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A question about making popcorn

I have made popcorn on the stove successfully many times, but I've been running into a new problem lately: I add the oil (mix of coconut oil + vegetable oil) and a tester kernel but the oil gets way too hot (starting to sputter and pop) before the tester kernel pops. What's going on?

Sarah is Food52's senior staff writer & stylist.

asked over 2 years ago
6 answers 720 views
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Monita is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added over 2 years ago

I use a heavy bottom/ wide pot with 1-2 tablespoons veg oil on medium high and 3-4 kernels. If your pot doesn't have a good bottom it could be getting hot too fast or if you are on a high flame. Not sure the impact of coconut oil; but don't think it should make a difference

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 2 years ago

Are you using refined coconut oil? If not, it may be the little specks of coconut giving off liquid. Coconuts vary in their moisture content which is why the same brand of 100% coconut milk can sometimes vary. This is just theory on my part.

Is it smoking or just spattering? If it isn't smoking, I would just forge ahead.

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added over 2 years ago

Tester kernels--that's interesting. I have never even thought of doing that. My method is to add all the kernels and cold oil to my pot and bring them to temperature together. I also get some sputtering, but i always chalked it up to the steam and condensation from my pot lid dripping back into the oil.

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SMSF is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

Another theory: could it be that the popcorn you're now using is somewhat older and thus has less moisture in the kernal? That could cause the tester kernel to take longer to pop while the oil continues to get hotter and hotter. Just an idea.

I always drop in 5 or 6 tester kernels - when the first few have popped, it's a go to dump in the rest of the popcorn.

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added over 2 years ago

I've always had trouble with stovetop popcorn & oil, so now I make it on the stovetop without oil (CRAZY I know - but then I add a lot of melted butter). I just use a non-stick pot (but it's okay if it isn't) -- and I shake it gently every few seconds. With that method, and yours, I think the key is to lower the heat and be patient. I always get antsy and crank it up, and everything burns and is ruined. To make it perfectly, I have to wait longer than I want and keep the heat closer to medium. Also, try using olive oil and see what happens.

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Sarah Jampel

Sarah is Food52's senior staff writer & stylist.

added over 2 years ago

You make your popcorn on the stove without oil!??! I need to dry that.

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