and vegetables involved instead, but they still offer a snack that’s not quite as unhealthy as popcorn.

As for the taste, you can expect these chips to be pretty sweet, which is not something that could be said of regular potato chips!

Meanwhile, they’re texture can change based on which types of fruit and vegetables have been used to make the chips.

For example, chips that use apples are going to be much crispier than chips that have been made with sweet potatoes. Either way, though, they’re both delicious!

5. Cauliflower Popcorn

For our final pick, we’re giving you a popcorn substitute that’s still popcorn…hear us out! Cauliflower popcorn gives you all the crispiness and flavor of regular popcorn, but in a way that’s healthier for you.

How so? Well, cauliflower is high in the vitamins C and K, while also being free from fat and cholesterol. On top of that, it’s low in calories and low in sodium.

Meanwhile, it’s totally easy to make cauliflower popcorn too. All you need to do is wash and dry your cauliflower, then cut it into florets and season them however you want and shake off any excess.

Finally, preheat your oven, then put your cauliflower florets on a baking tray. Bake them for 1-12 minutes, upon which they should be crisp and brown!

Final Thoughts

Popcorn is a delicious snack, but it’s not always the healthiest. Thankfully, you can use our list of delicious popcorn substitutes for a healthier – yet still delicious – treat!

Popcorns Substitutes: What Are The 5 Best?

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


Prep time


Cooking time






  • Roasted Chickpeas

  • Nuts

  • Freeze Dried Fruits

  • Fruit And Vegetable Chips

  • Cauliflower Popcorn


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
Scroll to Top