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Sweet and Spicy Popcorn Crunch

This recipe for sweet and spicy popcorn is a delicious snack perfect for parties.

  • yield: Makes about 11 cups




  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with nonstick baking mats; set aside.

  2. Step 2

    In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add 3 popcorn kernels and cover until they pop. Add remaining popcorn kernels, cover, and shake pot continuously over burner until popcorn is completely popped, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer popcorn to large bowl; add peanuts and set aside.

  3. Step 3

    Combine butter, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook, without stirring, until golden brown, about 5 minutes, swirling pot occasionally.

  4. Step 4

    Remove mixture from heat and quickly stir in salt and cayenne with a heatproof spatula or spoon. Immediately pour over popcorn mixture and stir to incorporate. Divide popcorn mixture evenly between baking sheets. Transfer to oven and bake, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  5. Step 5

    Let cool on sheet pans before breaking apart into clusters. Store popcorn in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

The Martha Stewart Show, October Fall 2007



Reviews (7)

  • 25 Jan, 2013

    Sweet and Spicy Popcorn Crunch
    Russell's Friday Dinner
    Nutritious and Delicious!

  • 12 Oct, 2012

    More warm than spicy if you use the 1/4 tsp of cayenne. I used the recommendation to spray the bowl and spoon lightly with spray oil and it worked really well! I also used air-popped popcorn (quick and easy to clean up). Easy and totally tasty recipe!

  • 26 Oct, 2011

    This is the greatest popcorn ever! It is always a hit. If you spray the bowl and the spatula your are going to mix in and stir with you will not have a sticky mess. And don't forget the parchment paper on the cookie sheets. Don't have any - get some! It saves you a lot of time cleaning.

  • 11 Oct, 2008

    This is so DELICious! A tremendous hit at last years Halloween party. I am eager to make it again!

  • 11 Dec, 2007

    This is great, but never sticks around long enough. I have to hide it to keep my husband and kids from eating it all. I do the full 1/2 tsp. of red pepper and don't find it too spicy at all-even my kids love it. I've made it at least 5 times since the show aired-we love it! I also use salted butter as that's all I have and it still turns out great.

  • 10 Nov, 2007

    I like to make it with soy nuts instead of peanuts. Also, it's easier and a lot less messy if you put the popcorn and the nuts on the pan and then pour the topping over top. The first time I made this mixing it in the bowl and there was a big sticky mess.

  • 10 Nov, 2007

    This popcorn is so yummy and a great snack. I made it this morning for a craft get together that I attended. The cayenne pepper gives it a great kick. The heat will sneak up on you, so watch out! I only used 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper and it was definately enough for my taste.