Popcorn Cookies Recipe

16 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chill time 30 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes

Popcorn Cookies make the ultimate movie night treat! You’ll love the buttery and sweet cookies with chocolate chip, popcorn, and nut mix-ins.

Adding salty popcorn is an unexpected and delicious way to change up typical cookies. This recipe perfectly blends a mix of flavors and textures. The chewy cookie base contrasts beautifully with the crunchy pecans mixed in. In each bite, you also get the mix of rich chocolate, salty popcorn, and sweet brown sugar and vanilla from the cookies themselves. Looking for your new favorite Cookie Recipe? This may be the one! Popcorn Cookies are a fun twist on Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies that is both familiar and exciting. Try Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies and Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sabrina’s Popcorn Cookies Recipe

These Popcorn Cookies are a fun addition to any family game night! Although popcorn might not be the first thing you think of adding to cookies, it’s a delicious addition. The popped popcorn has a chewy texture and toasts lightly throughout the baking time for a rich, buttery, and complex sweet and salty flavor.

Popcorn Cookies are perfect for an at-home movie night too. Enjoy the cookies along with Concession Stand Popcorn Mix for the perfect theater-inspired treats.


  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter: Unsalted butter provides fat and flavor to the cookies. You can substitute it with salted butter. Let the butter soften for 20-30 minutes before adding the cookie dough. That way, it’s easy to cream the butter and sugar mixture.
  • 1 cup Sugar: Sugar adds sweetness, helps with the cookie’s texture, and allows more air into the recipe so that the cookies aren’t too dense. Granulated sugar is commonly used.
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar, Packed: Brown sugar adds moisture and a subtle molasses flavor. It also creates a more dense and chewy dough.
  • 2 large Eggs: The two eggs act as an important liquid ingredient to smooth out and hold the cookie dough together.
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract adds a pleasant aroma and flavor to the cookies, enhancing their overall taste.
  • 3 cups Flour: Flour is the main dry ingredient and provides structure to the cookies. All-purpose flour works well for cookie recipes. Be careful when you measure the flour so that you don’t press down and compact it. Otherwise, you can add too much flour, making the cookies dense and doughy.
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda: Baking soda is a leavening agent that helps the cookies rise and become light and fluffy.
  • ½ teaspoon Salt: Salt enhances the overall flavor of the cookies by balancing the sweetness. It also helps with the texture.
  • 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: Semi-sweet chocolate chips add a sweet, gooey, and chocolatey element to the cookies. They are a classic choice for chocolate chip cookies.
  • 2 cups Popcorn: Buttery popcorn adds a unique crunch to the cookies. After popping, measure out 2 cups of buttered popcorn. Plain or lightly salted popcorn works perfectly for this recipe too. Remove any unpopped popcorn kernels before chopping!
  • ½ cup Pecans: Chopped pecans provide a nutty crunch and a rich, buttery flavor to the cookies, complementing the other ingredients.

Kitchen Tools and Equipment

  • Stand Mixer: A stand mixer is needed to cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, as well as to mix the dough thoroughly.
  • Cookie Scoop: A cookie scoop, also known as a cookie dough scoop or portion scoop, helps you portion the cookie dough evenly, ensuring that all cookies are the same size and bake equally in size. 
  • Baking Sheets: You’ll need two baking sheets (cookie sheets) lined with parchment paper to bake the cookies. Parchment paper prevents sticking and makes cleanup easier. 
  • Sifter: A sifter or fine-mesh sieve is useful for sifting the flour and baking soda before adding them to the dough. This helps eliminate lumps and ensures a better mixture of dry ingredients.

How to Make Popcorn Cookies

Time needed: 52 minutes.

  1. Step One: Prep Popcorn

    Pop 2 cups of popcorn and let it cool. Then, chop them into rough pieces of popcorn. To do this, you can place the popcorn in a ziplock bag and crush it with a rolling pin or put the popcorn in a food processor. Be sure not to break the pieces too small, as you’ll want some larger chunks for the delicious texture they add to the cookies. Important Note: Remove any unpopped kernels before adding to the cookie dough.

  2. Step Two: Make Cookie Dough

    Add the melted butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar to your stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to cream until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until smooth, then adding the vanilla extract. Then, sift the flour and baking soda into a medium bowl to remove any lumps from the dry ingredients. Then add the flour mixture and the kosher salt to the stand mixer and combine at low speed until just mixed in. Add the ¾ cup chocolate chips, all of the chopped popcorn, and ¼ cup pecans, and fold the mix-ins into the cookie doughcookie dough in mixer bowl

  3. Step Three: Refrigerate Dough

    Cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate the cookie batter for 30 minutes. You don’t have to do this in a separate bowl. 

  4. Step Four: Form Dough Balls

    Preheat the oven temperature to 350 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Add the remaining chocolate chips and pecans to a bowl. Then, use a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop to form dough balls. Roll each ball of dough in the pecan and chocolate chip mixture.coating cookie dough balls with toppings

  5. Step Five: Bake

    Place the dough onto baking sheets 2 inches apart. Then, bake the Popcorn Cookies for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Remove the hot baking sheets and let the cookies cool for a bit. Enjoy your buttery cookies with your friends, family, and the latest blockbuster!12 baked cookies on a baking sheet with parchment paper

Can I Make These in Advance?

To prep this recipe in advance, you can make the cookie dough and freeze it for up to 2 months before baking. Mix the ingredients as usual, then add the dough balls to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Put it in the fridge for 1-2 hours until the dough balls are frozen, then transfer them to a ziplock bag to keep frozen. When you bake the frozen dough balls, just add a few minutes to the baking time so they can thaw and then bake. 

How to Store Popcorn Cookies


To keep the cookies fresh, wait for them to cool on a wire rack, then put them in a ziplock bag or another airtight container to keep them from drying out. Kept sealed, they’ll stay good at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also put the sealed cookie container in the fridge to keep it fresh for up to 1 week.


To freeze Popcorn Cookies, put them in a freezer bag with parchment paper or wax paper between the layers to keep them from freezing together. They can stay good for 2 months.

Frequent Questions

Why are my cookies spreading so much?

If you notice your cookie recipes are spreading too much in the oven, this is likely because the dough was too warm. The directions say to chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes. The fridge time allows the butter to solidify before baking. The chilled butter keeps the cookies soft and stops the dough from spreading too much. 

What kind of popcorn should I use?

You can use whatever your favorite popcorn variety is for this recipe. Buy a bag of pre-popped popcorn, pop it in the microwave, use a popcorn maker, or make the popcorn on the stovetop. Any method will work perfectly for these cookies. 

What’s the best way to cut the popcorn?

The first option, you chop the popcorn with a knife. The next option, you put it in a ziplock bag and crush it with a rolling pin. Finally, you can pulse the popcorn in a food processor a few times. You will want some larger chunks, so avoid making them tiny pieces.

Is it okay to skip refrigerating the cookie dough for 30 minutes?

It’s best not to skip this step. Chilling the dough helps prevent excessive spreading during baking, resulting in thicker, chewier cookies.

Can I use microwave popcorn for this recipe?

You could, but it’s recommended to use air-popped or stovetop-popped popcorn for this recipe. Microwave popcorn often contains added flavors and butter, which may affect the overall taste of the cookies. But if you don’t mind the extra buttery flavor, go for it!

What can I substitute for pecans if I have a nut allergy?

If you have a nut allergy, you can omit the pecans entirely or substitute them with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for a similar crunch without nuts.

Recipe Card

Popcorn Cookies

Popcorn Cookies make the ultimate movie night treat! You'll love the buttery and sweet cookies with chocolate chip, popcorn, and nut mix-ins.
Yield 16 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes
Course Cookies
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar , packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips , divided
  • 2 cups popcorn , chopped roughly
  • 1/2 cup pecans , chopped (divided)


  • To a stand mixer cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in the eggs one at a time along with the vanilla extract.
  • Sift the flour and baking soda and add it to the stand mixer along with the salt on low speed until just combined and stir in ¾ cup chocolate chips, all the popcorn and ¼ cup pecans.
  • Cover and refrigerate the cookie dough for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Put the remaining chocolate chips and pecans in a bowl.
  • Using a cookie scoop (just over 1 tablespoon), scoop the dough into the topping mixture and roll gently, covering the exterior of the ball in some of the chocolate chips and pecans.
  • Place dough 2" apart and bake for 12 minutes.


Note: You can chop the popcorn, put it in a ziplock bag, and crush it with a rolling pin or pulse in a food processor a few times. You will want some larger chunks, so avoid making them tiny pieces.
  • Click on the “yield” amount to slide and change the number of servings and the recipe will automatically update!
  • Click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.
  • To convert measurements to grams, click on the “Metric” option next to “Ingredients” in the recipe card.


Calories: 389kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 156mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 394IU | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 2mg

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Variations on Popcorn Cookies

  • Caramel Popcorn Cookies: Instead of classic salty popcorn, you could make this recipe with caramel popcorn for an extra sweet flavor. Prepare the caramel popcorn, and chop the popped caramel corn into smaller pieces, then add them to the cookie dough. You could also use Kettle Corn or other creative popcorn flavors for this cookie recipe. 
  • Gluten-free Popcorn Cookies: To make your popcorn cookies for a gluten-free diet, simply replace the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free alternative, such as almond flour, oat flour, or buckwheat flour. 
  • Mix-ins: Try making this delicious cookie recipe with different dessert mix-ins. You can swap out regular chocolate chips for white chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips. Instead of pecans, try chopped almonds, walnuts, or cashews. For more mix-in options, try adding peanut butter chips, toffee bits, M&Ms, or shredded coconut.

Favorite Cookie Recipes

Popcorn Cookies Pin

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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