If you want the perfect tender, fluffy popcorn when snack cravings hit, you gotta try making homemade popcorn from scratch. It’s unbelievably easy, requires only three ingredients, and leads to infinitely better results than any microwave popcorn can produce.
Even if you’re not much of a cook or don’t want to commit to something time-consuming, homemade popcorn is still in your wheelhouse.
It’s shocking how simple it is. Plus, once you do it once, you’ll be hooked.
How Do You Make Homemade Popcorn at Home?
You can make popcorn at home in many different ways. Some are easier, and it’s worth a little extra effort for a better tasting result. Not that it takes much effort to make perfect homemade popcorn; it’s surprisingly easy.
You can go about this two different ways: use the kitchen gear you’ve already got (a stainless steel pot is standard), or you can purchase a popcorn maker to make the process more automatic.
Neither gives better results; it’s a matter of personal preference.
Here’s a recipe to get you started. If you’re using a popcorn maker of some kind, you can follow the same recipe, just turn on the maker instead of the heat on the stove. You’ll still want to shake regularly and follow the same cues.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 3 tablespoons oil (coconut oil, olive, or avocado recommended)
- ⅓ cup popcorn kernels
- Additional toppings, if preferred
Here’s how to do it:
- Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it’s shimmering.
- Add a few kernels to test the temperature (3-4 kernels).
- Once those few stovetop kernels pop, add the remaining kernels in an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
- Put the lid on the pan, turn off the heat, and allow to sit for 30 seconds to bring the kernels up to the proper temperature.
- Turn the heat back on medium-high; once the kernels begin popping, tilt the lid slightly to allow steam to escape.
- Allow kernels to pop, shaking gently often (nearly constantly), until the pops are about 2-3 seconds apart.
- Remove from heat, remove the lid, and transfer popcorn to a large bowl (large enough to toss with seasoning).
- Add any additional seasonings and salt to taste at this time, tossing to cover the popcorn kernels evenly.
It’s that easy!
Suggested toppings include the following:
- Melted butter-flavored coconut oil
- Nutritional yeast (cheesy flavor)
- Taco seasoning
- Parmesan cheese & dried Italian herbs
- Lemon zest & black pepper
- Pizza seasoning
- Dill & seasoned salt
This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are hundreds – possibly thousands – of fun, delicious popcorn toppings to try.
Use What You’ve Got
If you want to make popcorn without purchasing fancy equipment, you can use a simple pot with a lid. Choose something with a heavy bottom, as this will prevent burning and ensure even popping.
You’ll need a lid to create steam, so pick a pan that has a proper lid to go with it. Alternatively, you could use a stainless steel mixing bowl and aluminum foil to cover the top. Either will work perfectly.
Consider a Popcorn Machine
If you’re planning to eat popcorn often or just want to make the process quicker or more automatic, there are several types of popcorn makers to consider.
You could purchase a stovetop popcorn popper, a silicone popper for the microwave, an air popper, or even a popcorn machine.
Honestly, these popcorn makers don’t necessarily provide better popcorn, but it removes some thinking. It takes the same time as simply using a pot or bowl.
What is the Secret to Making Good Popcorn?
There are a few aspects to keep in mind when making popcorn to make it extra special, but the biggest secret to making it perfect is simple.
Pay attention to the process instead of expecting it to be automatic. This means paying attention to the temperature of the oil, listening for the proper time to turn off the heat, and shaking the pan at regular intervals.
These simple cues will prevent your popcorn from burning, encourage every kernel to pop perfectly and create a fluffy, light texture that you’ll be excited to dig into.
Tricks to Keep in Mind
Here are some tips & tricks to keep in mind as you’re making popcorn from scratch at home:
- Be careful with the salt; you can always add more
- Keep the heat at medium/medium-high
- Tilt the lid slightly while cooking
- Start with a few kernels before adding all of them
- Use a heavy-bottomed pot
Check out some crazy popcorn recipes you might not of heard of.
Can You Make Popcorn from Fresh Kernels?
You can make popcorn from fresh corn, although you’ll need to pay attention to what kind of cobs you’re buying. Sweet corn kernels won’t pop into popcorn, as they’re too moist. Even if you dry them out ahead of time, they won’t pop. You can, however, use popcorn cobs for popping into popcorn. Many grocery stores carry these, and they’re also popular at farmers’ markets in the fall.
To make popcorn from popcorn cobs, you can either remove the kernels from the cob (they’re easily removed by flicking/pulling at them with your fingers) or pop the whole cob. If you remove the kernels, you can follow the same method you’d use with store-bought kernels. The results won’t be as uniform if you pop the cob, although it can be fun.
Wanna pop the whole cob?
Here’s how to do it:
- Remove the husks & silks from the cobs.
- Coat the surface of the kernels with some type of fat; butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, or olive oil work well for this.
- Seal the cobs in a large brown paper bag (it needs to be large enough to hold the popped popcorn, not just the cobs).
- Place the paper bag into another paper bag to allow the popcorn to expand without bursting out of the first bag’s opening.
- Microwave until you hear about 2-3 seconds between pops (about 4 minutes), then remove and season to your preference.
- When seasoning the popcorn, you can leave it in the bag for easy shaking to coat the kernels evenly.
Whether you’re looking for a salty snack when cravings hit on a weekday afternoon or planning a delicious snack for family movie night, homemade popcorn from scratch hits all the high notes of a perfect bowl of popcorn without any fuss or stress.
If you’ve got a heavy-bottomed pot, some popcorn kernels, a little oil, and some salt, you’re all set for the best bowl of popcorn you’ve ever had. Try it once, and you’ll never want to return to microwave popcorn again.