How to Set Up a Gourmet Popcorn Bar

Set up a Gourmet Popcorn Bar with sweet, salty, and spicy stir-ins for an easy DIY appetizer, snack or dessert. Find your flavor combo ideas here!

Gourmet Popcorn Bar, from Holley Grainger


I often laugh that setting up “bars” whether it be a baked potato bar, shrimp and grits bar, taco/nacho bar, make your own pasta bar or whatever food you can think of that incorporates various ingredients is one of these easiest and most fun ways to entertain. I read once that food bars are “a playground for create food combinations” and I must say that I completely agree. While it may take up more serving containers and a little extra food prep, food bars allow people to make their own choices as to what and how much of an ingredient they want to eat. Plus, it is an easy and affordable way to feed a crowd. I think about all of the wedding receptions I attend now versus when I got married and there is always at least one “bar” set up. That’s why I love setting up a gourmet popcorn bar when entertaining and based on the ingredients I provide, it works well as an appetizer, snack or dessert.

Gourmet Popcorn Bar

Gourmet Popcorn Bar, from Holley Grainger


Aim for variety when selecting the ingredients for your popcorn bar. Since I only need a small amount of many ingredients, I like to hit the bulk bins at grocery stores like Sprouts or Whole Foods to only by as much as I need.

  • Popcorn Types: unsalted, salted, buttered, kettle corn, cheese, caramel corn
  • Stir Ins: nuts (salted, roasted, candied, raw, chocolate-covered), trail mix, dried coconut, chocolate candy, wasabi peas, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, yogurt pretzels
  • Shake Ons: Parmesan cheese, kosher salt, flavored salt, dried herbs
  • Drizzle Ons: tabasco sauce, chocolate sauce, balsamic vinegar, oil oil, truffle olive oil


Gourmet Popcorn Bar, from Holley Grainger


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Gourmet Popcorn Bar from Holley Grainger

More Food Bar Ideas


My Dessert Crostini Bar is always a favorite and is a fun way to sample a variety of flavor combinations and (shhh!) let other people prep their own food!

I ran across this collection of 15 Food Bars and Stations on Elizabeth Anne Designs and thought the ideas for each bar was not only inspirational from a food perspective but had a completely stunning set up. Check out these bar ideas including a pancake bar, biscuit bar, pressed juice bar and churro bar. also gather 10 Food Bar Ideas Made Easy with ideas such as a waffle bar, mimosa bar, mac and cheese bar and candy buffet.