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If you think Nachos would be too on the nose and simple for your party, why not make a melted cheddar popcorn with crispy bacon bits? Your family and friends will definitely feel special and sophisticated while munching on this salty and cheesy snack. Maybe don’t invite your cardiologist, though. It’s very easy to make, too. It’s one of those recipes that is comically simple but equally delicious. After you take a handful of this popcorn, you’ll realize how dangerously addictive it is.
If you want to take your favorite party or movie night snack to the next level, this recipe is the winner. It’d even be a crowd favorite on Super Bowl Sunday! Also, it appeals to everyone’s taste buds because the ingredients are easily replaceable with alternatives. Whether you and your friend circle enjoy healthier or gourmet snacks, or more regular snacks as long as they’re tasty. With this recipe, your limit is your imagination! Before we get poppin’, let’s take a look at the alternative meats or cheeses you might want or need based on your preferences.
- Regular Bacon with Different Seasonings
You can switch things up and add different flavors to your bacon bits such as maple chili bacon bits, teriyaki-sesame bacon bits, or roasted garlic bacon bits!
- Beef Bacon
If you don’t consume pork because of religious or other types of preferences, you can still use kosher or halal beef bacon bits for this recipe!
- Turkey Bacon
You can even use turkey bacon if you want to snack on a bowl of delicious bacon cheddar popcorn while keeping your health in mind at the same time!
- Crispy Bits of Steak
If you like fancier or more gourmet snacks, you can even go for a roasted, crispy steak chopped into small, bite-sized bits!
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
We don’t really need to explain this, do we? Parmesan cheese with crispy bacon bits on homemade, warm popcorn would be a match made in heaven!
- Powdered Cheddar Cheese
Powdered cheddar cheese is definitely what you should go for if you love sucking the cheese powder residue on the tip of your fingers!
- Pepper Jack Cheese
If you’re a spicy food lover and you just can’t help yourself and put spice in everything you eat, you can definitely go for a grated pepper jack cheese! It not only has an amazingly peppery flavor, but it’s also a nice melting cheese.
- Smoked Gouda, Aged Cheddar, Blue Cheese
If you gravitated towards the steak bits alternative while reading the bacon/meat alternatives, these cheeses are your best friend! But it doesn’t have to be steak bits, these fancy and scrumptious cheeses will go with regular bacon or any type of bacon/meat alternative you choose to use.
How to Make Melted Cheddar Popcorn with Crispy Bacon Bits
Now that you know all the alternatives, you can adjust based on your and your guest’s taste. But be careful, once you serve a bowl of this, it’ll disappear in a matter of minutes and you’ll be asked for more. Because it’s that good! So, feel free to double or triple the amounts in this recipe. Also, you know what would be a really great idea? Popping the popcorn in bacon fat instead of neutral oil! It’ll give it an extra bacony, fatty flavor. If you’re intrigued, let’s get poppin’!
- ¼ cups corn kernels – it’ll yield approximately 8 cups of popped popcorn
- ½ tbsp coconut or neutral oil
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated* – or ½ cup powdered cheddar cheese
- ½ cup crispy bacon bits*
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Large pot with a tight fitting lid
- Large bowl
- Parchment paper
* Feel free to put more or less of these ingredients depending on your preference.
- First of all, preheat the broiler of the oven
- Put the pot over medium heat and add the oil – if you want to pop the popcorn in bacon fat, fry the bacon first, reserve the oil, and use in this step
- Let the oil heat up for a couple of minutes
- Toss in a few corn kernels and wait for them to start popping
- Once they pop, add the remaining kernels, give it a stir, and cover the lid
- When all the popcorn pops and the popping sound starts to subside, remove from heat and dump the popped popcorn to a large bowl
- Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp, break into bite-sized pieces, and set aside – you’ll have already cooked it if you used bacon fat to pop the popcorn
- Add the crispy bacon bits to the bowl of popcorn
- Add half of the grated cheddar cheese to the bowl of popcorn as well, and mix thoroughly
- Dump the bacon cheddar popcorn mixture to a parchment lined baking sheet, and flatten out with a spatula or a spoon
- Sprinkle rest of the grated cheese over the popcorn, and let it melt under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes – you can skip this step if you’re using powdered cheddar cheese
- Transfer to a serving bowl, mix, and serve while warm and the cheese is still gooey
You can store the leftovers – but there probably won’t be any – in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days, but keep in mind that the popcorn may lose its crisp and become chewy.