Protein Popcorn (6 flavors!)


5 from 54 votes
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This protein popcorn packs in over 20 grams of protein per serving and is deliciously crispy and crunchy! A healthy snack that takes minutes to make.

protein popcorn

It’s no secret that adding protein to my meals helps keep me satisfied.

Main meals are easy, as I naturally eat foods high in protein then. However, it is my snacks that can be a little bit tricky.

Sure, I could have a protein shake or a hard boiled egg, but I love to do things differently. Instead, I’ve been enjoying a protein granola bar or protein muffin. Recently, I’ve been loving a big bowl of protein popcorn.

Does popcorn have protein? 

Popcorn is high in fiber and carbs, and does not contain much protein. A typical serving has just 3 grams of protein. Luckily, with a few tweaks, you can add tons of protein to it, while making it extremely delicious.

Why this protein popcorn recipe will be a snacking staple-

  • Over 20 grams of protein per serving. By using a half cup of protein powder, you are adding at least 40 grams of protein to the entire recipe. 
  • Ready in minutes. This is the snack you can make in less than 5 minutes, or prepare a big batch to be sorted for the week! 
  • Sweet or savory flavor options. Kettle corn, sea salt, or cinnamon bun- The flavor options are endless! We’ve included 6 flavor options.

What I love about this popcorn is how it tastes JUST like the flavored popcorn, minus all the calories and excess fat!

How to make protein popcorn

The easiest way to add more protein to popcorn is to toss through protein powder with it. It changes the flavor and packs in the protein. 

The Ingredients.

  • Air popped popcorn– You can either use pre-packaged air popped popcorn (no added sugar or salt) or pop your own! I prefer the latter option, as the popcorn tastes so much fresher and it’s easier to toss through the other ingredients. 
  • Cooking spray or coconut oil– A spritz of cooking oil over the popcorn helps the 
  • Salt– Just a pinch to balance out all the sweet ingredients. 
  • Cinnamon– Optional, but I love all things cinnamon. 
  • Granulated sweetener of choice– Erythritol, monk fruit sweetener, or granulated allulose. All have zero calories and carbs. 
  • Protein powder– Unflavored or flavored. 

The Instructions.

Start by air-popping your popcorn (or using an air fryer!). Let it cool slightly, before generously spraying it with cooking spray or coconut oil. Next, add the salt, cinnamon, sweetener, and protein powder. Give it a good mix and toss through with your hands until all the popcorn is seasoned. Transfer it to a bowl and enjoy immediately. 

popcorn protein

Flavor variations

  • Chocolate chip– Let the popcorn cool completely and omit the cinnamon. Toss through 1/2 cup of sugar free chocolate chips
  • Sweet and salty– Omit the cinnamon and double the salt and sweetener used. This tastes just like kettle corn. 
  • Cheddar cheese– Omit the cinnamon and sweetener and use an unflavored protein powder. Add cheddar cheese powder or seasoning. 
  • Caramel– Let the popcorn cool completely, then drizzle with sugar free caramel syrup. If you choose to add caramel, you must enjoy this popcorn the day it’s made. 
  • Sea salt– Use unflavored protein powder and omit the cinnamon and sweetener. 
  • Cinnamon bun– Double the amount of sweetener and cinnamon.

Storing and freezing instructions

  • To store: Leftover popcorn (flavored or unflavored) can be kept at room temperature for up to five days. 
  • To freeze: Do not freeze the popcorn, as it will become soggy and rancid. 
protein powder popcorn

More high protein recipes to try

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use pre-made popcorn?

Unless you are using pre-made popcorn with no added sugar or fat, I don’t recommend it. It already has flavorings added to it and, in most cases, is higher in fat and sugar.

Which protein powder is best?

While any protein powder works, I find casein or brown rice protein powder works best. They hold into the popcorn better and taste delicious. Whey protein clumps together and does not distribute very well.

Do I need to add oil?

Adding a spritz of cooking spray oil or coconut oil ensures the seasonings stick to the popcorn. If you are concerned about the calories, use a zero calorie cooking spray.

protein popcorn recipe

Protein Popcorn (6 Flavors!)

5 from 54 votes
This protein popcorn packs in over 20 grams of protein per serving and is deliciously crispy and crunchy! A healthy snack that takes minutes to make.
Servings: 2 servings
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 1 minute
Total: 2 minutes



  • Add your popcorn into a large bowl.
  • Spritz the cooking spray over the popcorn and mix well. Toss through the protein powder, salt, cinnamon, and sweetener until the popcorn is well coated.
  • Transfer the popcorn into serving bowls and enjoy immediately.


Serving size is 3 cups of popcorn.
* Or air fried popcorn or microwave plain popcorn. 
** White sugar or brown sugar works.
TO STORE: Leftover popcorn (flavored or unflavored) can be kept at room temperature for up to five days. 
TO FREEZE: Do not freeze the popcorn, as it will become soggy and rancid. 


Serving: 1servingCalories: 143kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 23gFat: 3gSodium: 622mgPotassium: 83mgFiber: 1gVitamin A: 73IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 94mgIron: 2mgNET CARBS: 17g
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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  1. I totally remember that constant burnt popcorn smell my freshman year in the dorms! Now I make popcorn so rarely my kids go wild when it finally happens!

  2. Om. Nom. Nom. And I was largely spared horrific burnt popcorn smells as I lived in the single that was in the stairwell. I also got to see all the walks of shame. Which were popcorn worthy 😀

  3. Dear Arman, I have that exact popcorn maker. I received for Christmas and I use it all the time. Before then I used the stove top because believe it or not, I don’t have a microwave! But I love my new air popper. I tend to make my popcorn spicy but I love your sweet cinnamon mix…my family would enjoy the change too. Have a wonderful day, Catherine

  4. Those cupcake scented candles are MY LIFE. Seriously, I could just sit around and smell them forever,
    Or I could just sit around and eat this popcorn forever. Which I think is a very solid life choice, since I’m obsessing over it! Pinned!

  5. This just made me so sad that I can’t make popcorn at my office. One of our co-workers has a really weird aversion to the smell and has basically mandated that none of us are allowed to make popcorn at work. Terrible, right?

    I lived off ramen noodles and Mexican food in college, but I do remember having quite a bit of popcorn as well.

  6. Hahaha…you just admitted that you watch Top Model and burn Yankee Candles. 🙂 But then you totally made up for it with this popcorn. What an awesome flavor combo! I love playing with popcorn flavors, but I usually go the savory route. This sweet version is going to have me craving popcorn all day long now!

    1. ……Shhh. The tribe has spoken. Wait, that’s Survivor. Sorry David. You are NOT America’s next top model.

      Okay, I shall go now.

  7. I love coconut candles.. they’re definitely my favorite smell in the world. This popcorn looks amazing! My mom used to doctor up popcorn all the time and something silimar to this was always a good choice1

  8. This popcorn is such an interesting flavor combo,Arman – I don’t think I’ve ever had protein powder sprinkled popcorn before!
    Now I cannot wait for you to come up with another version that smells like the “Vanilla Cupcake scented candles from Yankee Candle”!

  9. Arman – this looks so delicious! I’m with Shashi, I’ll be waiting for a yummy sequel!

  10. I still have stains on a really nice pan from trying to make popcorn with very little oil and burning it… now I stick to the kernels in a paper bag in the microwave method 😉

  11. This is so funny! There was a major amount of popcorn in my dorm. Also ramen and pizza too. No wonder I turned the Freshman 5 into the Freshman 15! Lol. This looks amazing. I’ve never done much with protein powder beyond the basic smoothie, so I love this alternative idea.

  12. This is definitely the most creative way I’ve ever seen protein powder used! I’m impressed that you were able to get 20g of protein into this recipe (WHATTT) and transformed a stereotypically unhealthy college essential into a post-workout snack. Props to ya 😉 .

    OH! And on the topic of things every college student eats, at UCSB (at least my freshman year) it’s those microwavable Kraft Mac and Cheese single serving containers. So good.

  13. Popcorn is probably the most perfect thing ever- so light and it goes with everything! I sound like I am advertising a purse. I have never heard anyone mention smelling popcorn at a dorm, thats definitely something I will note. If my roommate were to over burn popcorn I don’t know what I would do :P.

  14. Ummm that vanilla scented candle is sort of amazing so…totally justified. Also, burnt popcorn is seriously gross. I would know.