Salty-crunchy snacks are my vice. But since chips are silly expensive (IMHO), I keep popcorn on hand at all times. Popcorn only takes about 5 minutes to make and the flavor possibilities are endless. Nooch popcorn (popcorn with nutritional yeast) is pretty popular these days, but I like to go one step further and toss my popcorn in sriracha butter before adding the “nooch” so it sticks a little better and I get that extra spicy kick. This Sriracha Nooch Popcorn hits all my flavor spots with salt, crunchy, spicy, and umami. It’s pretty much everything I’ve ever wanted in a snack.
P.S. I was told not to eat popcorn while I have my braces and my answer to that was a big fat, “Pfffft!” Sriracha Nooch Popcorn is totally worth the risk, IMHO.
What is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated form of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the same strain of yeast used in baking and brewing. It is sold in powdered or flaked form, which kind of resembles fish food in texture. It’s often used in cooking for its slightly cheesy flavor, which makes it a great vegan alternative to Parmesan, and for its high nutrient content. Nutritional yeast is high in protein, fiber, B vitamins, and minerals, so sprinkling it over your food is an easy way to get an instant nutritional boost.
Where Do I Find Nutritional Yeast?
Luckily, nutritional yeast is becoming pretty popular, so you can find it at most major grocery stores, and if not check your local health food store. Nutritional yeast is usually sold near specialty diet foods (like gluten-free or organic products), or near dietary supplements. Trader Joe’s sells very budget-friendly nutritional yeast, and Bob’s Redmill or Braggs are two brands that I often see in major grocery store chains.
Stove Top or Air Popped Popcorn?
You can use either air popped or stove top popcorn for this recipe, but I’m a die-hard stove top popcorn person. IMHO it beats out air popped popcorn in texture, flavor, and aroma by a mile. I’ve included instructions for making stove top popcorn below, but if you want to use air popped you can just begin with the step where the butter and sriracha are melted together. And I’ll just look the other way while you eat your styrofoam popcorn. 🤣
Tips for Stove Top Popcorn
- Use the right kind of oil. A high smoke point oil is critical, as you need to heat the oil and popcorn extremely high to make it pop. Using a low heat or low “smoke point” oil will result in burning or even the oil bursting into flames.
- Use enough oil. If you don’t use enough oil in the pot the kernels will not be properly surrounded by heat and will burn instead of popping, or only slightly pop, leaving you with small dense pieces.
- Start with just one kernel. I know it’s tempting to add all the kernels to the pot in the beginning, but you’ll get bigger, fluffier pieces if you wait until that oil is screaming hot before you add the rest of the kernels. The first kernel acts as an indicator for when the oil is hot enough to give the sudden burst of heat needed to make big fluffy pieces.
- Remove the popcorn from the pot right after popping. If you leave it in the hot pot, it can begin to burn on the bottom and condensation from under the lid can drip onto the top making the top layer soggy.
Sriracha Nooch Popcorn
- 2 Tbsp high heat cooking oil* ($0.08)
- 1/3 cup popcorn kernels ($0.16)
- 1 Tbsp butter ($0.06)
- 1 Tbsp sriracha ($0.06)
- 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast ($0.07)
- Add the cooking oil to a medium sauce pot along with one popcorn kernel. Place a lid on the pot and then place the pot over medium-high heat. Allow the oil to heat until the kernel pops.
- Once the single kernel pops, lift the lid on the pot, add the rest of the popcorn kernels, and replace the lid. Give the pot a vigorous shake back and forth to make sure all the kernels are coated in the hot oil. Let the pot continue to heat over medium-high, shaking the pot occasionally, until all the kernels are popped (or until you hear the popping slow to one kernel every 3 seconds or so).
- Remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the popped corn into a large bowl. Let the pot sit for a couple of minutes to cool slightly so the butter doesn't burn. Once slightly cooled, add the butter and sriracha to the pot. Allow the butter to melt then swirl it with the sriracha to combine.
- Drizzle the sriracha butter over the popcorn in the bowl, then pour the popcorn back into the pot. Place the lid on top and give the popcorn a really good shake until all the kernels are evenly coated in sriracha butter. Return the coated popcorn to the bowl, sprinkle the nutritional yeast over top, then serve. Add salt if desired (I did not).
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How to Make Sriracha Nooch Popcorn – Step by Step Photos
Start by adding 2 Tbsp high heat cooking oil to a medium sauce pot, along with one popcorn kernel. This one kernel is your temperature indicator. When it pops you know the oil is hot enough to add the rest of the kernels. Having the oil super hot before you add the popcorn creates bigger, fluffier pieces of popcorn.
Place a lid on the pot, then place it over medium high heat. Wait for the single kernel to pop, then once it does add the rest of the kernels. Put the lid back on top and give the pot a good shake back and forth to make sure the kernels are all coated in that super hot oil.
The kernels will begin to pop within about a minute or so. Let them continue to pop, giving the pot the occasional shake, until the popping slows to one pop every three seconds or so (the lid should remain in place the whole time). Remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the popcorn into a large bowl Let the pot sit for a minute or two to cool off a bit.
Once the pot is slightly cooled (it will still be plenty hot to melt the butter), add 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp sriracha. Swirl to combine the two.
Drizzle the sriracha butter over the popcorn, then…
Return the popcorn to the pot, put the lid back on top, and give it a really good shake to coat all the popcorn in the sriracha butter. There needs to be an inch or two of room in the pot for the popcorn to move around for this to work properly. So if there is too much, just leave a little in the bowl. It will be okay.
Lastly, sprinkle 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast over the popcorn (you can do this in the pot or once the popcorn is back in the bowl).
And that’s it! Dive in and enjoy! (you can add a bit of salt if needed, but I don’t usually. I find there is enough in my butter and sriracha to cover it.)