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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My favorite is to drizzle popcorn with butter that is melted with a spoonful of sugar. Stir well until the sugar blends into the butter. Then I top it with onion salt and a bit of cayanne pepper.


This winter, parmesan and freshly ground black pepper has been my go to adult popcorn. This one sounds like it just needs to be tried!

Louise at Livin Local

I love doing Lime and Chili Popcorn. It is one of my favorites. I also like lime and chili on pineapple..... yummy.


To W: chille is the English spelling while chile is the correct spelling in Spanish (otherwise the word would be pronounced chiye). Both spellings are commonly used when referencing Mexican inspired ingredients. The snarky response was a bit much. Heidi: Thanks for the recipe. This is similar to the way some people prepare popcorn in Cuba (minus the Tequila).


This sounds wonderful and looking forward to trying this tonight. I've had much better luck popping popcorn using peanut oil rather than olive oil though. I get more popped kernels. Haven't tried butter or coconut you have a sense of what works best? HS: I love clarified butter. Great flavor, and a higher smoke point than regular butter.


This looks so yummy! I think it would make a great you guys think the popcorn would get stale?? Would it keep for a couple of days you think?


Until I get some hands on some nutritional yeast here in Brussels, Belgium, I'm using my old standby: popcorn made on the stove with a bit of vegetable oil, then shaken up with salt and sugar. Simple and delish. But this recipe is making me think it might be time to branch out a bit...


my favorite is spicy-sweet drizzle with agave or honey, toss to coat sprinkle on: cinnamon chili powder cayenne (depending on how spicy your chili is)


Sounds fantastic! My current favorite topping is 'spicy honey popcorn' - melt together 2 T butter, 1 T honey and 1 t cayenne pepper and drizzle over popcorn and then toss with sea salt.


Chile is a country; chilli is a kind of hot pepper. Chilli-lime-tequila popcorn sounds good; chile popcorn is a non-sense.


I tried this recipe the other night for a zombie movie night with friends. The end result: delicious flavor, difficult texture to manage. The texture issue was mostly my fault. It would probably be better to spritz the pepper/butter mixture onto the popcorn. I also substituted half the butter for olive oil. Partly for health reasons and partly because I was out of butter. Either way, everyone LOVED the popcorn. Crunchy with an addictively spicy aftertaste. A deceptively simple recipe that everyone should try.


My boy is on a salt-free restriction but we love popcorn so this worked out fantastic. A few notes on our experience: -We used his AlsoSalt (it's a sodium-free blend with KCl, among other things). -He has a relic of an air popper (swear it's from the 80s) which got us 4 very fast cups of fluffy white without using oil (we did use the entire butter mixture later though). In the future, I'd rather do a stovetop version with coconut oil, so it tastes a little more like movie theater. The air popper is just so foolproof though! -Used a habanero instead of the jalapeno. the little orange flecks were beautiful and packed a punch! This is a fantastic savory treat, something he's been missing a lot. We are packing the rest to take with us camping this weekend. PS. A lot of people are talking about nutritional yeast and how much they love it on popcorn. What's it taste like? What is so "nutritional" about it? I'd love to try it out.


Very nice.. thanks mommy


yummy what will they think of next!


Hot with fresh or grated Parm and spicy Mrs Dash or Spicy Lawry's.


My favorite has always been a little curry powder, some parmesan, and black pepper. There's something really great about the sweet and spicy with the salty cheese.


i make one that tastes almost like a carbonara--with grated parmesan, salt and pepper. also, i've been dying to make the spicy popcorn recipe from the Fat cookbook by Jennifer McLagan.


This recipe makes me pretty excited about that popcorn cookbook. I might have to pick up a copy.

Teri @ Make A Whisk

I love the ideas, here's what I've been doing: After the popcorn is popped, use a microplane to grate raw garlic, then a hard cheese like parm-regg, then garlic, then parm to your taste (the cheese pushes the garlic and oils through the microplane) then in the same pan I cooked the popcorn (I use a wok with a lid), I melt my butter (sometimes half butter, half olive oil) it's still hot so I don't even turn the heat back on, pour it over and sprinkle sea salt and my hubby loves fresh ground black pepper. Of course it does not need much salt because of the cheese, let me know if you try it. Happy snacking!

Barbara Ann

This is a really interesting idea. I wouldn't have necessarily thought to do this. I will give this a try sometime soon!


Oh I am home from school today and was looking to cook something yummy during my free time, and now I've found it! Can't wait to try it!



indu k

Hello Heidi, I loved the jalapeno with tequila & lime Kettle Chips, so I'm sure I will this one, too! Been raining and can't bother to go out for serious grocery shopping, so I just fixed some up with a few of my kitchen cupboard staples: sea salt and shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven 'spice' mix) with a bit of deeply aromatic toasted sesame oil. Oh, and a squeeze of yuzu juice, too. Not too bad :)


This recipe sound sooo delicious! Bums me out that I have braces and can't eat popcorn for another 9 months... :(


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