RecipeCacio e Pepe Popcorn

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
  • Calories: 160
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Total Fat: 12 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 9 g
    • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Cholesterol: 10 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 12 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2 g
  • Total Sugar: 0 g
    • Natural Sugar: 0 g
    • Added Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 220 mg

Popcorn is a snacker’s delight! It’s a whole grain that can be flavored in any number of delicious ways. I got a little creative on this version, merging the munchie with Cacio e Pepe Pasta, a classic pasta dish featuring pepper and cheese. This recipe is beyond easy—it takes just 5 minutes to make. And after several testing attempts, I figured out a way to ensure ALL kernels pop evenly. Yes, that’s right: no uncooked stragglers or sad-looking burnt kernels lingering at the bottom of the bowl. I toss it with grated pecorino Romano—a sharp, salty cheese that pairs perfectly with cracked black pepper. (You can easily swap in Parmesan if you prefer.) The combo of cheese, pepper and addictive crunch bring a simple snack to a whole new level.

  • Prep time
  • Total Time
This recipe makes ~10 cups
  • • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or melted butter
  • • ¾ cup to 1 cup finely grated pecorino Romano cheese, more for garnish
  • • 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • • Kosher salt to taste

In a large heavy-bottom pot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and a few popcorn kernels (2 or 3 is fine). NOTE: Avoid using “enamel” pots, which can get too hot and result in burned popcorn and/or damage to the pot. Cover the pot with a lid and warm over medium-high until the kernels pop, about 3 mins (if you notice any smoke during this process, turn heat down to medium). Lower heat to medium and add remaining kernels, shaking the pot to spread them out on the bottom. Cover with lid and cook, shaking the pot occasionally, until the popping slows down and the batch is done (you’ll know when the popping slows and there are a few seconds between pops).

Remove the pot from heat and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter (this will enable the cheese to stick). Add in the cheese and quickly stir it throughout the popcorn. The heat will start to melt the cheese on the bottom so be sure to mix quickly to coat the popcorn. Sprinkle the black pepper and salt into the pot. I suggest starting with less and adding more to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with more grated cheese and ground black pepper, if desired.

If you have any clumps of melted cheese, simply break them up and toss them back into your popcorn.

It’s best enjoyed freshly popped, but you can stash leftovers in a bag or sealed container in the fridge (note that popcorn tends to lose crispness over time). Alternatively, you can freeze leftover popcorn in a freezer-safe and airtight container which may prolong its freshness.

Check out this video to see how easy it is to make:

Try this Caramel Popcorn!