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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This looks amazing! My sister got me hooked on freshly popped and buttered popcorn sprinkled with ranch dressing mix, so yummy!!


Orville Redenbacher's "Natural" line has a chili lime flavored microwave popcorn that I love. But after reading the horror stories about popcorn butter lung, I have moral problems with supporting an industry that has made so many workers sick and refuses to acknowledge the harm its causing. This looks like it would taste very similar, and although it's a lot more work than simply popping a bag in the microwave, at least I won't have workers dying from suffocation on my conscience.


omg I'm in heaven :)


We have been eating a lot of popcorn lately, and enjoying it very simply with melted butter and salt, but I've also been thinking of variations. We got so excited about fresh popcorn that we even bought an air poppe! Heidi, did you find that you had any soggy popcorn with the wet toppings? Even butter sometimes does that, especially since it's hard to truly evenly distribute the topping. Great idea!

Erin @ Sprouted In the Kitchen

Gosh, I would have had a great night if I was eating those-I am going to plan a movie night and whip this out as a snack! Please visit my blog for my 'eating your words' challenge.


Gosh, I would have had a great night if I was eating thsoe-I am going to plan a movie night and whip this out as a snack!


sounds just the snack for me...i love tequila!!!!!just the lime and other ingredients will complete the glug!!!!!

Marianne Rao

Oh my gosh, heaven! I cannot wait to make this! And eat it! And I probably won't even share! thank you!

Not Scarlett

There must be something in the air---popcorn is everywhere! I just made, ate, and posted about caramel popcorn, though the recipe doesn't come from that book...

Mama JJ

ohmygosh. popcorn is my favorite food group. this is fantastic. i must try it.


A friend of mine had a popcorn recipe in one of the cookbooks she wrote and although I don't remember the exact proportions, I whip it up all the time. You just add seasoning salt, brown sugar and hot sauce into the melted butter before pouring over the popped corn. Perfect for anyone who loves sweet and salty!!


So many great ideas - many that I would have never thought of! I'd also mention that cooking the popcorn in clarified butter is fantastic - it has a higher smoke point, great flavor - delicious. Coconut oil is a great alternative as well. Keep the great variations coming. -h


this looks nummy. Our fave has been with the best olive oil we can find, Parmesan (or Pecorino if that's what's in the fridge) a bit of fresh cracked pepper and...wait for it... truffle salt. Love in a bowl.


Delicious! The short time in the oven dried it perfectly. I was worried the cumin would overwhelm but the lime cut through it nicely. I made a half batch and subbed 1/2 tsp jalepeno powder and it was SPICY! I also nuke my popcorn in a plain paper bag on the popcorn setting; no oil needed...


Kenny's Cajun Corn is also great! It has just the right kick!

Treehouse Chef

My favorite decadent way to eat popcorn is to add fresh rosemary to the oil, add a little melted butter once popped, toss with grated parmigiano reggiano and a handful of toasted pine nuts. For the person who was asking about good popcorn, I like white popcorn best. I use this Amish kind, which you can order from Amazon: (And I think Williams-Sonoma sells it as well.)


I can't wait to try a batch of fresh from the stovetop popped-corn. I'm thinking that to increase flavors--and break this up into a quick no-prep popping: mix the lime, zest and tequila into softened butter then put back in the fridge to set before melting. Then when you want a special treat, just melt flavored butter while the corn pops & mix dry rub or have that mixed ahead of time too. Both will last in storage. Also, love the idea of baking to decrease those soggy butter kernels.


Popcorn is my all time favorite food. In our family, we each have a popcorn pot. It is sacred and nothing else can be cooked in it! We are big fans of melted butter with the "Kraft Macaroni and Cheese" Cheese stirred in. It comes in a container like the Kraft parmesan. Sooo good. My husband likes to steal all the cheesy pieces. He would love this version with all those great flavors. I'll check out the book - Thanks!


I love this idea so much I twittered it yesterday. Bravo.

StreamingGourmet (Amy Wilson)

When I was living in Spain in college the woman I lived with made popcorn every night to watch her soap operas. She put pimenton and sugar on it. Delicious! I still make it the same way now that I'm back in the States. Sometimes she would mix in sunflower seeds too.


Right up my alley - I love popcorn!


I'm sorry, I don't speak english, but I see your blog always. is wonderful, beautiful.... MERAVIGLIOSO in Italy!!! Very compliments! Ciao!

il ramaiolo

I've had wasabi popcorn, but chili lime tequila? I'm all over it... yum.


This looks delicious, as per usual Heidi! However, I wanted to tell you about a yummy find - Trader Joe's offers this amazing Wasabi Sesame oil; it makes a delicious salad dressing with some rice vinegar, lemon juice, pepper, etc. Just beware the kick! Tegan


Funny, a friend just told me about this cookbook last week. I can't wait to pick up a copy ... popcorn is one of my most favorite things. And this chile/lime recipe sounds spectacular!

The Diva on a Diet

Maple kettle corn. Add 1/4 cup of maple syrup to the oil (though I use canola -- more neutral than olive oil) and kernels before popping. The maple gets just a bit caramelized just a bit, and the result is perfect maple-y kettle corn. So. Good.


All you had to say was tequila. This is a must try.

The Duo Dishes

I would only add that the initial popcorn recipe would benefit from a change to coconut oil - it has a higher smoke point than olive oil so is better for this application, I believe.


Ahh..The sound of corn popping...Then the smell....I will be try'n this 1 tonite...


Get out of here. Why didn't I ever think of doing something like this? LOVE!

Michelle @ What Does Your Body Good?

I eat popcorn nearly every day. No joke! It is one of my favorite snacks. This version sounds awesome, although I would probably have to try to tweak it in order to use less butter. The flavor combo is a definite temptation! Thanks for sharing it!

Nicole (Sweetie Pie)

Love this idea! I am not eating dairy so I've been using extra virgin coconut oil to pop popcorn in, which is delicious. I've just seasoned with sea salt, it needs nothing else. But I'm going to try this recipe and a few other suggestions here, and use a little EVCO in the recipe instead of the butter.


We love popcorn at our house, and this flavor combination would be such a hit! Thank you for sharing the recipe. That book is definitely going on my gift giving list for several family members. They'll get such a kick out of it!


Wonderful!!! A very special snack




thank you kind lady for all your wonderful recipes - but i made this today and it is absolutely great


Thank you for livening up my staple snack!!! I really have no words to describe how amazing this popcorn is. The flavors combine perfectly and you're left wanting more. Good thing the batch I made was serving eight and not one!


my hubby and i recently went to the tokyo disney theme parks and enjoyed their popcorn extravaganza! a myriad of fun little carts sell theme-flavored popcorn in different areas: sea salt popcorn in the mermaid lagoon, curry popcorn in the arabian coast, honey popcorn near winnie the pooh's honey hunt, even a strawberry popcorn--but i forget where! at home, we usually just give our freshly popped kernels a few grinds of course black pepper. i like it hotter than he, so when i'm by myself, i prefer chipotle!

expat in japan

Nutritional yeast and safflower oil (for popping because of the high heat). It's absolutely addicting.


I like to toss popcorn in red chili pepper infused olive oil and shower it with sea salt. Mmmm. Sometimes better than the movie.

nithya at hungrydesi

I like to toss popcorn in red chili pepper infused olive oil and shower it with sea salt. Mmmm. Sometimes better than the movie.

nithya at hungrydesi

nutritional yeast, cayenne, salt & pepper, and onion powder is the best! i also like curry on mine. can't wait to try this chile, lime, tequila combo on popcorn AND corn on the cob!

shiwa sangmo

This recipe sounds great, as I also like spicy lime flavors. Now the real trick is to sneak it in my big purse to the movies. I never get movie theatre popcorn because I have no idea what is in the stuff, and I hate the smell of the fake "butter" food.

Angela@Spinach Tiger

mmm I am on a popcorn kick since getting my Whirley Pop... I am totally going to try this one out :)


Tequila laced popcorn - how heady!!! Move over Garrett!!!

Shanta Sunderdas

My husband and I make chili-lime-cheddar popcorn, but I've never thought to use tequila. Thanks for sharing!


My favorite recipe for popcorn comes from a cookbook from the Junior League of San Diego. Steep dried chiles in melted butter and drizzle over popped corn, sprinkle with garlic powder. I deviated from the original by using my favorite pepper, chipotles.


I can't wait to try the Chile Lime Tequila Popcorn recipe. Here's one of my favorites: MADRAS POPCORN 1/4 tsp cayenne 1/4 tsp ground allspice 1/4 tsp ground coriander 1/4 tsp ground cumin 1/4 tsp turmeric 1/2 tsp salt 2 Tbsp vegetable oil or ghee 1/4 cup popcorn kernels Blend all seasonings together in a small dish and keep near stovetop. Heat the oil in a lightweight lidded saucepan or wok. The oil is ready when one kernel pops. When it does, add the rest of the corn and put the lid on. When the corn starts popping, lift the lid just enough to pitch the seasonings into the pan. Cook and shake until the corn is quiet.

Kate Huntress

Love it such adult flavours and with that hint of jalapeno the kids are sure to keep their hands out of my bowl of popcorn!


Could you cut a potato into wedges and toss it with this butter sauce, then bake it for flavored french fries?


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