Chile Lime Tequila Popcorn Recipe

Fresh popcorn is tossed with melted butter, lime juice, jalapeno peppers, red pepper flakes, cumin and a splash of tequila.

Chile Lime Tequila Popcorn

I tucked a bag of this chile lime tequila popcorn into my luggage as I was packing for a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico a few weeks back. The recipe came from a new single-subject book, Popcorn, which caught my attention because it was photographed by my talented friend Lara Ferroni. To choose one recipe to try from sixty popcorn-centric creations was a bit of a challenge, but my love for lime-spritzed savory treats led me to page 39. Fresh popcorn is tossed with melted butter, lime juice, jalapeno peppers, red pepper flakes, cumin and a splash of tequila. I threw in a couple handfuls of toasted peanuts for good measure before securing the bag with a bit of twine.

Chile Lime Popcorn Recipe

Popcorn enthusiasts will find plenty to inspire here. Dozens of toppings are suggested - from herbes de Provence to chai spices, za'atar to Chinese five spice. There are plenty of sweet ideas too, for those of you who find yourself solidly in the kettle corn camp.

There was also a Spanish smoked paprika popcorn that just about won out - and I think I'll try that one next. Unless one of you can trump that by suggestion a favorite topping of your own for me to try. -h

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Chile Lime Tequila Popcorn Recipe

4 quarts freshly popped popcorn*
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon tequila
1/2 small jalapeno, seeds and membrane removes, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Preheat the oven to 300F degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat (hs note: or unbleached parchment paper). Set aside.

Put the popcorn in a large, clean paper bag or a washable muslin bag. In a medium-size bowl whisk together the butter, lime juice and zest, and tequila. Add the jalapeno. In a small bowl combine the black pepper, salt, red pepper, and cumin.

Drizzle half of the butter mixture over the popcorn, fold over the top of the bag, and shake until the popcorn is coated and moist. Taste. Add more of the butter mixture if you like, and give a second shake. Sprinkle (most of) the pepper mixture over the popcorn, fold over the top of the bag, and shake a few times to coat. Taste, and if you'd like more pepper flavor add the rest of it.

Spread the popcorn evenly over the baking sheet and bake until the popcorn is dry, five to seven minutes.

*To pop 4 quarts of popcorn, heat 1/4 cup clarified butter, coconut oil, or olive oil in a deep pot over medium heat. Add a few kernels to the pot. Once they pop, add 3/4 cup popcorn kernels and shake the pot until they cover the pot evenly. Cover the pot and shake intermittently until the popping slows to 5 seconds between pops. Remove the popcorn from heat and transfer it to whatever bag you are going to use for tossing.

Make 4 quarts of popcorn.

Reprinted with permission from Popcorn by Patrick Evans-Hylton. (Sasquatch Books 2008)

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I went right away to Amazon to see what I could find out about this book. It was there. When looking "inside" there I found the recipe for the Smoked Paprika Popcorn...imagine my excitement! Just finished making it and it's wonderful! Just may have to buy this book. you bake the popcorn to bring back the crispness or to bake in the flavor...or both? The recipes shown didn't include that step so I'm thinking it's your idea. (?)


I have to agree with kjerstiye - nutritional yeast on popcorn tastes amazing. I have an air popper which is so much better than microwaved popcorn. It is a cheap investment too ($15- $20) for a great snack with endless variations. Also...although I am a fairly tried and true vegetarian and avoid non-natural products, I have to confess that using cooking spray instead of butter/olive oil really cuts down the fat. The olive oil spray works great with Herbes DeProvence...and the plain old canola spray works with everything else. Honey mustard topping from the spice section in the grocery store that is for grilling sprinkled on top of popcorn is my latest favorite!!


I love funky popcorn :)


Mmmmmm! This is such a fun idea! The flavor combination sounds intriguing.


These ideas sound great! There are times when my food cravings are more about "crunchiness" and I use popcorn as the fix. I'm especially liking the idea of smoked paprika since it is one of my current favorites. Never even remotely considered putting it on popcorn. (now I'm wondering why!) Going to the kitchen right now & experiment. Thanks again Heidi...just love this site! ps...As a kid I grew up on farms. We used to pop milo sometimes instead of corn. Results are a really small popped kernal and has a different flavor. It's been so long I'm not remembering just what kind of different. I've thought recently about popping milo, but don't know where to find a source for safe milo.


Love the flavors in this!


That sounds great! I like my popcorn tossed with garlic that is cooked in butter with some chile molido. A little lime juice might set those flavors off nicely. Gonna havta look for that book. Popcorn is our favorite snack in my house.


Yum, this looks delicious Heidi! Popcorn is one of those healthy snacks that I love because I can eat it by the handful and not feel a bit guilty. What kind of popcorn kernels do you like to buy?

Emily Olson

that's something more grown up that i'd be willing to serve during movie times :)


Stumbled upon this one by accident while not paying attention to what I was doing, however it yielded some pretty unusual and tasty results: Caramelized Wasabi and Black Truffle Popcorn 4 quarts air popped popcorn 1/4 cup unsalted butter 1-2 tsp (to taste) strong, dry wasabi powder 1/2-1 tsp (to taste) black truffle salt (or crushed dry porcini mushrooms, mixed with appropriate portion of sea salt) Over very low heat, melt butter in a small saucepan. Stir in dry wasabi powder and watch closely until butter turns light caramel color. Be wary not to cook too long as wasabi will quickly taste burned. Drizzle butter through popcorn and toss thoroughly. Sprinkle popcorn with salt and toss again.


I have this book...I tried the Buffalo Popcorn, and it just...didn't work for me. I couldn't get it to look like yours does, the butter just "melted" all the popcorn. I mean, it tasted good, but it lacked the popcorniness.


Very interresting indeed!


I was raised cooking Greek food and wanted to incorporate some of my favorite flavors into my popcorn. Growing up, we had a popcorn pot, a tradition handed down from my father who was raised in New Orleans. We seasoned this pot with garlic salt and only used it for popcorn, until it had a wonderful flavor. So when I recently bought myself a brand new popcorn pot for seasoning, I immediately began thinking of create things to try. This is my favorite of the recipes I created: LEMON DILL POPCORN Popcorn Canola Oil Soy Butter Lemon Juice Garlic Salt Dill Pop popcorn in canola oil. Once popped, turn the burner off. Melt some soy butter in the pot that is still warm. Add lemon juice and let the heat reduce the liquid a little. Toss popcorn with garlic salt, dill and the lemon butter mixture. The resulting popcorn is tangy and has a bite with a wonderful dill flavor throughout. It's also really pretty with all the little green flecks. This has become a big hit at parties and sleepovers.

Katie in Santa Cruz

Perfect timing with the Academy Awards on tonight -- I'll have to whip up some!


This sounds really good. I remember watching something on food network and they suggested using lime juice and chili powder instead of butter for a healthier corn on the cob topping. This recipe sounds very similar, except with the extra kick of some "ta-kill-ya" ;)


Spread the popcorn evenly over the baking sheet and vake until the popcorn is dry, 5 to seven minutes. What does "vake" mean? Recipe sounds wonderful. HS: That's what happens when I try to type too fast. ;) Thanks for the heads up.


A whole book about popcorn? Crazy! I think all we've ever done is sprinkle Cajun seasoning on microwave varieties. Which is good, don't get me wrong, but not all that creative.


Can someone please recommend sources for high-quality popping corn? I'm stuck in the rut of buying supermarket corn, because it's all I know. Thanks!


This corn sounds yum and I can't wait to try, but I must pipe in on this one, as it's right up my alley... We air pop the corn, add Bragg (or tamari) from a spray bottle (we just keep it in the fridge), flax seed oil (just like butter), vegit seasoning (or your favorite), and grated parmesan and/or brewers yeast. Yum!

nancy d

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