Taco Popcorn

Stove-top buttered popcorn is tossed with a homemade taco seasoning, cheese and scallions.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 20 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: four 2-cup servings
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Taco Spice Mix:

20 large sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed; about 3 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch strips

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Pinch cayenne pepper

Kosher salt

Taco Popcorn:

1 teaspoon olive oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1/4 cup finely grated Cheddar

2 scallions, thinly sliced


Special equipment:
a spice grinder
  1. For the spice mix: Put half the tomato strips in a single layer on a microwavable plate. Microwave in 30-second increments, checking the texture in between, until they begin to harden but are still red and slightly pliable, 1 to 2 minutes. (They may begin to brown and taste bitter if cooked too long.) Let sit until cool and completely hardened, about 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining tomato strips.
  2. Transfer the cooled tomato strips to a spice grinder and grind to a powder. Discard any pieces that won't grind. Add the nutritional yeast, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt, and grind to a fine powder. Reserve 2 heaping tablespoons for the popcorn. Store the remaining taco spice blend at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. (You?ll have enough to make 3 more batches of popcorn.)
  3. For the taco popcorn: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the popcorn kernels. When one pops, cover the pot and cook, shaking the pot constantly, until the popping subsides to 1 pop every 20 seconds. Pour in the melted butter and toss to coat. Add the reserved taco spice blend, the cheese, scallions and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and toss again to coat. 

Cook’s Note

If you find that your spice blend is a little coarse, use a fine sieve to sift it over the buttered popcorn. The finer dusting will coat the popcorn better.