For better flavor, pop your corn from scratch!
Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.
Everybody loves popcorn. It’s great for watching movies, you can fill a ziplock bag of it for an on-the-go snack and it’s a much healthier alternative to potato chips and other high-calorie snack foods. (Popcorn is a whole grain that helps you eat the recommended 48 grams daily.)
But with the modern convenience of microwavable popcorn, it seems much of the world is eating popcorn from nuked bags that are lackluster and artificially flavored (not to mention artificial-tasting).
By making your popcorn at home on the stove instead of in the microwave, you’ll find that it tastes more like popcorn and less like hydrogenated oil.
How To Get Started
All you need is a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, some vegetable oil (preferably canola oil, a healthy, monousaturated fat with a good smoke point) and popping corn (which you can find at any grocery store, although we prefer the better flavor of gourmet popcorn kernels).
To yield about two quarts of popped popcorn, you need roughly half a cup of kernels and two tablespoons of oil.
1. Start by cranking your stove up to high heat.
2. Toss the oil in the pot and add the popcorn kernels, then cover with the lid. As everything begins to heat up, you’ll hear the oil start to make some noise.
3. Keeping the lid on tightly, give the pot a good shake every 30 seconds or so to evenly distribute the heat and keep the kernels form burning. You will hear and see the popcorn start to pop, which is far more entertaining than in the microwave version!
4. Once the popping slows to one pop every three seconds or so, pull the pot off the heat and let it sit for a moment to let any stragglers catch up. At this point, you have a light, fresh, healthy snack.
But why stop there?
How To Make Gourmet Popcorn
Your microwave is probably jealous at this point, so bring it back into the mix by melting a couple tablespoons of butter to drizzle over your popcorn. (Want to avoid cholesterol? Use extra virgin olive oil or other flavored oil. Our favorite is truffle oil.)
Want even more flavor? Spend a moment foraging though your spice cabinet to punch up the flavor. Here are some flavor combinations to start with. For best results, start with butter and salt, and then continue to dress up your popcorn to make it:
French-Accented Popcorn: a drizzle of truffle oil and some herbs de provence (a blend that can include lavender, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, savory, sage and thyme—so if you don’t have a blend, add as many of these as you like).
Italian-Accented Popcorn: garlic powder, grated Parmesan or other Italian grating cheese, dried oregano and optional chili flakes.
Sweet & Tangy Popcorn: a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
Hot & Spicy Popcorn: a drizzle of your favorite hot sauce (we like Valentina, a Mexican hot sauce that adds spices to the chiles).
While you’re snacking on your delicious homemade popcorn, browse through:
The history of popcorn.
Why does popcorn pop?
More flavored popcorn recipes: cheese, curry, wasabi.
Our favorite gourmet popcorn gifts.