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The smell of kettle corn always brings back a flood of memories. The sweet and salty popcorn goes hand in hand with summer fairs, fall festivals, late night movie nights, all my favorite childhood memories. Who knew that making kettle corn could be done from start to finish, in less than 10 minutes!
Can I use other types of oil in this kettle corn recipe?
I recommend using vegetable oil because vegetable oil has a higher smoke point than other oils so it won’t burn as easily as other oils. I have used coconut oil successfully! But I would not recommend using butter, butter burns so easily! If you’ve gotta have that butter flavoring try drizzling a little melted butter over your kettle corn afterwards.
What’s the best way to store your kettle corn?
So your first instinct might be to seal it in an airtight container, right? I actually like to keep mine in a bag, maybe even slightly open. For me personally, I feel like my popcorn always goes a little soft when kept in an airtight container. But that’s just me.
How to make kettle corn in the microwave
In the recipe below I give instructions on how to make your kettle corn on the stovetop, which is my preferred method. However, it’s super easy to make in the microwave too!
Halve the recipe below: If you don’t your paper bag will have wayyyy too much popcorn it and it’ll make a mess.
- In a small bowl combined your popcorn kernels (remember, only ¼ cups, not ½ cup), oil, sugar, and salt together until the kernels are completely coated.
- Pour the coated kernels into a paper lunch bag and fold the bag down twice to seal them in.
- Microwave for 1 ½- 2 ½ minutes. Start with less time, you can always add more. When your kettle corn is done, there will be a 1-2 second gap between your kernels popping.
- Eat and enjoy! Note: I like to pour my kettle corn out on a tray and let it cool so the sugar coating on the kettle corn really crisps up!
Why do I need to shake the pan on the stovetop?
Although I give you instructions for how you can make kettle corn in the microwave, stovetop kettle corn is the best! So, when you’re making this treat on the stovetop, you’ll see that you’re instructed to pick up your pan and shake it regularly! And when we say shake it, shake it hard!
If you don’t, the popcorn will stick and the sugar will burn. I made that mistake during the first time I attempted making this at home. And let me tell you, cleaning scorched pans is no fun.
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- ½ cup popcorn kernels
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ¼-½ cup of granulated sugar (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Note: if you want to make this recipe in the microwave, see the instruction in the blog post above. These instructions are for making kettle corn on the stove.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat—you’ll pour the popcorn on here after its done popping—set aside. In a large saucepan (at least a 4 quart saucepan) over medium heat, add your oil and 3 popcorn kernels to the pan—this is to test when the oil is hot enough. Place the lid on the saucepan.
- When one kernel has popped, remove lid and stir in kernels, sugar, and salt—coating the kernels completely in sugar, salt, and oil. Replace lid on saucepan. Every 10 seconds or so give the saucepan a good shake (physically pick up the saucepan with lid on and shake it vigorously) to keep the kernels from sticking and burning.
- Once the popcorn starts to pop (mine took about 2-3 minutes to start popping) shake the saucepan more frequently—about ever 5 seconds—the replace on burner to keep the pan heated.
- When the popping starts to slow down (about 1-2 seconds between pops) turn the burner off. Pour popcorn onto lined baking sheet and spread popcorn out.
- Let popcorn cool for at least 5 minutes, it will start to crisp up during this time. Eat immediately or store in an airtight container.
Add ¼-½ cup of sugar to taste, ¼ will be lightly sweet, ½ will be very sweet. I like to use ⅓ cup of sugar, its sweet but not too sweet.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 483Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 537mgCarbohydrates: 101gFiber: 0gSugar: 100gProtein: 0g
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Originally Published October 6, 2018