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Kettle Popcorn Chocolate Chunk Cookies Recipe

Kettle Popcorn Chocolate Chunk Cookies Recipe

Have you ever smuggled candy into a movie theater?

When I was 16, I worked at a confectionery shop on a boardwalk in South Jersey. The perks? A job with a view of the beach, hair that always smelled like vanilla and access to the best selection of movie theater candies. I’ve been known not just to smuggle in candy to the movies, but also chocolate covered pretzels, peanut butter cups, and even chocolate chip cookies. Just ask my mom.

Thinking back though, I never once smuggled in popcorn. Mostly because I could never bring myself to purchase that fake pre-popped crap. And because a freshly popped bag from home would be a dead giveaway. Fortunately, I’ve discovered that chocolate chip cookies make fine vehicles for smuggling popcorn! You can thank me after your next matinee.

Kettle Popcorn Chocolate Chunk Cookies

popcorn chocolate chip cookies

This recipe is borrowed from Joy Wilson of Joy the Baker.

Yield: 24 cookies


  • 1 (2.64-ounce) bag unpopped popcorn (or 4 cups popped popcorn)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate
  • flaky sea salt for garnish


1. Following directions on the bag, make the popcorn then set aside to cool. You’ll need about 4 cups popped.

2. Preheat the oven to 350*. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, beat for an additional minute. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into the butter mixture. Beat at low speed until just combined.

4. Add the popcorn to the dough and fold in with a spatula. Then fold in the chocolate.

5. Form the dough into heaping tablespoons and place on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle tops of cookies with flaky sea salt and bake for 12-13 minutes, or until the edges and tops are golden brown. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Keep cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Kristina Beese is the co-owner of The Beese Knees, a gourmet ice cream cake company in Philadelphia. With a B.S. in Photography, she styles and photographs all her confections using both digital and 35mm film. Kristina believes cooking is a labor of love and wants to inspire others to find joy in their kitchens. View all posts by Kristina Beese
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