Pimento Cheese Popcorn


128PimentoPopcornHow many ways can you serve pimento cheese? In Pimento Cheese: The Cookbook (St. Martin’s), Memphis food blogger Perre Coleman Magness pushes the boundaries of the “pate of the South” beyond the usual formula of grated cheese, pimento, and mayo to include soups, mains, sides, and more. This glorified popcorn incorporates both cheddar cheese and paprika—the dried form of pimento—for a winning munchie perfect for a Super Bowl party or just a lazy weeknight watching Netflix.


3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
8 to 10 cups popped popcorn, from about 1/2 cup kernels
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted


Grate the cheese with the finest grater you have. Writes Magness: “I use a rasp grater that I mainly use for citrus zest, but your box grater may have a very fine side as well; you want whisper-thin shreds of cheese.”

Mix the cheese with the paprika and salt, tossing it around with hands to coat the cheese in the spice and salt. Break up any large clumps of cheese as you toss.

Pop your corn by your preferred method—stovetop, air popper, microwave air popper (not microwave bags). It is important that the popcorn be piping hot when you add the seasoning. When the corn is popped, immediately transfer it to a large paper grocery bag. Add the butter (still warm is best) and the seasoned cheese. Fold the top over and shake to distribute the flavorings. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Serve immediately with lots of paper napkins.

Yields 8 to 10 cups