The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn)

"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! gimmesomeoven.com

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:

Nooch.

(Also known as…)

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

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! gimmesomeoven.com

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! gimmesomeoven.com

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! gimmesomeoven.com

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! gimmesomeoven.com

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! gimmesomeoven.com

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.

To help the nooch and salt stick to the popcorn, I recommend actually adding it to a large bowl with a lid (like Tupperware) while the popcorn is still hot.  Then cover the bowl, and give it a few really good shakes.  The steam from the popcorn will help the toppings stick to it, and will also divide the toppings more evenly.

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! gimmesomeoven.com

The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn)

Nooch popcorn is the BEST butter-free popcorn! It's also vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and made with no artificial ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. oil (any high heat oil -- coconut oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, more* or less to taste
  • 1-2 tsp. salt

Directions:

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!

*I actually highly recommend adding 2 or 3 times as much nooch.  I like as much of it as possible to stick to my kernels, although quite a bit of it naturally falls off.

*In order to make the nooch and salt stick better to the popcorn, my friend taught me to pour the popcorn, nooch and salt into a large tupperware dish immediately after the popcorn is done cooking (while it's still hot).  Then cover the dish and give it a few good shakes.  The heat and moisture from the popcorn will help the nooch stick to the popcorn much better this way.  If the nooch isn't sticking, you may also need to use a bit more coconut oil.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

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

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Comments

  1. Jennifer — March 27, 2014 @ 7:57 pm (#)

    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?

  2. Laura — May 12, 2014 @ 1:21 pm (#)

    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.

  3. DL — May 13, 2014 @ 10:44 am (#)

    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!

    • Denise Meyers — June 5, 2014 @ 8:39 pm (#)

      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?

    • DL — June 13, 2014 @ 4:53 pm (#)

      They make a number of different types of yeast, including nutritional. I’ve seen it online at a number of sites, for example
      http://www.vitacost.com/red-star-yeast-flakes

      I’ve never purchased from them, so I can’t comment on that particular vendor. You might find it at a local health food store or amazon.com as well.

  4. Denise Meyers — June 5, 2014 @ 8:43 pm (#)

    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?

    • Ali — July 18, 2014 @ 3:42 pm (#)

      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!

  5. Chris — June 10, 2014 @ 4:56 pm (#)

    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…

    • Ali — June 11, 2014 @ 8:25 am (#)

      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

  6. Lucie — June 14, 2014 @ 6:20 am (#)

    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.

  7. Amanda — August 21, 2014 @ 11:54 am (#)

    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! : )

  8. Steph — August 24, 2014 @ 11:28 pm (#)

    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…

  9. Daphney — November 14, 2014 @ 11:45 pm (#)

    The best tip is to reduce the yeast in powder with your finger or whatever you like and THEN combine it with melted coconut oil and salt in a small bowl and mix it well!! Then you can drizzle this over your popcorn !! 
    This is the only way not to loose all the ingredients at the bottom of your bowl :)

  10. Becky — November 28, 2014 @ 3:52 pm (#)

    What if you air pop your popcorn? Will this work? I have an air popper that I love, and I usually use a little vegan-friendly Earth Balance melted and tossed on the popcorn, which is delicious but I can’t always get an even distribution. Seems like air popping won’t work with the nooch?

    • Ali — December 4, 2014 @ 8:47 pm (#)

      Well, the coconut oil really helps the nooch to stick to the popcorn. But you could air-pop the popcorn and then toss it with a little melted coconut oil before adding the nooch if you’d like.

  11. Amanda — November 30, 2014 @ 11:19 am (#)

    It is addictive b/c it mimics MSG in the brain

  12. Flash Edwards — December 4, 2014 @ 7:17 pm (#)

    Being in my seventh decade, I have consumed a great deal of popcorn. In my bachelor day I ate it two or three times a day. Tonight I had my first experience with unbuttered “nooch” popcorn. I can say without reservation that it was one of the most disappointing, bad tasting waste of popcorn kernels. Never again , never again will I subject my taste buds to that nasty stuff.

  13. edith — December 12, 2014 @ 9:41 pm (#)

    I like to sprinkle a bit of soy sauce on the popcorn before adding the brewer’s yeast. It helps it to stick and adds a bit of saltiness, as well.

  14. Rachael — March 4, 2015 @ 9:49 pm (#)

    If you have nutritional yeast left I highly recommend this pizza from my vegan junk food cookbook by lane gold, which is by far the greatest thing, 

    Minced clove of garlic sautéed in two tbsp olive oil 4 tablespoons garlic 1 1/4 cup non dairy milk 1/2 cup vega broth 1/2 cup nutritional yeast 1 can white beans 1 teaspoon salt and pepper thrown on top of your favorite veegN crust and toss some vegan strips and pesto on top! Tooooooooo die for goodness. 

    But personally love this popcorn…

  15. Emily — March 26, 2015 @ 9:47 pm (#)

    Tried your recipe and it was really good! Thank you!

    • Ali — March 26, 2015 @ 9:49 pm (#)

      Thanks Emily!

  16. Brenna — March 27, 2015 @ 11:16 pm (#)

    My children and I loved our nooch popcorn!  Didn’t even miss the butter!!  Yummy!!

    • Ali — March 29, 2015 @ 10:11 am (#)

      Thanks Brenna, that’s awesome!

  17. Liah Villarreal — April 3, 2015 @ 6:12 pm (#)

    Just wanted to share what I did that really helped the Nooch stick to the popcorn….I placed the Nooch & salt in a seed grinder and ground it for 20-30 seconds. Also, try adding some cumin for a delicious variation. 

    • Ali — April 5, 2015 @ 7:16 pm (#)

      Thanks for your tips Liah! : )

  18. Karen M — April 12, 2015 @ 7:34 pm (#)

    After reading about this product I purchased flaked nutritional yeast at the Bulk Barn store and was much cheaper than buying it on Amazon. The price for 100g was $2.34. I am about to give it a try on my popcorn so I hope all the reviews I have read measure up to my expectations. I should add that I live in Ontario and I do not know if the United States have Bulk Barn stores. If not, perhaps there are other bulk food stores that probably carry this product. Good luck.

  19. BritG — May 23, 2015 @ 10:24 pm (#)

    Nooch works best for me on top of stove popped corn, which is super easy to make. Then I pour it all into a large bowl and liberally douse first with nutritional yeast, then sprinkle with sea salt. Best advice so far? DON’T SHAKE IT DOWN. Grab off the top and it seems to naturally fall at a decent rate to nicely flavor the underlying popcorn. :)

    • Ali — May 25, 2015 @ 8:17 am (#)

      Thanks for sharing, Brit! : )

  20. Lilianne Labbe-Babin — June 13, 2015 @ 7:37 pm (#)

    I’ve been using nutritional yeast on popcorn for years and love it.  At an art film theater in Bar Harbor, Maine there are shakers of it alongside the salt.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 14, 2015 @ 2:28 pm (#)

      Lilianne, are you talking about Reel Pizza?! My dad used to live in Bar Harbor (until a year or so ago), and we love that place!

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