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How to Make Cheddar Cheese Popcorn

How to Make Cheddar Cheese Popcorn

Follow some of these tips and you’ll be on your way to perfect Cheddar cheese popcorn

Instead of the traditional butter topping, add some Cheddar cheese on top.

Whether at the movies or watching films at home, we always love to munch on popcorn. The pop-able treat is easy to make and an essential part of any movie night. But instead of the traditional butter topping, try adding in some Cheddar cheese. Not only does it add a great zing of flavor, but it’s something that the kids can have a blast making.

So, you could grate some Cheddar cheese over the top of popped corn and you’ll have Cheddar cheese popcorn, but the cheese might become a big gooey mess — and there is a much easier way. It starts with incorporating Cheddar cheese powder into the butter and drizzling that over the popcorn. Genius!

Mix one cup of popped popcorn kernels with a half a cup of Cheddar cheese powder and about one stick of melted butter. Mix in some salt and stir to combine all the ingredients. Grab a bowl and nestle onto the couch with a good flick. This is one treat you might not even want to share!

Emily Jacobs is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRecipes.

Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn Recipe: How to Solve American Food Cravings

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One of my best friends was in town visiting last week, and as with every American who comes to visit me after I moved to America from the UK, I demanded asked that she bring me my favorite American treats, which of course includes Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn.

Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn is basically like crack to me and I have spent a lot of time searching for the perfect Smartfood White Cheddar popcorn copycat recipe.

And no, it can’t be just any white cheddar popcorn recipe – I want it taste EXACTLY like Smartfood.

That is the holy grail of popcorn.

Hey! Sidenote! Planning on visiting the UK or moving to the UK?

For more advice, photos and friendly help, click here to join my UK Travel Facebook group to carry on the conversation with fellow travelers and UK experts.

I’ve blogged about other American food copycat recipes in other versions of this post that help with my expat homesickness, but my newly stocked cabinet reminds me that there are still some foods I love that I haven’t shared recipes for.

For the record, I’m already almost finished with the goldfish and have had more oatmeal crème pies in the last week than I probably had my entire childhood. Success.

Also, if you’re interested in finding where you can buy American food in London, look no further than my top list of the best American food stores in London.

Otherwise, carry on while I tell you how to make copycat versions of your favorite American recipes, both fast food and otherwise – they’re not perfect, but they will just have to do until you can book yourself a flight back to the land of the Mac and Cheese and processed dessert.


Q-Is there a way to make cheese-flavored popcorn at home? I`ve tried it using shredded cheese and ended up with a gloppy mess. Then I tried finely minced Parmesan cheese and all the cheese fell into the bottom of the bowl. How do all the popcorn shops make theirs?

A-Your cheese-coated problems stem from your attempts to be a purist. Next time you drop into a popcorn shop, look around. It`s not likely you`ll find a block of cheese or even bags of grated Cheddar. What coats those kernels is very finely ground powdered process cheese.

When it comes to making a bowl of the stuff at home, the biggest problem is finding powdered process cheese. It`s not sold in cans or jars, per se. But a bit of clever manipulation will yield just the right thing, at a reasonable price. Inside a box of macaroni-and-cheese mix is an envelope of bright orange powdered cheese that is just the ticket to a great bowl of cheese-flavored popcorn. Use it straight and sprinkle it right over fresh, hot popcorn. For best results, the popcorn should be made the old-fashioned way-in a pot on the stove or in a popcorn popper. If a hot-air popper is used, add a small amount of oil or butter (it`s easiest with Pam or another oil spray) to the popped corn so the cheese will stick.

Here is the method for homemade cheese popcorn that is much like the product sold at popcorn shops or comes in bags as snack food:

4-6 tablespoons powdered process cheese, see note

1. Heat the oil in a large kettle. When it is hot, but not smoking, add several kernels of popcorn. When the first kernel pops or spins around the pan, add the remaining kernels. Cover the pan loosely. Shaking the pan constantly, cook over medium-high heat until all the kernels have popped.

2. Transfer the popped corn to a large bowl and toss with 4 tablespoons cheese powder add more to taste if desired.

Note: Powdered process cheese can be used from packages of macaroni-and-cheese mix or from powdered cheese sauce packets. It can also be bought at bulk food stores in a variety of flavors.

The Popcorn Institute offers several recipes for cheese popcorn that do, in fact, use fresh, shredded cheese. Here`s their method if you`d like to try it:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread hot popped popcorn on a buttered jelly roll pan. For each quart of popcorn, add 1/3 cup grated cheese. Bake for 5 minutes, then toss the popcorn and serve immediately.

You also can use very finely shredded cheese and toss it into hot buttered popcorn. For best results, the cheese should be grated with the finest holes of a grater. Additional seasonings can be added as desired. Ground cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and onion powder are several possibilities.

It also should be noted that several varieties of cheese-flavored microwave popcorn are available.

(For all those frustrated at all the unpopped kernels-old maids-that collect in the bottom of the pan, the Popcorn Institute offers another bit of information that is worth passing on: They can be rejuvenated. The reason they don`t pop in the first place is that there isn`t enough moisture inside the kernel. (The kernels pop when heat causes the water to expand so much that the kernel explodes.) Collect your old maids and put them in a jar-about 3 cups in a 4-cup jar. Add a tablespoon of water, cover the jar and shake it every few minutes until the water is absorbed. Set the jar aside in a cool place for a few days then try popping it again.)

Q-What is the best way to store raisins? After I open them, I try to seal the box and keep them on the shelf. But they always dry out and become as hard as rocks. There has to be a way to keep them fresh for those of us who don`t use all that many of them.

A-The boxes that many brands of raisins come in seem designed to create just the problems you describe. They aren`t easily resealable. Left in open air, the raisins will dry out even more than they are intended to. Though it seems like a lot of trouble, the best thing to do is to put the unused raisins in an airtight canister, or at least in a well-sealed plastic food bag. This will help keep them moist and tender.

Should the raisins dry out despite your best efforts, they usually can be salvaged. Put the raisins in a small pan with hot water (or another liquid, such as orange juice) that is complementary to the recipe you`re using and cover. Heat gently to just below the boil then set aside to soak for a few minutes or longer. They`ll become nicely moist, plump and, if you`ve used a flavorful liquid, they`ll have more flavor as well. Alternately, they can be soaked in spirits, such as brandy or sherry, at room temperature.

Sharp Cheddar Cheese Popcorn made with Real Cheese

Make the most flavorful cheese popcorn without fake powdered cheese! This Sharp Cheddar Cheese Popcorn made from real cheese is easy and cheesy.


  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels, popped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 oz sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded


  1. In a small saucepan, combine butter, chili powder, garlic powder and salt. Melt butter and heat until starting to simmer.
  2. Pour butter over popcorn. Stir until all popcorn is evenly coated.
  3. Spread popcorn on a sheet pan, sprinkle with finely shredded cheese (I used a microplane zester to shred mine). Stir it around until evenly distributed.
  4. Place rack in the center of the oven and turn broiler to low. Cook popcorn until cheese is melted (about 2-3 minutes). Watch carefully so it does not burn.
  5. Pour cheesy popcorn into bowl and mix.
  6. Enjoy!

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For more popcorn love, check out the other recipes I&rsquove been sharing. 14 Days of Popcorn

How to Make Cheese Powder:

The first step was to grate the cheese so it would dry more quickly and evenly. I didn't want the cheese to fall through the cracks of my dehydrator, so I tried two methods: fruit leather tray inserts and small screen inserts.

Both definitely worked, but the next time I make dehydrated cheese powder, I'll use all fruit leather trays. That's because as the cheese is dehydrating, it releases not only water, but a lot of oil. A few times during the dehydrating process, I turned off the fan, checked on the cheese, and soaked up oil with a paper towel. That was a much easier process on the fruit leather trays than the small screen trays.

Using the dehydrator is insanely easy. Put the food on the trays, stack the trays, and push the power button. Drying time for your cheese will really depend on how thickly it's grated, and the moisture content of the cheese. My first batch took about 12 hours, but the second was done in eight.

Once the cheese was nicely dehydrated, I set it on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil that was still left.

It was time to pulverize the cheese into delicious homemade cheese powder. I tried using a mortar and pestle, and while it would certainly work, holy cow, that was laborious. I quickly discarded that idea and pulled out my husband's coffee grinder.

That blended the cheese into powder beautifully. but I learned the hard way that no matter how well you clean a coffee grinder, if it's been used for coffee, some of those oils will get on any other food you grind in there. Vaguely coffee flavored cheddar turns out to be rather offputting. Who would have guessed. -) So I bought my own coffee grinder that will be used only for spices and non coffee applications. Ahh, much better.

Cheese Popcorn

Ok, enough of that. So, this is my happy solution for when I want to go one step above regular stovetop popcorn, get my cheesy savory fix, and actually be satisfied by the popcorn in a this-feels-like-a-little-more-than-a-snack kind of way.It’s just stovetop popcorn drizzled with butter and tossed with some shredded cheese and a bit of salt. Toss the popcorn with the cheese while the popcorn is still hot so that the cheese melts a bit – it will not melt completely, but the combo of textures is actually quite nice.

It‘s indulgent while still being real food, and it doesn’t have a load of sugar or artificial anything in it. It’s also great party food—have some napkins around because you’ll be wanting to wipe your fingers between handfuls.

Smartfood Copycat White Cheddar Popcorn

If you love the white cheddar popcorn from Smartfood, you will be excited to learn that it is easy to make your own homemade version of this snack food treat in your own kitchen.

Start by popping your favorite popcorn. Since it will be tossed with butter and flavor, it is best to pop plain popcorn. An air popper works great for this, or you can use a plain microwave popcorn variety. If you are using a classic popcorn popper with a bit of oil, be sure to select an oil with a high smoke point, such as canola or sunflower oil.

The secret to making white cheddar popcorn from scratch is getting the cheese powder to stick to every single kernel of popcorn. The last thing anyone wants is a bite without any flavor one moment, followed by a piece with too much cheese the next. The key is to coat the popcorn with the melted butter and cheese powder in batches. Start with half of the popcorn, half of the butter and half of the cheese powder. Toss to coat and then repeat the process with the remaining ingredients.

You can even add your own special twists to homemade white cheddar popcorn. For a savory herb version toss in a packet of dried ranch dressing seasoning. If you like a bit of a kick, add some dried chili powder or a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Chicago Style Popcorn Recipe

Chicago-Style Popcorn is a combination of What’s Cooking America’s Caramel Popcorn recipe and Cheddar Cheese Popcorn recipe. The below links will take you to those recipes.

You wonder what is a Chicago Style Popcorn? This style of popcorn is known to locals as caramel and cheddar cheese flavored kernels mixed up together creating an addictive sweet and salty snack combination. It is a flavored popcorn that everyone loves the minute they try it.

History of Chicago Style Popcorn: There is much debate on who originated this popcorn. Learn more about the history and legends of Popcorn.

Garrett Popcorn Shops of Chicago, which was founded in 1949 by Claude and Gladys Garrett, are the most well known for this style of popcorn. Their loyal customers have stood in long lines around the shop to buy the caramel crisp and cheese popcorn bags separately and mix them up. Upon noticing this, Garrett’s began doing the mixing for them, thus the start of the Chicago Style Popcorn.

Preheat the oven to 250 F. Place the popcorn into two 13" x 9" pans. Make sure to remove all the unpopped kernels you can find (when they are covered with caramel and chocolate they are hard to see).

In a large saucepan, combine the salt, butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat. Boil this mixture hard for 5 minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat and mix in the baking soda the mixture will foam up, so be prepared.

Immediately pour this mixture over the popped corn. Mix thoroughly with a large spoon.

Bake the two pans full of caramel corn for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until the corn is glazed and crisp. Cool completely on wire racks, stirring occasionally.

Spread the corn out onto two 15" x 10" pans. Drizzle with the melted white and dark chocolate chips, then let stand until set. Store at room temperature in airtight containers.

Chicago Mix Cheddar & Caramel Popcorn!

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Salty & Sweet. Cheesy & Buttery! This mix of popcorns is a fantastic mix of flavors commonly referred to as Chicago Mix Popcorn! You’ve seen it in popcorn stores and in pre-made bags, but now you can make it at home!

I made this post just to highlight the mixture of two previous recipes but struggled with how to give it an identity of its own while not introducing any new methods or ingredients. The Cheddar Popcorn and the Caramel Popcorn are both equally delicious separately but together they make such a fantastic flavor that what used to be a hometown treat in Chicago, IL has taken over the popcorn aisle! Chicago Mix popcorn is sold by company’s like Garrett’s, Popcornopolis and my personal favorite G.H. Cretors.

You will find the each recipe’s detailed instructions on the pages linked in this post, but if you are making this mix to enjoy, I would add the two together in a paper bag (preferably the one you made the cheddar popcorn in) and mix them together thoroughly. One of the best parts about Chicago Mix popcorn is the slight layer of cheese dust that is on each piece of caramel popcorn!

For detailed instructions of the Caramel Popcorn, click here.

Watch the video: How to Make Cheese Corn or Cheese Popcorn