The BEST Butter-Free Popcorn (Nooch Popcorn)

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.  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:

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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

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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.

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

Directions:

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! gimmesomeoven.com

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

  1. 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!!

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

  4. 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.

    • Try shaking the popcorn in a sealed container immediately after adding the nooch (while it’s still warm). Good luck!

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  6. 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?

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  8. 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.

  9. 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!

    • 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?

    • 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.

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  11. 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?

    • 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!

  12. 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…

    • 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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! : )

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  16. 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…

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  23. 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 :)

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  25. 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?

    • 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.

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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

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  32. 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…

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

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

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  36. 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. 

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  38. 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.

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  41. 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. :)

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  43. 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.

    • 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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  45. I’ve been making this for years! I LOVE NOOCH POPCORN. Here’s the deal, IMO/experience, you need more than one TBS of oil (I use coconut.) let it cook in extra oil, maybe 2-3 TBS. then, after it is done, top with more melted oil or even earth balance… THEN add sea salt or real salt or Himalayan salt, and LOTS of NOOCH. It will stick when it is oily. Another variation I’ve enjoyed is adding a sprinkling of cayenne pepper. Think spicy Cheetos, healthier version! Ooh, I’m going to make some NOW!?

    • Thank you Tracy, we’re so happy you like it as much as we do! Thanks also for sharing your experience with it, that’s super helpful! :)

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  48. I’ve been eating my popcorn with nutritional yeast for years.  I use my Nutri Bullet to grind the yeast into a fine powder I add a bit of salt and keep it in a shaker.  I airpop the popcorn add a bit of melted vegan butter and sprinkle away. Yum!

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  50. I’ve was introduced to nutritional yeast when a friend made popcorn with it. Delicious! Now I’m hooked on it. I sprinkle it on my salads, sautéed veggies and rice, and sometimes on my pasta. Yum!