Microwave-Free Popcorn

If you haven’t figured this out by now, you should know that I LOVE snacks! One of my favorite and most frequent snacks is fresh popcorn. But keep those microwavable bags away from me! I like making my popcorn the old fashioned way, with a little oil in a pot on the stove. Making popcorn this way never gets old because you can do it differently every time by varying the kernels, oils, and flavoring components you use. And if you have a pot with a clear lid, you can get a show along with your snack.

red kernels

I’ve tried using several different types of popcorn kernels, and have found that some work better than others. Blue kernels are my favorite because they pop relatively quickly and have a really crisp texture with a nice, sweet flavor. White kernels are the next best. They take just a little longer to pop than blue kernels, but are crisp, yield a large volume of popcorn, and are easy to find. Next comes red kernels. They pop the fastest of any I’ve tried, but they have a low yield and a slightly chewy consistency. Lastly come yellow kernels. They’re probably the easiest to find in supermarkets, but they take the longest to pop and have a very starchy consistency (think Halloween popcorn ball).

red kernels, olive oil, and red pepper flakes

Any type of kernel you choose to pop will be made the same way. Just choose an appropriately sized pot for the amount of popcorn you want to make and add your kernels, oil, and flavoring ingredients (discussed next). For one serving of popcorn, use approximately 1 tbsp. of oil and enough kernels to cover the oil. Cover your pot with a lid and put it over a medium-high flame. Once you hear the kernels start to pop, shake the pot constantly until the sounds stop. Then, remove the lid and pour your popcorn into a serving bowl.

I’ve experimented with many different popcorn flavors. You can make a boardwalk style caramel corn by adding a neutral tasting oil and a good sprinkling of brown sugar to your pot with the kernels. I added red pepper flakes to the olive oil and kernels in these pictures for a wonderfully spicy batch. Other things I’ve added before popping are ground cinnamon, curry powder, and minced garlic. You can also use flavored olive oils (truffle oil is particularly decadent, so much so that I use a mixture of truffle and plain oils to temper the taste).

It’s also fun to experiment with flavors you can add to the popcorn after it’s already popped. I like using different types of salts like smoked chardonnay sea salt or white truffle salt. Freshly grated parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and ground black pepper also go really well together. I strongly encourage you to experiment with any other flavors you like and to share your successes in the comments.

Enjoy making popcorn at home for a fast, cheap, satisfying, and healthy snack!

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