Believe it or not, popcorn has been around for thousands of years! It is believed that corn whose kernels could be popped were first cultivated in Mexico in 5000 BC. Only one variety of corn is able to become popcorn: Zea mays everta.
As early as the 16th century AD, the Aztecs used popcorn to make headresses that were worn during ceremonies to honor their god of maize and fertility, Tlaloc. In 1948, small heads of Zea mays everta were discovered in the Bat Cave of New Mexico by Herbert Dick and Earle Smith.
The first popcorn maker was discovered in Peru and dates back to 400 AD. This popcorn maker was a utensil with holes and a handle. In Don Hernán Cortés gets his first sight of popcorn when he invades Mexico and comes into contact with the Aztecs.
Charles Cretor, a candy-store owner, was the man who invented a machine for popping corn with steam. About that same time, Louise Ruckheim added peanuts and molasses to create the Cracker Jack.
Popcorn didn’t become popular in the United States until around the 1900s. It was called “Pearls” at the time and was sold on street corners. Movie theater owners were originally against popcorn being sold on their premises, but the Great Depression made it so popcorn was one of the few luxuries people could afford. Glen W. Dickson was the first to put in the expense of installing a popcorn machine in his theaters, and he quickly recouped his losses.
When VCRs were invented, popcorn sales plummeted. It wasn’t until the invention of the microwave and microwave popcorn (developed by Percy Spencer and patented by General Mills) that it became profitable once again.
In 1988, The Calumet City Star, as well as other publications, announced National Popcorn Day to fall on January 31st, probably to fall in line with families throwing Super Bowl parties.
No one is really sure why it is moved, but in 2003, a newspaper in Brownfield, Texas, gave the first indication that National Popcorn Day was moved to January 19, where it still remains. Oddly enough, National Popcorn Month takes place in October.
Today, Americans consume 13 billion quarts of popcorn a year, more than any other country in the world. Most popcorn produced is grown in the United States, and Nebraska produces the most corn in popcorn production.
The most popular popcorn flavors are:
Butter and salted (like at the movie theater)
Butter only (no salt)
Ideas for National Popcorn Day
Here are TONS of delicious varieties of popcorn for you to try on this weird holiday!
This Black and White and Chocolate-Drizzled Popcorn is addictive! It's salty, sweet, crunchy and totally irresistible! Make this chocolate-covered popcorn for a delicious snack, party favor or homemade gift on National Popcorn Day. It's easier than you think!
Spiced popcorn is the perfect way to take a very easy snack and add a little twist National Popcorn Day. This recipe calls for Indian flavors like cardamom, cumin, and coriander to create a sweet and savory flavor.
Savoury popcorn is a yummy snack, this cheese popcorn is tasty and perfect for big and little people. On an antipasto platter with a glass of wine on National Popcorn Day, then the next day it's in the kids' lunchboxes.
If you’d like your own bowl of popcorn to munch on while enjoying National Popcorn Day, consider this Pizza Popcorn. Start with a big bowl of popped popcorn, then whip up a quick pizza-flavored olive oil that includes sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and lots of Italian herbs.
Homemade sweet cinema-style popcorn with all the flavours of gingerbread. The perfect accompaniment on National Popcorn Day to re-watching your favorite Christmas films (even though the season is over)
A quick and easy Asian Salted Egg Yolk Popcorn Snack Recipe for National Popcorn Day which is creamy, buttery and full of umami! Even better, it takes less than 10 minutes to make this addictive, deliciously sweet & salty popcorn.
A quick and healthy snack, this easy nori seaweed popcorn recipe is a tasty way to sneak in the health benefits of sea vegetables on National Popcorn Day! Just pop popcorn in a skillet with sesame oil, then toss with sea salt, sesame seeds and toasted nori. Make a big batch for snacking!
Sweet, spicy, savory (and tart!) in perfect harmony... Sweet Tajín Popcorn with Spiced Candied Pepitas, Chocolate, and Dried Cranberries may just rock your world and just in time for National Popcorn Day!
Spice up your popcorn with sriracha and bacon on National Popcorn Day! This snack is fast, easy, and delicious to munch on. Sriracha bacon popcorn is great for movie night or anytime you need a little pick-me-up.
This Oreo Funfetti Popcorn is also known as birthday cake popcorn or party popcorn. Packed with sprinkles and Birthday Cake Oreo Cookies, it's a quick and easy dessert perfect for bringing to National Popcorn Day!
Peanut butter and chocolate popcorn is a sweet & salty snack for National Popcorn Day that is addictively delicious. With swirls of peanut butter sauce & dollops of melted chocolate, it’s a guaranteed hit with adults and kids alike.
Salted lime popcorn is a quick, no-fuss snack recipe for National Popcorn Day that's made right on the stovetop. Coconut oil produces light and airy popcorn that's goes so well with its tart and salty toppings.
This Moroccan Twist Salted Caramel Popcorn is sweet, savoury, a little spicy, and complex... with flavours like garlic, cardamom, and fennel, it's definitely something you should try on National Popcorn Day!
Caramel Corn with Chocolate Drizzle is an easy to make, sinfully rich, crunchy taste sensation with freshly popped popcorn and peanuts topped with a creamy sweet caramel glaze and to top it off, a drizzle of decadent dark chocolate. Enjoy it on National Popcorn Day.
This truffle popcorn with rosemary-garlic butter recipe is the best for movie night on National Popcorn Day! Freshly popped popcorn kernels are tossed with a rosemary and garlic infused butter, and seasoned with your favorite truffle seasoning!
A tasty treat to make before dinner, this is a great snack to compliment your evening outdoors, even in the cold on National Popcorn Day. Pull up a camp chair, make yourself a bowl of this popcorn, and watch the sunset.
Add a little sweet to your salty with this Salted Dark Chocolate Popcorn recipe. Easy to make and ready in under 10 minutes, this simple snack recipe is perfect for a movie night at home on National Popcorn Day.
These Peeps Popcorn Balls are our favorite way to enjoy leftover Peeps. Perfect for Peeps lovers or those who hate Peeps. Either way, everyone loves colorful marshmallow popcorn balls! They taste great and are a family favorite treat on National Popcorn Day!
Delicious Homemade Caramel Corn Recipe made with warming gingerbread spices and sweet buttery caramel sauce. Enjoy this perfectly sweet and crunchy snack time favorite on National Popcorn Day and share your very own gingerbread caramel corn with family and friends for an easy, homemade, edible gift.
Thai Style Popcorn is an addictive snack on National Popcorn Day with a perfect combination of flavors. It is crispy and crunchy with the right amount of sweet, sour, and spiciness. This snack is also vegan and gluten free. Popcorn could not get any better than this!
This bacon jalapeño popcorn is a taste explosion! Salty, sweet and spicy, it's the perfect snack for movie night on National Popcorn Day. Easy to make and ready to serve in less than 15 minutes, the corn is finished with a honey and butter sauce that will make your tastebuds tingle!