How to Use Up Leftover Popcorn

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Popcorn, like pasta, is difficult to estimate. The amount of popcorn that you pop on your stovetop, pop in the microwave, or order at the movie theater might seem like a reasonable amount until you're a third of the way through and can't eat another bite. There ends up being a lot of leftover popcorn in the world, no matter how careful you are.

You don't have to throw out the dregs of that popcorn bowl, though. Popcorn might not be quite as crispy the next day, but it doesn't make it unusuable, particularly if you're willing to get a little bit creative. Here are a few things to do with the leftovers.

Make Popcorn Balls

Popcorn and candy are a classic combination, so it makes sense to make popcorn candy. That's basically all that popcorn balls are: popcorn glued together with something sweet and sticky, like this version with honey caramel, or this one that has bacon, peanuts, and marshmallows. 

Use Popcorn as Croutons

This sounds odd—but try it. Croutons in a salad are there for crunch, and as a vehicle for salt, fat, and other flavorings. Throwing them into a salad is unorthodox, but I've found they can be very delicious, particularly when reheated in a skillet with a little olive oil to get back that initial crispiness.

Watch: The Simplest Way to Make a Better Bowl of Popcorn

Use It as Breading

When you're frying something, typically you bread it in flour, cornstarch, or bread crumbs. But there's no law that says you can't use other things to bread, say, fried chicken. Crushed up popcorn makes a great breading, as does crushed up chips. Then your snack gets turned into another snack. 

Put It in Cookies

If you like baked goods that have that sweet-and-salty balance going on, popcorn is going to be your pal. It makes a great addition to chocolate chip cookies, or to blondies. Try making these Caramel Popcorn Cookies or, if you'd prefer something less straight-ahead sweet, Popcorn Snack Bars.  

Try Adding It to Scrambled Eggs

MyRecipes contributor Stacey Ballis wrote about her own struggle with using up leftover popcorn, and how it led her to the discovery of Popcorn Scrambled Eggs, a morning dish that has the toothsomeness of chilaquiles with the extra buttery note of good popcorn. It's a combination that might not be intuitive, but it could both save your movie snack remnants from going to waste and add some zip to your breakfast scramble. 

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