Kettle Corn Recipe
Posted Apr 19, 2020, Updated Dec 21, 2022
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This easy homemade Kettle Corn Recipe is made with 4 ingredients, in less than 5 minutes on the stovetop. Better than the kettle corn at the fair! It’s gluten-free and dairy-free!
If you want to take your family movie night to the next level, make this Kettle Corn recipe! It only takes 4 ingredients and 5 minutes to whip up the best snack ever!
This homemade kettle corn is even more delicious than what you can buy at the fair. Once you pop, I promise you will NOT be able to stop eating this sweet and salty treat!
Plus, this homemade kettle corn is on the lighter side because the whole recipe only requires 1 TBS of coconut (or canola) oil. My entire family raves about this being one of their favorite sweet snacks, and I totally agree.
Kettle Corn: Ingredients & Substitutions
Let’s start by discussing the ingredients in this kettle corn recipe, as well as possible substitutions.
- Popcorn kernels. Both yellow and white popcorn kernels work perfectly in this kettle corn recipe. You can also get fancy and use mushroom popcorn, which produces larger fluffier kernels!
- Granulated Sugar. White granulated sugar and organic cane sugar both work well in this kettle popcorn recipe. I do not recommend making substitutions for granulated sugar.
- Coconut oil. Coconut oil tastes the best in this kettle corn recipe, but canola oil also works very well.
- Popcorn Salt. Popcorn salt is a very fine salt that sticks well to the warm popcorn. We always have popcorn salt on hand for family movie nights!
The only special piece of equipment I recommend using to make this kettle corn recipe is a Whirley Pop, or another similar Stovetop Popcorn Maker. What I love about my Whirley Pop is that it’s designed so you can stir the popcorn with the lid on and not worry about shaking a large stockpot.
Constant stirring is important in this kettle corn recipe to prevent the sugar from burning on the bottom of the pan! Constant stirring also means the popcorn will receive constant heat as it pops, instead of being removed from the heat source to be shaken!
How to make Kettle Corn
This homemade kettle corn only takes 5 minutes to make (or less), which means it’s a fast-paced recipe, so I recommend having all the ingredients measured out ahead of time so you’re ready to go!
Pop 3 kernels of popcorn
The first step in this kettle corn recipe is to combine 3 kernels of popcorn with the oil and stir to combine (or until the coconut oil melts). If using a popcorn maker, stir continuously until the 3 popcorn kernels pop. This ensures the oil is hot enough to pop the rest of the popcorn!
Add popcorn kernels & sugar
Next, add popcorn kernels and sugar at the same time. Secure the lid and stir vigorously to ensure the ingredients are well-mixed. If using a stockpot, shake vigorously and check to be sure the ingredients are combined before placing it back on the heat source.
Stir continuously as the popcorn begins to pop.
Finish popping & add salt
When the popping slows down, turn off the heat and continue stirring/shaking until you do not hear any more popping.
Immediately pour half of the kettle corn into a large bowl. Sprinkle with popcorn salt. Repeat with the second half, then toss to combine. Enjoy while it’s still slightly warm, or let it cool to room temperature!
Store any leftover kettle popcorn in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days. However, with our family of 7 we usually devour the entire recipe in one sitting!
FAQs about Kettle Corn
Yes. You do not want kettle corn that is too oily. 1 TBS of coconut oil or canola oil is more than enough to pop 1/2 cup popcorn (which fills up our stovetop popcorn maker).
Kettle corn is slightly sweetened popcorn that is made by adding sugar with the popcorn kernels during popping! Regular popcorn is just oil and popcorn kernels!
This post explains the easiest way to make the most delicious homemade kettle corn!
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Homemade Kettle Corn Recipe
- ½ cup popcorn kernels
- 1 TBS coconut oil (or canola oil)
- ¼ cup sugar
- Popcorn Salt to taste
- Put 1 TBS oil and 3 kernels of popcorn into a stovetop popcorn maker (like the whirly pop). Place the popcorn maker over medium heat and stir with the lid closed.
- Once the three kernels pop, add the rest of the popcorn kernels and the sugar and stir vigorously to combine with the lid on.
- Stir continuously as the popcorn begins to pop.
- When the popping slows down, turn off the heat and continue stirring until you do not hear any more popping.
- Immediately pour half of the kettle corn into a large bowl. Sprinkle with popcorn salt. Repeat with the second half. Toss to combine.
To make in a stockpot:
- Place 1 TBS oil and 3 kernels of popcorn into a medium stockpot with a lid. Stir until the coconut oil is melted, then put the lid on and shake.
- Once the three kernels pop, add the rest of the popcorn kernels and the sugar and stir to evenly distribute the ingredients, then secure the lid.
- Every 10-15 seconds shake the pot and then return it to the heat source, repeat until the kernels stop popping.
- Continue with recipe as stated!
- Popcorn kernels. Both yellow and white popcorn kernels work perfectly in this kettle corn recipe.
- Granulated Sugar. White granulated sugar and organic cane sugar both work well. I do not recommend making substitutions for granulated sugar.
- Coconut oil. canola oil is the only substitution I recommend for coconut oil!
- Popcorn Salt. Popcorn salt is a very fine salt that sticks well to the warm popcorn. If you have regular popcorn nights I recommend purchasing some.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
More delicious snack recipes
If you’re looking for some more delicious snack recipes, here are some of our favorite:
- Puppy Chow (AKA: Muddy Buddies) is my all-time favorite. I once ate my fair share while watching 6 hours of pride and prejudice with friends (haha don’t judge)!
- These baked kale chips are a healthier, savory snack that are equally addictive.
- Who doesn’t like a handful of crunchy roasted chickpeas?
- We keep these chocolate date energy balls in the freezer for snack emergencies! They’re paleo and vegan!
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Awesome!! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it Wanda!
Hay, Laura! I really like your food blog 🙂
I just wanted to share a tip with you: you don’t have to buy popcorn salt. Just run regular salt through a spice grinder or blender, and the granules become a powder. You might want to try that with the sugar as well(pastry makers call it “superfined sugar”).
Thank you for the tip!!
This was super easy and so good, my family loved it! I won’t buy kettle corn again!
YAY! Love hearing that Lindsay! We totally feel the same way! 😉