woman pours popcorn from a cream popcorn popper into a big green bowl while her friend steadies it

What to Do with Leftover Popcorn

Have leftover popcorn from movie night? Wait, don’t toss it out yet! Give it a second lease on life with these ideas.

We’re not gonna lie — leftover popcorn really isn’t much of an issue for us since we can wolf down an entire bowl even before the opening credits start (and because our pre-measured Classic Kettle Popcorn and Oh Sooo Buttery Popcorn kits allow us to make just the right amount every time with our Popper).

But in case you pop an extra huge batch for movie night and don’t know what to do with leftover popcorn, we’ve listed down 8 ideas for you:

Revive It in the Oven

If your popcorn is starting to get stale, baking it will turn it crunchy again. Simply preheat your oven to 250°F, spread the leftover popcorn on a baking sheet, and let it bake for around 5 minutes (or until it gets its crisp texture back). 

IMPORTANT: Give the popcorn a quick toss mid-bake for even heating.

Use It as Croutons

You know how we just told you how baking leftover popcorn in the oven helps it regain its crunch? Well, you can eat it like normal, but if you’re more daring, try using your excess savory popcorn as croutons for a salad. You can also take it a step further and combine the popcorn with herbs, spices, and a drizzle of olive oil. 

Form It Into Popcorn Balls

popcorn balls wrapped in individual plastics
You don’t have to wait for Halloween or Christmas to enjoy popcorn balls. Having plenty of leftover popcorn gives you the perfect excuse to make them! Plus, you can use different kinds of ingredients to bind the popcorn together — molasses, honey, melted marshmallows, and even jello. Voila, you now have a new weekend activity to do with your family. 

Throw Together a Popcorn Snack Mix

popcorn mixed with peanut butter cups and m&ms

What do you get when you combine leftover popcorn with some nuts, pretzels, dried fruit, candy, and chocolate? A popcorn snack mix that tastes amazing and is full of satisfying textures. You can munch on this during game night, let it fuel you on a road trip, or take it to work for a mid-day treat.

Related: How to Create the Ultimate Popcorn Snack Mix 

Steep It in Milk

Fill a bowl with warm milk, add your leftover popcorn, then let the kernels steep for at least 30 minutes. After steeping, strain the milk using a cheesecloth or fine-mesh sieve to separate it from the kernels. 

You’ll be left with milk that has a subtle popcorn flavor, which you could use to make milkshakes, lattes, or ice cream that tastes like your favorite snack.

PRO TIP: The longer the popcorn steeps, the more intense the flavor. Wait a couple of hours if you prefer a stronger popcorn taste. 

Turn It Into Breadcrumbs

meat covered in breadcrumbs

Popcorn as breadcrumbs? Don’t knock it till you try it! You can use these as breading for fried chicken or as a topping for mac and cheese — you can really do a lot with them.

You just need to pulse your leftover popcorn in a food processor or blender until it reaches a breadcrumb-like consistency. 

Make Popcorn Brittle

If you love popcorn and you love dessert, get your tastebuds ready for popcorn brittle! It’s sweet, crunchy, and so easy to prepare. 
Here’s what you need to do:

  • Spread your leftover popcorn on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Melt sugar, butter, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and wait till it turns into a light amber sauce.
  • Pour the sauce over the popcorn, using a spatula to coat it evenly. 
  • Wait for the coated popcorn to completely cool.
  • Break the popcorn brittle into bite-sized pieces and enjoy!

String a Popcorn Garland

Feeling crafty during the holiday season? Making a popcorn garland will keep you busy! All you need is your leftover popcorn, a needle, scissors, a strong piece of thread, and embellishments like cranberries or nuts. 

This is one of the rare cases where stale popcorn is better than fresh, as it’s chewier and therefore harder to break. 

Read more: How to Make a DIY Popcorn Garland for an Extra Festive Holiday

When Life Gives You Leftover Popcorn… 

Get creative and try these ideas! Some may be more unusual than others, but that’s what we love about popcorn — it’s a blank canvas for experimentation. Don’t be afraid to put your own spin on these. Who knows what you might come up with?

For more popcorn inspiration and recipes, make sure to check out our blog! Oh, and don’t forget to grab yourself a Popper if you haven’t already. It makes stovetop popcorn so delicious that you won’t have any problem finishing a bowl in one sitting.

 

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