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5 Ways to Enjoy Popcorn with Hot Sauce

Do you enjoy popcorn with hot sauce, or are you here because you’re curious if the unusual combo of popcorn and hot sauce is any good? If the answer is yes to both questions, then look no further as I’ll head into different ways to enjoy popcorn with hot sauce. While the classic butter and salt combination is undeniably delicious, there’s a world of fiery popcorn snacks unleashed by this innovative combination.

From delicious Asian sauces to various spicy hot sauces, I’ll show you the best ways to use them with popcorn. 

A closeup of classic movie theater popcorn.

🤷 What Hot Sauce to Use?

Any kind of hot sauce that you may have at home will suffice. For one, it’s probably a go-to brand that you like the taste of, and secondly, you can handle the heat of it. But steer clear of hot sauce that’s too thick, as it may not cling to the popcorn well. Certain Asian sauces will be perfect for this, as they have fantastic and varying flavors. Some can be sriracha substitutes and sweet chili swaps.

📌 Best Brands of Hot Sauce to Use

  • Tabasco: A classic, known for its bold flavor and recognizable kick, made from aged red peppers, vinegar, and salt.
  • Sriracha (Huy Fong Foods): This delicious sauce has a tangy heat and is made from sun-ripened chilies, garlic, sugar, and vinegar.
  • Cholula: A flavorful Mexican hot sauce made with a blend of arbol and piquin peppers. It gives the best balance of both spice and taste.
  • Frank’s RedHot: Famous for its role in Buffalo wings, this sauce boasts a tangy flavor with a moderate heat level, crafted from aged cayenne peppers, vinegar, garlic, and other spices.
  • Valentina: A Mexican favorite, offering a smooth, balanced heat derived from ripe red peppers, vinegar, and spices.
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce: This sauce delivers a traditional Southern flavor profile with a mild heat. It combines aged peppers, vinegar, and salt for a zesty yet tasty touch.
  • Crystal Hot Sauce: This Louisiana staple features a medium heat level and a tangy flavor profile. It’s made with aged cayenne peppers, vinegar, and garlic.

🌟 BONUS: Buffalo Popcorn Recipe

If you love buffalo sauced wings and have a bottle of Frank’s hot sauce lying around, I’d heat up some butter in the microwave until melted, then stir in the hot sauce and maybe some garlic powder and other seasonings. If you use the best ways to thicken buffalo sauce, you can hit that perfect consistency for popcorn. You can even use different paprika substitutes and cayenne alternatives for a better taste. Tasty’s got an interesting recipe you can try for buffalo popcorn.

A collection of 4 different sauces in sauce bowls.

💡 5 Ways to Enjoy Popcorn with Hot Sauce

The Dip

If you’ve never tried hot sauce on popcorn before, then you should start with a simple and less troublesome approach. The dipping method allows you to put in just how much sauce you like. You can test as many times as you want because it’s as simple as dipping your popcorn into hot sauce, like French fries into ketchup. Simply pop your popcorn, pour the hot sauce into a separate dipping bowl, and dip as you please.

Drizzle It On

The drizzle method is another easy way to enjoy popcorn with hot sauce. Simply cook your popcorn, place it in a bowl, then drizzle your favorite hot sauce on top. If you want, you can stir the popcorn to distribute the hot sauce. While this is an easy and quick approach, some popcorn may not be coated, and other kernels may become wet. But the contrast between some being spicy and others not can be pretty tasty.

A closeup of a batch of hot sauced popcorn.


You can infuse hot sauce into the popcorn kernels before popping them. Simply mix a small amount of hot sauce with the popcorn kernels in a bowl and let them sit for a few minutes to absorb the flavor before popping them in the microwave or on the stovetop. This method infuses the entire batch of popcorn with spicy goodness from the inside out.

The S.O.S. Method (Spray On Sauce)

The S.O.S. method, spray-on-sauce, or sauce-as-you-go method is the best method for when you’re on a Star Wars or K-drama marathon show that goes on for hours. There is a requirement for an extra tool, a spray bottle. Simply fill up your kitchen spray bottle. Then, as you consume your popcorn, just spray it with more hot sauce as you eat. It can be quite messy if not done properly, so be careful with this one.

The Bag Shake

The bag shake is one of the best ways to enjoy popcorn with hot sauce. It has the most efficient hot sauce dispersion into your popcorn batch. Another upside is that your popcorn won’t be drenched in too much hot sauce, leading to soggy snacking. Just pour some hot sauce with popcorn into a microwave bag, a sealable plastic bag, or a paper bag. Seal the bag and shake it vigorously for 20-30 seconds. The spicy sauce will evenly coat all of the kernels.

A bag of crispy popcorn taken from a movie theater.

🧐 FAQs

Is popcorn with hot sauce healthy?

Popcorn itself can be a healthy snack, as it’s a whole grain and low in calories when air-popped. Adding hot sauce can be a healthy way to add flavor, but it’s important to be mindful of the sodium content in some hot sauces.

How do you make hot sauce for popcorn without making it soggy?

To avoid making popcorn soggy with hot sauce, opt for a light application method such as spraying or misting the hot sauce over the popcorn using a spray bottle.

What is the perfect cook time for popping popcorn?

The perfect cook time for popping popcorn is generally around 2 to 3 minutes, or until there is about 2 seconds between pops, ensuring the popcorn is fully popped without burning.

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