Want to enjoy the occasional popcorn snack or movie night without feeling guilty about loading up on butter? Learn how to make popcorn with coconut oil, and you can make delicious, fluffy popcorn with a hint of coconut flavor and zero guilt.
Coconut oil popcorn tastes delicious and provides numerous health advantages versus butter or refined oils such as vegetable or canola oil. Making it is the same as if you were to use butter, and you can still add the same additional toppings.
It’s a win-win.
Is Coconut Oil Good for Making Popcorn?
Coconut oil is excellent for making popcorn! It leaves a clean, light flavor, which is especially significant if you add some type of seasoning. Better yet, it’s much healthier than butter. Plus, the low smoke point of coconut oil is a perfect match for popcorn, which cooks at low heat.
Can I Use Coconut Oil Instead of Vegetable Oil for Popcorn?
Yes, you can – and should – use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil for popcorn. Your popcorn will be healthier and more flavorful without any extra effort. Vegetable oil causes increased inflammation in the body, blood clotting, and growth of cancer cells.
Coconut oil, on the other hand, can lower your LDL cholesterol (‘bad cholesterol’), produce clean energy for your body, and improve the health of your brain, metabolism, hair, and skin.
Unrefined vs. Refined Coconut Oil
When shopping for coconut oil to use to make your popcorn, you may notice there are two distinct varieties: unrefined and refined. There are a couple of key differences, so there are situations in which one works better than the other.
Unrefined coconut oil is made from fresh coconut meat. This type makes coconut flavor much more robust in your end product. Its smoke point is 350F, which is considered low.
Refined coconut oil is made from dried coconut (like coconut flakes). The end product you purchase in the store is filtered and deodorized.
This works better when you want the benefits of coconut oil but not too much coconut flavor to come through. This one has a smoke point of 400F.
Does Coconut Oil Taste Like Butter on Popcorn?
The natural flavor of using coconut oil on popcorn instead of butter will be lighter and nuttier. Butter tends to be richer and heavier. That said, they do taste similar to each other. You could use butter-flavored coconut oil to get the best of both worlds.
Butter-flavored coconut oil is minimally processed and typically colored with beta carotene, the natural compound that makes carrots orange. It’s made with coconuts, of course, and fermented plants such as sunflower and mint.
It’s a healthy way to enjoy the flavor of butter while enjoying the health benefits of coconut oil.
If you want to mainly use coconut oil but also get some butter in there to amp up the flavor, you could cook the popcorn with coconut oil and add a little bit of butter at the end.
How Do You Use Coconut Oil in a Popcorn Maker?
You can use coconut oil in a popcorn maker the same way you’d use any other oil. Coconut oil is the most commonly used in popcorn makers (even in theaters). You can use the same amount of coconut oil as any other oil.
This is the case whether you’re using a stirring popcorn maker or a theater-style popcorn machine. If you’re using an air popper, add the melted coconut oil after popping the popcorn, not before, like with other machines.
Coconut Oil Popcorn Recipe
Keep it simple if you’re making popcorn with coconut oil on the stove. Choose the coconut oil you prefer, pick any additional toppings, and get started.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil (suggested: butter-flavored coconut oil)
- ⅓ cup plain popcorn kernels
Here’s how to do it:
- Add the coconut oil to a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Once the coconut oil has melted, add a few (3-4) popcorn kernels and cover with a lid.
- Once one of the test kernels has popped, add the rest of the kernels to the bottom of the pan in a single layer (this will prevent unpopped kernels).
- Cover the pan and remove from the heat for 30 seconds to bring all the kernels to the same temperature.
- Return the pan to the heat and tilt the lid slightly to allow some of the steam to escape. Gently shake the pan to encourage even cooking and prevent burning while the kernels continue to pop. Remove from heat once the kernels start popping about 2-3 seconds apart.
- Transfer popcorn to a bowl immediately, sprinkle salt over the top and toss it for even coverage.
Making popcorn with coconut oil is easy and a simple swap, considering the lack of extra effort instead of using butter. If you can avoid unnecessary trans fats and pick up some clean energy, it’s a no-brainer to try next time you’re craving a bowl of popcorn.