The Ingredient That Will Change Your Popcorn Forever

Some like it salty; some like it sweet. Some like it buttery and mixed with chocolate treats. And that's the magic of popcorn. Its versatility can remain simple sans any flavorings or sprinkled with a light pinch of salt. Or, such crunchy popped kernels can be heavily drenched in pounds of butter for a true movie theater experience. And don't even get us started on making your own gourmet popcorn.

Too late. We're already down this DIY rabbit hole because you can mix popcorn with an eye-popping number of flavors and topping options. Love lemons and chile oil? There's a spicy citrus popcorn recipe for that. Can't seem to part ways with your nearly empty jar of Nutella? Mix the rest with some butter and brown sugar for some sweet and buttery Nutella popcorn. And if you really want to put your chef's coat on, Food Network suggests pairing your kernels with truffle oil, gruyère cheese, dried porcini mushrooms, or Old Bay seasoning and butter, the latter of which results in Southern-inspired crab boil flavors.

The possibilities are clearly endless here, but there's one ingredient that will change your popcorn forever, and we'll bet it's sitting in plain sight in your pantry.

Peanut butter for the win

Peanut butter isn't just used for classic PB&J sandwiches. It can also be used in place of butter for popcorn recipes, per Real Simple. In addition, they state that a 50/50 peanut butter and oil mix can replace butter in not just popcorn but many other desserts that need a punch of this nutty flavor.

Like chocolate, peanut butter can also be drizzled over popcorn for that gourmet flair. Just mix some peanut butter and butter, heat 'em up, and finish with your choice of spices. For the savory route, opt for salt, pepper, and a little bit of cayenne pepper. If you have a sweet tooth, go for cinnamon and sugar.

Food Network offers a slightly different spin on peanut butter-flavored popcorn. They suggest melting sugar with honey over medium heat, then adding salt, vanilla extract, and peanut butter. Next, incorporate the mixture with popcorn and peanuts, then cool on a baking sheet. The result? Sweet and nutty kernels that rival any gourmet batch sold in an expensive popcorn shop.

Like popcorn, peanut butter is also versatile, which is why the two get along so well. It can either be drizzled as is over the kernels or mixed with a multitude of other sweet ingredients that will highlight those nostalgic flavors.