Homemade Kettle Corn and Popcorn

Lately I have been craving popcorn — HOMEMADE popcorn. I’ll go make some in a second, right after I extol its virtues and try to convince you not to use the microwaved variety any longer.

First, all the reasons NOT to eat microwave popcorn. Yes. I know it’s super convenient and fast, but (here’s the list):

  1. Most are full of artery-clogging hydrogenated oils.
  2. Even if you find a kind that isn’t full of hydrogenated oils, microwave popcorn has a fake butter flavor and real butter is just so much yummier.
  3. That fake butter flavor is created by a chemical powder that is literally killing the people who work in the popcorn factories (I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true. You can read about it at this New York Times article on OSHA)
  4. It’s easy to burn microwave popcorn

Okay — now for all the reasons you should try making popcorn on your own:

  1. It is far less expensive to make your own popcorn. A bag of kernals that will pop into numerous bowls of delightful popcorn is only a fraction of the cost of a box of microwave popcorn with only three bags.
  2. You can use any old pot you’ve got lying around the house. You don’t need a fancy popcorn pot, but if you have one, feel free to use it.
  3. You can even use your microwave. Follow these directions on the Food Network site from Alton Brown (which I haven’t tried).
  4. You can control the butter and salt so the popcorn tastes perfect for you (and not some test market).
  5. You can easily make kettlecorn (yes — it’s very easy. You just add some sugar to the pot and it crystallizes onto the popcorn. Just follow the directions below).
  6. Homemade popcorn is far healthier.

So give homemade popcorn a try!

Buttered Popcorn

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 cup popcorn kernals

1-2 Tbsp melted butter

salt to taste

  1. Find a large pot (the kind you’d use to boil a pound of pasta). Metal or cast iron are fine.
  2. Set the pot on the stove and add the oil.
  3. Turn the stove on medium and then add the popcorn.
  4. Cover the pot and just stand there looking pretty until the oil heats up.
  5. Once the popcorn starts to pop (which you’ll hear — don’t open the cover to check or you might get a kernel in your eye) start shaking the pot here and there so the popcorn doesn’t burn on the bottom.
  6. When the popcorn starts to really get going you should shake the pot while keeping it still on the burner (you may need oven mitts for this).
  7. When the popcorn slows down, turn off the heat.
  8. Quickly melt some butter in a pan or the microwave.
  9. Pour the popcorn into a bowl. Dump the butter on top and sprinkle on some salt (I like sea salt).
  10. Mix and eat.

Homemade Kettle Corn

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 cup popcorn kernals

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

Pretty much the exact same instructions as those above, except you add the sugar and salt to the pot when you add the popcorn and then you don’t add any butter or salt at the end.

Note: be sure to use an older pot when making kettlecorn as the crystallized sugar can burn at the bottom, leaving little spots.

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8 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Leah Lawson said,

    Hi! I tried making popcorn the other night by putting about 1 TBSP of butter, 2 TBSP of honey and cinnnamon to taste in the pan for the kernnels to pop in. It was fantastic! Plus, I had flavored popcorn with real butter and didn’t have to melt it and pour it on.

  2. 2

    dslincoln said,

    Adding honey sounds delicious. Did any of it burn at the bottom of the pot? Also, I once tried using butter instead of oil to pop the popcorn, but it quickly got too brown and scorched the popcorn. Did you have this problem? Did you also use oil? I’d love to try it.

  3. 4

    Emily Kestner said,

    Here is a GREAT version of kettle corn…
    1/3 c. oil
    1/3 c. white sugar
    1/3 c. kernals
    pinch of salt
    After the corn is popper pour into a large bowl and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. SOOO DELICIOUS!!! You can also mix it up a bit by adding pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, cocoa powder, allspice…even a tiny bit of cayenne pepper!

  4. 5

    uriahsky said,

    How can I make Kettle corn in the microwave? I buy these bags of kettle corn from Trader Joe’s for about two bucks a bag and I must have bought over a hundred bags in the past year or two. So I figured I should learn how to make it, but I only have a microwave at the moment. Can I just put all of the ingredients in a brown paper bag? Popcorn, sugar, salt, Olive oil, and then just microwave it or do I need different ingredients or something different? Thanks…

  5. 6

    dslincoln said,

    Hi Uriahsky — I’ve never made kettle corn in the microwave, but I think it’s definitely worth experimenting to see how it comes out. I would probably just follow the microwave instructions for the link I provide and then add powdered sugar (instead of granulated as it’s finer and so will melt more easily). Let me know how it turns out.

  6. 7

    DJ said,

    I LOVE popcorn! I make mine in an old pressure cooker w/o the pressure thingy on top or the rubber ring. Don’t use an enameled pot for popcorn…you’ll ruin the pot! Yes, I had to learn that the hard way! I like butter but do not like how soggy it makes the popcorn when I add it after the corn is popped. Now I get the oil hot, add a couple kernals of corn until they explode, remove them (if they haven’t removed themselves) then add the popcorn and put a couple tablespoons of cold (even frozen) butter on top. Put the lid on and follow the rest of the directions above. No more soggy popcorn!

  7. 8

    dslincoln said,

    Hi DJ — great idea for adding butter. I also love butter but hate soggy popcorn so I’ll have to give this a try!


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