Hot Sauce on Popcorn – Everything You Need to Know

  • Author: Sue Dorrens
  • Published: September 7, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

What’s the deal with hot sauce on popcorn? It’s delicious, of course!

If you’re someone who enjoys spicy foods and craves that adrenaline kick you get from adding some zing to your foods by way of hot sauce, you should consider adding the condiment to your next popcorn snack.

It’s delicious, it’s easy, and it adds negligible calories. It’s a superstar topping with a huge effect.

Is Popcorn Good with Hot Sauce?

Yes, popcorn is good with hot sauce. If you enjoy hot sauce on other foods, you’ll most likely enjoy it on popcorn, especially with the addition of butter and salt.

Think about it:

Adding hot sauce to popcorn is like combining hot wings’ flavor with popcorn’s fluffy tenderness. Yum!

If you’re wondering if popcorn tastes good with hot sauce, just pull the trigger and try it. It packs a big flavor punch and is easy to add without much effort. What’s not to love?

What Hot Sauce is Best with Popcorn?

Pretty much any hot sauce will work well with the popcorn flavor. It’s best to stick to tomato and vinegar-based sauces for optimal results. Some versions won’t translate well as a popcorn topping, though.

Here’s what to avoid:

  • Fruity hot sauces (like mango or pineapple)
  • Extra-hot versions (too difficult to eat and enjoy)
  • Mustard-based hot sauces
  • Very thick hot sauces

Any popular hot sauce should work well with regular salty, buttery popcorn, so you should plan on using whatever kind is your favorite. Whatever is already in your fridge will most likely work.

Here are some popular varieties to try:

  • Sriracha
  • Tabasco
  • Cholula
  • Tapatio
  • Frank’s Red Hot

This is nowhere near an exhaustive list, though. There are thousands of hot sauce varieties out there, and most of them would make a fantastic popcorn topping.

What’s The Best Way to Add Hot Sauce to Popcorn?

hot sauce bottle

There are a few different methods to add hot sauce to popcorn, and they all work fine. Some offer better coverage, while others are just simply easier. Which you choose may depend on how much effort you want to put into it and how important each kernel is covered just right.

Here are some effective methods to infuse your popcorn with a good dose of hot sauce.

Method #1: Spray it Down

One of the best ways to add hot sauce to popcorn is to use a spray bottle. This avoids making your popcorn soggy and allows for more even coverage. This way, you won’t have one kernel covered in hot sauce and another with barely a drop.

And a bonus?

You can set this up ahead of time and store it in the fridge. Now, whenever the mood strikes, it’s ready to go quickly.

Method #2: Dipping

Dipping. You can dip your popcorn in your hot sauce of choice just like you’d dip a hot wing in blue cheese sauce (or ranch). This can be a good beginner method that allows more control to see if you like the flavor profile before dousing your entire batch of popcorn.

This method also requires almost zero prep time; you can simply sit down with your hot sauce and a bowl of popcorn, and you’re good to go.

Method #3: Shake, Shake

Shaking your popcorn after adding hot sauce to disperse it over the popcorn’s surface evenly is a good idea. You can add the hot sauce to the bag and shake it if you’re using microwave popcorn. You can use a paper grocery bag to make it from plain kernels.

Method #4: Add it to Your Oil

Especially if you’re making your popcorn from scratch, adding a few drops of hot sauce to whatever oil you’re using to pop the popcorn is pretty easy.

For example?

If you’re using the stovetop method – considered one of the best methods to make popcorn from scratch – you can add a few drops to the oil when you put it in the bottom of the pan. No matter which method you use to pop your popcorn (except an air popper), you’ll be using oil and you can add your hot sauce before popping.

Can You Put Hot Sauce in Popcorn Oil?

You can put hot sauce in popcorn oil. No matter what method you’re using to cook your popcorn, you can simply add some hot sauce (your preferred amount) to the oil you’re using. The cooking method won’t be affected, but you’ll have a good amount of zing with the popped kernels.

This method is a fantastic way to get even coverage on the popped kernels versus drizzling the hot sauce over the top.

Is Eating Hot Sauce Popcorn with Bare Hands a Good Idea?

While it’s not necessarily a bad idea to eat hot sauce popcorn with your bare hands, it’s handy to know ahead of time what to expect. It’s common to eat hot wings with bare hands, so it can’t be that bad, right?

Here’s what to expect if you eat hot sauce popcorn with your bare hands:

  • Lingering smell – the smell probably won’t go away for a while, even after washing your hands.
  • Staining – your fingertips will likely remain red for a while, as most tomato-based products such as hot sauce are notorious for staining (especially skin).

You could wear gloves while eating your popcorn or use a spoon to avoid these consequences. Or, you could just use your hands and enjoy your snack. If you don’t mind darkened fingertips and a faint odor that makes you think of hot wings, there’s no need to avoid using your hands.

So, putting hot sauce on popcorn is a fantastic way to spice up your favorite snack and add a little extra excitement to movie night. There are different ways to do it, and you can use your favorite sauce, making it an easy adjustment that you might keep coming back for again and again.


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