Black and Tan Chocolate Popcorn

Learn to easily melt chocolate to enrobe popcorn, or cookies, pretzels, or even chips, with the method in this sweet recipe.

Black-and-Tan Chocolate Popcorn

Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins
About 10 cups

A recipe by the late chef Michel Richard inspired this fun way to serve popcorn coated in two kinds of chocolate. Half of the popcorn is tossed in caramelized white chocolate, and the rest in dark chocolate, creating a spectrum of bittersweet to milky sweet flavors and also a beautifully contrasting deep brown and golden tan color on the popped kernels.

For both the white- and dark-chocolate popcorn, be sure to use baking chocolate, which has the high percentage of cocoa butter required to make sure the chocolate will melt fluidly and evenly coat the popcorn. For the white chocolate, make sure it’s a chocolate with at least 30% cocoa butter for the easiest caramelization. (We recommend high cocoa butter white chocolate chips, chunks, or fèves, such as Valrhona Ivoire 35% Fèves). 

If a low-temperature oven isn’t handy for melting the chocolate, use the microwave. Melt the chocolate in short, 15- to 30-second bursts, making sure to stir in between each burst.


  • 4 ounces high cocoa butter white chocolate chips, chunks, or fèves (such as Valrhona Ivoire 35% Fèves)

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon canola oil, divided 

  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels (about 3 ounces)

  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, divided

  • 4 ounces 60% to 66% cacao semisweet or extra-dark chocolate baking wafers, chips, or chunks (about 3/4 cup) (such as Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Baking Chips 63% Cacao)

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 250°F. If using white chocolate chunks, chop or break chocolate into small pieces. Spread white chocolate evenly on a 6- x 9-inch rimmed baking sheet or an 8-inch oven-safe skillet. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil, and stir to coat. Bake in preheated oven until white chocolate caramelizes and turns a rich, peanut butter–like golden brown color, 50 minutes to 1 hour, removing from oven to stir with a dry silicone spatula every 10 minutes. (Any chalky, bumpy appearance in white chocolate will smooth out after stirring. Keep the spatula free of water to avoid the chocolate seizing up.)

  2. Meanwhile, place 3 popcorn kernels and remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons oil in a 5- or 6-quart pot. Cover with lid, and heat over high. Cook, undisturbed, until you hear all 3 kernels pop, 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover and pour in remaining kernels. Cover tightly, and vigorously shake pot to distribute kernels. Return lidded pot to heat, and reduce heat to medium. Cook until kernels start to pop, about 1 minute. Pick up lidded pot, and shake up and down or side to side for about 5 seconds to facilitate even cooking. Return lidded pot to heat. Cook, repeating shaking process often, until popping slows down to 3 to 5 seconds between pops, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove lid, tilting lid and pot away from you so as not to get burned by the steam; set lid aside. Divide popped popcorn evenly between 2 large bowls (about 5 cups popcorn each). Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside until ready to use.

  3. Remove caramelized white chocolate from oven, and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Do not turn oven off. Let white chocolate cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Put a bit on your lip, and if it feels comfortable (“lip temperature”), it’s ready for coating the popcorn. Using the same silicone spatula, slowly drizzle white chocolate over popcorn in 1 bowl, adding white chocolate in 4 or 5 additions and stirring gently after each addition to coat popcorn. Pour coated popcorn onto 1 of the prepared baking sheets, and spread in an even layer. Cover loosely with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate until set, at least 20 minutes.

  4. Place semisweet or dark chocolate on a 6- x 9-inch rimmed baking sheet or in an 8-inch oven-safe skillet. Bake at 250°F until softened and glossy looking, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven. Stir with a dry silicone spatula to smooth out and fully melt. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let semisweet chocolate cool to “lip” temperature. Repeat coating process in step 3 to coat remaining popcorn in second bowl. Pour semisweet-coated popcorn onto remaining prepared baking sheet.

  5. If desired, sift cocoa powder through a small fine wire-mesh strainer over the semisweet-coated popcorn in 4 or 5 additions, stirring popcorn mixture after each addition to evenly coat kernels. Cover loosely with parchment paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes.

  6. Remove both baking sheets of popcorn from refrigerator. Gently break up popcorn into clusters, and place in a large bowl. Gently toss popcorn to combine, and serve.

To Make Ahead

Black and tan popcorn can be stored separately in airtight containers in refrigerator up to 5 days. Toss together just before serving.


High cocoa butter white chocolate is available at specialty grocery stores or online at Guittard Choc-Au-Lait Baking Chips will also caramelize nicely but won’t be as silky as Valrhona.

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