Healthy Cauliflower Popcorn / Kettle Corn

I think 2014 is going to be the year for cauliflower — from cauliflower pizza crust to cauliflower fried rice and mashed cauliflower, it seems like this cruciferous vegetable is becoming a go-to for making healthy versions of comfort foods. Most of you know that I’m a huge fan of the cauliflower pizza crust. I’ve actually been working on a vegan version, which I hope to post soon. But in the meantime, I have another cauliflower delight to share. Thanks to Real Simple I recently found out that cauliflower popcorn is a thing. Yes, popcorn!

Healthy Cauliflower Popcorn / Kettle Corn

Regular popcorn is actually pretty healthy on it’s own, especially if you air pop it and eat it plain. It’s a whole grain and low in calories, which is nice for volume eaters that like to snack (a.k.a. me). I actually keep kernels on hand and use the brown paper lunch bag trick to pop mine when I’m craving popcorn. Works like charm!

Healthy Cauliflower Popcorn / Kettle Corn

Once I found out that cauliflower popcorn was a thing, I knew I needed to try it! I quickly decided I should probably make a kettle corn version since it’s my favorite type of regular popcorn. Sweet and salty combos are the simply the best!

Healthy Cauliflower Popcorn / Kettle Corn

The trick to making cauliflower popcorn is roasting! Roasting brings out the natural sugars in vegetables. And if you cook the veggies long enough, they also get a crispy texture. That’s exactly what happens with the cauliflower.

Yes, I could have simply called this recipe maple roasted cauliflower but kettle corn is infinitely more fun. Plus, you could totally whip up a batch of this cauliflower to snack on during a movie. It’s a great way to sneak in a serving (or two) of veggies and I’m sure kids would love it!

Healthy Cauliflower Popcorn / Kettle Corn

Plus it’s healthy, absolutely delicious and as it would turn out, just as addictive as regular kettle corn. 🙂

If you’re not into kettle corn — we can’t be friends — just kidding, simply omit the maple syrup and just use the coconut oil and salt.

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Healthy Cauliflower Popcorn / Kettle Corn


One warning — the cauliflower pieces shrink down quite a bit. If you’re serving more than one or two people, you’ll want to make a double batch and use two baking sheets.


  • 1 small/medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 8 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, liquid
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together cauliflower, oil, maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. Transfer to a baking sheet and spread in a single layer. Make sure the cauliflower pieces aren’t too crowded on the baking sheet or they will steam instead of roasting.
  4. Roast, stirring twice, until golden brown and tender, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Plus it’s healthy, absolutely delicious and as it would turn out, just as addictive as regular kettle corn. 🙂

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Recipe rating

    1. ammolite1
      March 30, 2015 AT 8:03 pm

      Were they damp from washing beforehand? That may make the difference…

    2. halfpass44
      November 11, 2014 AT 9:55 pm

      I tried this but the cauliflower stayed rather soft and got brown but never reached a crispy stage. I had it in the oven at 450 for 45 minutes. What am I doing wrong?

    3. Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul
      January 18, 2014 AT 12:06 am

      I love roasted cauliflower AND cauliflower “popcorn”, but kettle corn? Girl, you just took it to the next level! I can’t wait to try this!

      1. Eating Bird Food
        January 18, 2014 AT 5:18 pm

        You’re welcome. 😉

    4. Kira – The Healthable Old Soul
      January 16, 2014 AT 7:53 pm

      I love cauliflower and the way you make it popcorn is just a double bonus for cauliflower lovers!

    5. Lauren @ Fun, Fit and Fabulous!
      January 16, 2014 AT 7:47 pm

      This looks delicious! I need to try to incorporate more cauliflower into meals. It’s always so good when I do, I just kind of forget about it!

    6. Marcella @
      January 16, 2014 AT 11:27 am

      I just bought a head of cauliflower last night. I’m going to make this today. Thanks for the recipe.

    7. Tara | Treble in the Kitchen
      January 16, 2014 AT 5:07 am

      OH! I am such a cauliflower lover…can’t wait to try this snack 🙂

    8. Brittany
      January 16, 2014 AT 2:24 am

      I absolutely love kettle corn!! What a great idea. I will be giving this a try for sure!

    9. Camille @ Challenge Mantra
      January 16, 2014 AT 12:03 am

      I spent my whole life disdaining cauliflower for being plain and lame, only to grow up and find out how versatile and amazing it is. I’ve never seen this recipe before, but I can’t wait to try!

    10. Bridget
      January 15, 2014 AT 1:32 pm

      Wait… so what’s the difference between this and roasted cauliflower? I love roasted cauliflower, but I’ve never thought about considering it popcorn.

      1. Eating Bird Food
        January 15, 2014 AT 10:39 pm

        There’s not much difference… just the fact that pieces are smaller and that you can make it instead of popcorn as a snack. 🙂

    11. Mally
      January 15, 2014 AT 1:20 pm

      Thanks so much for sharing! Can’t wait to try this out!

    12. Brittney @ Sweets ‘N’ Greens
      January 15, 2014 AT 12:56 pm

      So creative! I’m also checking out your cauliflower pizza crust recipe too – it’s been on my list to try!

      1. Mally
        January 15, 2014 AT 1:22 pm

        I’ve tried her pizza crust recipe, SO GOOD!! the key is to make sure the “crust” is thinner, therefore crispier. truly tasted like the real thing

    13. Tina Muir
      January 15, 2014 AT 12:32 pm

      I had never heard of this before, but will have to give it a try with the cauliflower I have in the fridge. How well do they store? Would I have to eat it all in one go? Thanks for sharing this delicious, healthy snack! I need some more creative snacks!

    14. Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run
      January 15, 2014 AT 11:31 am


    15. Olivia at ohmy Olivia
      January 15, 2014 AT 11:31 am

      I am SO intrigued by this – definitely need to try it xo

    16. D @ The Kosher Cave Girl
      January 15, 2014 AT 10:01 am

      I make a version of this all the time and I love it, but I never thought of adding maple syrup! What an inspired idea!

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