Ina Garten's Microwave Popcorn Upgrade Is Delightfully Bougie

Ina Garten
Ina Garten - Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Popcorn became a movie theater staple during the Great Depression, and since then, it's hard to imagine popping on a flick without a bag, bowl, or box of these crunchy kernels. If you want to host a next-level movie night with a little bit of luxury, you can follow in the footsteps of celebrity cookbook author and TV host Ina Garten. She says that, among other things, she loves to serve chipotle parmesan popcorn at her movie nights.

These flavors are an elegant upgrade to the typical buttered popcorn. Along with melted butter, Garten uses chipotle chili powder to give the snack a fiery bite and sprinkles on finely grated parmesan for nutty, rich flavors. She then finishes the whole thing off with fleur de sel to enhance the smoky, savory flavor of the snack.

One of the best things about this bougie popcorn is that while it might taste like a million bucks, it still doesn't require much time in the kitchen. You can enhance a bag of your favorite microwave popcorn in just a matter of minutes.

Read more: 7 Butter Brands You Should Buy, And 7 You Shouldn't

Why These Ingredients Work For A Luxurious Popcorn Upgrade

Bag of microwave popcorn
Bag of microwave popcorn - Valeriy Lushchikov/Getty Images

The idea of eating cheesy popcorn isn't new; it's easy to find more than one recipe for cheddar cheese popcorn. However, freshly shaved parmesan cheese has a different flavor profile. It tastes rich and creamy as opposed to the tang of cheddar, and using finely grated parmesan cheese feels more bougie than your everyday orange cheddar.

Spicy popcorn isn't such a novel idea, either. There are plenty of recipes out there for hot honey popcorn or chili powder popcorn, both of which add a bit of heat to the snack. The chipotle powder, however, gives your snack a smoky touch that adds another dimension. Chipotle powder is more fiery than ancho chili powder or paprika, but that extra heat is balanced by the richness of the parmesan cheese along with the luscious melted butter that's drizzled on the crunchy popcorn first.

Things To Keep In Mind When Making Parmesan Chipotle Popcorn

Bowl of spicy popcorn
Bowl of spicy popcorn - Ezume Images/Shutterstock

When making bougie parmesan chipotle popcorn, to ensure your fancy toppings stick, you simply melt some unsalted butter and drizzle before tossing your spices and cheese into the mix. This can help soften and even melt the parmesan into your snack. You could even use sriracha butter on your popcorn to turn up the heat a bit more. Or, you could swap the butter for bacon fat or a garlic-infused olive oil for even more complementary flavors.

You'll need to make sure you're using real Italian aged parmesan and not the pre-grated imitation stuff. Although pre-grated imitation parmesan cheese certainly has its place, it doesn't have the same rich, complex flavor as the real thing. On that note you'll also want to think about the salt level. Parmesan is a naturally salty cheese, so if you do sprinkle fleur de sel, go slowly and add more to taste. This is also why unsalted butter is also the better choice for this upgraded movie night popcorn.

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