There are all sorts of things you can use to top popcorn, ranging from mundane butter to pesto. Many regions have their own unique popcorn toppings which may be showcased at fairs and other social events, and individual families may develop their own recipes for toppings to keep popcorn consumption lively and entertaining. Almost any sort of condiment or seasoning mix can be added to popcorn, as the flavor of popcorn on its own is relatively neutral.
Popcorn itself is a relatively healthy food. It is high in fiber, making it a good addition to the diet, and it is naturally fat free. Popcorn also has useful amounts of trace vitamins and minerals which can be increased with the addition of certain popcorn toppings.
The definition of classic popcorn toppings varies, depending on where you are. In Germany, for example, many people like kettle corn, popcorn which is tossed with salt, sugar, and oil for a sweet, salty, crunchy food. Many Americans prefer butter in both natural and artificial form, and some people add brewer's yeast, also known as nutritional yeast, to their popcorn.
Dry condiments which can be used as popcorn toppings include paprika, pepper, ground chiles, and spice mixes. Jerking spices sometimes pair quite well with popcorn, as do herb blends. If you want to keep your toppings low in fat, sprinkle the topping on without oil to carry it; if you want a more full flavor, add a little bit of oil or butter. You can also add things like bonito flakes, powdered nori, and plain old salt.
You can also experiment with wet condiments like honey, pesto, ketchup, and chili sauce, all of which will lightly coat popcorn when it is tossed while hot. If you are worried about sogginess, you can apply a small amount of topping at a time to ensure that the popcorn stays crisp. Some people also like to use vinegars such as malt vinegar or balsamic vinegar. Flavored syrups made from things like apples, cherries, or caramel are also quite popular in some regions as popcorn toppings, especially during the holidays. Flavored oils are also great toppings for popcorn.
Cheese is another beloved popcorn topping in some parts of the world. You can use powdered Parmesan or cheddar cheese, or cheese blends designed specifically for use as a topping. If you're feeling more experimental, you can try things like chocolate, soy sauce, maple syrup, coconut flakes, curry paste, or mustard.