Yellow popcorn in wooden bowl.
Appetizers,  Recipes,  Snacks

Quick Chili Popcorn Recipe

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For an interesting twist to classic popcorn try our recipe for Chili Popcorn. Make movie nights or snack time more flavorful with this savory, spicy, and addictive treat that’s simple to make. This low-calorie treat is made with chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika so it’s very tasty.

Top view of popcorn in wooden bowl on red gingham tablecloth.

In this recipe, we combine the richness of butter with the warmth of chili powder, creating the perfect blend that coats each popped kernel with savory notes. The addition of garlic powder infuses a subtle aroma, while paprika adds a smoky depth. Sprinkled with just the right amount of salt, this chili popcorn strikes the perfect balance between spicy, salty, and buttery, offering a snack that is not only delicious but also quick to make. Eat this treat alone or make it for a party, but make sure you have enough because it will be a hit.

Ingredients You Will Need

Ingredients on wooden board.

Equipment You May Need

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use microwave popcorn instead of popping my own kernels? Yes, you can use microwave popcorn for convenience, but popping your own kernels in an air popper or on the stovetop gives you more control over the flavor and ensures a fresher taste.

How do I prevent the popcorn from getting soggy after adding the butter and spices? To prevent sogginess, mix the melted butter and spices in a separate bowl before drizzling it over the popcorn. Toss the popcorn thoroughly to ensure even coating.

Can I make a large batch and store it for later? Yes, you can store the chili popcorn in an airtight container for a day or two. However, for the best freshness, it’s recommended to enjoy it soon after making it.

What can I do if the popcorn turns out too spicy? If it’s too spicy, you can balance the heat by adding a bit more melted butter and tossing the popcorn again. You can also sprinkle a pinch of sugar to mellow the spice.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time for a party? Yes, you can prepare the spice mixture in advance and toss it with freshly popped popcorn just before serving to maintain its crispiness and flavor.

Red sauce in white bowl.
Chili butter topping.

Substitutions and Variations

Chili Powder Alternatives:

  • Cayenne pepper: If you want a more intense heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper in addition to or instead of chili powder.
  • Smoked paprika: Enhances the smokiness in the dish, especially if you like a deeper flavor.
  • Taco seasoning: A ready-made blend that often includes chili powder, cumin, and other spices for a quick alternative.

Garlic Powder Substitutions:

  • Fresh minced garlic: For a more pronounced garlic flavor, use fresh minced garlic. Sauté it briefly in the melted butter before mixing.
  • Garlic salt: Adjust the quantity of regular salt and garlic salt to maintain the balance.

Popcorn Seasoning Blends:

  • Ranch seasoning: Combine with the chili powder and butter for a tangy and savory twist.
  • Parmesan cheese: Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan over the popcorn for a cheesy variation.

Nutty Crunch:

  • Toss in a handful of roasted nuts like almonds or cashews for added crunch and flavor complexity.

Other Recipes You May Enjoy

If you like this Chili Popcorn, you might also like my Snack Mix or my Jalapeno Artichoke Dip. This Parmesan Ranch Popcorn is also delicious.

Final Thoughts

Whether you make this popcorn for a light snack or to have while watching a movie, I’m sure it won’t last long. My family ate it before our movie started so I had to make a second batch to eat during the movie.

Yellow popcorn in wooden bowl.

Chili Popcorn

Heidi Bruaw
Chili Popcorn is a light and flavorful snack that is easy to make.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 1 Tablespoon Butter melted
  • ½ teaspoon Chili Powder
  • teaspoon Salt
  • teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • teaspoon Paprika
  • 6 Cups Popped Popcorn


  • In small bowl, combine the melted butter, chili powder, salt, garlic powder, and paprika.
  • Drizzle the mixture over the warm popcorn and toss to cover as evenly as possible.
Keyword Chili Popcorn
Pinterest pin for chili popcorn.
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