Make Ahead

Buttery Popcorn with More than a Hint of Smoke

August  8, 2011
4 Ratings
  • Prep time 3 minutes
  • Cook time 4 minutes
  • Serves 4; can be multiplied
Author Notes

One of my family's favorite snacks is popcorn. Gourmet Magazine once had a Last Touch article on flavored popcorns that captured my interest. Recently, when my kids and I put our heads together to try to come up with some interesting new variations, we decided to sample one of our favorite family dinners, chili, in popcorn form. Here is the tempting result. If you like, you can add chipotle chili powder, or, conversely, remove the smokey aspect by using regular salt and eliminating the South African Smoke flavoring. —creamtea

What You'll Need
  • For the spice blend (makes more than needed)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-2 pinches sea salt
  • 5-6 grinds smoked sea salt (available at Whole Foods)
  • 5-6 grinds Smoked Spanish Paprika, "South African Smoke", or other smokey dried-pepper Spice Blend (seasonally available at Trader Joe's)
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter
  • For the popcorn
  • 1/3 cup good quality popping corn
  • 1-2 tablespoons neutral oil that can withstand high heat, such as saffower, sunflower or avocado
  1. In a small dish, combine dry seasoning ingredients.
  2. In a separate small custard cup, in the microwave, melt butter (about 1 minute at half-power, pausing midway to stir). Or melt on top of the stove in a small, heavy saucepan.
  3. Whisk about 1 1/2 teaspoons spice mixture into the melted butter.
  4. Pop corn using desired method: in corn popper, microwave, or with a tablespoon or two of oil in a saucepan on top of stove--shake the pan periodically. Transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Stir seasoned butter and drizzle over corn. Stir to distribute, taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Serve hot.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • BlueKaleRoad
  • drbabs
  • creamtea

4 Reviews

BlueKaleRoad August 9, 2011
Love this popcorn!
creamtea August 10, 2011
drbabs August 8, 2011
Why doesn't my Trader Joe's have South African Smoke Spice Blend??
creamtea August 9, 2011
May be seasonal? Smoked spanish paprika or chipotle chile powder from another source (mine's from Fairway) should work.