Savory “Cheesy” Popcorn

Switch up your snack routine with Savory “Cheesy” Popcorn!

Vegan cheesy popcorn in a bowl

Have you recently bought a new ingredient that is sitting in your pantry just because you really don’t know really how to use it? I bought nutritional yeast for one recipe and it’s been sitting in my pantry ever since.

Savory "Cheesy" Popcorn made with nutritional yeast

Did you know… National Popcorn Day is January 19th? I wanted to celebrate with a delicious new popcorn recipe! Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks. Many people don’t realize, but popcorn is a whole grain. The white part that puffs up is the endosperm, the flakey part is the bran, and the part that usually gets stuck in your teeth is the germ.

Popping popcorn at home is very simple. Bonus – there is the flexibility to play around with different toppings.

nutritional yeast

What is nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast is made from a single-celled organism, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, which is grown on molasses and then harvested, washed, and dried with heat to kill or “deactivate” it. Because it’s inactive, it doesn’t grow like baking yeast does so it has no leavening ability. Yeasts are members of the fungi family, like mushrooms. (source)

Savory "Cheesy" Popcorn with a colorful napkin

The golden flakes of nutritional yeast have a nutty aroma and well known cheesy flavor, making it a go-to vegan substitute for Parmesan cheese. (Hence the quotes in the recipe title “cheesy”) If you like this recipe and don’t have or want to use nutritional yeast, simply swap with Parmesan cheese.

Using nutritional yeast is a great alternative for those with lactose intolerance or who are vegan. Plus, nutritional yeast is rich in Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate and Vitamin B12.

Flavor combinations

Sprinkle nutritional yeast on popcorn and call it a day, or add a few extra spices to kick it up a notch. I added salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika for an overall savory flavor profile.

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Savory Cheesy Popcorn in bowl

Savory “Cheesy” Popcorn

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: snack
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: american


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • olive oil spray
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add a few pieces of popcorn – if the corn slowly spins in the oil then the oil is hot enough.
  2. Add remaining popcorn and cover with a lid. Once the popcorn starts popping, shake the pot gently to have the oil evenly coat the kernels.
  3. Remove from heat when the popping stops (when you can count to 3 between pops) and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Combine the nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika in a small bowl and mix to combine.
  5. Get a large serving bowl and place half of the popcorn in it. Spray generously with olive oil then sprinkle over half of the spice mix. Add the remaining popcorn and repeat once more. Toss to coat and serve.

Keywords: popcorn, nutritional yeast, vegan, snack

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other recipes you may enjoy

Cheesy Veggie Chip Popcorn

It’s movie night! When you are craving a crunchy snack, but can’t decide between popcorn or chips, combine them into this healthy new twist!

Cheesy Veggie Chip Popcorn via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchenWhen it’s movie night, my snack of choice is always popcorn. Popcorn is a whole grain, which is a great snack choice and about 3 cups are in a serving, so you can feel good about filling up on this healthy snack fare. But it’s often what we put on popcorn that makes it go from a GO food to a SLOW or even WHOA food. (I use the go, slow, and whoa method when I teach children).
Cheesy Veggie Chip Popcorn via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchenSo instead of lathering your popcorn with butter and salt, try a a healthy new twist. When you are craving the “crunch-factor” kind of snack, double up with double crunch. I had some crumbs at the bottoms of a terra veggie chip bag sitting in my pantry and a light bulb went off when I was making this popcorn to put them together. Then, adding Cabot’s Cheddar Shake! Powdered Premium Cheddar Cheese made this EVEN BETTER! Cheddar makes everything better, right? I’ve added parmesan cheese to popcorn before, but cheddar was a fun new twist.
Cheesy Veggie Chip Popcorn via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchenRecently my girlfriends and I got together for a movie night. My friend Kate is a total movie buff and brought along, an adventure/sci-fi movie, Divergent. Those type of movies are not my first choice, but Kate never disappoints me with her movie suggestions. Plus, there is some eye candy, that definitely was a plus. When the movie ended, we were all hooked. The sequel, Insurgent, recently came out and of course we had to get together for movie night, round 2. This time with Cheesy Veggie Chip Popcorn.
Cheesy Veggie Chip Popcorn via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchenThe key is, once it’s freshly popped, toss on the veggie chips and cheese powder right away so it sticks right on to the popcorn.

Cheesy Veggie Chip Popcorn via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchen


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Cheesy Veggie Chip Popcorn in a bowl

Cheesy Veggie Chip Popcorn

  • Author: Julie @ RDelicious Kitchen
  • Yield: 1-2 1x


  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 tbsp Cabot’s Cheddar Shake! Powdered Premium Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup your favorite veggie chips, crushed (I used terra chips)


  1. Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat.
  2. Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan.
  3. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. (This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.)
  4. Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner.
  5. Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper).
  6. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.
  7. Quickly toss the Cabot cheddar shake and crushed veggies chips when popcorn is still warm and will adhere to the popcorn.


Perfect Popcorn portion of this recipe by Simply Recipes

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Supermarket RD’s Pick: Boom Chicka Pop

Boom Chicka Pop – Popcorn is a whole grain and is perfect for snacking. See how this brand gives their popcorn a pop of flavor and why it makes the list of a  Supermarket RD Pick.
Supermarket RD's Pick @ RDelicious Kitchen

Boom Chicka Pop Popcorn flavors
First off, let’s just talk about the name. When I first saw this on the shelves, it immediately caught my eye.

Boom Chicka Pop  is a great snack for munching that you can feel good about eating.

Not only is Boom Chicka Pop made with all natural ingredients, but there are less calories, sodium, carbs, and fat in one 3 cup serving of Boom Chicka Pop (sea salt flavor) than in one 1 cup serving of some other packaged popcorn brands.

Each bag has symbols that indicate each products characteristics.

Boom Chicka Pop symbols

boom chicka pop symbols

As the Boom Chicka Pop line has expanded, they now have many new flavors! Their website gives this great chart of how the products stack up to each other nutritionally. I had a little trouble putting the white cheddar flavor down. It’s so delicious.

Boom Chicka Pop calorie comparison chart

They also have seasonal flavors, like there iced gingerbread kettle corn, that you can check out here.

What I also really like about it, is that is already popped. I really like to pack popcorn as a snack, but it’s not very feasible to pop up some popcorn when you are on the go. I’ve noticed in other (already popped) popcorn that it has this weird almost stale taste, and Boom Chicka Pop does not!

Snack Happy with Boom Chicka Pop!

Disclosure: Boom Chicka Pop did not sponsor this post. Images are from the Boom Chicka Pop website. All opinions are my own.