Cacio e Pepe Popcorn

Cacio e Pepe is one of my all time favorite pasta dishes – mainly because it’s delicious, but also because it’s EASY!!! The name literally translates to cheese and pepper. I mean, you really can’t go wrong with that flavor combo now can you?! One of my favorite ways to transform a basic bag of microwave popcorn is to take inspiration from my favorite Italian dish and top it with heaps of Parmesan cheese and freshly cracked black pepper. This Cacio e Pepe Popcorn is easy to make and even easier to eat – which means its basically the perfect snack food! 

This Cacio e Pepe recipe is part of our 3-part  ‘Choose Your Own Recipe Adventure’ video series on You Tube featuring popcorn!

Watch me make my Cacio e Pepe Popcorn  for you step-by-step in the video above….

Seriously, if there ever was a minimalist snack this would be it, but don’t take it’s nominal ingredient list for lack of flavor – this popcorn is truly next level delicious.

A big bowl of popcorn is sitting on an ottoman

You can literally make this Cacio e Pepe Popcorn with no fuss in minutes, all you need are 5 ingredients and a brown paper bag!

Brown paper lunch bag || You know that stash of brown paper lunch bags hiding out in your cupboard, awaiting their time to shine on school field trips?  Well, I have another use for them, turn them into the perfect, eco friendly, disposable vessel for popping popcorn in your microwave! 

Popcorn kernels || It doesn’t matter what kernels you use here – yellow kernels, white kernels, mixed bag kernels….they all pop the same!

Oil || I personally use olive oil  whenever I am making my DIY brown Bag Microwave Popcorn, but you could use coconut oil, avocado oil, or even butter. Really, whatever you want to use will work. Just know that your popcorn is  blank slate and will take on the flavor of whatever oil that you use. 

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese || I love Parmesan cheese on just about anything – its salty deliciousness make my tastebuds so happy! Since popcorn is a blank slate that requires lots of salt to taste just right Parmesan is the perfect cheesy topper! Start with the 1/4 cup called for in the recipe below and give it a taste, but don’t be afraid to just go for it and pile on EXTRA Parm…you just can’t go wrong with more cheese.  

Black pepper ||Black pepper is in virtually every kitchen and sits on almost every dining table, but it is hardly ever the star of a dish! I love the flavor that the black pepper provides to this popcorn and my kid’s love it too because it is a subtle heat with an emphasis on flavor, not on scolville units! 

Salt || While I cook exclusively with coarse grain kosher salt, only fine grain sea salt gives me that salty popcorn fix that I crave! A finer grain salt will stick to the nooks and crannies of the kernels as they pop making for a superior tasting popcorn.  

A big bowl of cacio e pepe popcorn sits on a marble table top.

Since the secret is out of the bag, so to speak…

…you might just find yourself popping popcorn every day, in which case you might also find yourself craving a little flavor variety! Now that you know the basics you can really take this recipe and turn it into any flavor profile your heart desires. Click on the links below to see how to make two more of my favorite DIY Brown Bag Microwave Popcorn flavors, one savory and one sweet – both equally delicious!


DIY Brown Bag Microwave Popcorn || Looking for a homemade snack that is fast, easy, good for you, and delicious? There is no need to look any further. No more standing over the hot stove, no more questioning weird ingredients on the labels of store bought microwave popcorn packs, and absolutely no need to pay astronomical prices for pre-popped popcorn ever again. All you need to make a big bowl of delicious popcorn in your microwave is a brown paper lunch bag, a little bit of butter or oil, popcorn kernels, and salt!

DIY Microwave Kettle Corn || I am one of those people that has to buy the JUMBO sized bag of kettle corn at the fair! I love it and can literally just eat  it by the fistful. While I’m not exactly sure how the guy with the giant kettle at the fair makes his, I have perfected a pretty delicious DIY version that is pretty hard to beat. Plus, my recipe is made with maple sugar which means it is free of refined sugars and WAY better for me than the version I get at the fair.

If you’ve tried my DIY Brown Bag Microwave Popcorn recipe I would be so grateful if you would rate the recipe and let me know what you think in the comments below, I just love hearing from you and your reviews and comments really help others that visit This Mess is Ours! 

*** This recipe post was updated with new videos, text, nutritional information, and an updated recipe card on 8/26/2020***


Cacio e Pepe Popcorn

A big bowl of popcorn is sitting on an ottoman

Don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know what you think about this popcorn in the comments below, I just love hearing from you and your reviews/comments really help other people that visit This Mess is Ours! 

  • Author: This Mess is Ours
  • Prep Time: 1 min
  • Cook Time: 2 mins
  • Total Time: 3 mins
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Snacks
  • Method: Microwave
  • Cuisine: Snacks
  • Diet: Gluten Free


1/4 cup popcorn kernels

1 teaspoon olive oil

fine sea salt or table salt to taste

1/4 tablespoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup freshly ground Parmesan cheese


Combine the popcorn kernels, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a brown paper bag. Fold the top down 3 times to close, sake to coat coat kernels, and place in the microwave. 1 minute 45 seconds – 2 minutes until popping has slowed to 2-3 seconds between pops.

Transfer the popcorn to a bowl and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top while it is still warm.



Microwaves vary, so you may need to increase or decrease the cooking time to ensure that most of the kernels pop, but none of them burn. You can also use the popcorn function on your microwave if it has one.

Keywords: cacio e pepe, popcorn, Parmesan popcorn, cheesy popcorn, DIY brown bag popcorn

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