Although movie theater popcorn and popcorn served at other venues are often high in calories and fat, you can have more control over the nutritional value of this snack by popping your own at home. Unpopped popcorn kernels have dramatically different nutritional information from movie-style popcorn, as they are low in fat and calories. The amount of calories in unpopped popcorn depends on how much you're eating.
Calories in Unpopped Popcorn
- 2-tablespoon serving: 110 calories
- 1/4 cup: 117 calories
- 1/2 cup: 235 calories
Nutrition Info for Unpopped Popcorn Kernels
According to the USDA, a 2-tablespoon serving of unpopped popcorn kernels will give you:
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- Calories: 110
- Total fat: 1.5 g
- Saturated fat: 0 g
- Trans fat: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Sodium: 0 mg
- Total carbs: 22 g
- Dietary fiber: 4 g
- Sugar: 0 g
- Protein: 3 g
Unpopped Popcorn Macros
- Total fat: A 2-tablespoon serving of popcorn kernels has 1.5 grams of total fat.
- Carbohydrates: A 2-tablespoon serving of popcorn kernels has 22 grams of carbs, which includes 4 grams of fiber and no sugar.
- Protein: A 2-tablespoon serving of popcorn kernels has 3 grams of protein.
Vitamins, Minerals and Other Micronutrients
- Iron: 6% Daily Value
Unpopped Popcorn Calories
A serving size of 2 tablespoons of unpopped popcorn has about 110 calories. That said, some people wonder about the calories in 1/2 cup of unpopped popcorn and in 1/4 cup of unpopped popcorn. To that end, there are about 235 calories in a 1/2 cup of unpopped popcorn kernels, and 117 calories in 1/4 cup.
Unpopped popcorn is low in fat, 1.5 grams in a 2-tablespoon serving. None of this fat comes from saturated fat. Keep in mind, cooking the kernels with oil or butter will add fat.
Most of the calories in unpopped popcorn kernels come from carbohydrates. A 2-tablespoon serving of unpopped kernels contains 22 grams of carbohydrates. This serving is sugar-free and provides 4 grams of dietary fiber.
Unpopped popcorn kernels also has some protein. A 2-tablespoon serving will give you 3 grams of protein. Although this is less protein than meats and seafood provide, it is more than the amount you'd get from other snack foods like potato chips.
Vitamin and Minerals
Unpopped popcorn kernels are not rich in vitamins and minerals. A 2-tablespoon serving will give you 1 milligram of iron, or six percent of the daily recommended amount.
Popcorn, which is one of the most popular snacks in the world, also boasts large doses of fiber and antioxidants known as phenolic compounds, according to November 2019 research in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. Among the different grains, corn offers the highest antioxidant activity due to these phenolic acids.
Popcorn is also high in antioxidants, and the popping process of popcorn kernels doesn't significantly decrease their antioxidant activity, according to January 2019 research in Antioxidants. As the researchers note, popcorn is a significant source of polyphenols, a class of antioxidants that are linked to disease prevention.