The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn)

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.  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 freaking delicious, and downright irresistible.  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.

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!

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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.


  • 3-4 Tablespoons oil, or enough to coat the bottom of the pan (any high heat oil will do — coconut oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, or more*/less to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt, to taste


Add oil to a large metal stockpot over medium-high heat. Place 3-4 individual kernels in the pan and cover.  Once they pop, uncover the pan and add in the rest of the kernels so that they form a single layer on the bottom of the pan.  Cover, and give the pot a shake so that they all get coated with the oil.

Once the popcorn kernels start popping furiously, give the pot a good shake every 15 seconds or so to help the un-popped kernels fall to the bottom, which prevents burning. When the popping dies down, immediately pour the popcorn it into a large mixing bowl (one that has a lid, like tupperware), and sprinkle with nutritional yeast and salt. Cover, and give it a good shake to combine.

Serve and enjoy!

*I actually highly recommend adding 2-3 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.

**If the nooch isn’t sticking, you may also need to use a bit more coconut oil, or you can try closing the lid on the popcorn completely while it’s cooking (which won’t let the kernels dry out as much, which will help the nooch stick to them better).

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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!

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159 comments on “The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn)”

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  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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. :)

  10. 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. :)

  11. 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!!

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

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

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

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

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

  22. 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!

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

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

  26. 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!

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

  28. 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!

  29. 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. :-)

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

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

  32. 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!

  33. 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!!!

  34. 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.

  35. 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

  36. 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!

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

  38. 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!

  39. 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!

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

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  42. 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?

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

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  45. 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.

  46. 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!

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

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  49. 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.