Bouillon Powder Is Your Secret Weapon For Ultra Flavorful Popcorn

It's movie night and time for popcorn. But does the idea of a bowl of stove-popped kernels sound a little ... plain? After enough bowls of popcorn, even movie-theater-worthy levels of butter can start to get a little boring. When you want to amp up your popcorn, do you slam in a handful of M&Ms or a spoonful of nutty peanut butter? But what about a savory option?

Bouillon powder isn't just for transforming water into stock and amping up sauces. It's also the secret ingredient your popcorn has been missing. (Yes, really.) You could try chicken bouillon powder for a savory instant fried-chicken flavor. Isaac Toups, owner and chef of Toups' Meatery in New Orleans, is a self-professed chicken-bouillon popcorn fan. "Might sound a little wacky, but I love powdered chicken stock," Toups tells Food & Wine. "I use it for all kinds of stuff — except stock!" 

There is also vegetarian chicken bouillon available (like from brand Better Than Bouillon) if you're looking for a meat-free alternative, but if chicken or faux chicken flavoring isn't your thing, any type of bouillon will do the trick, like vegetable or beef bouillon. But before you go dusting your popcorn with the powder, there are a few things to know to truly take the snack to new heights.

Bullion and beyond

This Ranch-Seasoned Stovetop Popcorn by Tasting Table recipe developer Miriam Hanh uses dry ranch powder to upgrade popcorn much in the same way you'd use bouillon powder. To do it, simply pop your popcorn as usual (the microwave and stovetop are both solid options) before adding some cooking spray, oil, or butter to help the powder stick. Then simply sprinkle in the bouillon powder and toss to coat.

In the same way, a dry soup mix could also serve as a fitting flavor duster. Just make sure your particular soup blend doesn't have any chunks of dried beans or peas floating around in it. Big pieces like these might be delicious when rehydrated in a steamy bowl of soup, but (alas) they won't serve your popcorn quite as well. For popcorn flavoring purposes, Serious Eats suggests using a miso soup mix. A packet of onion soup mix would also work well here — the simpler, the better.

If you're after a purer chicken flavor, you could use straight-up chicken powder, which is a popular ingredient in Chinese cuisine. It comes in the same dry form as bouillon but omits any herbs or mirepoix ingredients: Just a roasted chicken "umami bomb," as Epicurious aptly puts it.

At the end of the day, however you choose to amp up your popcorn, the most delicious part of enjoying it might be the company. As beloved Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz once famously put it, "Love is sharing your popcorn."