Welcome to the land of homemade popcorn. And yes you might have come for the flavorful vegetarian recipes, it seems this is quickly turning into a popcorn blog. I can’t help it, I’m obsessed.
And with the ranch dressing obsession of America, the combination of popcorn and ranch seasoning is just about the greatest thing since…sliced bread?! It’s tangy, herby, garlic-y, and so one-of-a-kind you won’t be able to get enough.
Prepare homemade ranch seasoning ahead of time and you’ll be ready to make homemade ranch popcorn for movie night, weeknights on the couch, or as a to-go snack for soccer games, picnics, and more.
But never fret, even if you don’t make the seasoning ahead of time, this entire snack recipe comes together in 5 minutes from start to finish!
Ranch Popcorn Ingredients
As a huge fan of herbs and garlic, this ranch seasoning is full of flavor from a handful of dried herbs. It’s easy to mix together and store for later use, or to use immediately. Here’s what you’ll need!
- Buttermilk Powder: creaminess is a huge component of ranch dressing, and the tanginess that comes from buttermilk in it is unmatched. I did test it without buttermilk powder (more on that below) but honestly, to make the seasoning the most ranch-like, I highly recommend it.
- Dried Parsley, Dill, and Chives: these three dried herbs contribute to the herbaceousness of ranch. I like to add the chives to up the onion aspect of the seasoning.
- Dried Onion and Garlic Powder: there’s no ranch without these two! Be sure you have powder; granules will technically work, but the texture will be more gritty.
- Salt and Black Pepper: salt is a MUST to bring out the flavor of the seasoning and popcorn. Black pepper is essential for a pop of spice in ranch, too. Both can be adjusted to taste.
- Popcorn Kernels: to make homemade popcorn, of course!
- Butter: tossing the popcorn in butter helps the seasoning stick to the kernels.
- Soy Sauce or Vegetarian Worcheshire Sauce: ok, this is a totally optional and unique ingredient, BUT adding just a couple of drops (really, not a lot!) to the butter adds an extra boost of umami flavor and really brings out the “ranch-ness” of it all.
Where to Find Buttermilk Powder
You should be able to find buttermilk powder in your grocery store, either in the baking aisle (that’s where mine is) or by powdered milk. This is the buttermilk powder I use (it’s cheaper in the store!) and honestly, I am so excited about the other ways I can use it too. No more worrying about having buttermilk for homemade cinnamon rolls or chocolate cake!
As I mentioned, the buttermilk powder in this recipe really is what makes it the most ranch-like. That being said, if you don’t have or want to use it, you can either omit it and just focus on the herbs and alliums, or use grated parmesan cheese.
Adding grated parmesan cheese to popcorn is honestly one of my favorite things, and was almost the route I took with this recipe. While it’s great, delicious, creamy, salty, and a little tangy, it just didn’t quite have the same flavor as when I used the buttermilk powder.
In the absence of buttermilk powder, I do recommend using parmesan as a substitute…just make sure it’s grated parmesan so it sticks best.
How to Make Ranch Popcorn
Making ranch popcorn on the stovetop is really so easy. It only takes 5 minutes and it’s hardly any more work than making good ol’ fashioned popcorn.
Mix together Ranch Seasoning
As I mentioned, you can either mix the seasoning ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use, or quickly mix it up before you make the popcorn. It’s so easy to make, there’s not a huge push to make it in advance.
Simply stir together the ranch popcorn seasoning ingredients and set aside until ready to toss with the popcorn.
A really, really, big shortcut would be to use a packet of Hidden Valley ranch seasoning. I obviously prefer the homemade route (more flavor!).
Make Homemade Stovetop Popcorn
Get a heavy-bottomed stockpot or dutch oven and heat the oil, adding three kernels that will signal to you when the oil is hot. Add the remaining kernels, cover, and remove the pan from the heat for about 20 seconds. Place it back on the heat and wait as the kernels all pop.
Be sure to read my full stovetop popcorn post for all the details, tips, and tricks for making the best homemade popcorn!
Shake the Popcorn and Seasoning
Now, once the popcorn has popped, transfer it to a large bowl that has a lid or another vessel to shake the popcorn in. I hear large paper bags work well too, however, I haven’t tried it myself.
Toss or shake the popcorn with melted butter until it is completely coated. Be sure to get it as covered in butter as possible, because the butter (and oil from cooking) is what will help the seasoning stick to the popcorn.
Then, it’s time to add the seasoning! Sprinkle the ranch seasoning evenly over the popcorn, then toss to completely coat it. Ideally, you will be able to cover the large bowl and shake it well. If you have two people, one person can toss the popcorn with spoons while the other adds the seasoning, then toss to coat.
Be sure to shake the popcorn well so the seasoning coats each piece evenly.
Then, turn on your favorite movie, snuggle in, and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Yes! Add red pepper flakes or chili powder to the ranch seasoning to make it spicy.
As long as the ingredients you are using to make the ranch seasoning are certified gluten-free, yes! They should be, but I always recommend double-checking your specific ingredients just in case.
Yes, you can, you may need to adjust how much ranch seasoning you add because it will yield less popcorn. Be sure you toss when the popcorn is still warm so the seasoning sticks, too.
More Popcorn Seasonings to Love
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Homemade Ranch Popcorn
- 1 Tablespoon buttermilk powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried chives, heaping teaspoon
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, a few turns, to taste
- 3 Tablespoon oil of choice, refined coconut oil is preferred
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
- 4 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 drops soy sauce or Worcheshire sauce, optional
- In a small bowl, stir together the ranch seasoning ingredients (buttermilk powder, parsley, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, chives, salt, and pepper). Set aside.
- In a large heavy-bottomed large stockpot or dutch oven, add the oil and three popcorn kernels, heating over high heat. Cover the pan. These are the "test kernels" and once they pop, it signals that the oil is officially hot enough to pop all the kernels at the same time.
- Meanwhile, measure out the remaining 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels and begin preparing your butter by melting it either in a microwave-safe bowl or on the stovetop. If microwaving, run it in 20-second intervals, checking often to keep it from exploding. Add the drops of soy sauce or Worcheshire sauce, if using.
- Once the three test kernels have popped, immediately add the 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels to the pan. Cover and remove from heat, gently swirling from side to side for 20 seconds. Return the pan to the heat, and the popcorn kernels will almost immediately begin popping.
- Once the kernels are about halfway done popping, slightly crack the lid to allow excess steam to escape. Do this when the stockpot is approximately halfway full with popcorn, or about 30 seconds to 1 minute after they've popped – this does not have to be exact.
- If needed, you can gently shake the pan side to side to allow any remaining kernels to make it to the bottom of the pan to pop. Once the popping has slowed or just stopped, immediately pour the popcorn into your serving bowl. It's helpful if you have a large bowl with a lid. Alternatively, use a large brown paper bag to toss.
- Toss the freshly made popcorn with the melted butter until evenly coated, ensuring it's tossed well. Then, sprinkle the ranch seasoning evenly over buttered popcorn and toss or shake to coat until completely covered. Add salt and adjust to taste. Enjoy immediately!
- Nutrition is based on 16 cups; the popcorn will make approximately 16 cups of popcorn, which can easily serve up to 8 or more, depending on your hunger levels and situation.
- If using bulk ranch seasoning, use about 2 1/2 to 3 teaspoons of the dry mix.
Made this for the first time tonight – super easy and such a good snack! So fresh and flavorful!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Alyssa! Thanks so much for sharing!