hot cocoa popcorn

Mexican Hot Cocoa Popcorn

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Around here we like our hot cocoa in popcorn form! This Mexican hot cocoa popcorn is a crunchy, slightly sweet vegan dessert that is perfect for movie or game night.

Ingredients in Mexican Hot Cocoa Popcorn

I have been known to be a popcorn fanatic! There is just something about popcorn. It’s always crunchy and sometimes savory or sweet. You can make it in a variety of ways like our Chai Spiced Popcorn or Coconut Maple Sugar Popcorn.  Popcorn can be a treat, like this Hot Chocolate Popcorn or an amazing whole foods plant based snack if you leave off the butter and salt.

This vegan cacao popcorn is easy to make! Here are the ingredients you will need:

This popcorn is a sweet treat for holidays, too! Share with a loved one on Valentine’s Day while you watch a romantic movie or gift some for some neighbors for Christmas!

mexican hot cocoa popcorn-12

How to Make Hot Chocolate Popcorn

So where did the idea for this chocolate popcorn come from?

Before going vegan, I had made a cocoa popcorn that was so good! I had the idea to ‘veganize’ that delicious candied chocolate popcorn. As I was drinking some chai one day, the idea of chocolate chia…was born. And then, as I thought more on it, I thought to myself – isn’t Mexican Hot Chocolate made with cinnamon? (yes and other spices!)  

So why couldn’t I combine – Chocolate, Cinnamon and Cardamom – into a popcorn treat?   I can.  And it rocks. (or pops!).

I have made this Mexican hot cocoa popcorn with both cocoa and cacao powder. The main difference between cocoa powder and cacao powder is that cocoa powder is roasted at a high temperature that strips away antioxidants and health benefits from the cocoa bean. Cacao powder on the other hand is made by cold pressing the un-roasted cocoa beans – retaining all the living enzymes but removes all the cocoa fat. I would recommend using whatever chocolate powder you have on hand. Both cocoa and cacao powder give this popcorn amazing chocolate taste!

This candied popcorn follows pretty standard candied popcorn directions, except we use agave nectar vs. corn syrup and coconut oil vs. butter.

First, you will need to air pop your popcorn! Do not use microwave popcorn in this recipe. After your popcorn is popped, set it aside in a large bowl.

Next, combine the brown sugar, coconut oil, agave and cocoa powder in a small pan on the stove. Melt slowly and stir consistently until all sugar granules are dissolved. Do not let this chocolate mixture come to a boil or it will burn!

Stir in your spices, remove from heat and quickly add your baking soda and vanilla extract. Pour over your reserved popcorn and gently toss.

Spread out on large baking pan and bake in the oven to get a candied Mexican Hot Cacao Popcorn treat!

hot cocoa popcorn recipe

How to Store this Cocoa Popcorn

This popcorn will stay crunchy for a week or two if stored in an airtight container away from direct sunlight!

I hope you enjoy this chocolate popcorn, if you make it, I would love if you tagged @badtothebowl on social media.

hot chocolate popcorn
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4 from 3 votes

Mexican Hot Cacao Popcorn

Sweet, spicy and chocolate-y crunchy baked popcorn!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 300kcal


  • 10 cups air popped
  • 4 Tblsp
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tblsp or
  • 2 Tblsp
  • 1/4 t.
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/8 t.
  • 1/2 t.
  • 1/4 t. baking soda


  • Air pop your popcorn using stove method (or if you have an air popper). Pour in large bowl.
  • Preheat oven to 225 degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Melt your coconut oil and brown sugar in small saucepan over low heat. Add agave nectar, stir until all is dissolved.
  • Stir in cacoa powder, cinnamon, cardamom and salt.
  • Boil for 3 – 5 minutes, stirring constantly until somewhat thickened.
  • Remove from heat and quickly add vanilla and baking soda.
  • Pour over popped corn in bowl and mix well.
  • Pour on your prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake at 225 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  • 10. Let cool on wire rack. Store in airtight container!


Calories: 300kcal

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