Fiery Kettle Corn

updated Feb 11, 2020
Valentine's Day
Fiery Kettle Corn

This sweet and spicy kettle corn is the best use of Valentine's Red Hots candies.


Prep10 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: CC Buckley

This spicy snack might just be the easiest, most impressive treat you can make for Valentine’s Day this year. With just four ingredients and 30 minutes, you can have a salty-sweet, blazing-red, cinnamon-perfumed popcorn on your hands. Red Hots fans, this one’s for you.

Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: CC Buckley

Turn Your Red Hots Into Fiery Kettle Corn

Every year at Christmastime I buy a bag of Red Hots to use them for decorating gingerbread men or folding into cookie batter. But come February, half the bag is still lingering in my kitchen. This recipe is the perfect way to use them up: You’ll melt them down and fold them into popcorn for a spicy red coating.

Remember, what looks like a small amount of popcorn kernels pops into a generous amount— start with 1/2 cup kernels, which will yield six cups of popped popcorn.

10 Easy Valentine’s Day Treats for Any Occasion

Whether you’re celebrating a sweetie or just celebrating sweets, Valentine’s Day is a great holiday for breaking out the treats. We scoured the web, polled our team, and landed on 10 Valentine’s Day treats to make for your office, classroom, or special someone, showing you the easiest ways to make them at home.

Fiery Kettle Corn

This sweet and spicy kettle corn is the best use of Valentine's Red Hots candies.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 8

Nutritional Info


  • 1 tablespoon

    vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup

    popcorn kernels

  • 1/2 cup

    Red Hots candy

  • 1/4 cup



  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 250ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Measure out 1/2 cup popcorn kernels. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid, such as a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 2 to 3 of the popcorn kernels. When they pop, add the remaining popcorn kernels. Cover and shake the pot back and forth while the popcorn pops, until the popping slows (there’s no popping for 10 seconds), 6 to 8 minutes total popping time. Pour the popcorn out onto the baking sheet.

  3. Heat 1/2 cup Red Hots Candy and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until the candy is completely melted. Pour the candy mixture over the popcorn and toss to combine. Spread the popcorn back into an even layer.

  4. Bake until the popcorn is almost dry, stirring halfway through, about 20 minutes total.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.