When it comes to vegan snacks, you can’t go wrong with popcorn. It’s simple, inexpensive, and easy to customize with your favorite spices and seasonings. One popular variation is nutritional yeast popcorn, also known as nooch popcorn.
The nutritional yeast gives the popcorn a subtle cheese-like flavor, which is perfect if you enjoy savory snacks. (If you’re new to the ingredient, check out the best nutritional yeast brands to buy.)
Not to mention, making your own vegan popcorn at home is much cheaper than buying store-bought versions. You might even be able to find popcorn kernels in bulk at some grocery stores, which lets you make popcorn without the waste.
How to Make Nutritional Yeast Popcorn
This nooch popcorn recipe yields two servings, or about seven cups of popcorn. You can easily double or triple the ingredients to make a larger batch.
1. In a large container, combine the nutritional yeast and salt. Try to use a container with a lid to make seasoning easier.
2. Add canola oil to a medium or large pot. Tilt the pot to ensure the oil covers the bottom. Warm the pot over medium-high heat, add three or four “test kernels,” and cover.
Once the kernels pop, add the remaining kernels and return the lid. Let the kernels pop, shaking the pot periodically to prevent burning. The popcorn is ready when the popping slows down.
3. Remove the pot from the heat and pour the popcorn into the container with seasonings. Add the lid and shake to coat the popcorn. Alternatively, you can you can toss the popcorn with a large spoon or spatula. Your homemade nooch popcorn is ready to eat.
How to Get Nutritional Yeast to Stick to Popcorn
Using a spray or mist bottle, apply one of the following ingredients based on your preference:
- Braggs amino acids
- Apple cider vinegar
- Pickle juice
- Lime juice
You can also sprinkle the popcorn with these ingredients.
If using the sprinkle method, another option is to use aquafaba, or chickpea water. Aquafaba is too thick for a spray or mist bottle, but it can be sprinkled onto popcorn.
Tips for Seasoning Popcorn
To help your seasonings stick to popcorn, try these tips:
- Avoid using too much liquid. Regardless of the liquid you use, avoid spraying too much. Otherwise, the popcorn will become soggy.
- Add the seasonings while the popcorn is hot. If you don’t want to add a liquid ingredient, toss the popcorn with seasonings while it’s still hot. The moisture and oil from the cooking process will help the seasonings adhere to the popcorn.
- Grind the seasonings into a fine powder. Using a food processor, grind the nutritional yeast and other seasonings to create a fine powder. You can also use a blender, spice grinder, or mortar and pestle. The finer the seasonings, the better they’ll stick to the popcorn.
Recipe Tips, Variations, and Substitutions
- Shake frequently. While the kernels are popping, be sure to shake the pot frequently. Be sure to keep an eye on the kernels, too. Popcorn takes just a few minutes to make, so it can easily burn if it sits on the heat for too long.
- Add other seasonings. To customize your nooch popcorn, add other seasonings liked ground black pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, and dried herbs like dill, basil, or parsley.
- Make it sweet. For a sweet popcorn, replace the nutritional yeast with cinnamon or brown sugar.
How to Store Leftovers
Store leftover nooch popcorn in an air-tight container at room temperature. It should last between 4 to 5 days.
Nutritional Yeast Popcorn
- ¼ cup popcorn kernels
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons canola oil or avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more as needed
- In a large container, combine the nutritional yeast and salt. If you have one, using a container with a lid will make seasoning easier.
- Add canola oil to a medium or large pot. Tilt the pot to ensure the oil covers the bottom. Warm the pot over medium-high heat, add three or four “test kernels,” and cover.
- Once your test kernels pop, add the remaining kernels and return the lid. Let the kernels pop, shaking the pot periodically to prevent burning. The popcorn is ready when the popping slows down.
- Remove the pot from the heat and pour the popcorn to the container with seasonings. Add the lid and shake to coat the popcorn. Alternatively, you can you can toss the popcorn with a large spoon or spatula.
- To make a larger batch, simply double or triple all the ingredients.
- To help nutritional yeast stick to popcorn, use a spray or mist bottle to apply liquid. Options include water, oil, Braggs amino acid, pickle juice, lime juice, or apple cider vinegar. You can also use your fingers to sprinkle the popcorn with liquid.
- Avoid applying too much liquid. Otherwise, your popcorn will become soggy.
- Grind your nutritional yeast and seasonings to create a fine powder. This will also help the seasonings stick to the popcorn.
- Store leftovers in an air-tight container at room temperature for 4 to 5 days.
About the Author
Kirsten Nunez is a journalist who focuses on healthy food and cooking. Her vegan and plant-based recipes have appeared on VegNews, eHow, Shape, and more. When she’s not creating vegan recipes for Clean Green Simple, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen and sharing plant-based meals with friends and family. More articles by Kirsten.