Savory “Cheesy” Popcorn
Beans & Grains, Dairy Free, Dietary, Egg Free, Gluten Free, MAIN DISHES, Nut Free, PREP, Quick & Easy, Recipes, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian / / 10 COMMENTS

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
  • 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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10 thoughts on “Savory “Cheesy” Popcorn

  1. I just bought a container of nutritional yeast because I figured it was time I try it. Can’t wait to experiment with it and first up will definitely be adding it to my Boom Chicka Pop! Also, thanks for the explanation of what it is!

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