Beginner’s Salted Egg Yolk Popcorn Recipe

Salted egg yolk popcorn is popping up all over the internet lately. But what is it? Where does it come from? What makes it so delicious? And is salted egg yolk popcorn a healthy snack? In this post, we will answer all of these questions and more!

What Is Salted Egg Yolk Popcorn?

Salted egg yolk popcorn is a sweet and savory snack typically made out of salted egg yolks, popcorn, and some kind of sugar. Traditionally, salted egg yolk popcorn involves a sauce made from mashed salted duck egg yolks, a fatty ingredient like butter or neutral oil, sugar, and optional additional spices.

Where Does Salted Egg Yolk Popcorn Come From?

A popular snack in Asian countries and originating from Taiwan, this umami-rich appetizer has all the satisfying savoriness of an indulgent main course with a hint of sweetness to balance out the richness. The ingredient of salted egg yolks, however, is traced back to China.

Where Can I Buy Salted Egg Yolks?

Of course, anything can be bought online these days–but did you know that you can buy salted duck egg yolks in the form of a paste at your local Asian market? Better yet, if you have a few weeks and a few extra egg yolks, make them yourself using this simple method.

salt-cured egg yolks recipe

What Makes Egg Yolk Popcorn Delicious?

While egg yolk popcorn enjoys additional snackability thanks to the addition of sugar (or even MSG powder in some cases), the bulk of its tastiness comes from the naturally-occurring free glutamates in the salted egg yolks themselves. The richness from the yolks offers an indulgent creaminess while the sugar tempers the powerfully salty flavor. Add a little butter and you’ve got the ultimate savory snack!

Is There MSG In Eggs? Is There MSG in Salt-Cured Eggs?

MSG, or Monosodium Glutamate, is an ingredient often added to foods to boost their savoriness or cravability–often in the form of a powder. Examples of foods containing MSG powder include savory goods like flavored chips, packaged ramen, and other processed foods. Monosodium Glutamate is classified as an excitotoxin as it can cause symptoms like migraines or asthma if eaten to excess–however, the FDA still regulates it as safe for consumption in small doses. But did you know that glutamate is a naturally-occurring amino acid present in many foods you may already love?

Found in foods like meat, cheese, vegetables, and yes, even eggs, glutamate occurs either bound in a protein or “free.” Free glutamates are associated with increased umami in comparison to their bound counterparts. Generally speaking, the more free glutamates a food has, the tastier it will be. Part of the beauty of fermentation and other methods of preserving food is that it breaks down the proteins, creating even more delicious free glutamates to enjoy.

So while there are free glutamates in regular egg yolks, there are even more in salt-cured egg yolks. This is because the process of salting them preserves the yolks in the same way that lactic acid preserves the cabbage in sauerkraut. Thank you, bacteria!

What Do Salt-Cured Egg Yolks Taste Like?

Many liken the flavor of salt-cured egg yolks to cheese, and with good reason; there is a creaminess from the fat of the yolk that is almost nutty in flavor. However, because the yolks are technically fermented, the predominating flavor is funky and salty–kind of like fish sauce.

Are Salted Egg Yolks High in Cholesterol?

If you are watching your cholesterol intake but still want to cook with your salt-cured egg yolks, this popcorn recipe is perfect for you. With a fraction of the salted egg yolk used in versions requiring up to 6 whole yolks (well outside the recommended range of cholesterol intake for a single day), this salted egg yolk popcorn hits all the savory flavor notes without the associated damage to the arteries. For your reference, a single chicken egg yolk typically has around 187 grams of cholesterol.

The dangerous thing about salt-cured egg yolks is the sodium content. One salted egg yolk can contain as much as 680 milligrams of sodium–so use this ingredient judiciously! A little bit goes a long way…

How to Eat Salt-Cured Egg Yolks

If you’re curious about making salt-cured egg yolks but wondering how to cook with them, you are not alone. However, when it comes to this particular kitchen project, the sky’s the limit on savory dishes. I prefer it on top of my pasta in lieu of cheese, but it can be a great boost of flavor for rice or risotto, buttered bread, soups, or even meat dishes. Some of the best ways to use those salt-cured yolks include grating them over:

  • polenta or savory grains
  • grilled corn
  • toast
  • creamy pasta dishes or ravioli
  • pizza
  • over a caesar salad in lieu of parmesan
  • breaded chicken cutlets
  • herby roasted mushrooms

Beginner’s Salted Egg Yolk Popcorn Recipe

salt-cured egg yolks, butter, sugar, sumac, popcorn recipe

I hope you will love making this popcorn as much as I enjoyed eating it. If you were wondering what to do with your salt-cured egg yolks, this recipe allows them to take center stage!

salted egg yolk popcorn

Salted Egg Yolk Popcorn (From Salt-Cured Yolks)

Salty, creamy preserved egg yolks come together with butter and a dash of sumac for a rich and tangy popcorn dish you will love!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer, Snack
Servings 2 people


  • 1 mortar and pestle


  • 1/2 salt-cured egg yolk, finely grated
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1-2 Tbs neutral oil, or enough to coat the kernels
  • 2 tsp white sugar, divided
  • 3 Tbs butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp sumac (optional)


  • Using a microplane zester or a box grater on the finest setting, grate approximately one half of your salt-cured egg yolk. You should have about 1 heaping tablespoon of grated yolk.
  • Place popcorn kernels and oil in a large saucepan and swirl until all the kernels are coated. Place a lid over the mixture and set to medium high heat, cooking until most of the kernels have stopped popping. This should take between 4-10 minutes.
  • While the popcorn is popping, melt the butter in the microwave or on the stove top. Place 1 teaspoon of sugar and the grated egg yolk into your mortar and pestle. Combine until the sugar is incorporated and you have a paste, not chunks. Add the remaining teaspoon of sugar into the hot butter and stir until dissolved. Add the egg yolk paste to the sugar and butter mixture, and stir to combine. The mixture should form a loose sauce.
  • When most of the popcorn kernels have finished popping, remove from heat and immediately pour the popcorn into a large, wide bowl. Drizzle the sauce over the kernels evenly and mix with a wooden spoon to distribute. Sprinkle the optional sumac over the kernels and serve immediately.
Keyword after dinner snack, appetizer, buttery popcorn, China, egg yolk popcorn, how to use cured egg yolks, preserved egg yolks, salt-cured egg yolks, salted egg yolk popcorn, seasonal snacks, sumac, Taiwan

From Hummus Origins…to Aquafaba!

Have you ever wondered who first loved chickpeas enough to blitz them into a creamy, spoonable purée? Because it has been beloved by so many, the origins of hummus are somewhat disputed. Greek and Arab cultures both lay claim to the delightful spread–so, where did hummus come from? And what on earth is aquafaba!?

Is Hummus Greek or Arabic?

If you’ve ever shopped for hummus at the grocery store, you’ve probably noticed packaging with Greek names or inspiration. Yet the word “hummus” actually means “chickpea” in Arabic. Are you confused yet?

Regardless of where hummus comes from, Greeks and Arabs historically traded many goods, sharing ideas, music, and food for a very long time. Both cultures also happen to enjoy stuffed grape leaves and baklava, no doubt reaching back to their intermingling during the Ottoman Empire. It’s no wonder they both claim to be the inventors of hummus! We may never know its true origins.

What we know for sure is that the earliest mention of hummus dates back to 13th century Egypt. Since the 1200s, however, hummus has come in many different forms. A quick Google search yields recipes for “Egyptian hummus,” “Greek hummus,” “Israeli hummus,” “Lebanese hummus“…the list goes on. The basics of these recipes are all fundamentally the same, however; blend cooked chickpeas with lemon juice, tahini, and seasonings together and enjoy!

The happy additions of tahini, lemon, and raw garlic make this simple dish enjoyable as an appetizer or first course–or as part of an epic charcuterie platter! So, what makes my recipe different? For this version of hummus, I include a no-cost secret ingredient: aquafaba!

What is Aquafaba?

Aquafaba is the water reserved from the process of cooking chickpeas. This water is rich in starches and, when whipped, makes a colloidal foam not dissimilar to egg whites. This is why aquafaba is popular among vegans and egg-intolerant individuals. The liquid from a can of chickpeas is so reliably fluffy when whipped, it can even be used to make vegan meringue cookies!

Other Ways to Use Aquafaba

Because of its fluffy characteristics when whipped, aquafaba affords bakers and home cooks many options in the kitchen. Here are some of the primary ways chefs use aquafaba:

With aquafaba, the only limit in the kitchen is your imagination! Use it in lieu of egg whites in sweet or savory recipes.

Not Everyone Loves Aquafaba…

While vegans and egg-intolerant people shared a lot of excitement since aquafaba hit the food scene in recent years, some nutritionists remain skeptical. Despite its fluffy characteristics, there’s more to “bean water” (“faba” and “aqua” in Latin) than meets the eye.

Some think consuming the liquid from canned beans can have a deleterious effect due to the BPAs in canned food. (However, the FDA maintains that trace amounts of BPAs do not have harmful effects.) However, you can make your own aquafaba using dried chickpeas if you are concerned about the BPAs in canned food.

Others think the starchy water from the beans causes undue gastrointestinal distress because of its oligosaccharide content. This can cause gas and bloating in folks with a sensitive digestive system, and some claim it can even lead to leaky gut syndrome.

However, due to aquafaba’s recent arrival in the culinary world, there’s not much research to dispute or confirm any potential health benefits (from avoiding eggs) or harmful effects (from BPAs and starches). Cultures have long consumed stews containing the cooking liquid from pre-soaked dried chickpeas, so as is usually the case with intuitive eating, listen to your gut here (literally)! Everything in moderation, right?

Why I Use Aquafaba in This Recipe

The addition of some of the starchy water whips together with the chickpeas to create a truly fluffy, creamy texture without adding excess oil. I personally don’t eat a lot of canned food, am not pregnant, and am not overly concerned about–erm–passing wind. I’m pretty sure my dog doesn’t love me any less if I fart…so I’ll take the cut in unnecessary fat and the boost in texture, please! 🙂

Basic Hummus Recipe

Here is the basic skeleton of the recipe for hummus, which you can “dress up” any way you like. I doctored mine with extra raw garlic for a little punch.

ingredients for aquafaba hummus

I crushed the two heads of garlic and left them to soak in the lemon juice for around 15 minutes. The lemon juice takes some of the pungent bite and tempers garlic’s “rougher” edges. For maximum “garlic taming,” mince or press the garlic into the lemon juice.

Blitz everything in a food processor, gradually adding aquafaba until the hummus is of the desired thickness. Garnish with chopped toasted nuts, pomegranite seeds, sesame seeds, fresh herbs…I topped mine with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of sumac.

finished aquafaba hummus
What a good day to treat yourself!

Serve with your desired dip-able foods! Keeps well covered in the fridge up to 1 week.

sweet peppers, crackers, celery, aquafaba hummus

Basic Oil-Free Hummus (With Aquafaba!)

The addition of aquafaba eliminates the need to use olive oil as a binder and makes for a fluffy, addicting dip!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine greek, middle eastern, traditional, vegan
Servings 4 people


  • food processor or blender


  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, with liquid reserved
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • aquafaba from chickpeas, about 3/4 cup
  • juice from 1 large lemon, about 1/4 cup
  • salt, to taste


  • Juice the lemon. Peel and chop garlic, then add to the lemon juice to macerate, about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, drain chickpeas using a fine strainer over a bowl or large measuring cup. You should have about 3/4 cup of aquafaba. Add chickpeas to a food processor or blender along with tahini, a pinch of salt, and the lemon juice with garlic. Pulverize in pulses, gradually adding aquafaba until the hummus is of a desirable consistency.
  • Taste, and season for salt. Garnish with chopped toasted nuts, pomegranate seeds, sumac, olive oil, sesame seeds, pine nuts, and/or fresh herbs and serve. Keeps well in the fridge about 1 week.
Keyword 15 minute recipes, aquafaba, arabic, arabic food, chickpeas, easy recipes, feel good food, feel good food plan, greece, greek, greek food, how hummus is made, how long until hummus goes bad, how to make hummus, hummus, hummus from scratch, hummus recipe, intuitive chef, intuitive cooking, intuitive cuisine, intuitive diet, intuitive eating, intuitive food plan, intuitive recipes, is hummus healthy, is hummus vegan, middle east, middle eastern food, oil free, origins of hummus, sesame seeds, sumac, tahini, vegan food, vegan recipes, where does hummus come from, which hummus is best

For other ideas on how to use chickpeas, check out this my recipe for simple chickpea ricotta pasta, or this recipe for butternut squash and chickpea tahini salad!