It's easy to make this gourmet homemade popcorn seasoning! Your whole family will love this tangy, buttery, and addictive popcorn snack flavored with Old Bay Spice and reminiscent of a mom-and-pop crab shack dinner platter!
Update Notes: This post was originally published in July 2013, but was republished with tips, step by step photos, and a recipe change in September 2020.
👩🏻🍳 Crab Shack Popcorn Snacking
Popcorn has long been an easy, low-calorie, delicious snack choice for me. A few years ago, my mother got me this awesome microwave popper. I love it because I can pop regular popcorn in it and not have to pay out the wazoo for the bags of microwave popcorn. It also does not require any butter or oil (although you can use either if you like).
For about 90 - 100 calories, you can have 3 cups of popcorn, according to CalorieKing.com. That is enough to keep me munching for quite a while, which helps divert my thoughts from other, more nutritionally devoid snacks. And there is a bonus!
I also get about 3 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of dietary fiber in those 3 cups, as well as some potassium, zinc, and phosphorus. So you can feel good about serving popcorn as a snack to your kids. And did you know that the kernels for popcorn from a specific kind of flint corn?
This recipe for your own homemade popcorn seasoning will have you coming back to this classic snack again and again!
🥘 Ingredients Needed
- butter - while it isn't exactly healthy, I can't imagine eating popcorn without a little bit of butter! Plus, it helps the seasoning stick to your popcorn.
- Old Bay Spice - provides a flavor reminiscent of a delicious seafood dinner.
- lemon juice - helps bring out the flavor of the Old Bay and cut through some of the saltiness.
- Pop your popcorn according to the directions.
- Melt your butter in the microwave. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine.
- Slowly drizzle your butter and lemon juice mixture over the popcorn. Keep tossing the popcorn to make sure it's evenly coated and doesn't get soggy.
- Sprinkle the Old Bay over the popcorn, again tossing to evenly distribute the spice.
This is mostly up to personal preference. Some people eat enough popcorn that it's worth buying a hot air popper, which is a little appliance used specifically for making popcorn. You could also purchase a bowl that's designed specifically for making popcorn in the microwave.
If you'd like to eliminate the butter, you could use a butter substitute or even a bit of olive oil. Or, you may want to cut the butter out completely and just use the lemon juice as a way to get your homemade popcorn seasoning to coat your snack. This will also make for a slightly tangier snack without the buttery flavor to soften out the lemon and Old Bay.
For the most part, unpopped kernels are about the same across the board, and whatever you can get your hands on will be delicious. But this guide has some more specific information about which brands to look for depending on your popping preferences. For instance, if you choose to make your popcorn in the microwave, the brand that will give you the best results is Bob's Red Mill Whole White Popcorn.
📖 Homemade Popcorn Seasoning Variations
- There are so many ways you can customize your popcorn! Try different blends of spices and flavors to switch up your homemade popcorn seasoning.
- For some more saltiness, you could of course add some classic salt, or sprinkle on garlic powder or onion powder.
- If you're looking for some bite, black pepper is a great place to start. Chili powder, red pepper flakes, chipotle powder, or paprika would be tasty additions.
- You could also go a sweet and salty route (in which case I suggest you ditch the lemon juice and Old Bay and go for something different altogether!). Try a blend of salt, cinnamon, and sugar for something a bit autumnal. You could even mix in chocolate or peanut butter candies (just keep some napkins nearby).
🍿 Additional Snack Recipes
Here are a few more more delicious snack ideas for you! If you're looking for something else to munch on, my Vanilla Maple Granola is a sweet and crunchy option. You may even want to try this homemade popcorn seasoning sprinkled on top of the pretzel bites or the roasted peanuts!
Homemade Popcorn Seasoning Recipe
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📋 Recipe Card
Crab Shack Popcorn
- 2/3 cup unpopped popcorn
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (or more to taste) Old Bay Spice
- Prepare popcorn in microwave or air popper according to directions.
- Melt the butter spread in the microwave.
- Add the lemon juice to the melted buttery spread and mix to combine.
- Slowly drizzle the butter/lemon mixture over the prepared popcorn while tossing to distribute coating and prevent popcorn from getting soggy.
- Sprinkle the Old Bay Spice over the buttered popcorn while tossing to distribute as evenly as possible.
- Serve immediately.
- Watch your popcorn while popping to be sure it doesn't burn.
- Make your your Old Bay spice isn't too old. If it has been in your kitchen for more than a couple of years, it's taste will fade and your popcorn seasoning will be a little bland.
- To melt the butter, I usually microwave it at 40% power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Once it is almost melted, take it out of the microwave and stir it for a minute and the rest will melt.
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