Herbed Garlic-Parmesan Popcorn

Many people have commented that we should write a cook book containing nothing but popcorn recipes.  Heaven knows we could fill it!  We’ve got Kettle Corn, Caramel Corn, Fruit Flavored Candy Popcorn, Peanut Butter Cup Popcorn, Cinnamon Cookie Crunch Popcorn, Peppermint Bark Popcorn, Cinnamon Bun Popcorn, and more.  But one thing we haven’t posted?  Savory popcorn.  Which is actually quite surprising since I make savory popcorn mixes as often as sweet.  Okay, not really as often.  Sort of often.  Only when I’m out of sugar.  But still.  Parmesan popcorn in particular, reminds me of my Dad.  I grew up in a movie family; we loved watching movies, my Dad in particular, and no home movie night was complete without a giant bowl of air-popped popcorn drizzled with melted butter, and often sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.  I used to rummage through the big bowl and try  to pick out all of the butter-soaked pieces, the way my kids rummage through the Lucky Charms for the marshmallows.  My husband and I love movies too, and lucky for me, I have a mother-in-law who buys almost every new release the day it comes out and is kind enough to share them with us.  So pretty much every night is movie night around here.  And movies are so much more fun with popcorn.  It’s true.  If you’re craving something crunchy and savory, this is a fun snack that just takes a few minutes to whip up.

Just put a few pats of butter and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in a pan with fresh garlic.  I let it sizzle for a few minutes so the garlic softens and infuses the butter, which will in turn coat the popcorn.  Then sprinkle in a few herbs.

Pour the garlicky, buttery mixture over a bowl of fresh popped popcorn.  I make the butter mixture first and then set it aside while I pop my popcorn because it’s extra yummy when the popcorn is still warm.

Make sure you stir it right before you pour, and then gently drizzle it over the popcorn (while stirring if you can manage) so you don’t end up with all the butter and/or herbs in one spot.

Immediately after pouring, stir stir stir.  You want to toss it all together and attempt to get a little glaze of butter on as many pieces as you can.

After it’s tossed together, sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese.   You can finely grate it (I use a microplane) or used crumbled (store-bought or crumbled in a food processor.)  Just avoid big thick shreds, or the pre-shredded Parmesan in bags.  It’s best to use a crumbled or freshly grated.  If your popcorn is still a little warm, the tiny cheese shreds will melt onto it and stick.

Give that a quick toss and you’re done!  Hopefully your popcorn is still warm and you can start munching away.

Herbed Garlic-Parmesan Popcorn

If you're craving something crunchy and savory, this is a fun snack that just takes a few minutes to whip up.


  • 1 tablespoon butter 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic pressed through garlic press
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • 8-10 cups popped popcorn or 1 bag natural, unsalted microwaved popcorn
  • ¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese more if desired


  • Place butter, olive oil, and garlic in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Heat until butter melts and starts to lightly simmer. Cook while stirring with rubber spatula for 1-2 minutes, until garlic is softened and fragrant. Add thyme and basil and stir to combine. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
  • Prepare popcorn if you haven't already. Place popcorn in large mixing bowl. Drizzle butter mixture over popcorn while stirring with large spoon or spatula. Quickly toss to coat. Add Parmesan cheese and toss until well distributed. Top with additional Parmesan if desired and serve immediately.
Author: Our Best Bites
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I came up with this recipe for Whole Foods, who is all about Parmesan this month!  Catch a live streaming event, tonight (2/27) at 6pm central here!

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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I’ve just been pouring melted butter over my popcorn and sprinkling on your garlic bread seasoning. Yum! But I’ll have to try this too.

  2. Sara,

    My husband and I made this the other night. Great idea! We were confused with the proportions though. We popped 8-10 cups of popcorn which seems like a lot more than one bag of microwaved popcorn. So the butter/oil mixture didn’t really come close to covering all of the corn that we air popped. Maybe I just like it really drenched because I added a lot more butter and oil 🙂 It was delicious either way!

  3. Can’t wait to try the popcorn…I can’t stop making your Chewy Choc Chip Cookies…so easy and fast…

  4. Oh. My. Gosh.


    I’ve been searching all over my part of Idaho to find Pop Weaver’s Parmesan Garlic and Herb microwave popcorn and NO ONE sells it. SO…needlesstosay…this recipe is a rescue to my most recent craving!!!

  5. We’re huge popcorn eaters at our house (air popped only, of course).
    When I married my husband, he shared with me a family secret that I’ve used ever since.
    Put the popped corn into a large brown paper sack. Shake the bag vigorously as you slowly drizzle the butter on top. Roll the top of the bag down and give it another good shake.
    Continue shaking as you add salt, parmesan cheese, etc.
    Dump into a large bowl and toss the bag.
    Aside from the easy cleanup, it’s a great way to recycle/repurpose an old shopping bag …I’m from Portland, what do you expect??
    Can’t wait to try this savory cheese popcorn!

  6. This looks amazing. I have all the ingredients except the popcorn because we finished the last of that the other day. Added to my grocery list!

  7. Our family is popcorn loving. I really want to get away from microwave popcorn so I can save money. Do you use the brown bag method (that was a great post! I’m going to try it!) or is there an air popper you recommend buying?

  8. I just love your blog…. and I adore popcorn, so keep em’ comin’! Thanks so much for the great ideas & recipes. You are very talented 😉

  9. Thanks for the idea! I am also going to try popcorn made with your garlic bread parmesan cheese mix from your cookbook (which I have almost cooked my way through, and LOVE btw).

    1. Oh, and I also recently tried jalapeno popcorn in my whirly popper and it worked and tasted great!
      The hubby is a huge jalapeno fan.

  10. We are popcorn fanatics at my house, so when I saw this post I knew exactly what the after school snack was for today. It did not disappoint, we all loved it! I have a stove top popper, so I heated the popcorn with the oil and then added the butter/garlic/herb mixture just when the popcorn started popping and it beautifully coated the popcorn while it popped.

  11. Yay! I have been on a popcorn kick recently and have been looking for a savory recipe. I can’t wait to try it!

  12. Can’t wait to try this! Do you think I could put the oil and seasonings in my whirly pop and then pop the corn in there, all together?

  13. I love popcorn with garlic salt (yes, I’m lazy, lol), but this sounds so much better! And totally appropriate since my director is forcing me to watch Star Wars this weekend…

  14. Wow Sara, you sure do take popcorn another level. Great work. We’re fans!

    Ben @ GH Cretors

  15. Oh my word, your timing is impeccable! I’m having my sister over for movie night tonight because my hubby is out of town. I had been trying to come up with something beyond butter and salt to put on my popcorn. Lo and behold. Garlic, butter, Parmesan……how could it be wrong. Luckily, my sister won’t eat butter (gasp!) so I get this all to myself. 🙂

  16. For the last little bit, I’ve been making my own popcorn in a brown paper bag in the micro (instead of on the stove top)… maybe I’m way behind, but this is where I got the idea: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/plain-brown-popper-recipe/index.html I just roll the bag over 3 or 4 times instead of using a staple. It’s so nice b/c I can flavor it however I want! I just do 1/2 a cup, a tad bit of olive oil, a pinch of kosher salt, then high for 5 minutes and it’s ready (to season however I like).

  17. This looks DELICIOUS! I don’t know if you have ever had Harry & David’s Moose Munch? It’s fantastic and available in a variety of flavors. Then they went out of business at their ONE store in Arizona, so I am going to have to attempt to make my own! Your recipes will help. They make a sweet & savory Moose Munch with ranch and it sounds disgusting but I swear it is fabulous…I don’t suppose you have a recipe for something like that?!

  18. Looks delicious. For a much quicker similar version, I have been using your garlic bread seasoning on my popcorn. I made the stuff and I use it on everything now!

  19. We love popcorn, too, and I cannot wait to try this. Happy Friday!

  20. My husband is a popcorn fanatic & keeps talking about wanting to try different seasonings (he’s not a fan of the chocolate drizzles or candy coatings). More posts like this & he will be your biggest fan 😉

  21. I LOVE savory popcorn! I have been doing this same thing for our movie nights lately… I add dried dill and dried chives as the herbs and add a little splash of white wine vinegar to the butter mix.

  22. I don’t believe I have ever tried savory popcorn. I guess I’m missing out! I hate missing out!

  23. Oh my gosh! My mother-in-law does the same thing. So sad we’re living far now so we can’t go over to borrow the new movies 🙁 The popcorn looks yummy, will have to try it on our next movie night.