Garlic Parmesan Popcorn, for When You’re Craving Something Salty Before Bed

Give us a bowl of pretzels, and we’ll delicately nurse them one handful at a time. Give us a bowl of popcorn, and we’ll shovel it down by the fistful until we reach the bottom. While the crisp, airy snack is delicious on its own, the right seasonings can take it from tasty to irresistibly bingeable, and this recipe for garlic parmesan popcorn is proof.

As always, this midnight snack only takes a few minutes to come together, but it also calls for a little more TLC in the topping department than you may be used to. Rest assured that it’s so worth it. Instead of just tossing the popcorn in melted butter and sprinkling the seasonings on top (aka a recipe for naked kernels and a desert of dust at the bottom of the bowl), we mash all the ingredients into a paste before melting it. That way, every drop of butter is infused with garlicky, cheesy goodness.

Ideally, you should use plain kernels and pop them on the stove or in an air popper, but we won’t tell if you spruce up a bag of the microwave variety instead. Either way, might we suggest washing it down with a glass of crisp white wine? You deserve a nightcap.

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¼ cup popcorn kernels

4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (or ¾ teaspoon garlic powder)

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

⅛ teaspoon dried basil

⅛ teaspoon dried oregano

Pinch salt

Black pepper, to taste

Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste


1. Pop the popcorn according to package instructions. While it’s popping, place the garlic cloves and butter in a microwave-safe mug or bowl. You can prepare the topping on the stove instead if you don’t have a microwave.

2. Microwave the garlic and butter for about 15 seconds, or until the butter is partially melted and pooling. Using a pestle or the back of a spoon, mash the garlic thoroughly into the butter.

3. Stir the cheese into the mixture. Microwave the mixture again until the butter is fully melted and pourable, about 10 more seconds. Stir the herbs, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes into the melted butter until they’re evenly distributed.

4. Pour half the popcorn into a serving bowl. Drizzle half the topping over the popcorn. Take a piece of foil and cover the bowl, then toss and shake to coat the popcorn. Add the rest of the popcorn to the bowl, then pour the rest of the topping mixture over it and toss again until evenly coated.

Taryn Pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...
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