Umami Dusted Popcorn

Umami Dusted Popcorn

In depth research and experimentation have led me to the crystalline clear realization that the best flavor on earth is that of crunchy Cheetos. Not the regular ones. They’re crap. Just the crunchies. The reason of course is pure science. It’s a chemical gestalt of cheese powder (or powdered cheese depending on who your talking to, and a bunch of other … stuff. Well I think we’ve cracked the code and truth be told, there are multiple secret ingredients including: nutritional yeast which is actually good for you and available at your local health food store; cheddar cheese powder, which is available from most reputable spice purveyors; trashy, green canister “parmesan” cheese, which is available at most gas stations; and last but not least buttermilk powder which you can find on the baking aisle of most megamarts.

Be forewarned, the resulting mix is extremely habit forming. Placing it on popcorn only makes it better … I mean worse.

Triple Cheese Popcorn

  • 2 ounces Cheddar cheese powder
  • 1/2 ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese-food (meaning the stuff in the green can)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon buttermilk powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 ounces popcorn kernels
  • 3 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter (melted)
  1. Process the parmesan cheese-stuff, nutritional yeast, buttermilk powder and kosher salt in a food processor to a fine, granular powder.
  2. Place the oil and popcorn in a large, 6-quart, metal mixing bowl. Cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil and poke ten slits in the top with a knife.
  3. Place the bowl over medium heat and shake constantly using a pair of tongs to hold the bowl. Continue shaking until the popcorn finishes popping, approximately 3 minutes.
  4. Remove the bowl from the heat and carefully remove the foil.
  5. Melt the butter in the microwave. Slowly drizzle over the popcorn, while spinning the bowl. Add the cheese mixture, re-cover with the aluminum foil and shake to coat the popcorn with the cheese mixture. Serve immediately.

Although the butter does bring flavor to the party, it does contain water so in time it will suck some of the crispness out of your corn. Using olive oil will help to avoid this wilting.

Alton Brown's Triple Cheese Popcorn Recipe


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  1. 1
    Bob Compton

    For the cheese powder and parmesan, is that fluid ounces or weight ounces? Every other measurement is by volume, so I don’t understand why this wasn’t listed as 1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon, respectively.

  2. 6
    Jesse M.

    After trying this the first time (yum!), the second time I made it I also added a tablespoon of garlic powder to the mix. Adds a nice little punch and even more umami!

    Also, if you can’t locate a spice shop with cheddar powder, the cheese packet from Annie’s Mac & Cheese works as a great substitute (it’s actually just cheese powder, not like Kraft), and it’s just a little over 2oz in volume.

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