Gourmet Chocolate Popcorn

Put your stamp on homemade gifts this year with gourmet chocolate popcorn.  From customizing the flavor to picking the color of the chocolate and the toppings, you can make your own delicious treat for all your holiday parties and gifts. Perfect to hand out or always have on hand for snacking. We can’t wait to see what you think.

We love to attend the Gourmet Chocolate Popcorn class with Brad McDonald during our Chocolate Extravaganza. Through the years he has become a popcorn expert, as he makes hundreds of gallons of this yummy treat every year. We love sharing all of his tips and tricks so that you can have a great experience making popcorn at home.

We have compiled all that he has learned and can’t wait to share it with you! Trust us, anyone can make Gourmet Chocolate Popcorn. Keep reading to learn all about how.


To make gourmet popcorn, you have to start with the right kind of corn. Traditional white or yellow popcorn you can usually get from the grocery store pops into thin fragile pieces. These break easily, making them a mess for coating in chocolate.

A bowl of Mushroom Popcorn (top) compared to a bowl of Yellow Popcorn.

We always recommend you use Monster Mushroom Popcorn instead. This pops into beautiful sturdy spheres, suitable for coating in chocolate (or caramel). The size and structure of the popped kernels matters when you want to add all that coating. And we have found that the mushroom popcorn just holds up better.

Next, the method for popping also matters. You know you can pop popcorn in the microwave and on the stovetop, but these methods aren’t always reliable for the mushroom popcorn. You must use an air popper to pop your corn. The heat and airflow of these machines allows for big fluffy kernels with no additional oil or butter necessary. Because popping with oil may make it more difficult to coat the popcorn with chocolate.

After popping the corn, place the popcorn in to a large popcorn sifter. Gently shake over a box or garbage can to remove any unpopped kernels. You know, the pieces that can break your teeth! This little trick helps your popcorn to be easy to eat and delicious in every bite.


The next ingredient you need is chocolate. Use an oil-based compound chocolate for gourmet popcorn. This popcorn melts easily and coats evenly. Either Guittard A’peels or Van Leer Snaps are a great option. Choose your flavor – white, milk, dark, or any other fun flavors available at Gygi.

Last decide how you’ll embellish your chocolate. Keep reading to learn more about adding flavoring or coloring, as well as suggestions for additional toppings.

Flavoring + Coloring:

Adding flavoring to your chocolate is the first step to making your chocolate gourmet. You can add the flavoring to the base coat of chocolate for a more pronounced flavor. Or you can add flavoring to the drizzle chocolate for a subtle accent.

Either way, take a peek at the ingredients of your flavoring before adding to the chocolate. You need to make sure you use an oil-based flavor when mixing with chocolate! And it isn’t always obvious. LorAnn Oils is a brand has a lot of different flavors, and when shopping these products in particular you want to make sure the label says “lemon oil” or “anise oil” instead of “lemon flavor.” And we highly recommend using a dropper, so you don’t accidentally overdo it on your flavors. Need a reference sheet? This PDF from LorAnn lists all the flavors appropriate for use in chocolate. And here is a simplified version of just the oils, if that is what you are interested in.

If you want to try a water-based flavor, you will need to take some extra precautions. Oil-based chocolate and water-based flavoring (or coloring) do not mix together. So, you can try using a product called Flo Coat to coat the flavoring or coloring to give you a little window of time to mix them together. Using this product (or other similar methods) isn’t a 100% guarantee for success. So we recommend starting with a clearly marked oil-based flavoring for your first batch (with oil listed as the only ingredient). And when you get more accustomed to the process an start feeling adventurous, then try using some of the other flavor options and Flo Coat.

Now, Brad the Dad has been making popcorn for years an has grown very adept at mixing and matching his popcorn flavors. Some of our favorite flavors and combinations from him include:

  • Cinnamon Bear
  • Mint
  • Peanut Butter
  • Sea Salt Caramel
  • Orange + Black Licorice
  • Sriracha
  • Lime + Coconut


The fun doesn’t end there. Adding additional topping takes your popcorn from plain to gourmet. Consider a variety of textures and flavors – chewy, crunchy, sweet, & salty.

Add the topping immediately after coating the popcorn with the chocolate. While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle the topping on the popcorn. The topping will stick to the warm chocolate.

If you’re adding large chunks of candies or cookies, consider combining with the popcorn before coating. This will coat the topping and the popcorn together, which will make a more cohesive treat.

Here are a few suggested toppings, but use your imagination!


Gourmet Chocolate Covered Popcorn

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
By Brad McDonald Serves: 1 gallon
Prep Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 cup Mushroom Popcorn Seed
  • 3 cups Compound Chocolate + additional 1/2 cup chocolate for drizzling
  • Accent Toppings - nuts, coconut, candies. sprinkles, cookies, etc.
  • Flavorings - oil or powdered for best results



Pop the popcorn in an air popper. The larger kernels may need some help. So, gently shake the popper as it is popping to help the popped corn come out.


Shake popcorn in the popcorn sifter to remove and unpopped or half popped kernels. Place into a large mixing bowl and set aside.


Place chocolate in a plastic or silicone bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until chocolate is completely melted. Go slowly so the chocolate does not burn.


If you're adding flavoring to your chocolate, do that now. Start with a few drops. Taste and add more until desired flavor is achieved. We suggest using oil-based or powdered flavorings.


Pour melted chocolate over the popped corn and top with another mixing bowl. Holding the two bowls together, shake until the popcorn is uniformly coated. Alternately, you can pour the popcorn and chocolate into a large paper sack and shake.


When coated, immediately spread onto two half size sheet pans or one full size sheet pan. Spread into a single layer.


If you're adding an additional topping, do that now, while the chocolate is still warm. Sprinkle over the popcorn until evenly coated.


While the chocolate is cooling, melt additional chocolate for an accent drizzle. Add oil-based flavoring or colorings, if desired.


When the chocolate on the popcorn has hardened and cooled, use a silicone spatula or spoonful to drizzle chocolate over the popcorn. If you are using multiple colors, let the first color cool before adding another color.


When chocolate has cooled, break apart with your hands and enjoy!


Be creative! Have fun with flavors and colors! With this formula, you can create treats for any season of the year.

Watch this video to make a batch of popcorn with Brad the Dad!

This recipe is part of our Annual Gygi Chocolate Extravaganza. Check out all the classes (hands on, demo and virtual options!)

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  • Reply
    Charles Kemp
    July 19, 2016 at 7:50 am

    Thank you so much for the recipes to make the gourmet popcorn. There is something about that gooey goodness that can’t be found easily on the streets. I am just really glad that I love this stuff because popcorn is pretty inexpensive and you can get a lot for a really low price. These new flavors come out all the time and I just want to try them all.

  • Reply
    Cibbie Beardall
    November 18, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Stopped at the store yesterday, and tried samples of popcorn. Purchased the supplies and made today. Very easy and super yummy! Thank you

    • Reply
      Heather Smith
      November 28, 2017 at 11:09 am

      thats so great to hear! Thanks for coming in and also thanks for sharing your feedback! Merry Christmas!

  • Reply
    C. Burningham
    November 29, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    I would like to know what compound chocolate is. Just regular merkins/Guittard etc. buttons/chocolate ? Or the colored apeels chocolate style buttons? I not sure on this expression – ‘compound’. Also I saw powdered peanut butter on your display with the popcorn. I liked that flavor in your store display, but how much would I use? Do I sprinkle it on or what? I see your recipe but I’m not able to formulate it clearly. Your accent toppings, do they get mixed with the accent melted colored chocolate? Or shaken on before the accent chocolate sets? Please let me know your method for these toppings. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Heather Smith
      November 30, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      Compound chocolate is the coating type of chocolate. Its technically not actually chocolate and uses a different fat source like palm kernel oil, sunflower oil etc for the fat source instead of cocoa butter (like couverture chocolate does). Merckens, Guittard, VanLeer all make both compound and couverture chocolates-so its important to check labels or ingredients.

      For the popcorn- we used 1 heaping tablespoon of the peanut butter powder to 1 cup of the white snaps. Melt the chocolate and then stir the peanut butter flavoring in. We then coated the popcorn in the peanut butter flavored chocolate and then drizzled with dark chocolate.

  • Reply
    C. Burningham
    December 16, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Thank you for your response to my questions. I appreciated it.

  • Reply
    Jamie Seljaas
    December 13, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    Trying to make this for neighbors gifts this year. Not sure how to mix in oil. Can someone please let me know. Thanks

  • Reply
    November 18, 2019 at 9:16 am

    If I want to do a Christmas popcorn what do you recommend for the chocolate and flavoring accent?

  • Reply
    November 18, 2019 at 9:17 am

    How much oil do I need to add if I want to make a mint popcorn? Which flavoring/chocolate and how much oil?

    • Reply
      December 18, 2019 at 9:07 pm

      Depends on how minty you’d like it, really. Start with a few drops then taste. Adjust from there. We typically don’t measure exactly how much oil we add, Which is not helpful for you, but the flavoring is part of the fun! You get to experiment with flavors and textures and tastes!

  • Reply
    Franklin White
    August 5, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks for explaining how oil-based chocolate and water-based flavoring do not mix together. I would love to make my own gourmet popcorn but I don’t know where to buy half of these ingredients. I’ll just find a place that sells it and uses the right mixtures so it all tastes good.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    You mentioned the Tiger Tail flavor in your class. Do you add the anise oil to colored (black or gray?) white chocolate ? And do you add any milk or dark chocolate?

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