Ever since I made zebra popcorn, I’ve been obsessed with popping corn on the stove and making my own yummy flavored popcorn. All of my previous popcorn-at-home experience has been with microwaveable bags, and I had no idea that stovetop-popped corn is so much more delicious! So far, I’ve made buttered popcorn, garlic butter popcorn, cheesy popcorn, cinnamon sugar popcorn, and salt-and-pepper popcorn, but my favorite by far is kettle corn. It’s a little sweet, a little salty, and crunchy — what’s not to love?
I’ve always been a fan of kettle corn, so I love making it at home — it is so easy and so cheap! If you have some popcorn kernels, you probably have all the other ingredients (oil, sugar, salt) already. I like the proportions in this About.com recipe, so that’s what I’m using for this post.
- 1/2 cup popping corn kernels (I like white corn, but you could also use yellow)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- Salt to taste
You can reduce the amount of oil to 2 or 3 tablespoons (1/4 cup is 4 tablespoons) if you like. Also, one time I ran out of vegetable oil and used olive oil; I couldn’t tell the difference in the final product.
Place the oil and three kernels (only!) in a large pot with a lid. Put the lid on the pot, then turn on the stove to medium heat. When the three kernels pop, quickly lift the lid and dump in the sugar and the rest of the kernels. Immediately close the pot again, then lift the pot by the handles and shake it gently to distribute the kernels, oil and sugar evenly. Place the pot back on the heat. When the kernels start to pop, shake the pot again, then place it back on the stove. Let the kernels pop for a few more seconds, then pick up the pot and shake it before placing it back on the heat. Repeat until you don’t hear popping for a few seconds. At that point, turn off the heat, remove the pot from the stove, and remove the lid. And yes, that measly half cup of kernels made this whole pot of popcorn!
Pour the popcorn into a serving bowl. (I would urge you to err on the side of turning off the heat too early rather than risk scorching the popcorn! Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to tell when to stop.) Salt to taste. I only use about a teaspoon of sea salt.