Pop Secret

corn for popping

I grew up with air-popped popcorn and microwave popcorn. It wasn't until about two years ago that I discovered the joy of stove top popcorn. But this year I learned a few secrets from a friend that has greatly improved our popcorn experience.

1) Coconut oil makes the best popcorn.

2) To ensure that your oil is the right temperature for popping corn, put three kernels of corn in the bottom of the pot with your oil and wait until they pop, then add the rest of the kernels.

Our popcorn has never tasted better - big, light and fluffy kernels! A little bit of salt, a little bit of browned butter, a whole lot of good.

If you're in the mood for something a little sweeter, try our caramel corn recipe, adapted from Carol Fenster's recipe from 1000 Gluten Free Recipes (our version has less fat and sugar and is faster to make).

going, going, gone

Caramel Corn

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup corn or rice syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Pop the popcorn kernels in the coconut oil. Transfer to large bowl.

In small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar, syrup and salt and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil and let boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and add the vanilla and baking soda. Caramel will become foamy. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and stir well to coat.

We've been known to eat caramel corn until our tummies ache. Enjoy!


  1. Ok, that's funny. I just popped a pot of popcorn and sat down with it at the computer. The first thing I saw was your post. I haven't tried coconut oil - I'll have to check it out.

  2. AnonymousJuly 28, 2009

    it so hot here that my coconut oil is liquid! I agree, this is the only way to eat popcorn.

  3. Our coconut oil has finally liquified too! It's definitely hands down the bestest for popcorn! Yum!

    One of my favorite things as a child was my dad's homemade popcorn.

    And...my husband hid my (boxed) engagement ring in a jar of unpopped kernels! It was quite the surprise.

  4. Thank you for sharing your recipe. We'll try it as we love popcorn and only make it in a pot on the stove!

    We happen to love watching Little House on the Prairie and we've found that we prefer doing many things "the old fashioned" way....including popcorn. : )

  5. we're strictly stovetop as well, but i didn't know about the coconut oil. I get all warm and cozy making popcorn this way, and that definitely doesn't happen pushing buttons on the microwave. I can't wait to try your recipe- melting a bunch of butter and mixing in cinnamon, sugar, and a wee bit of cayenne is delicious, too!

  6. so glad you posted it. i was just wondering how in the world i was supposed to use all these kernels. but now i know! thanks :-)

  7. See I was hoping you'd share a carmel corn recipe. Coconut oil - hmmm... I will have to try that. I swear Molly - you make my life so much sweeter!

  8. I usually make my own too, but I have never used coconut oil. I have some so I will definitely try this out. Plus the caramel corn sound delicious!

  9. Thanks for the great tips, never would have thought coconut oil, and the 3 kernal tip is great. Thanks for the recipe too. Huge popcorn lovers here!

    Lisa ;)

  10. My husband brought stove popped pop corn into our marriage and I'm eternally grateful! Delish! My MIL bought this book for us at a yard sale and my kids love it, perfect for a popcorn loving family -


  11. That's so funny - yesterday afternoon, for the first time ever, I popped corn from scratch. And even though I went for a very simple version it was SO good! The corn was gone in no time - even before the kids had their movie started!!
    No more microwave-bags for us...

  12. That's too much effort for me. Can I come over and eat some of yours?

  13. I have to agree that it's best with coconut oil too! We use it for everything and I guess the butter could be subbed with coconut oil as well (we don't use butter)...TU so much for the recipe - can't wait to try it! :)

  14. Coconut oil? Thanks for the tip! I've returned to stovetop popcorn in the past year--it's better! In college, my roommate and I used to pop corn and eat it out of brown paper bags when it was done--not sure why we used the bags (maybe it was all we had).

  15. Sounds wonderful! My Dad and I love popcorn made on the stove. Default fave dinner is popcorn, apples, and cheeze...

  16. All I'm thinking is fall fairs, kettle corn, and pumpkin picking. I was just saying how ready for fall I am!!!

  17. Oh, I LOVE popcorn made on the stove. The BEST!!

  18. Oh, yeah! I was just turning a friend on to the coconut oil thing as well. You might want to check out a Whirly-pop (old fashioned stove-top popcorn pot) We got ours as a shower gift and we use it all the time. Along with making the best popcorn ever, it came with recipes for making all sorts of variations from old-fashioned kettle corn to caramel corn, to spicy cinnamon corn (our favorite). Many of the recipes are one step, so there's only the whirly-pop to wipe down. Enjoy!

  19. Your caramel recipe looks great and sounds easy! Coconut oil? Is that available alongside the other oils at the store?

  20. Hey Molly! I'm going to have to try your recipe and compare it to the one from Luckybeans . We've been making that one for some time now and it's so good! I like to add pistachios to mine. Yummy!

    Jeff swears by his Orville Redenbacher air popper. I thought the stovetop method burned easily, but I'll try it again, and with the coconut oil I bet it does taste great!

  21. I have memories growing up of my Dad popping popcorn on the stove top and then rolling down the sides to brown paper bags that he would add the popcorn to and lightly salt. Something about the brown paper catching any oil and the natural feel of eating the popcorn out of the paper was a good memory : ) We only cook it on the stove top now too, I am a huge popcorn fan and look forward to your recipe!

  22. AnonymousJuly 29, 2009

    Hi Molly! I just recently stumbled upon your blog and thought I'd tell you that I just finished making this recipe and I'm eating it as I type. Oh my goodness woman, you are evil! It is soooo good! Thanks for sharing with us! Susan

  23. I was given an Aladdin popper from the 50's. If I could only have one kitchen gadget or appliance, this would be it. If you see one ever at a sale, buy one, they sell sometimes on ebay for over 100 bucks!!

  24. We love our stove-top Whirlypop. Use it every day. I didn't realize we were over-the-top popcorn people until a friend came to pick up her child from a play date. "Did you have fun?" Mama asked. "Yeah," said the child, "But it was popcorn again."

    Caramel is a favorite, and we'll try yours next. We also love shakes of lime and chili powder. Dried dill does nice things too.

  25. AnonymousJuly 30, 2009

    Coconut oil?? Hmm...

    That's why Chik-Fil-A is so popular by the way. They cook the chicken in pure peanut oil.

  26. Just be careful with that coconut oil. It is extremely high in saturated fat! I've never cooked with it at my house, so maybe the amount used is negligible when making popcorn. Our favorite is to use peanut oil.

  27. Coconut oil is definitely the right choice, yes it is high saturated fat but its a medium-chain fatty acid that is essential for healthy cellular function. It's health benefits are really endless and indiginenous Pacific Islanders eating a native diet have virtually no heart disease or cancer and their diet is up to 60% of fat from coconuts! Ok, that was a tangent, sorry. I love coconut oil and sub it for most butter but did not think of it for popcorn. On my to do list! Thanks.

  28. Just made this. Thanks for the recipe. It's very good.

    And thanks for the tip on coconut oil. Worked beautifully.


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