Making popcorn from scuff can be tricky. Not merely would you like as much kernels as possible to pop, nevertheless, you also want to keep carefully the kernels from burning in the bottom of the pan.
Until my mom demonstrated me her way of cooking popcorn, I took the simple way to avoid it and used (gasp!) microwave snacks, which by the way, isn’t that healthy.
My mother’s approach to making popcorn not only pops nearly every kernel, it prevents the kernels from burning up also. She first learned this system decades ago from the relative back of a popcorn box.
Her strategy allows the snacks kernels to come quickly to an temperature before popping even, which leads to much fewer un-popped kernels (usually none) and fewer burnt kernels (again, usually non-e).
Since we posted this how-to in 2005 first, it’s been one of the very most popular recipes on the website. Enjoy!
So…. Let’s do it!:
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yield: Makes 2 quarts, a nice amount for two people, or for one hungry one.
Make sure the inside of the pot is totally dry before heating the oil in it, or else the oil will sputter.
3 Tbsp coconut, peanut, or canola oil (high smoke point oil)
1/3 cup of high quality popcorn kernels
1 3-quart covered saucepan
1 Tbsp or more (to taste) of butter (optional)
Salt to taste
1 Heat the essential oil in a 3-quart thick-bottomed saucepan on medium high heat. If you are using coconut oil, allow every one of the solid essential oil to melt.
2 Put 3 or 4 snacks kernels into the oil.
3 When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even level. Cover, remove from temperature and count 30 secs. (Count out loud; it’s fun to do with kids.)
This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.
4 Return the skillet to heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, lightly tremble the pan by moving it backwards and forwards on the burner.
Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the snacks release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper).
After the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the skillet from the heat, take away the lid, and dump the snacks immediately into a wide bowl.
With this technique, almost all of the kernels pop, and nothing burns.
5 If you are adding butter, you can simply melt it by placing the butter in the now empty, but hot pan. Note that if you let the butter get only a little bit brown, it will add an even more intense, buttery flavor to the butter and to your popcorn. (Here’s more info on how to dark brown butter.) Just drizzle the melted butter within the snacks and toss to distribute.
6 Salt to flavor.
Additional tips: Through the comments section
an If you add salt to the oil in the pan before popping, when the popcorn pops, the sodium will be well distributed throughout the snacks.
b Fun toppings for the popcorn – Spanish smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, cayenne powder, chili pepper, curry powder, cumin, grated Parmesan cheese.