14 Days of Popcorn: Sharp Cheddar Cheese Popcorn
I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make a real cheese popcorn for this series. I always loved the cheese popcorn made with fake, powdered cheese as a kid.
But luckily I prefer real cheese now. And if you want to make your own popcorn, where do you even buy powdered cheese?
So I decided to try experimenting with a real cheese option. It took a while, and a few failed attempts, but I managed to make a delicious Sharp Cheddar Cheese Popcorn made with real cheese!
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I wanted to make a cheese sauce to pour over the popcorn. That didn’t work so well. If the cheese sauce was more like a fondue, with the cheese melted in a chicken or vegetable stock, it was too wet for the fluffy popcorn. The end result wasn’t good.
So I tried to make a cheese sauce with butter, well, I ended up with delicious tasting butter with a clump of melted cheese in it. I could not get it to melt together into a sauce (but I might have eaten the cheese anyway).
I thought about giving up! I figured I could do a parmesan cheese popcorn, I could shred it finely into a powder and call it a day.
But I really wanted to make a Sharp Cheddar Cheese Popcorn.
So in my last ditch effort before throwing in the towel I tried something different. I made my popcorn into more of a popcorn nacho type of treat. And it worked!
And it tastes amazing! I can’t stop eating it!
So now I have the perfect recipe for a salty, cheesy popcorn treat. It’s not anything like the powdered cheese popcorn I ate as a child, it’s so much better.
It’s the perfect grown up cheese popcorn!
For more popcorn love, check out the other recipes I’ve been sharing. 14 Days of Popcorn
- Day 1: Chewy Peanut Butter Caramel Popcorn
- Day 2: Chocolate Kettle Corn
- Day 3: Churro Caramel Popcorn
- Day 4: Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Caramel Popcorn
- Day 5: Chipotle Lime Popcorn
- Day 6: Trail Mix Caramel Popcorn Bars
- Day 7: Dark Chocolate Caramel Popcorn
- Day 8: Lemon Rosemary Popcorn
- Day 9: Brown Butter & Honey Popcorn
- Day 10: Chai Spiced Caramel Popcorn with Free Printable Tea Cups
- Day 11: German Chocolate Cake Caramel Popcorn
- Day 12: Chocolate Dipped Marshmallow Popcorn Hearts
- Day 13: Sharp Cheddar Cheese Popcorn made with Real Cheese
- Day 14: S’mores Caramel Popcorn
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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
- In a small saucepan, combine butter, chili powder, garlic powder and salt. Melt butter and heat until starting to simmer.
- Pour butter over popcorn. Stir until all popcorn is evenly coated.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pour cheesy popcorn into bowl and mix.
Wednesday 1st of June 2022
For me, the grated cheese stuck together in clumps (maybe it would have been better if I hadn't used the microplaner), and it never mixed with the popcorn. I tried stirring midway through the heating process and again at the end. I ended up with a bowl of popcorn with lumps of cheese in it. I pulled the lumps apart to make them smaller, and if I eat a lump of cheese and a handful of popcorn, it tastes good, but isn't the effect I wanted!!
Wednesday 8th of June 2022
Yes there is, for some reason it was forwarding to the 2021 one, but it is fixed now. You can get the new one here: https://craftingmyhome.com/free-digital-wallpaper-for-june-2/.
Thursday 4th of March 2021
If I may offer a suggestion about your issue with unsuccessful cheese sauce: if the cheese did not blend with the roux, is it possible you added the cheese while the pot was still over the heat? I know a cheese sauce will definitely split and get very grainy and unappetizing. It is important to get the milk mixture off the heat before adding grated cheese. Just a thought...
Wednesday 17th of March 2021
Thanks for the idea, but I still prefer not to use a cheese sauce since it makes the popcorn soggy.
Sunday 8th of October 2017
I make a similar recipe that sounds like it might be a bit simpler. I pop a bowl of popcorn over the stove. Make sure the unpopped kernels are removed. Spread about a cup of shredded cheese over the popcorn in alternating layers - cheese/corn. sprinkle spices to suit on top and gently shake to distribute them.
Now here's the key: stick the entire bowl in the microwave and heat on high for one minute, or long enough to melt the cheese. Stir immediately while the cheese is melted. You're done.
I don't add butter because the recipe has plenty of fat already, but no reason you can't if you choose. I'd mix it in before layering on the cheese.
Sunday 26th of November 2017
Yes, I will try this since the original recipe said to put your broiler on low...? My broiler is either on or off and it I left popcorn under it, for a minute it would be black...
Wednesday 11th of October 2017
Thanks for your recipe! I was worried the popcorn might get soggy in the microwave so that is why I used the oven. But there is nothing better than popcorn with real cheese!
Sunday 17th of September 2017
Where did you buy the sharp cheddar cheese powder? I want a pound of it. There is only the Vermont brand and its pricey.
Friday 6th of October 2017
Melissa, I didn't use cheese powder for the recipe. I finally grated real sharp cheddar cheese. All the details are in the recipe. Enjoy!
Monday 19th of December 2016
This sounds delicious! Do you know how well it stores? I want to make it for Christmas for those who don't like sweet popcorn. Thank you in advance for your help!
Saturday 24th of December 2016
Hello Ash, I've only kept it overnight. The next day it was great, but not sure how much longer I would store it. Sorry.