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10 Quick Tips for Making Great Popcorn

These 10 Quick Tips will have you Making Great Popcorn right away.

Popcorn is a staple for us. It’s Li’l Man’s favorite snack.

It will come as no surprise that popcorn tops the list of foods purchased at movie theaters’ concession stands. 

Over 38 percent of moviegoers buy popcorn. (Source: Candy, Cocktails & Cinema Cuisine in 2018).

The best popcorn comes from evenly heated kernels.

Rush it and you’re left with “old maid” kernels or burnt popcorn.

Go too slow and you have shriveled and shrunk kernels with meh flavor and crunch.

You can pop popcorn in an air popper, on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Remember Drew Barrymore making stovetop popcorn in that iconic Scream scene?!

You’ll find air popped and microwave popcorn to be lighter and less crunch than stovetop popped.

Stovetop popped corn has a rich flavor from being popped in oil (try coconut oil!) and is the crunchiest.

So whether you make popcorn in an air popper, on the stovetop, or in a popcorn machine, the best popcorn is homemade popcorn!

Here are ten quick tips for making great popcorn.

bowl of popcorn

1.) Season the pan

Before using your popper, pour a teaspoon of hot oil in the pan, then tilt the pan to coat the bottom and sides.

You won’t need oil if you’re using an air popper for your homemade popcorn.

For stove top popped corn be sure to use an oil with a high smoke point.

Ghee, peanut oil, lard all high-temperature oils.

High Smoke point oils include:

  • Grapeseed Oil -neutral flavor
  • Avocado Oil -neutral flavor
  • Vegetable Oil-neutral flavor
  • Canola Oil-neutral flavor

For the closest flavor to movie theater popcorn use Refined Coconut oil

Use oils with flavor such as coconut oil or butter on the popcorn after it’s popped.

2.) Know Your Popping Corn

The highest-quality popping corn is gourmet popcorn.

Kernels range in color from off-white to light gold, red, blue, and every color in between.

Each color offers a distinct taste and tenderness.

Yellow kernels is the most common.

The different sizes of kernels determine the number of hulls you will have–the smaller the kernel, the fewer the hulls.

Mushroom and Butterfly (aka “snowflake”) are the two shapes of popcorn.

Mushroom popcorn pops round, with a mushroom-like texture on the outside. It is a firm popcorn and excellent for caramel corn.

Butterfly popcorn is the more light and fluffy. It has those “wings” that capture the melted butter and seasonings. It’s the classic popcorn.

3.) Less is More

We like to pour the popcorn into a shallow bowl or cookie sheet and then season with popcorn seasoning, popcorn salt, or other favorite seasonings.

This allows a more uniform taste of butter or other flavors.

4.) Patience is a Virtue

With the smell wafting through the house, it’s hard not to just dig in, but we have found it tastes better if we let it sit for a minute or two.

This gives a fluffy, crunch popcorn rather than a chewy one.

5.) Store Popping Corn in an Airtight Container

This will help prevent moisture loss, which affects the corn’s kernel’s ability to pop.

No moisture, no pop.

Avoid the refrigerator, however, many refrigerators contain little moisture and will actually dry out the kernels.

6.) Add a Little Moisture

If your kernels don’t pop completely or turn into crunchy, fluffy kernels rejuvenate the popping corn by:

Fill a 1-quart jar 3/4 full with popping corn

Add 1 Tablespoon of water

Cover, and shake every 5-10 minutes until all the water is absorbed

In 2-4 days, the corn should be perfect for popping

7.) Deck the Halls

For a popcorn garland, it’s best to use butterfly-shaped popcorn–large fluffy popcorn that has “wings”.

When making the garland, thread a needle with a very strong fishing line and add the popcorn, one piece at a time.

Thread through the thickest part of the popcorn to secure it.

For color and sparkle, add cranberries and spray paint the popcorn gold or silver before stringing.

8.) Indulge Your Sweet Tooth

Caramel corn works best with mushroom-shaped popcorn, produced from a kernel that is specifically bred to pop that way.

With fewer “wings” there is less surface area, making it much easier to apply a uniform caramel-coating layer over all the popcorn.

Try making these easy popcorn balls.

9.) Shake No Salt Before It’s Time

Pre-salting kernels toughen the popcorn.

Salt popcorn only after it has been popped.

Heck, skip the salt, and add seasonings like:

  • Shredded cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Popcorn salt
  • Dried oregano
  • Garlic salt
  • Kosher Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Dried basil
  • Marjoram
  • Thyme
  • Parsley.
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • Ancho chile powder
  • Powdered sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Cloves.
  • curry powder
  • Shichimi Togarashi
  • Chinese five-spice
  • Everything bagel seasoning
  • Packet of ranch seasoning

10.) Come Clean

After popping corn, just wipe out the popper with a paper towel.

This will keep the pan “seasoned”.

If you must wash the popper allow it to dry completely to ensure fluffy, crunchy popcorn.

Easy Stove Top Popcorn:

2 tablespoons high smoke point oil

1/3 cup popcorn kernels

You need any large, heavy-bottomed pot with a lid.

Add oil and three popcorn kernels to the pot and cover it with a lid over high heat.

Once the three kernels pop, your oil is hot enough!

Reduce heat to medium heat, add the popcorn kernels and cook the popcorn until the kernels start popping.

Shake the pan to help the popcorn heat evenly for two to three minutes, until all the kernels have popped.

How to Make Popcorn in the Microwave without the store-bought bag:

1/4 cup popcorn kernels

paper bag.

Place kernels in the bag.

Fold the top of the bag over to trap the steam.

***Paper bags are not microwave safe technically so stay close by and exercise caution.***

Microwave 2 to 3 minutes.

Let sit for a few minutes and shake before opening.

Finally, serve the perfect popcorn in a large bowl or other favorite container.

Happy Popping!

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