Make this simple, affordable, and delicious vegan popcorn recipe that’s perfect for movie night. It is easy to make and creates a delicious cheesy popcorn snack any night of the week. Sprinkle some vegan parmesan cheese over the top for even more delicious flavor.
Who knew that adding nutritional yeast to popcorn transforms it into a fun, cheesy snack? But it absolutely works!
If you want a cheesy popcorn for your next movie night, follow my tips to make popcorn nutritional yeast infused and it will be a hit.
This Vegan Popcorn is free of dairy and all those chemicals on microwave popcorn you can’t pronounce. This cheese popcorn recipe uses nutritional yeast flakes for a savory snack the whole family will love—and it only takes a few minutes to make.
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Using a reusable popcorn popper makes quick and easy microwave popcorn in minutes
- Adding nutritional yeast flakes gives this snack a natural, cheesy flavor
- Using spices combined with salt creates the perfect blend of seasoning, making each bite irresistibly delicious.
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
- Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice of the lemon.
- Oats — I used rolled oats for this recipe, but you can substitute instant oats.
- Chia — We’ll add some ground chia seeds to create a thicker texture. You can use whole chia seeds; I just prefer ground because it creates a smoother finished texture.
- Syrup — I used maple syrup, but you can substitute agave nectar.
- Milk — We’ll use almond milk for the best overnight oats! Substitute your favorite plant-based milk.
- Yogurt — I love adding some plant-based yogurt (plain, unsweetened) for an even more tangy flavor.
- Protein Powder — I add some vanilla protein powder for increased flavor and nutrients. If your protein powder is not sweetened, you may want to add an extra teaspoon or two of sweetener.
- Cornstarch — We’ll use cornstarch to thicken the lemon curd topping.
- Turmeric — A pinch of turmeric makes that lemon curd sunny yellow.
- Popcorn kernels
- Vegetable Spray
- Nutritional Yeast Flakes — Using nutritional yeast flakes (paid link) creates a cheesy flavor
- Spices — You’ll need both paprika and turmeric
- Sea salt — You’ll add salt to taste.
How to Make Vegan Popcorn
This recipe uses only a few ingredients and a few steps to make the best homemade vegan popcorn ever!
- Make your homemade popcorn — see below for two ways to make it.
- Mix the seasonings.
- Coat popcorn with seasonings.
How to Make Popcorn at Home
We’re going to discuss two ways to make homemade popcorn: Stovetop Popcorn and Microwave Popcorn.
To make stovetop popcorn, follow these instructions:
- Place the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot (one with a lid). Tilt the pan back and forth so the oil covers the bottom of the pan.
- Place the pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 to 3 kernels of popcorn and cover. Once these kernels have popped, the oil is hot enough. Remove the popped kernels with a slotted spoon.
- Add the rest of the popcorn kernels, shaking the pan to distribute them evenly across the bottom of the pan.
- The popcorn will begin popping. Shake the pan from time-to-time to ensure even popping.
- Leave the lid open slightly to allow steam to escape.
- Once the popping slows down, remove it from heat (no one likes burnt popcorn).
- Immediately pour the popped popcorn onto the pan to add toppings.
Vegan Microwave Popcorn
Making this popcorn in the microwave is my favorite, because it’s just so easy.
- Place the popcorn kernels in the popcorn popper.
- Put 1/3 cup of popcorn in the popper bowl, put the lid on, and put it in the microwave for 3 minutes. (Microwaves vary so be sure to test this and watch it closely).
- The popcorn will begin popping vigorously. Once it slows down several seconds between pops, stop the microwave and use oven mitts to remove the popcorn popper.
- Transfer popped popcorn to the pan to add toppings.
Microwaves vary so be sure to keep an eye on your popcorn. Once you hear the popping slow down, use oven mitts to remove the container from the microwave. No one likes burnt popcorn!
Yes, microwave popcorn requires a special gadget. However, it’s cheap and once you have it, you can make your own microwave popcorn any time you want it.
Is popcorn vegan?
Popcorn is plant-based and therefore safe for vegans to eat. However, sometimes the seasonings in commercially sold popcorn are not vegan. It’s good to read labels and look for added dairy before buying and consuming store-bought popcorn.
Is movie theater popcorn vegan?
Most movie theater popcorn is vegan because popular movie theater chains, like AMC, make its popcorn with coconut oil and a mixture of seasonings that have been reported to be vegan.
Vegan Popcorn Seasoning
Once the popcorn is popped, it’s time to transform it into a vegan Cheesy Popcorn recipe.
The cool thing is, you can make the final version of this DIY Microwave popcorn to taste like whatever you want. Here are some more vegan popcorn seasoning ideas:
- Buttery DIY Microwave Popcorn — To make vegan butter popcorn, melt 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegan butter and pour it over the popcorn and then sprinkle with sea salt.
- Vegan Parmesan Popcorn – Sprinkle with Vegan Parmesan and some salt.
- Black Pepper Popcorn – Top popcorn with freshly ground black pepper and some salt.
- BBQ Popcorn – Sprinkle with bbq seasonings (I use McCormick’s GrillMates Brown Sugar Bourbon or any kind of BBQ seasoning).
How to Get Nutritional Yeast to Stick to Popcorn
Once your popcorn is popped, you’ll want to season it. And, of course, the next question is, how do you get that seasoning to stick to the popcorn?
If you’ve used the stove-top method, there is some oil in the popping process. That oil will help the popcorn toppings stick to the popcorn.
However, microwave popcorn will need some help. Simply adding nutritional yeast flakes over microwaved popcorn won’t work. That’s why I recommend giving it a spray of vegetable cooking spray.
If you don’t like vegetable cooking spray and want to increase the buttery flavor, melt some vegan butter and drizzle it over the popped popcorn. Be sure to toss the popcorn to make sure it’s all evenly coated.
Spreading the popcorn across a pan helps to make sure the kernels are evenly coated.
Some people refer to nutritional yeast flakes as Nooch. I like it. Short and sweet. So, if you wanted you could call this Nooch Popcorn. I won’t tell anyone.
Vegan Popcorn Brands
If you’re not into making your own vegan popcorn, there are some favorite vegan popcorn brands you can buy in the store. I’m not sure if these are intentionally or accidentally vegan popcorn, but we get to enjoy it either way:
- SkinnyPop makes several varieties of vegan popcorn — such as the Original, Sea Salt & Pepper, Vegan White Cheddar Popcorn (it’s dairy-free), Sweet & Salty Kettle.
- Angie’s Boom Chicka-Pop Salted Caramel actually has “vegan” on the bag!
- 365 Everyday Value Original Flavored Popcorn.
More Vegan Snacks
Here are some more vegan snack recipes you will love:
- ⅓ cup popcorn kernels
- Vegetable Spray
- 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- Sea salt to taste
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy bottomed pot with a lid. Tilt the pan back and forh to make sure the oil is distributed across the pan. Place over medium-high heat and add 2 popcorn kernels. When these kernels pop, the oil is hot enough. Use a slotted spoon to remove the popcorn.
- Add the remaining popcorn, shaking the pan to coat the corn and to distribute the kernels evenly across the bottom of hte pan. Tilt the lid slightly to vent the steam. Place on the heat and cook and shake. The kernels will pop vigorously. Once the popping slows down, remove the pan from heat.
- Place the popcorn kernels in the microwave popcorn popper. Place the lid on the container and microwave for approximately 3 minutes. (Microwaves vary so be sure to test this and watch closely so your popcorn doesn't burn).
- Use a kitchen towel to remove the container from the microwave, being careful not to jostle the lid, because steam will be released. Once it's on the counter, carefully remove the lid.
For the Seasoned Popcorn
- In the meantime, place the nutritional yeast flakes, paprika, and turmeric in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
- Pour the popped popcorn into a baking pan, removing unpopped kernels and discard. Spread popped popcorn across the pan. Spray with vegetable cooking spray. Sprinkle the Nooch mixture over the popcorn and use your hands or a spoon to distribute the seasonings throughout the popcorn.
- Pour the seasoned popcorn into a serving bowl. It's fun to serve this while it's still warm, but you can also store it in an airtight container and enjoy later too.
(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in 2016 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.