Sriracha-Honey Popcorn Clusters Will Take Family Movie Nights to the Next Level

published May 23, 2022
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Sriracha-Honey Popcorn Clusters
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Credit: Leela Cyd Ross / Clarkson Potter

When I think about snacks that I have made and loved, and also ones that have disappeared in the blink of an eye, this Sriracha-honey popcorn from The Kitchn Cookbook instantly comes to mind. Many site contributors worked on this book, and this recipe is from Emma Christensen, our recipe editor at the time. Emma is an absolute whiz with munchy, crunchy goodies like this one. When she proposed a sweet-and-spicy popcorn it was a no-brainer.

I tested this recipe on a work trip with my husband, where I had to feed a bunch of hungry grad students doing field work in Colorado. I made a big batch of this popcorn, coating it in the honey mixture and baking it low and slow until crisp. I put out a bowl of the dark-red popcorn, and turned around a minute later — it was empty and gone.

That’s what this popcorn does; the sweet honey invites another bite, and the Sriracha warms (but doesn’t burn — it’s not too spicy). The baking method gives an extremely crisp bite and texture and once you pop one taste it’s so hard to stop.

Credit: Leela Cyd Ross / Clarkson Potter

Sriracha-Honey Popcorn Clusters

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes

Makes 10 to 16 cups

Serves 8 to 12

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup

    unpopped popcorn kernels

  • 1 tablespoon

    vegetable oil

  • 12 tablespoons

    (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup

    honey

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons

    Sriracha hot sauce

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    baking soda

Instructions

  1. Arrange two racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 250℉. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment or aluminum foil.

  2. Place 3 of the popcorn kernels and 1 tablespoons vegetable oil in a 4-quart or larger heavy pot over medium heat. When the kernels pop, add the remaining kernels to the pan, shake to coat with oil, and cover. Pop the corn, shaking the pan occasionally, until the popping slows. Immediately transfer to a large heatproof bowl.

  3. Melt 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add 3/4 cup honey and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a rolling boil and cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon as the mixture foams. Remove the pan from the heat.

  4. Add the Sriracha (2 tablespoons for mild; 3 tablespoons for spicy), 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and stir to combine; the syrup will bubble and foam.

  5. Pour the hot syrup over the popcorn immediately, stirring the popcorn as you slowly pour. Once you’ve poured all the syrup over the popcorn, continue stirring until the popcorn is evenly coated. Divide the popcorn between the baking sheets and spread into an even layer.

  6. Bake for 1 hour, stirring the popcorn every 15 minutes. The finished popcorn will be a slightly darker shade, and will turn dry and crunchy once completely cooled.

  7. Wait a few minutes until the popcorn is cool enough to handle and then quickly press it into clusters with your hands. If the popcorn cools too much and won’t stick, put the sheets back in the oven for a few minutes until the popcorn is warm again. (The popcorn can also be cooled as is, without clustering, and eaten by the handful like regular popcorn.) Let the clusters cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Storage: These popcorn clusters are best eaten within a day or two but will keep well in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Reprinted with permission from The Kitchn Cookbook by Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand; copyright © 2014. Published by Clarkson Potter Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

This post was originally published on Kitchn. Read it there: Sriracha-Honey Popcorn Clusters Will Be Your New Must-Have Movie Snack