Friday, May 3, 2013

Fajita-Flavored Popcorn with Queso Fresco

Fajita-Flavored Popcorn with Queso Fresco

It’s definitely no secret around here that popcorn is my favorite snack.  Also, probably not a surprise to you that my favorite flavors are those of the Mexican variety.  Annnnd, as you also most-likely know, Cinco de Mayo is Sunday – AKA a great excuse to eat your weight in Mexican food, drink a margarita (or two or three) and celebrate with your friends!

So why not celebrate with a new popcorn flavor?  My blog reader has been filled to the brim with some amazing celebratory echiladas, dips, etc. but for the life of me, I just couldn’t come up with any good ideas for this year’s celebration.  Until yesterday, that is.

Fajita-Flavored Popcorn with Queso Fresco

Wednesday night, after youth group, I was enjoying a big bowl of buttered, salted popcorn and started thinking about the cilantro-lime popcorn that I made a while back.  And from there, somehow, I started thinking about fajitas – our favorite fajitas from a favorite Mexican place in Kansas City.  Paul and I would go there regularly on Friday nights.  We would order the steak + chicken fajitas and split them…mostly because I would fill up on guacamole, anyway.

These fajitas – there was something just a little extra special about them and I think we finally figured out that it was so simple – Worcestershire sauce.  Yes.  A fridge staple around here.  But it gives fajitas the most amazingly deep flavor.  So I could only imagine it would be the perfect addition to some salty, spicy, buttery popcorn.  And it totally was.  I mixed up some basic fajita seasonings – cumin, onion, garlic, cayenne and paprika, added some lime and cilantro, Worcestershire sauce, tossed it all together and then topped it with some crumbled queso fresco.

I’ll definitely be celebrating Cinco de Mayo more often with this recipe!

Fajita-Flavored Popcorn with Queso Fresco

PrintPrint Recipe

Fajita-Flavored Popcorn with Queso Fresco

Yield: 2 servings

Total Time: 20 min

A fun, buttery, and spicy popcorn recipe with fajita seasonings, cilantro, lime and queso fresco.


1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. black pepper
4 cups popped popcorn (see note below)
1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled


Mix the sea salt, garlic powder, ground cumin, onion powder, paprika and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the cilantro, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice and black pepper and remove from the heat. Stir until combined.

In a large bowl, toss the popcorn with half of the butter. Add the pre-mixed fajita seasonings and toss well. Add the remainder of the butter mixture and mix well. Add the queso freso and serve.

Cassie's Notes:
I pop my popcorn on the stove because because I prefer it that way. Pop your popcorn however you wish! Here are the instructions for stove-popping:
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a medium heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. (I use grapeseed, you can use canola, vegetable, etc. just not olive oil, it will be likely to burn)

Add a few popcorn kernels, cover the pan and let it heat up. When one kernel pops, add 1/3 cup of uncooked popcorn kernels and cover the pan. Shake the pan a little to spread the kernels in an even layer. Let the kernels pop for several minutes until the pan is full and the popping slows down, shake the pan often. Remove from heat and transfer popcorn to a large bowl.

Fajita-Flavored Popcorn with Queso Fresco


63 Responses to “Fajita-Flavored Popcorn with Queso Fresco”

  1. #
    Whendi Martin (Mom) — May 3, 2013 @ 7:22 am

    Popcorn Queen! Sounds yummylicious – what will you think of next?

  2. #
    Amy @Very Culinary — May 3, 2013 @ 7:30 am

    Oh goodness. This will find a nice happy home in our nightly popcorn routine. Addicts, we are!

  3. #
    DessertForTwo — May 3, 2013 @ 7:38 am

    YUM! How exciting! I want this for our cinco de mayo party!

  4. #
    Alaina @ Fabtastic Eats — May 3, 2013 @ 7:40 am

    I love all these flavors!! Popcorn has quickly become one of my favorites too!! Can’t wait to try out this version!!

  5. #
    Ali | Gimme Some Oven — May 3, 2013 @ 7:40 am

    Such a fun idea! I especially love the queso fresco addition. YUM. 🙂

  6. #
    Tieghan — May 3, 2013 @ 8:03 am

    This is so fun!! I love the addition of the queso fresco!! YUMMY!!

  7. #
    Erin | The Law Student's Wife — May 3, 2013 @ 8:04 am

    You are the absolute popcorn queen Cassie! What fun flavors and queso fresco? YES PLEASE!

  8. #
    Kelly @ Life made Sweeter — May 3, 2013 @ 8:08 am

    Holy, this popcorn looks amazing! What a great party snack. Can’t wait to try this! Thank you 🙂

  9. #
    Leah | So, How's It Taste? — May 3, 2013 @ 8:11 am

    Oh wow! I love that this is so different from all the other Cinco de Mayo recipes. I’ll have to try this one!

  10. #
    ashley - baker by nature — May 3, 2013 @ 8:20 am

    Oh maaaaaaaaan! This looks amazing, Cassie. You’re totally the popcorn girl!

  11. #
    Joanie @ Zagleft — May 3, 2013 @ 8:22 am

    What a clever idea! We love to snack on popcorn and have got to try this.

  12. #
    Deborah — May 3, 2013 @ 8:34 am

    I am totally making some of this for Cinco de Mayo. Love!

  13. #
    Terry — May 3, 2013 @ 8:45 am

    Sounds wonderful! We don’t eat much popcorn but this looks like it would definitely be a hit!

  14. #
    Heidi @foodiecrush — May 3, 2013 @ 8:46 am

    You better watch it or you’ll soon be the author of a popcorn cookbook 🙂 hmmm, might not be a bad idea! Love your secret sauce and so smart for the Mexiholiday.

  15. #
    Paula - bell'alimento — May 3, 2013 @ 8:47 am

    Oh girl! Bring it on.

  16. #
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — May 3, 2013 @ 9:04 am

    This popcorn is looking great! Love the Mexican flavors.

  17. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — May 3, 2013 @ 9:13 am

    Popcorn queen!

  18. #
    Julia — May 3, 2013 @ 9:15 am

    Fajita flavored popcorn that I get to dip in queso? Fiesta in my mouth!! This looks like a fun and tasty snack for a cinco celebration. Hope you have a fun weekend!

  19. #
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — May 3, 2013 @ 9:31 am

    Whaddya know, I have ALL the ingredients for this popcorn on hand! IT’S A SIGN. 🙂

  20. #
    Carla @ Carlas Confections — May 3, 2013 @ 10:04 am

    Perfect for this Sunday! I love any excuse to have Mexican food! 😀

  21. #
    Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain — May 3, 2013 @ 10:40 am

    I completely agree with Heidi! Popcorn cookbook here you come!

  22. #
    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — May 3, 2013 @ 10:56 am

    This looks perfectly snackable, yum!!

  23. #
    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — May 3, 2013 @ 11:22 am

    Cass, you are the popcorn guru in my life! How did you know I was craving this before I even did? Making this NOW…for lunch! Nope…not gonna wait until our Cinco de Mayo officially kicks off and gets underway at 5 p.m. Only thing I will add is some grated Cheddar and Monterey Pepper-Jack cheeses! Pinning… *mwah!* xo

  24. #
    Cookbook Create — May 3, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

    What a great, festive recipe! For our vegan loved ones we’ll make it with lightly-toasted nutritional yeast in place of queso fresco. The yeast has a surprisingly cheesy, nutty flavor that is super satisfying.

  25. #
    Joanne — May 3, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

    I tend to go crazy for sweet rather than savory popcorn flavors…but this one is really calling to me! All that bold spice is definitely a good thing.

  26. #
    Justin @ Marlows Kitchen — May 3, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

    Amazing popcorn recipe! I personally don’t eat popcorn because of the blandness of it. This might change my mind.

  27. #
    Shanna@ pineapple and coconut — May 3, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

    I think you need to publish a popcorn cookbook. Seriously you come up with the most amazing and inventive popcorn recipes. This looks so incredible – you know I will be making it!!

  28. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — May 3, 2013 @ 4:50 pm

    Amazing! I think you need to write a popcorn cookbook, Cassie!

  29. #
    Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective — May 3, 2013 @ 6:48 pm

    Adore popcorn! The queso fresco addition sounds amazing!

  30. #
    Kristin @ Dizzy Busy and Hungry! — May 3, 2013 @ 8:49 pm

    Love this recipe! You come up with the most creative ideas for popcorn. And it is such a great snack, I am happy to have different ways to add some variety for the family! Thanks!

  31. #
    JanetFCTC — May 3, 2013 @ 11:03 pm

    I’m one of those people who loves popcorn but just doesn’t eat it that often for some odd reason, THIS however, I have got to try. What a great combo of flavors!

  32. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — May 3, 2013 @ 11:12 pm

    You know what would be amazing? If you wrote a popcorn cookbook! This is so creative!

  33. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — May 3, 2013 @ 11:46 pm

    Such a fun snack idea!

  34. #
    Whitney @ The Newlywed Chefs — May 4, 2013 @ 10:07 am

    Which Mexican restaurant would you guys go to? Love the addition of queso fresco in this recipe. Yum!

  35. #
    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — May 4, 2013 @ 10:46 am

    Love this popcorn idea! And agree with comments above: you should write a cookbook on popcorn, Cassie!

  36. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — May 4, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

    What a fantastic idea! I am pushing that we go out for mexican tonight, because I have a serious craving for fajitas! This popcorn might have to get made if I don’t win!

  37. #
    saly @ sallys baking addiction — May 4, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

    You are a gal after my own popcorn-lovin’ heart, Cassie. Love this 🙂 Happy Cinco de Mayo weekend!

  38. #
    Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef — May 4, 2013 @ 5:57 pm

    this popcorn sounds fantabulous!!! love all your genius ideas 🙂

  39. #
    Melanie @ Nutritious Eats — May 4, 2013 @ 6:14 pm

    Oooh fabulous idea for the flavor! This would make such a fun appetizer/snack for a party.

  40. #
    Steve @ The Black Peppercorn — May 4, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

    These look awesome! I love anything Mexican and these would be a sure winner in our house!

  41. #
    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry — May 5, 2013 @ 1:10 am


  42. #
    Tracey — May 5, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

    You are so crazy creative, Cassie! I love this 🙂 Happy Cinco de Mayo!

  43. #
    Crystal @ Simply Playful Fare — May 5, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

    This looks great! So creative! I love new and different popcorn flavors. One of my favorites is olive oil, Italian seasoning, and parmesan. I’ll have to give this one a try.

  44. #
    Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes — May 5, 2013 @ 11:29 pm

    Dang, lady! You really ARE the popcorn queen! And you know anything with queso fresco in it/on it is like mother’s milk to me! Lovely snack!!

  45. #
    Laurie {SimplyScratch} — May 6, 2013 @ 8:21 am

    From one popcorn fan to another… I love you. 🙂

  46. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — May 6, 2013 @ 9:00 am

    I hope you ate barrels of this yesterday!

  47. #
    carrian — May 6, 2013 @ 9:54 am

    That looks so crazy good!

  48. #
    Kare @ Kitchen Treaty — May 6, 2013 @ 11:03 am

    This is pretty much the most brilliant flavored popcorn recipe I’ve ever seen! Plus cilantro and queso fresco … gah. Stomach = growling.

  49. #
    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — May 6, 2013 @ 11:42 am

    How fun is this popcorn!? So original and unique! I don’t think I’d ever be able to stop myself from snacking down to the last kernel!

  50. #
    katie — May 6, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

    Seriously?!??! I love everything about this popcorn combo. I love using queso fresco and always have it on hand!

  51. #
    Aggie — May 6, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

    You are the popcorn queen! I absolutely love this Cassie – especially the addition of the cheese!!!

  52. #
    Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies — May 6, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

    I love queso freso–adding it to popcorn is such a fun idea!

  53. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — May 6, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

    Wow, this is an amazing bowl of popcorn 🙂 I’m eapecially loving the queso fresco, yum!

  54. #
    Jess — May 7, 2013 @ 1:56 am

    Cassie – I am so loving the popcorn ideas. I had plain old popcorn over the weekend (always good, but could have used some love), and immediately wished I had jazzed it up. Will be trying this version next time!

  55. #
    Mercedes — May 7, 2013 @ 8:33 am

    I just returned from a culinary retreat in Napa where I got to cook at the Culinary Institute and one of the dishes I made was a peanut butter caramel popcorn so I naturally thought of you! I love queso fresco so this popcorn looks delish to me!

  56. #
    Courtney @ Neighborfood — May 7, 2013 @ 9:23 am

    One can never have too many popcorn recipes, right? Can’t wait to add this one to my collection!

  57. #
    Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet — May 7, 2013 @ 11:48 am

    This sounds incredible Cassie. I love popcorn so this is right up my alley!!

  58. #
    Erin @ Texanerin Baking — May 7, 2013 @ 2:46 pm

    I love your oodles of popcorn recipes. And this one seems especially creative. I can’t wait to get my hands on some popcorn! When I do, I know where to turn to. 🙂

  59. #
    Jenny @ BAKE — May 13, 2013 @ 7:53 am

    I need this popcorn now!

  60. #
    Lane — December 12, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    I’m not much of a cook, so this may sound like a silly question to some of you, but I really don’t know…is this something that could be bagged up for a gift or does it need to be refrigerated/eaten immediately since it has the cheese in it?


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