How to make popcorn on the stove

You don't need a microwave to make tasty popcorn.

Novel Eats
Stovetop popcorn is quick and gives a more nuanced flavor than microwaved popcorn.

Life has been extraordinarily busy for me lately and I feel like I have little time to focus on food. It’s sad, really, because I have been getting such interesting produce in my CSA box. I just don’t have the time to cook the eggplant or celery root, and as a food blogger that is a hard thing to swallow. The reason, of course, is I get things I don’t normally cook with and all I want to do is make something and share it with you! I’m thanking my lucky stars that this madness is only temporary and eventually I’ll be able to get back to cooking (and posting) more regularly.

The other night I grabbed my camera, and decided that a good post to share with you would be on how to make popcorn on the stove. I’ve only made it this way three times, and I am completely sold. For years, even growing up, I have made popcorn in a popcorn popper, and while that’s great, I’ve discovered that popcorn done on the stove lends a more nuanced flavor. The way that this popcorn is done means that you don’t need to add extra butter or salt once popped – just sprinkle on a few of your favorite seasonings and you’ve got a tasty and well balanced bowl of popcorn.

(See next page for recipe)

How to make popcorn on the stove
 This recipe is based on the Perfect Popcorn Recipe from Simply Recipes

 2 tablespoons canola, peanut or grapeseed oil (high smoke point oil)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup popcorn kernels (try to use organic)
Additional seasonings to taste

In a large saucepan (about 3-quarts), add your oil, salt and two or three kernels, then cover and put your stove on medium heat. When your kernels pop, you’ll know that your pan is hot enough to take the remaining kernels.

Note: I have tried using oil with a lower smoke point (sesame oil, specifically), and it works, but it does make the kitchen smoky if you’re not careful!

Add the remaining kernels, and remove from heat for about 30 seconds. This allows all of the kernels to be brought up to the same temperature and makes it so they are all more likely to pop.

Return to the heat source, cover with a lid. Make it so the lid is partially cracked so that the steam can escape. Every once in a while pick up the pan slightly and shake back and forth so that your kernels do not burn.

Pretty soon, your popcorn will begin popping. Continue to shake periodically because the popped corn is more likely to burn on the bottom of the pan.

Once there are about two or three seconds between each pop, turn off the stove and take the pan off of the heat. It will still continue to pop for a few seconds, but it’s pretty much done at this point.

You can add melted vegan butter and additional salt if you like, but I have found that the oil and salt that I used to pop the kernels is sufficient. I just like to mix in a little bit of nutritional yeast, and sometimes a pinch or two (or three) of cayenne pepper to give it some heat.

Do you ever make stove-top popcorn? What are your favorite seasonings? And do you have a favorite oil?

P.S. Here’s a great little video showing these steps in action.

Samantha Mills writes a vegan blog at Novel Eats.

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