Kettle corn is one of those things you can just snack on and not feel too guilty about (at least I don’t feel guilty munchin’ on it). Come on — it’s less greasy than buttered popcorn, less messy than caramel corn, and it’s infinitely better than fried potato chips. It’s the perfect snack, and you can eat it anytime. Who said you can only eat popcorn while watching a movie? I bet all of us at some point in our lives have happily stuffed our faces with handfuls of kettle corn.
The farmer’s market I go to always sells gigantic bags of this stuff. Kettle corn is perfectly sweet, slightly salty, crunchy, and snackable. And the best part is that it’s SUPER EASY and SUPER FAST to make. Like, super duper. Screw buying pre-made kettle corn. Homemade is the way to go — nothing is more satisfying than poppin’ fresh popcorn in your own home. You only need four ingredients, so if you already have popping corn in your pantry, it’s a cinch to make kettle corn.
Here’s what you need:
Sugar, salt, vegetable oil, and unflavored popping corn kernels (I highly recommend Orville Redenbacher’s. No, they did not pay me to say that!).
In a large pot with a fitted lid, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Make sure you’re using a pot large enough so all the kernels have room to pop. If you don’t have vegetable oil, use a mild unflavored oil so the flavor doesn’t overwhelm the kettle corn. (avoid olive oil for this. I think that would be kinda weird. But coconut oil…. hmmmm .. that’s something to think about. that might actually be delicious)
When you feel like the oil is getting hot, toss in three kernels. Don’t forget to cover the pot with a lid so the kernels don’t pop in your face!
Okay, perfect. As soon as they pop, you know the oil is hot enough.
Pour in the sugar …
And all of the kernels. And cover all that goodness with a lid. The sugar won’t perfectly dissolve in the oil just yet, but that’s okay. It’ll work, I promise.
So when you make stovetop popcorn, you really shouldn’t just cover the pot with a lid and forget about it. That’s a no-no. Burnt popcorn is literally the worst.
So… we will shake the pot every three seconds. Grab some dish towels and cover the pot handles so that you can have a firm grip when you lift and shake. Shake, shake, shake like crazy for three seconds, then place the pot back on the burner for 3 seconds. Continue in intervals, and your popcorn will pop like magic as soon as everything is hot enough.
I’d lift the lid to show you, but I don’t want hot oily kernels blasting in my face. So here’s a photo of what it should look like under the glass lid.
Continue shaking and placing the pot back on the burner…. and more and more kernels will pop. It’s a great sound.
Keep on keepin’ on until the popping sound starts to settle down. So if you hear popping sounds every…5-7 seconds or so, most of your kernels have popped. Let’s take it off the stove.
Mhmm… let’s unveil what we’ve got.
Nom. Now, kettle corn is slightly sweet and salty, so sprinkle in some table salt. Kosher or sea salt has no place here. We want fine grains of salt. Shake it all around to distribute it all.
Use your (clean) hands or a wooden spoon to separate large clumps of kettle corn. Enjoy immediately. You’ll love this kettle corn, I promise!
Kettle Corn Recipe
Total time: 7 minutes
Prep: 0 min
Cook: 7 min
Yield: 6 servings
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or other unflavored oil)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup popping corn kernels (recommended: Orville Redenbacher’s Original popping corn)
1/2 teaspoon iodized salt (table salt)
Pour oil into a large pot over medium-high heat. Place three kernels into oil and cover pot with lid. As soon as kernels pop, oil is hot enough and ready. Pour sugar and uncooked popping corn into pot and cover with lid. Use a dish towel and cover the handles of the pot, maintaining a firm grip as you lift and shake the pot to keep the sugar and kernels from burning. Lift and shake the pot vigorously for 3 seconds, return to burner for 3 seconds, and lift and shake again. Continue intervals of shaking until the popping sound begins to slow down and most kernels are popped. Remove the lid and sprinkle salt over the popcorn. Give popcorn one last shake to distribute the salt. If necessary, use spoon to separate large clumps of kettle corn. Serve immediately.