Monday, May 28, 2012

Perfecto Popcorn

I grew up in a house with a popcorn aficionado.  My dad popped popcorn on the stove after dinner more nights than not.  There was no Jiffy Pop, no air poppers, no *gasp* microwave popcorn...just plain ol' popcorn popped with a little oil on the stove.
Dad held the BIG bowl and we got little bowls to dip in to get our share.  We could go back as many times as we wanted, but dad always held onto that big bowl. ;)

Popcorn on the stove is still my favorite way to make popcorn.  Here's what you'll need:
1. Popcorn. You'll need 1/2 cup popcorn (I like yellow popcorn; I think  it pops up fluffier and bigger than white.  My grocery store carries an organic version in bulk.  Otherwise, look for it tucked away near the microwave popcorn.)

2. Oil.  You can use any vegetable or canola oil.  Lately, I've been using grapeseed. 

3. The cooking vessel.  I use my 4 qt. pot with a lid.  It's a perfect fit for 1/2 cup popcorn.

4. Butter, kosher and table salt for seasoning. (I like to use a mix of salt...I love the crunch of kosher salt, while table salt seems to get distributed more evenly throughout the popcorn.  My dad only uses table salt.)  Add salt only after the popcorn has popped...adding to the oil can make the popcorn tough.


Let's get started....

Pour oil into the pot to cover the bottom.  I never measure this.  It doesn't have to be a deep layer, just enough to cover.  Pour some in, swirl it around.  If it covers the bottom, you're set.

Toss in 2, yes TWO, kernels only.  (This will allow the oil to heat much faster and tell you when the oil is at the perfect temperature.)

Turn the heat to about 5-6 on the stove.
{psst...I *see* you. Can you see me? ;)}

Heat, uncovered, until one of the kernels pops.  (Do NOT stand with your face over the pot.)  Stay in the kitchen, but you can do other things while you're waiting, like melt 2 TBSP salted butter and set aside.

Once the kernel has popped, pour in the rest of the popcorn and cover with the lid.  Place the lid on the pot a little crooked so it is vented, and hold the handles using potholders.

Shake the pan frequently as the popcorn pops.  Once the popping has slowed to a couple seconds between pops, remove from heat and let stand a minute.  (You might hear a few more pops.)

Pour half of the popcorn into a large bowl.  Pour over half the butter, along with a pinch each of kosher and table salt.  Toss.  Add the remaining popcorn, butter, and salts.  Toss again.  Taste.  Add more salt if needed, but remember that the further into the bowl you get, the saltier it will become. :)

Perfecto popcorn.  You may never microwave again.

39 comments:

  1. We love popcorn and we only make it on the stove. It tastes so much better! You need one of these fun pots!

    http://www.amazon.com/Wabash-Valley-Farms-25008-Whirley-Pop/dp/B00004SU35/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1338217617&sr=8-3

    My kids love to crank the handle on ours :)

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  2. reminds me of our old popcorn popper, an electric one & you poured a bit of oil in the bottom & then added the popcorn. or back in the day when my uncle would simply put popcorn in a brown paper bag & into their microwave. i use a hot-air popper, haven't made any in ages though

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  3. If you add sugar and let it dissolve in the hot oil (and shake your pan often) you have kettle corn-like popcorn! Yum. I always pop corn on the stove so much better than microwave kind.

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  4. Popcorn the old fashioned way! I love it. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. We sometimes use bacon grease instead of oil of a different flavor.

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  6. I love snacking on stove top popped pop corn. Gail (THEToughCookie) says that Truffle Salt on your popcorn is amazing. I finally found some at Costco but haven't used it yet. Have you ever tried it?

    P.S. Yes, I see you, bent over with your camera and your apron on!:)

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  7. I am the exact same bridget,its my fav way too. When I first moved in with my other half,he had never even heard of making your own popcorn and thought I was an alien when I said I'm making my own!

    shirley x

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  8. LOVE! My dad makes the best stove-top popcorn as well and puts his in a huge stainless steel bowl my parents have had for as long as I can remember. Thanks for posting. :)

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  9. This post reminded me of all the times as kids we would burn the bottom of the pot while making popcorn. My mother was not happy about that but popcorn popped on the stove top is so much tastier than the microwave variety!

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  10. Oh that looks yummy! Popcorn on the stove is not only tastier...kids think its magical!!! I love tossing in some m & m's too!

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  11. I add 1/3 cup sugar to the oil to make kettle corn...and add food coloring to the oil to color the popcorn.

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  12. You would think everyone would know how to popcorn on top of a stove, but not everyone does!

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  13. I always, always pop popcorn on the stove (I did a post on how I pop popcorn a while back too!). It's funny that kids these days think microwaved bags are the only way to make popcorn! Yay for encouraging people to pop their own! SO much better, right?

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  14. Looks perfect to me! I love popcorn!

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  15. I just cooked popcorn on the stove for the first time just weeks ago. Totally changed the way we make popcorn at our house!!

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  16. I have never done popcorn like this!! Must try!

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  17. Stove top popcorn, with oil, is the best! Classic:)

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  18. I do love popcorn any way and nuke it generally but this is how my dad used to make it and it's truly...so good!

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  19. Yay! I've been experimenting with different ways to pop corn. Your method is next!!

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  20. When we were kids we had an old popcorn popper (kind of like a Whirly Pop, but an off-brand). Problem was that if I made popcorn I had to share with my little brother. So, when I made the popcorn, I would burn it. Not a lot, just a little weller done --- he wouldn't want any and I would get the whole bowl.

    As a result, I like my popcorn a little weller done than most folks, but I almost never get asked to share. When someone at work burns their microwave popcorn, they usually come down to my office and ask if I would like some (I'm not a fan of microwave popcorn, but the aroma gets to me everytime!!!)

    He still hates it "burnt", I still prefer it a little weller done. ;-) So, when I visit my Dad and my brother is there, I still don't have to share my popcorn --- although I did confess a couple of years ago, now HE volunteers to make the popcorn!

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  21. How is it possible that I was completely unaware that you could make popcorn this way? Seriously, my whole life I've been picturing the pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving with Native Americans and some sort of 17th century version of a Jiffy Pop *Headsmack* Now that I'm up to speed I can't wait to try out your popcorn popping strategy : )

    www.bruinetteinwonderland.com

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  22. You are so right on - popcorn on the stove is the only way to go! Awesome tutorial for someone who doesn't know how to do it.

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  23. This looks so easy! I usually make Caramel Popcorn recipe with microwavable "natural" no added butter and salt kind, but next time I'll try this.

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  24. I love making stove top popcorn, though we do it without oil and just keep the pot moving all the time (great workout for your arms). I wonder what there is difference if done with/without oil? Guess i know what i'm making this evening :)

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  25. I wanna make some tonight! I haven't had the real stuff in a long time.

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  26. LOVE your sweet + savory side. This popcorn looks very addictive!

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  27. I love this method, but I have a "cook top" stove, so it makes scratches on the surface. Boo. This version is still the best method.

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  28. I've only done my popcorn on the stove and I do it without the oil since it's a snack for my dog. I heat up the pan to quite hot then bring down the heat and put in the kernels. I keep stirring till it starts popping before I put the lid on. Makes the house smell yummy!!

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  29. Popcorn was the only thing my Dad would cook at home. We had a catfish restaurant where he cooked all of the food, but at home it was just popcorn. He made it just like your Dad did. Great post.

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  30. Bridget, I just added a link to this post on my popcorn post today. Just wanted to let you know... you know, in case all my fans flood your site :) Thanks so much. http://pintsizedbaker.blogspot.com/2012/06/picnic-popcorn.html

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  31. Thank you so much for this post, Bridget! My dad used to have a stove top popcorn popper that we would beg for him to use, because it was soooooo good. And if he was feeling really generous (didn't take much!) in the winter, we could convince him to use his long handled popper for the wood burning fireplace. Such a fun treat! You've brought the simplicity of great popcorn back into my life - your directions were perfect, with only 1 unpopped hull remaining in the bottom of the pan. Thank you, thank you!

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  32. Bridget, one of my favorite oils to use for stove-popping popcorn is coconut. It makes the kitchen smell doubly heavenly and the popcorn tast so yummy!!

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  33. Oh, and I had no idea the oil would heat up faster without adding all the kernels at once!! That is a great tip!!

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  34. Has anyone tried "White Hulless" popcorn. If you do, you will never use the regular yellow kernal popcorn again. It's very tasty and very tender. I add real butter...it's yummy

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  36. I use coconut oil and add a little (real) butter just before I add the WHITE HULLESS popcorn kernals.I may try streaming the butter over the popcorn after popping the corn and see if I like it better. I like a tiny bit of Kosher salt on mine also. Sometimes a little garlic salt for something different. YUM!

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  37. Yum. Your house sounds like mine growing up and now. WE LOVE POPCORN! And my dad used to put it in a giant bowl and then we'd scoop it out with our bowls :D. Ironically enough I'm sitting here eating popcorn (and heavens no, it is NOT microwave). I'm excited to try your technique though and see how many kernels pop! Thanks!! :)

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