Ranch Popcorn Seasoning (with Parmesan)

Ranch Popcorn Seasoning is a savory mixture of dried herbs, spices, and Parmesan. Sprinkled over freshly popped popcorn that’s been drizzled in real butter, it makes a delicious snack or perfect movie night treat!

Parmesan Ranch Popcorn Seasoning with text overlay.


 

Between three crazy kids, two busy jobs, and a partridge in a pear tree, movie night is one of our favorite ways to unwind after a long, hectic week -- and reconnect as a family -- come Friday evening. Granted, due to the varied ages and interests of our offspring, it's sometimes hard to arrive at a consensus as far as what to watch. When the boys vote for The Sandlot, the girl votes for Moana, and the parents resign themselves to watching Disney movies for many years to come...

But one thing we can always agree on is that Family Movie Night requires a tasty snack! All the better if that snack calls to mind some of the (ridiculously overpriced) fare at an actual movie theater. Popcorn is an appropriate-if-not-stereotypical choice, and some of our family-favorite homemade flavors include Brown Butter Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn and Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn.

Parmesan popcorn with Ranch Popcorn Seasoning.

But I recently decided that we need to shake things up a bit with a new flavor. Enter this Ranch Popcorn Seasoning. It involves fresh, air-popped popcorn, tossed in decadent butter and sprinkled with a mixture of Parmesan cheese and ranch dressing-esque herbs and spices.

The result is scrumptious, addictive popcorn with the overt salty-cheesiness of Parmesan and a decidedly ranch undertone. The kids scarfed it down. And the adults were so enamored with this Ranch Popcorn Seasoning that we could almost pretend we were watching an Oscar-worthy flick as opposed to a movie catering to the under-10 set. 😉

Close-up of Ranch Popcorn Seasoning on pieces of popcorn on table.

Ingredients

So what does it take to whip up a batch of popcorn flavored with this scrumptious Ranch Popcorn Seasoning?

Labeled ingredients to make Ranch Popcorn Seasoning over buttery Parmesan popcorn.
  • Popcorn kernels.
  • Butter. Unsalted and melted.
  • Parmesan. Freshly grated.
  • Garlic salt, onion powder, dried parsley, dried dill, salt, + pepper. The ingredients that imbue your popcorn with the "ranch popcorn" effect. 😉
Cup of popcorn kernels ready to pop.

How to Make Ranch Popcorn Seasoning

(The below photos are intended to be helpful, but please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for FULL DIRECTIONS.)

  1. Making Ranch Popcorn Seasoning is as simple as measuring your Parmesan, herbs, and spices into a mini food processor or blender. Whirl until all of the ingredients are pulverized into a fine powder, and then set aside.
Ranch Popcorn Seasoning in food processor.
Grinding Ranch Popcorn Seasoning into a fine powder in food processor.
  1. And then to transform this flavorful seasoning into a bowl o' Ranch Popcorn, go ahead and melt some butter and allow it to sit for a few minutes. You can melt it in a glass measuring cup in the microwave or in a little saucepan on the stove.
Softened butter in a bowl.
Melted butter in a bowl.
  1. Then pop your popcorn. I like to pop my plain popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag in the microwave (specific instructions listed in the recipe card). No fuss, no mess, and no icky chemical additives like those found in microwave popcorn. However, if you have an alternative popcorn-popping method that you prefer, feel free to use that instead!
Freshly popped popcorn.
  1. Next is the butter-related trick that diminishes the chance of soggy popcorn. Once your butter is melted, let it sit for a couple of minutes. Then use a spoon to skim (and discard) the foamy layer from the surface of the melted butter.
Skimming solids from the surface of melted butter.
  1. When you're ready to drizzle the butter over the popcorn, do so slowly, and stop just short of allowing the thick butter solids to pour out. Leave those at the bottom of the measuring cup/saucepan (see Tips + Tricks below for why this helps!). Toss the popcorn to make sure it's all evenly coated with butter.
Tossing butter into popcorn.
  1. Finally, sprinkle your buttery popcorn with the Ranch Popcorn Seasoning, carefully stirring and tossing so that the popcorn gets evenly coated. Taste as you go...you may choose to use some or all of the Parmesan/herb mixture, and at the end, you may season with additional salt and/or pepper, to taste, if desired.
Ranch Popcorn Seasoning mixed into popcorn.
  1. Enjoy immediately!
Bowl of Parmesan Popcorn coated with Ranch Popcorn Seasoning.

Tips + Tricks

There are a couple of easy secrets-to-success behind this Ranch Popcorn Seasoning.

By grinding the Ranch Popcorn Seasoning into a powder, it distributes the flavors and coats the popcorn more evenly than would be accomplished by simply mixing everything together.

Also, the purpose of only using the clear, bright yellow layer of melted butter is that you're essentially drizzling your popcorn with clarified butter. And since clarified butter is pure butterfat -- with excess water and milk proteins removed -- your popcorn is less likely to become wet and soggy. Yay!

Ranch popcorn in glass bowl.

So who's ready for movie night? And what's on your marquee? Let me know which recent grown-up movies you recommend (since I haven't seen one of those in a theater since, ohhhh, circa-2006), and perhaps our next Ranch Popcorn Seasoning-fueled movie night will occur after the kids go to bed! 😉

Piece of Parmesan popcorn coated with Ranch Popcorn Seasoning.

More Movie Night Snacks

Ranch Popcorn Seasoning in small glass bowl with spoon.

Ranch Popcorn Seasoning (with Parmesan)

Ranch Popcorn Seasoning is a savory mixture of dried herbs, spices, and Parmesan. Sprinkled over freshly popped popcorn that’s been drizzled in real butter, it makes a delicious snack or perfect movie night treat!
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12 cups popcorn
Calories: 99kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried dill
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels, OR 12 cups freshly popped popcorn, unseasoned

Instructions

  • Measure Parmesan, garlic salt, onion powder, dried parsley, salt, dried dill, and black pepper into a mini food processor (or blender). Pulse until all ingredients are ground into a fine powder. Set aside.
  • Cube butter and melt (either in a glass measuring cup in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove). Allow to sit for a few minutes.
  • To pop 6 cups of popcorn at a time in the microwave, pour ¼ cup popcorn kernels in a clean paper sack (I use a 12 ⅜ X 6 ⅛ X 4" brown paper lunch bag). Fold over the top several times. Microwave on high until there is a 2-second pause between pops (all microwaves vary, but this will probably take around 2 minutes, give or take 30 seconds). Shake the bag so that any unpopped kernels roll to one corner. Tear a tiny hole in that corner and shake out kernels. Pour popped popcorn into a large bowl. Repeat entire process one more time for a total of 12 cups popcorn.
  • Use a spoon to skim the foam from the surface of the melted butter and discard. Slowly drizzle the clear, yellow, melted butter over the popcorn in the bowl, occasionally stirring with a large spoon to make sure that all of the popcorn is evenly coated. Stop pouring out the melted butter once you reach the milky solids in the bottom of the cup/pan (you may discard these or reserve for use in another recipe).
  • Sprinkle the popcorn with the Ranch Popcorn Seasoning, carefully stirring and tossing so that the popcorn gets evenly coated. Taste as you go...you may choose to use some or all of the Parmesan/herb mixture, and at the end, you may season with additional salt and/or pepper, to taste, if desired. Serve immediately.

Video

Notes

  • You may use any method you wish to pop your popcorn. Just make sure you're starting with plain popcorn before you add the butter and Ranch Popcorn Seasoning.
  • By grinding the herbs, spices, and Parmesan together in a food processor or blender, a fine powder is created that more evenly coats the popcorn (as opposed to just stirring the seasoning ingredients together).
  • The purpose of only using the clear, bright yellow layer of melted butter is that you're essentially drizzling your popcorn with clarified butter. And since clarified butter is pure butterfat -- with excess water and milk proteins removed -- your popcorn is less likely to become wet and soggy. 

Nutrition

Calories: 99kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 266mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 209IU | Vitamin C: 0.05mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

SavOriginally published on February 27, 2017, and updated on January 16, 2021, and July 26, 2023.

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5 from 9 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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8 Comments

    1. Hi John! I'm sorry I can't advise, but I've not tried making that substitution in this recipe.

    1. 5 stars
      THE GREATEST POPCORN!! Did not have dry dill and added italian seasoning instead. No butter either but had avocado oil and added 5 Tbsps. Delicious results. It is a KEEPER!! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe

  1. 5 stars
    I made this over the holidays for game night as one of many snacks it was a hit and everyone wanted the recipe! I have since made it many times and this is my go to to take to friends houses there is never any left thanks for sharing😊

  2. 5 stars
    I've been looking for a popcorn recipe and this is the winner! Thanks for sharing and I haven't been to a theater since, well...it's been a long time. But we've recently watched Wonder and I highly recommend it.
    I will be devouring this recipe tomorrow while watching the Oscars lol

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Samantha! We had grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for dinner and wanted a after dinner snack so I went to Pinterest and typed in popcorn recipes and your Parmesan Ranch Popcorn...my wife’s two favorite’s!!! I followed the recipe and we Absolutely Loved it!!! Saved it for future enjoyment!! Thanks for sharing from the Shawback’s in Anchorage,Alaska!!