An Updated List of the Best Bagged Popcorn (2024)

The best bagged popcorn is crunchy, salty, and satisfying, but it gets a bad wrap. See, when it comes to popcorn, there are tiers. Movie theater popcorn is clearly the most fun popcorn. It’s hot, it smells outrageous, and you can even put buttery slime on it if you want to feel like total crap by the time your movie is over. One tier down from the zenith of fun, you’ve got your make-at-home popcorn—Orville Redenbacher you zap in the microwave, Jiffy Pop you heat on the stove top like Drew Barrymore in Scream, or kernels you cook in one of those hot air machines everyone had in the ‘80s.

Bringing up the rear is ready-to-eat popcorn in a bag. Bagged popcorn, through no fault of its own, is often relegated to the world of diet snacks—a salty something to eat when you’d rather be eating chips. The thing is, a lot of bagged popcorn is really good and plenty of fun. You’ve got flavor options, like herbs, spices, and cheese (if you like it sweet, we ranked kettle corn separately). Plus, there’s the convenience factor. Sorry, Orville, but sometimes we want popcorn that isn’t scorched from being cooked for one nanosecond too long.

In two separate taste tests, we sought out everything from the best white cheddar popcorn to the best buttered popcorn in a bag—not just for folks who are dieting or don’t have a microwave (i.e. me), but for anyone who wants a fast, tasty, salty snack. Here are our picks for the best popcorn in a bag.

An Updated List of the Best Bagged Popcorn (1)

Most Interesting

Clancy’s Roasted Sweet Corn Flavored Popcorn

If you don’t like big, weird flavors, you won’t like this. My colleague Justine Sterling was not a fan of this popcorn (I believe a face was made), but Jordan Myrick and I loved it enough that I was compelled to add it to the list, albeit in the number ten spot. In terms of flavor, it’s kind of like elote minus the heat of chili powder. It’s corn flavored with sweet corn flavor—a little sweet and a little savory and a very good time. Pick this up at Aldi while it’s available. You never know when Aldi is going to discontinue a beloved product! This popcorn isn’t for everyone, but it’s the best bagged popcorn if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary.

Read the full ranking of the best canned corn

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

6/10

Sporks

An Updated List of the Best Bagged Popcorn (2)

Best Herb Flavor

Trader Joe’s Popcorn with Herbs & Spices

This is the best bagged popcorn for people who love seasoning on seasoned croutons. I firmly believe that croutons are among the best snacks, and this bag of popcorn from Trader Joe’s does a good job of scratching my seasoned crouton itch (no, I haven’t seen a doctor for it). The popped kernels in this bag are enormous, and you can see little flecks of dried herbs on each and every one. The dried dill almost gives it pickle vibes, while yeast, sea salt, and onion powder give the seasoning blend a cheesy complexity. The seasoning is tasty, but super subtle—we wouldn’t be mad at them for amping up the flavors just a touch. I ate a lot of it chasing a flavor I wish was just a leeeeettle more pronounced. Now someone go get me some croutons.

Read the full ranking of the best croutons

Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon

Rating:

6.5/10

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Best Junk Food Homage

Cheetos Popcorn Cheddar Jalapeño

I’m a real sucker for Cheddar Jalapeño Cheetos (the Sporked crew’s favorite Cheetos flavor), and this bag of popcorn has all of that flavor and even the psychotic orange color. “This is dreamy,” Sporked contributor Danny Palumbo said. “Dreamy and creamy, with a real piquancy—it’s better than most Cheetos flavorwise.” It’s spicy but not too spicy, which makes it the best bagged popcorn to bring on a road trip: flavorful enough to keep you alert, but not so spicy that you have to drink gallons of water and pull over to pee every 45 minutes. We also tried the brand’s Flamin’ Hot popcorn in our taste test, but it just didn’t have the same impact. Sorry, Flamin’ fans.

Read the full ranking of the best Cheetos flavors

Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart

Rating:

6.5/10

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Best (Fake) Cheesy

Lesser Evil Organic Popcorn with “No Cheese” Cheesiness

Nutritional yeast is the best popcorn topping, hands down. The flaky food additive gives rich, cheesy flavor to everything from vegan gravy to vegan mac and cheese, and it makes this vegan popcorn from Lesser Evil a real treat to snack on. Each of the Lesser Evil popcorns we tried tasted like the coconut oil the kernels are cooked in, but it was much more subtle in this case. The slightly coconutty flavor actually worked nicely with the mild flavor of the non-dairy “cheese” powder on the popcorn. This is the best bagged popcorn if you love cheese but don’t do dairy.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

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Best White Cheddar

Smartfood White Cheddar

Smartfood popcorn is ubiquitous to the point of being boring, but this taste test gave us a chance to see it in a whole new light. It’s everywhere for a reason: It’s the best white cheddar popcorn. Other brands we tried had a strange, almost vanilla frosting-like aroma, some fluke of flavor science (or maybe some crossed wires in our flavor-blasted brains). None of us were entirely sure what differentiates white cheddar flavor from yellow cheddar flavor, but Smartfood has a really nice, creamy, cheesy essence that isn’t overwhelming so you can eat a bunch. “I love this popcorn,” Jordan enthused. “I buy a big bag at Costco, stick my whole arm into it, and then lick it off.” Not a bad endorsem*nt.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

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Best Vegan

Bjorn Qorn Classic

Bjorn Qorn comes in a three ounce bag that technically contains three servings, but you can probably plan on eating the whole thing. Besides being fresh and crunchy, the popcorn is coated in a nutritional yeast-based seasoning powder that’s incredibly savory and highly addictive. Sure, you could put nooch on your own popcorn, but this is just sooooo well coated. The spicy version is also delicious, but I wish it were a little spicier.

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

An Updated List of the Best Bagged Popcorn (7)

Best Spicy

Pop Art Cheddar Jalapeño Popcorn

These are not the most robust kernels you’ll find in a bag of popcorn. They’re small and at least one taster described them as having a “soft staleness.” But the flavor of this popcorn is just so, so good. It combines rich cheese notes with a little bit of peppery bite and just a touch of heat. If you like a super crunchy popcorn, Pop Art might let you down, but if you want big flavor, grab a bag.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon

Rating:

8/10

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An Updated List of the Best Bagged Popcorn (8)

Best Buttered

Lesser Evil Oh My Ghee!

This is one of the most unique and delicious popcorn flavors I’ve ever tried. Lesser Evil Oh My Ghee doesn’t taste like butter—it tastes like clarified butter. Like a delicious cup of drawn butter you get with a plate of crab legs or peel-and-eat shrimp. It’s honestly like eating the lobster tail of popcorn. It’s buttered popcorn but it’s the most unique butter popcorn I’ve ever had.

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

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An Updated List of the Best Bagged Popcorn (9)

Best Salted

O Organics Sea Salt Organic Popcorn

Jordan thought that this sea salt-dusted popcorn from O Organics tasted like it was made for movies. “This tastes like unbuttered movie theater popcorn,” Jordan said. “I think there’s a market for that.” There definitely is. This bag is bursting with big, satisfying kernels that have a really fresh flavor and aren’t overtaken by any of the oils that were used in the popping process. There’s something extremely appealing (and addictive) about its simplicity. “It’s not buttery, but it’s crunchy and snackable,” another taste tester said. This is the best bagged popcorn if you aren’t a butter fiend.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

An Updated List of the Best Bagged Popcorn (10)

Best of the Best

Sprouts Organic Popcorn Lightly Buttered

The best bagged popcorn doesn’t quite live up to the movie theater stuff, but this popcorn from Sprouts does a good job of being salty, rich, and delicious. The kernels have a great texture and we loved that it tastes buttery without being too buttery. If you go ham on the liquified butter-flavored chemicals at the movie theater, this might not be for you, but people who want the movie theater experience without the stomach churn will dig it. “It’s very salty, but I feel like if you’re eating it with other sweet snacks at a movie night, it wouldn’t be a bad choice,” one taste tester said. Grab a bowl of this and you might be able to sit through all of the new Transformers movie.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Instacart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

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An Updated List of the Best Bagged Popcorn (2024)
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