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 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?


At my house we have a "Secret Ingredient" to savory if you promise not to's Nutritional Yeast. Yup, simple, discreet, inexpensive and healthy. Include it with salt and some chile pepper for a quick fix. For Sweet popcorn a Tb or 2 of melted butter and about 5 cubed Caramel candies (aprox 1 carmel for 1 cup popped corn) melted over a medium/high heat, soon as it begins to bubble and melts evenly pour over salted, buttered popcorn (Note:butter with either butter or a spritz of spray on oil) stir quickly with two wooden spoons (or if you are brave; your hands) until well mixed; Enjoy! Its my six year old granddaughters "Must Have" at Gran's house!


HELLO! Tequilla, lime and popcorn... I'm in love. Thanks for this one! That book looks like a great one!


Not what you would expect for popcorn, but sounds like its worth a try!

The Fat Dietitian

I'll have to check out this book, thanks for the recommendation! I'm a big fan of rosemary parmesan popcorn, but all of your flavors sound wonderful as well.


I've been really into Rancho Gordo's red popcorn lately, can't wait to try it in this recipe.


I wondered if you were travelling to Chile or Mexico. Then I realised that you spell Chilli (chili) with an E. The popcorn sounds fun, so I might try it for my kids, who love chilli in their food.

Bob T

What a great blend - Nothing better than changing up an old favorite. I usually add Garlic powder or Emeril's seasoning for a nice change of pace as well

Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer

My husband spotted this in my emails and we had to try it... just came out of the oven and it is wonderful! We added some cilantro to the mix for some extra flavor... yum! Now off to find the book!

Wendy N

Sometimes I use lemon, butter, hot sauce and parmesan. Other times I use my favorite curry combination. Depending on the curry I might add cocoanut shreds. Penzey's Spices has some wonderful spice blends that would work well on popcorn; Their Rocy Mountain Seasoning or their Sunny Paris would be wonderful.


Perfect timing for the Oscars! I also agree with meleyna - I generously sprinkle mine with furikake, and add arare, or rice crackers. But I'll try this tonight. Thanks!


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