Elevate the classic movie theater snack with this homemade cheesy popcorn recipe! It's made on the stove and tossed with a homemade savory seasoning including garlic, herbs, and nutritional yeast for quick and easy healthy popcorn toppings. Made entirely vegan and gluten-free too!
Guys I love my sweet popcorn, I really really do. But I will forever be a savory popcorn girl after this cheesy popcorn recipe. It's SO simple to make and satisfies the savory cravings real quick.
Not to mention a bowl of this oh so savory cheesy popcorn is the best way to spend a night in. Just image curled up on the couch, watching a movie, probably cuddling with your dog, shoveling popcorn into your face at rapid speed (we all do it). I like to call it the ideal Friday night date.
You only need 4 simple ingredients to make this cheesy popcorn!
- Popcorn kernels - I like the yellow corn kernels but white corn will also work in this recipe. It's a matter of personal preference. There are also sprouted kernels if you want to go the extra mile!
- Olive oil - any light flavored oil will work in this recipe like coconut oil or avocado oil. You can also use butter or vegan butter if you prefer.
- Nutritional yeast - this is what gives the cheesy popcorn it's super cheesy flavor! More on this ingredient below.
- Onion salt - I used Trader Joes onion salt blend but you can also make your own! Simply mix together 2 teaspoon onion powder, 2 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon dried chives, 2 teaspoon sea salt.
What is Nutritional Yeast?
If you haven’t heard of nutritional yeast (aka “nooch”), welcome to the CHEESIEST party you’ll never want to leave! Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that packs some serious micro-nutrients - hence the name nutritional yeast. The seasoning alone has protein and fiber which is something you can never really get enough of.
Nutritional yeast is a great vegan seasoning that gives off a cheese-like flavor that is just incredible. I love adding it to eggs, sauces, pasta...basically everything. It's a key ingredient in my vegan butternut squash mac and cheese recipe!
You can find it in most grocery stores in the spices aisle. It's a crucial ingredient to this cheesy popcorn recipe!
Step by step directions
You're about to fall in love with how easy it is to make this homemade cheesy popcorn! All you need is a pot with a lid and a large mixing bowl.
Step 1 : Heat the olive oil
First, pour the olive oil into the pot over medium heat. Like I said above, any type of lightly flavored oil will work in this recipe.
Place a few kernels in the pot with the oil and put the lid on. This is how we test the oil to see when it's hot enough to pop the kernels. As the oil heats up, those few kernels will begin to pop. Once all of those "test kernels" have popped, that's how we know the oil is hot enough!
Step 2 : Add the kernels
After the "test kernels" have popped, remove the lid and add in the rest of the kernels. Quickly place the lid back on the pot as the kernels will start to pop quite quickly and they can really fly out of the pot!
You will begin to hear lots and lots of rapid popping. Be sure to keep an eye on the lid as sometimes the lid can be pushed off the pot. Once the popping has slowed down and maybe even stopped, the popcorn is done. It can take 3 - 6 minutes for all the kernels to pop once they've been added to the pot.
Step 3 : Add the seasonings
Transfer the popped popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the olive oil to the bowl along with the nutritional yeast and onion salt.
Step 4 : Toss
Shake the bowl up and down and side to side to distribute the seasonings. The goal here is to move the popcorn at the bottom of the bowl to the top and vis versa. I find this to be easily done by moving the bowl up and down somewhat quickly to life the popcorn up from the bowl. Just be carful not to spill any!
Serve the cheesy popcorn in the same big mixing bowl or split it out into individual bowls and enjoy!
This cheesy popcorn is best kept in an airtight container like a large Tupperware or ziplock bag. It will keep fresh for up to 3 days. Keep in mind that the popcorn will become a little softer after each day so it's best to enjoy it sooner rather than later.
Ways to customize
There are so many more healthy popcorn toppings you could use to make this cheesy popcorn recipe your own!
- Add paprika or chipotle or cayenne pepper if you like a little heat.
- You can also easily do an "everything but the bagel" twist on this recipe and use the seasoning in place of the onion salt blend (again from Trader Joes).
- Throw in some pretzels and nuts to make a savory trail mix (I would also add some chocolate chips because I'm a huge chocolate fan).
- If you have fresh herbs at home, throw those in as well! My favorites to add to this recipe are rosemary and finely chopped parsley.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, this cheesy popcorn recipe is made entire vegan as we use olive oil to pop the kernels and to season the popcorn. Nutritional yeast is also used to give the popcorn a "cheesy" flavor.
Yes, if desired you can use any lightly flavored oil like avocado oil, coconut oil, or almond oil. Butter will work in this recipe as well.
There isn't another great vegan option to be honest. But if you're not vegan or dairy-free you can use a powdered cheddar cheese like this one.
For more savory snacks, check out my:
PS : If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a star review and comment below! Also be sure to follow along with me on Instagram and Pinterest to stay up to date on all tasty recipes here at The Fit Peach!
Savory Cheesy Popcorn
- 5 tablespoon olive oil - divided, or other neutral oil
- ½ cup popcorn kernels
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoon onion salt blend - I used Trader Joes but see notes on how to make your own
- Pour 3 tablespoon olive oil in a pot and place it on the stove over medium heat. Put a few "test" kernels (like 3 - 4) in the pot then place the lid on top. The test kernels will tell you when the oil is hot enough.5 tablespoon olive oil, ½ cup popcorn kernels
- Once the test kernels have popped, pour in the remaining popcorn kernels and place the lid back on top. The kernels should all begin to pop after a few minutes. After they have slowed down and you only hear a few pops every few seconds, the popcorn is done.
- Remove the pot from the stove and pour the popcorn into a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoon olive oil to the bowl along with the nutritional yeast and onion salt blend. Shake the bowl up and down and side to side to distribute the seasoning. The goal is to move the popcorn at the bottom of the bowl to the top of the bowl without spilling them. Once the popcorn has been well shaken, enjoy straight from the mixing bowl or pour into individual bowls and enjoy!¼ cup nutritional yeast, 2 tablespoon onion salt blend