How to make cacio e pepe popcorn

Popcorn has become a go-to snack for us during the pandemic as it’s easy to make and smells like a party.

It can be healthy too. According to the American Heart Association, popcorn is a whole grain and high-fiber food that has been “linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and other health problems.”

Oprah Magazine also lists popcorn as a good bedtime snack as it makes you feel calm and sleepy by boosting serotonin.

Sometimes, we go light with just salt, but I also like to add some spice or herbs or to indulge with butter and cheese.

The traditional Roman pasta topping, cacio e pepe, which is made with two ingredients, cheese (cacio) and black pepper (pepe) is perfect on popcorn.

You could also make this with pecorino cheese instead of parmesan. Pecorino is the classic cheese in cacio e pepe.

I usually pop about 1/3 of a cup of popcorn kernels for the two of us and mostly wing it with the other ingredients. Somedays I need a lot of butter and cheese and on others, just a little will do.

Cacio e pepe popcorn

Serves 2

  • 1/3 of a cup of popcorn kernels
  • Unsalted butter
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  1. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and two kernels of popcorn in a large pot over medium-high heat with the lid on.
  2. When the two kernels pop, remove from the heat and add the rest of the popcorn. Stir to coat with olive oil.
  3. Let sit for about 1 minute with the lid on and then return to the heat with the lid still on.
  4. Once the popcorn starts popping, move the pot back and forth over the heat. Periodically lift the lid to let some of the steam out.
  5. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small sauce pan over low heat.
  6. When the popcorn stops popping, remove from the heat and pour into a large bowl.
  7. Add the melted butter and grate plenty of parmesan cheese on top. Season with black pepper and salt and mix well.

Notes: We have a large pot with a glass lid that is perfect for making popcorn as you can watch it pop.

Photo by Pylz Works on Unsplash


  1. I am making this tonight. Looks easy.

    1. Author

      It’s super easy and popcorn smells so warm and cozy! Let me know how it works out!

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