5-Minute Cheddar Cheese Popcorn (Using Real Cheddar)

Cheddar popcorn

 The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Servings: 2 servings

This cheese popcorn recipe uses real cheese for a savory, buttery popcorn recipe the whole family will love and it only takes a few minutes to make. All you need are a few key ingredients and your kids are going to be in cheesy heaven.

To save time, this recipe for cheese popcorn uses microwave popcorn. If you want to skip the microwave-popped corn, then feel free to use a recipe for stovetop popcorn. This recipe can also be modified and made with grated parmesan. You can also opt to include other additional toppings, such as Spanish smoked paprika, garlic powder, cayenne powder, curry powder, chili pepper, or even cumin. Get creative with spices and herbs to customize it exactly how you and your kids like!

In fact, if you were to add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, chili pepper, cayenne, and salt to this cheddar cheese popcorn recipe, you get a flavor very close to Doritos chips—without the synthetic taste and nutrients of Doritos chips. 


  • 1 full-size bag microwave popcorn (alternatively, you can use 1/2 cup of whole kernels on the stove to make your popcorn)
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 6 tablespoons butter (melted)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Popcorn cheddar and butter
     The Spruce
  2. Prepare popcorn in the microwave, according to package instructions. Alternatively, use the stovetop popcorn recipe provided above.

    Prepare popcorn
     The Spruce
  3. Pour popped corn into a large serving bowl.

    Popcorn in a bowl
     The Spruce
  4. Place butter in a glass or ceramic container and place in the microwave for 20 seconds. Stir and reheat for another 20 seconds. Do this until the butter has fully melted into a golden liquid.

    Butter in a bowl
     The Spruce
  5. Sprinkle grated cheese over top of the popcorn, drizzle melted butter on top of the cheese, and toss to coat well.

    Sprinkled cheese on popcorn
     The Spruce 
  6. Serve and enjoy!


  • Lay out a large, plastic tablecloth and encourage the kids to have a "picnic" on the plastic while they eat. This makes clean up a breeze. For sticky fingers, keep homemade wipes close by.