Recipe: Buffalo Wing Popcorn

by Cate on June 15, 2015

A cross between Cracker Jacks and your favorite hot wings, this recipe for Buffalo Wing Popcorn just might be your new favorite snack.


My kids were out, I had a ton of work to do, and I wasn’t hungry.

Which is the perfect storm that led me to eating Buffalo Wing Popcorn for dinner on Friday night.

That, and not only did I just spy this recipe the night before, but the folks at Frank’s Red Hot Sauce had just sent me a few bottles of their hot sauce.

If that isn’t fate, I don’t know what is.

Ever since I started being ridiculously diligent about reading labels, Frank’s is the only hot sauce I use because it’s made without sugar.

And once you start reading labels, you soon realize how sugar is added to EVERYTHING.

I will be the first to say that this recipe, although quick to make, is a tad finicky. The caramel making portion of the recipe, that is.

Because it took me three attempts to be successful at getting it to the “deep camber color,” but avoid the “burning it” phase.

Burned it twice.

My advice?

Don’t turn it up to medium-high as the recipe suggests.

Don’t let it go 10-12 minutes as the recipe suggests.

And watch it like a HAWK.

And then you’ll be fine.

Once you’ve mastered that little piece of it (and by the second ruined batch of caramel, I was determined, darn it), the rest is quick and easy.

The end result?

The popcorn reminded me of what would happen if Cracker Jacks married hot wings.

It would result in this deliciousness.

Slightly sticky.

Slightly sweet.

And despite only a quarter cup of hot sauce, slightly hot.

Good stuff.

Buffalo Wing Popcorn
Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit magazine


Nonstick vegetable oil spray
8 cups popped plain popcorn (from ½ cup kernels)
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup Frank’s Red Hot Original sauce
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used chili powder)


Preheat oven to 300°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly coat parchment and a large bowl with nonstick spray; add popcorn to bowl. Set baking sheet aside.
Bring sugar and ¼ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, swirling pan occasionally, until caramel is a deep amber color, 10–12 minutes.

Remove from heat; stir in hot sauce and butter (mixture will bubble vigorously). Return to a boil and cook another 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in salt, baking soda, and cayenne. Working quickly (and carefully—caramel will be very hot), pour caramel mixture over popcorn and toss to coat.

Spread out popcorn on prepared baking sheet and bake, tossing once, until dry, 15–20 minutes. Let cool.Do Ahead: Popcorn can be made 4 hours ahead. Store airtight at room temperature to keep out moisture.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne June 16, 2015 at 7:19 am

Sweet. Spicy. AWESOME. is what I have to say about this.
Joanne recently posted..Roasted Jalapeno Ranch Potato Salad


Meg June 16, 2015 at 9:33 am

This sounds fantastic! Buffalo sauce was a pregnancy craving and, even though the little guy is here, I’m still justifying my obsession with Frank’s RedHot that way :)
Meg recently posted..Nine weeks at home


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