Spicy Citrus Popcorn

At The Lark in Santa Barbara, one of the best parts of your meal comes to the table before you even order
41 Ratings
100% would make again
Spicy Citrus Popcorn Recipe
Photo: Macduff Everton

The only thing harder than landing a reservation at The Lark in Santa Barbara is deciding what to order once you finally lay eyes on the menu. So to help with choosing between porchetta di testa with roast strawberries or meltingly soft beef cheeks, chef Jason Paluska sends out a bowl of addictive savory popcorn that's become as beloved as the restaurant itself.

He's sharing the recipe in The Lark's new cookbook, Around the Table, so you won't have to make the drive along the California coast to snack on it yourself. (Not that making a trip to Santa Barbara has ever been a chore to begin with.)

To learn more, read "Center Stage."

Spicy Citrus Popcorn

Excerpted from 'Around the Table,' by Macduff Everton, Jason Paluska and Sherry Villanueva. Reprinted with permission from AVP Editions.

Yield: Approximately 8 quarts

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes


1 cup canola oil (225 grams)

1 cup popcorn kernels (225 grams)

1 tablespoon salt (7 grams)

1 teaspoon Calabrian chile oil (5 grams)

2 teaspoons olive oil (10 grams)

Zest of 2 limes

Zest of 2 lemons

2 tablespoons cilantro (10 grams), chopped

½ teaspoon citric acid (2 grams)


1. In a wide, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat along with 2 or 3 individual popcorn kernels. When they pop, add the remaining kernels and cover.

2. Let the popcorn pop, shaking the covered pan frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the popping slows down.

3. Pour into a large bowl, toss with the remaining ingredients and serve.

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