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Popcorn is usually one of the fastest snacks to prepare for a movie night or a get-together. Even if you have a friend over and forgot to prepare anything, popcorn is one of those snacks that you can whip up in a matter of minutes. It’s the most delicious lifesaver in that type of situation.
It can also be a real pain in the neck to make if you’re doing it with the wrong ingredients or equipment. It may even double the popping time depending on what you’re using. But, generally speaking, it usually takes around 8-10 minutes to pop popcorn on the stovetop. So, if it took you way longer the last time you popped popcorn, we’ve prepared a guideline for you down below so that you don’t keep your friends waiting the next time you get poppin’!
Choose Your Ingredients and Equipment Wisely
As we mentioned, the type of ingredients and equipment you choose to pop popcorn is pretty important if you’re in a race against time. It may either produce a bad end product or prolong the popping time considerably.
The Type of Pot is Important
The type of pot you use to pop popcorn plays a huge role in its popping time. We don’t suggest using pots or pans that lose their heat quickly. Here are some of the pots or pans we suggest to quickly pop popcorn:
- Four-quart saucepan with a fitting lid: Saucepans are probably one of the most versatile cookware that there is, and this applies to popping popcorn as well. They’re always a favorite among popcorn connoisseurs because they heat up relatively fast, convenient, and easy to wash up afterwards.
- Heavy-duty Dutch Oven: Just like saucepans, aluminum or cast iron Dutch ovens are a reliable and an all-around pot to have in the kitchen. Their advantage in popping popcorn is that they heat up really well and distribute it evenly, which prevents burning. They also retain heat very well. However, they take a bit of time to completely heat up. So, they’re the fastest and best option only if you’re making multiple batches of popcorn for a crowd thanks to their heat-retaining abilities.
- Hand Crank Popcorn Poppers: They’re also a great tool to quickly whip up a batch of popcorn because they’re easy to use and are usually made of thin metal, which means they heat up quickly.
The Type of Oil is Important
The type of oil you use also plays a huge role in the popping process. The higher the flame you use, the quicker the pot will heat up, and here’s where the correct type of oil comes into play. You should always choose an oil with a high smoke point for popping popcorn, so that the oil can quickly heat up on medium heat without smoking or burning. This will, in turn, allow the kernels to heat up and pop faster. So, here are the oils we recommend for popping popcorn:
- Coconut Oil: Especially unrefined or extra-virgin coconut oil is not only the best oil for popping popcorn, but also the healthiest one. It has a high smoke point of 350°F, which means it can heat up really well to quickly pop popcorn, but not high enough to be a health risk.
- Avocado Oil: It’s not only a very healthy type of oil, it also has a high smoke point of around 375-400°F. This means you can get it really hot to quickly pop popcorn without burning the popcorn or the oil itself. Also, it infuses the popcorn with a wonderfully buttery flavor, which is always a plus!
- Olive Oil: Just like coconut or avocado oil, olive oil has a pretty high smoke point (350-400°F) and a ton of health benefits, which makes it ideal for popping popcorn. It also won’t interfere with the flavor of your seasonings. However, we don’t recommend popping popcorn with cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, because it’s completely different from what we’re talking about, and it has a low smoke point as well as a dominant flavor. So, we recommend using the cheaper, cooking olive oil that is lighter in color and more neutral in flavor.
- Canola Oil: Unfortunately, we know that not everyone can afford more expensive and healthier types of oil. But don’t worry, even though canola oil is highly processed, it’s still rich in essential fatty acids. So, if you want to go the cheaper route but still make a quick and fantastic batch of popcorn, we recommend using canola oil. It has a high smoke point of 435°F and a pretty neutral flavor. However, some find its flavor a bit overpowering or say that it has an aftertaste.
How to Make Popcorn on the Stovetop
Now that you know the type of ingredients and equipment you should choose to pop popcorn, how about we give it a try, huh? If you choose the type of pot and oil we recommended above and follow our instructions, you’ll be munching on a bowl of salty and warm popcorn in no time!
Note: This whole process should take 10 minutes tops, from start to finish!
- 3 tbsp coconut or avocado oil
- ¾ cup of corn kernels
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp butter – optional
- Put the pot over medium heat and add the oil
- Toss in a few kernels and let the pot heat up
- When the kernels start popping, add the remaining kernels to the pot and give it a stir/shake
- The popping sound should rapidly start and then gradually slow down
- When the sound slows down, turn off the heat and transfer the popped popcorn to a large bowl
- If you choose to flavor the popcorn with butter, put the butter into the still-hot pot to melt it with the residual heat
- Meanwhile, salt the popcorn to taste while it’s hot
- Once the butter is melted, slowly and carefully drizzle it over the popcorn while shaking the bowl or stirring the popcorn to evenly distribute the melted butter