The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn)

January 29, 2014 by Ali

"Nooch" Popcorn really is the BEST butter-free popcorn! It's also vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, preservative-free, healthier, and irresistibly tasty. And it can be made in just 10 minutes!

The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn) -- it's #vegan, #glutenfree, #dairyfree, healthier, and SO tasty!

I thought that most of the world knew this secret to amazing butter-free popcorn. But after mentioning “nooch” a few times recently and getting blank looks, I realized it was definitely worth doing a post on the topic. Especially because my friends and I are all obsessed with this popcorn.

And when I say obsessed, I mean obsessed.

It is pretty much assumed that someone will be making and bringing this popcorn anytime we get together with friends. If not, often someone will make a batch. And then I’m pretty sure we’re all making plenty of batches for ourselves in between gatherings too.

Our vegan and dairy-free friends love this popcorn because it’s butter-free. And our non-vegan butter-loving friends all love it because it’s healthier and preservative-free. But mostly everyone loves this nooch popcorn because it’s just plain good. And it’s all thanks to one ingredient:


(Also known as…)

The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn) -- it's #vegan, #glutenfree, #dairyfree, healthier, and SO tasty!

Nutritional yeast.

Ok, don’t freak out. I know only sounds like The Most Unappetizing Name In The History Of Food. But “nooch” (as we prefer to call it) is an absolute rockstar of an ingredient.

You can buy it in the health food section of most stores, either in a container like this or in bulk. And as you can see, it’s basically just a zillion yellow flakes (or some brands are more powdery) made from deactivated yeast. People love it because it’s vegan, it’s dairy-free, it’s gluten-free (double-check specific brands for certification), it’s packed with a bunch of vitamins (especially B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc and protein), it’s low-fat, and it contains no added sugars or preservatives.

But the real reason to try nutritional yeast is because of the flavor. It’s hard to describe, but I give it a cross between nutty, cheesy, a little salty, and deliciously savory. You can use it to help flavor all sorts of foods, but it’s especially fantastic on popcorn.

The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn) -- it's #vegan, #glutenfree, #dairyfree, healthier, and SO tasty!

Without a doubt, the flavor of nooch is slightly different than butter. When trying it for the first time, most of my friends usually have to give it a moment’s thought to decide what they think of the taste. But after a few bites…and then a few more bites…and then a few more bites…they eventually dive in and cannot stop eating it. It’s almost a problem how irresistible this stuff is. Almost. :)

The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn) -- it's #vegan, #glutenfree, #dairyfree, healthier, and SO tasty!

The good news, too, is that this nooch popcorn can be homemade on the stove in just a matter of minutes. Here’s the how to:

The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn) -- it's #vegan, #glutenfree, #dairyfree, healthier, and SO tasty!

First, gather your three main ingredients:

  • popcorn kernels (my friend, Sarah, recently turned me onto the “jumbo” popcorn from Pop Secret – amazing!)
  • nutritional yeast (the more powder-y, the better, but any will do)
  • high-heat oil (I usually prefer grapeseed or coconut oil, but canola or vegetable oil also work)

The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn) -- it's #vegan, #glutenfree, #dairyfree, healthier, and SO tasty!

Add about 1 Tbsp. of oil to a medium saucepan and crank up the heat to high. Then add in your popcorn kernels in a single layer, and cover the pan.

Once the kernels start popping, give the pan a few shakes every now and then to help settle the kernels to the bottom. This helps prevent burning and makes sure all of those kernels get popped.

The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn) -- it's #vegan, #glutenfree, #dairyfree, healthier, and SO tasty!

Once the popcorn is done popping, immediately transfer it to a large bowl. Then douse it — or, ahem – add your desired amount of nutritional yeast, and toss to combine while the popcorn is still warm. I also like to add a teaspoon or two of salt.

Then dive in and enjoy!

And if this is your first time trying nooch popcorn, you have to promise to let me know what you think of it. :)

The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn) -- it's #vegan, #glutenfree, #dairyfree, healthier, and SO tasty!

The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn)

Prep Time: 1 minute

Cook Time: 9 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: About 8 cups


  • 1 Tbsp. oil (any high heat oil -- coconut oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast, more or less to taste
  • 1-2 tsp. salt


Add oil to a medium saucepan over high heat. When it has warmed slightly, add the popcorn kernels and give the pan a shake so that they form a single layer across the bottom of the pan. Cover.

Once the popcorn kernels begin to pop, I like to give the pan a few shakes every 15 seconds or so to help the un-popped kernels fall to the bottom which prevents burning. When the popcorn is done cooking, immediately pour it into a large bowl, and sprinkle with nutritional yeast and salt. Toss to combine.

Serve and enjoy!

The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn) -- it's #vegan, #glutenfree, #dairyfree, healthier, and SO tasty!

filed in Appetizers, Desserts

About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

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75 thoughts on “The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn)

  1. This is basically how I have been making my popcorn for a few years now but I recently kicked it up a notch by adding a couple dashes of cayenne. OMG and I thought it was addictive before…

    - Steph

  2. Yup, this truly is the BEST butter-free popcorn! Nooch (love the name!) is fantastic, it also makes exceptional vegan garlic bread – mix olive oil, nooch, and minced garlic into a soft-butter consistency paste, spread on bread, broil and enjoy! This popcorn is a lot more bang for your calorie buck though – I highly recommend it! : )

    - Amanda

  3. Yes I love this recipe. I have been making this for years. I put 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a coffee grinder. I make my popcorn with 1tablespoon coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Very additive.

    - Lucie

  4. Have you ever tried tossing the yeast in at the beginning, effectively popping it on to the corn? I might give it a try…tasted great when I could rub some on the corn but it did not stick at all…

    - Chris

    • I haven’t tried that, Chris, but I’m not sure how nooch responds when (essentially) boiled. If it’s not sticking, I would use a little more coconut oil.

      Best wishes!

      - Ali

  5. I tried this and have the same problem as one of the other posters. It just settles right to the bottom. Had to add some butter to try and get it to stick and it didn’t then either. The yeast just coagulated with the butter in clumps, but again not stuck to the popcorn. But the flavor was good when I would rub a clump of buttered yeast onto each bite of popcorn :)

    Does anyone have a tip on getting it to stick to the popped corn?

    - Denise Meyers

    • Sorry about that! I recommend two things (which I’ll add back to the recipe) — using a little more coconut oil, and then also placing the popcorn in some sort of container (like tupperware) where you can shake it to help the nooch coat the popcorn. Good luck!

      - Ali

  6. This is my favorite way to enjoy popcorn! A little extra oil tossed with the popped corn helps the yeast and salt stick. I recommend the Red Star brand yeast though. The texture is more like grated parmesan cheese than flakes and I think it sticks to the kernels better. Great with a little black pepper and garlic powder as well!

    - DL

    • I know Red Star is a brand of yeast (the kind you put in yeast bread) But do they make a “nutritional Yeast” as well?

      - Denise Meyers

  7. To Jennifer who did’t like the Nutrional Yeast on popcorn, I love to sprinkle it over Kernel corn, That I’ve cooked in the oven. I first heard about this Yeast from watching DR. OZ. He sprinkles it on popcorn, and vegetables! I ‘m wondering if it makes a difference in the brand name you used. I bought mine at HyVee here in Madison, WI. And it’s very powdery and sticks just fine to the hot kernel corn that I place in a bowl.

    - Laura

  8. I’m afraid I have to agree with Eileen. What am I eating? This stuff just falls right to the bottom. I even tried using spray butter to make it stick but it still tasted totally crappy. I don’t know if I did something wrong but I’m a good cook so I tend to doubt that I screwed up popcorn. Not to mention this stuff is 70 calories per serving! So, after paying like $7 for this at the health food store, what else can I do with this stuff?

    - Jennifer

  9. I have just tried this popcorn, and I love the flavor but most of my “yeast flakes” are at the bottom of the bowl. Is there anyway to get it to stick better? Note: I added the yeast flakes right after the popcorn stopped popping in the same kettle as I cooked the popcorn in.

    - Valerie

  10. Now obsessed with popcorn with “nooch”! So yummy.

    - Sally

  11. Hi Ali! I tried this popcorn last night and it is amazing! I have to admit I was hesitant at first, especially when the ‘nooch’ arrived in the mail but it is so tasty! I think I will be making more tonight for the Oscas! My husband loved it as well. Thanks so much for the recipe…love your blog!!

    - Molly


    - deb

  13. I’m trying this for the first time right now and I can’t stop aggressively shoving it in my mouth. Thank you so much. This is incredible.

    - Rachel

  14. I love making popcorn this way! I also sprinkle some cayenne and garlic granules on it to make it even more fantastic!

    - Brenda

  15. Years ago, my best friend at the time introduced me to yeast flakes. We would hang out watching tv with our yeasty popcorn quite often:) Everyone else would look at us strangely but it really is the best topping. Thank you for sharing this with others so they will no longer miss out!

    - Kali

  16. Better yet, mix the nooch with half vegie/chick seasoning. All my picky friends didn’t have to adjust. Used coconut oil before and it’s the best trick.

    - Laura

  17. Popcorn is ultimately my favorite snack :) I love making it with coconut oil too! Will be trying this asap

    - Nutmeg Nanny

  18. Ok so I actually bought “nooch” lol for a different recipe and I almost couldn’t eat it because of the smell. I am using the same as you (can tell from the picture) and have been wanting to try it again so it wasn’t a total waste to buy but how did you get past the smell?

    - Ashley

  19. I LOVE putting “nooch” on my popcorn. I also love cinnamon+salt. I usually make a bowl of each flavor for variety :)

    - Carrie

  20. Before I read this post I’d be one of those people who’d respond with a blank look if you mentioned nooch. Looking forward to finding it and making this amazing looking Nooch Popcorn!

    - B.G | Cook-a-Palooza

  21. Been eating this on popcorn since I was a wee one, but my mom used butter, salt AND nooch. I think my lactose-intolerant sister-in-law would love this with coconut oil. Thanks for sharing!

    - Krista Vossler

  22. I’ve definitely tried nooch popcorn and totally agree that it’s completely delicious. Now I’m craving popcorn!

    - Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe

  23. Ok. Must have done something wrong because this was absolutely disgusting! I would have enjoyed eating styrofoam peanuts instead. I used everything listed and all the nutritional yeast fell to the bottom of the bowl. Did not enjoy at all!

    - Eileen

  24. I’m loving some of your recipes…even making the Blooming Onion today for the SuperBowl party.

    I have been making popcorn with nutritional Yeast for years now….it’s delicious. I take it up one notch by Air Popping my popcorn and then sprinkling on a good organic olive oil and the nutritional Yeast while its still hot! My kids loved it growing up.
    Valerie <3

    - Valerie Taylor

  25. The nutritional yeast on popcorn interesting! and could be worth a try. Unfortunately, the coconut oil negates the whole point of not using butter (coconut oil is completely saturated fat while butter is a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fats).. Best to try it will light olive oil or canola oil.

    - Ginny

  26. Grew up eating my popcorn this way and my son and I eat it every Saturday night. Popcorn with a little earthbalance and/or coconut oil and LOTS of nutritional yeast!!! Unbelievable!!!

    - Julie

  27. you gotta try truffle salt. that’s where it’s at! Super salty, earthy, funky, rich, yum! Another good one is nori flakes (a.k.a. furikake) that a Hawaiian friend turned me on to. It’s nori plus sesame and other stuff that justs brings out the nutty notes in the popcorn. I like “nooch” on popcorn too!

    - kristin

  28. This looks so good, Ali!! <3

    - JulieD

  29. We love popcorn here! I would NEVER have thought to try this! Love the idea Ali!

    - Angie | Big Bear's Wife

  30. I love nutritional yeast on my popcorn!! If you want to go for a nacho cheesy flavors you can add a lite bit of Cajun spice. It’s SO good. :-)

    - Linz

  31. Anyone who doesn’t love nooch on their popcorn is not my friend! I’ve never made it in a pan with coconut oil before… I will be trying this tonight!

    - Lindsey

  32. I have NEVER heard of this and I even have nutritional yeast in my cupboard! I will definitely be trying – soooo glad you shared!

    - Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates

  33. What an amazing idea. I NEVER would have thought of that. I will most definitely be making this in the very near future. Thanks Ali!

    - Carrie

  34. I have friend that sprinkles this on her popcorn every chance she gets. I will have to give it a try! I love popcorn recipes!

    - Sommer @ASpicyPerspective

  35. This made my day! I have enjoyed Brewer’s Yeast (I MUCH prefer the name “nooch”!) on popcorn for YEARS and most people think I’m nuts. A few artsy theatres in my city have it and that’s how I discovered it. Must try making it at home with Coconut Oil (my new best friend.) If you like spicy stuff, try mixing in a little Sriracha to the oil (or squirting it directly on the popcorn because you’re insane, like me.) It will rock your world!

    - Lisa

  36. GENIUS. I’ve never tried nutritional yeast but I’m going to have to, now that popcorn is involved! :)

    - Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough

  37. LOVE this! Nutritional yeast is my all time favorite popcorn topping, and it’s even great on eggs! My local grocery store sells it in bulk, I can fill up a sandwich ziploc for about a dollar, and it’s so worth it!

    - Robin

  38. Yum and YUM! I need to find me some nooch ASAP!

    - Laurie {Simply Scratch}

  39. Have been using “nooch” on my popcorn since I was a kid. However I tend to cheap and put button on as well. Also you can use brewers yeast as well. They both taste pretty similar.

    - Stefan

  40. Hi Ali

    Just joined your newsletter yesterday and this is the first recipe I’ve received. I *LOVE* putting nutritional yeast on my popcorn! Sooo tasty and so easy to get the B vitamins we all so desperately need.

    I buy Amish popcorn that is certified GMO free. If my husband makes the popcorn, he uses corn oil (thus negating the non-GMO)but I’ll use coconut oil or grapeseed oil.

    If you REALLY want to kick up the flavor, use “Real Salt” from Redmond Trading Company in Heber City Utah. Only GO EASY with it – it has MUCH more saltiness AND FLAVOR than pink salt or sea salt.

    “Nooch” Thanks for putting a name on it!

    Gramm Lu in T’Rivers, WI

    - Gramma Lu

  41. YUM. Can you transport a bowl onto my lap right now somehow?

    - Rachel Cooks

  42. I have never heard of this before! To be honest, I thought nooch sounded like a slang word for something I wasn’t supposed to do with my boyfriend in high school. :) This looks like a much better (and more appropriate) treat!

    - Courtney @ Neighborfood

  43. I’ll have to try the nutritional yeast. I love air-popped popcorn. I use my air popper to make popcorn and then drizzle it with coconut oil and add some salt. Mix it well!

    - Kate

  44. You are SO right. Nooch popcorn is THEE best! I also like throwing a bit of onion powder and/or dried dill on there with it!

    - Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl

  45. I love nutritional yeast + popcorn! “Nooch” is a hilarious, yet perfect name for it!

    - Amanda @ Amanda's Apron

  46. I have been on a MAJOR popcorn kick recently. Can’t wait to give this a try!!

    - Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats

  47. Popcorn is such a great guilt free snack, and this dairy free version is perfect for lactose intolerance! Thank you for sharing!

    - Tereza

  48. I have just recently started long overdo weightless journey and am on the lookout for healthy alternatives to foods I love. Although I have to say thislooks a little strange, I’m going to give it a shot! :) Thanks for sharing!!

    - Jeana

  49. This looks so good! Do you know if NOOCH has gluten in it though? I’m trying a dairy, gluten, sugar free diet for a little while. :)

    - Annette

  50. Dude. I literally just ordered this on Amazon this week after seeing Cameron Diaz talk about it on Dr. Oz (don’t judge me.) I can’t wait to try it on popcorn!!! Also you just reminded me I’m out of coconut oil. :)

    - Liz @ The Lemon Bowl

  51. I am cracking up at “Nooch!” Whatever it is, bring it my way, lol! Perfect looking butter free popcorn! Yes!!

    - Jenny Flake

  52. Nice! I totally did a post like this not too long ago on my blog. I LOVE nooch =) As a vegan, that’s where we get a cheesy dose of B vitamins haha. My non-veg friends call it magic sprinkle stuff that goes on soup hahaha.

    - Lisa @ Je suis alimentageuse

  53. Oh man! I love nutritional yeast, but thought people would think I was trying to get them to eat birl food! LOL! I have never put it on popcorn though. Such a great idea, Ali!

    - Tieghan

  54. Nooch totallllly freaked me out at first when I went vegan, it seemed so weird and crazy, but now it’s one of my favorite things ever!! Love this Ali!

    - Abby @ The Frosted Vegan

  55. My husband loves nooch. I’ll have to make this for him. I’m the one that likes to snack on popcorn, but maybe this will win him over, too!

    - DessertForTwo

  56. So excited to try this! (And a little scared, I won’t lie.) I haven’t tried nutritional yeast but have read a lot about it.

    - Kellie @ The Suburban Soapbox

  57. Ali, this is totally my kind of snack!!! I haven’t played around with nutritional yeast as of yet, but I think it’s time!

    - Ashley - baker by nature

  58. I literally was just wondering how my nutritional yeast would be on popcorn! Aaand now I know I gotta try it tonight.
    yes, sometimes I eat popcorn for dinner. But, it’s a whole grain so it’s allowed.

    - Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness