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Smuggle Hot Tamales Popcorn Into Fifty Shades of Grey This Weekend

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hot tamales popcorn
Drew Swantak/Thrillist

My first in-theater movie experience was The Terminator 2: Judgment Day. It was an epic day of firsts, not only because I learned to yell “Hasta la vista, baby” in an unintelligible accent, but also because my friend showed me that the best way to eat movie theater popcorn was with Hot Tamales. The sticky, spicy candy perfectly offsets that buttery, salty popcorn. Fusing the two together gives the same delicious experience, but frees up one hand for fighting off cyborgs and, you know, other important stuff. 

You may want to pre-book that dentist appointment.
Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Hot Tamales Popcorn Recipe

Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 10 cups

  • 1 (3-ounce) package “movie theater” popcorn
  • 1 (5-ounce) box Hot Tamales
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon extract (optional)

  • Candy thermometer
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cook popcorn according to package instructions and transfer to a large bowl.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt Hot Tamales, sugar, corn syrup, and water. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring constantly, until the candies dissolve and mixture reaches 300℉ on a candy thermometer, 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon extract for extra spice.
  • Pour the mixture over popcorn in a thin stream while mixing with a spatula to coat. Quickly spread popcorn onto the baking sheet and let cool for 5 minutes before breaking into bite-size pieces.
  • Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.