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A Smart, Umami-Laced Trick for Making Buttered Popcorn Even Better

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Popcorn is, in my esteem, the ideal snack. It has all the characteristics of the best snack foods: texture, flavor, and butteriness. You can eat a big bowl of it without feeling too full. As a blank canvas, it can take on most flavors from sweet to savory.

Photo by Posie Harwood

I usually like my popcorn straight-up and unadulterated. That's not to say that it isn't delicious dressed up with cheese, fancy salts, or dried herbs, but rather than it doesn't require more than a touch of butter or coconut oil and a shower of salt to achieve snack perfection.


But while perusing the Kikkoman recipe archives (what, that isn't your idea of relaxation?), I came upon a recipe for Sriracha-laced popcorn. The template for the recipe is a smart one: Instead of plain butter, make a compound butter and toss your popcorn with it. Since the ingredients are blended into the butter, they're easier to distribute evenly.

Photo by Posie Harwood

Not being hugely into very spicy foods, I considered what other flavors I could audition. I swapped the Sriracha for soy sauce, whisking it into a blend of coconut oil and melted butter. And I found that soy sauce butter is fantastically good. It sounds too simple to be revelatory, but please go make it and try it on everything from corn on the cob to your avocado toast to a plate of spaghetti.

Soy sauce is so salty and umami-forward; it begs for the balancing, creamy richness of butter. You don't need to add salt to the mixture before tossing it with your popcorn, but if you want to add more layers of flavor, garlic salt is a great addition.

Photo by Posie Harwood

The soy sauce popcorn on its own is exceptional. It's not over-the-top in flavor, but it's more complex and interesting that a regular bowl of popcorn. It's also nearly impossible to stop eating. I've added a few flavor suggestions to the recipe, but I suggest starting with the basic soy sauce-butter-popcorn trifecta and then playing around with there. Sriracha (per the original recipe), grated Parmesan, crushed seaweed, or toasted sesame seeds are good ingredients to make into compound butter, too.

Now go forth, and elevate your snacking.

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Soy Sauce Butter Popcorn

1e4d7b52 fd4f 4798 ae19 d0f715768358  ry 400 Posie Harwood

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Serves 6
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Tags: Popcorn, soy sauce