5 Ways to Totally Screw Up Stovetop Popcorn | Bon Appétit

Nothing says “movie night” like buttered popcorn and a good flick. But, sometimes the kernels don’t pop, the butter isn’t distributed evenly, or you get more unpopped kernels than you bargained for. If this sounds like your movie nights, it may be time to reexamine your methods for making homemade popcorn.

Ready to get started? Here are the top seven mistakes according to the vendors of the best popcorn in Singapore that you should know about in order to make your next outdoor movie night a success!

1. Using cooking oil that is too heavy.

When buying oil for popping corn it’s important not to stray away from more common vegetable oils and go for something too heavy and solid. 

For instance, butter-flavored oil or coconut oils are both great options as long as you don’t overheat them and burn their flavor away.

2. Not using the right amount of oil per your pot size.

Adding oil to a smaller pot will result in it taking much less time to pop all of the kernels, which means that you will have to monitor it more closely and also increase the risk of burning your popcorn. 

To recreate the flavors of some of the best popcorn in Singapore, the secret is to use about a quarter cup of oil for every two to three quarts of kernels, and remember to adjust the amount depending on how big or small your pot is.

3. Using old or dirty popcorn kettles.

If your pot is coated with old oil or has rust on it, then this increases the chances that you will end up burning some of your kernels and not get a full taste and smell of them. 

Make sure to wash and rinse the pan thoroughly and also dry it so that there’s no excess moisture left behind before popping your corn.

4. Not adding salt or seasoning until after the pops are finished.

Remember to add salt, butter or sugar before you start popping your corn so that it’s evenly distributed throughout the kernels and ensures a more complete flavor. 

Also, make sure not to pour directly over the popcorn because this will result in some pieces being too salty while others remain bland.

Using a pot that’s too small.

You’ll need a pot that can hold at least four quarts of popped corn in order to effectively pop the kernels. 

If you don’t have a pot that can meet this requirement, your popcorn will be under-popped and all the kernels won’t have enough room to move around so they can heat up properly.

The heat is too high.

When popping corn, you’ll want to turn the heat down once you hear the first kernel popping. If you don’t, the rest of the kernels will pop too quickly and likely burn up before they can actually pop. 

The process should take about three seconds between pops for an air popper and four to six seconds for a pot on the stove. That’s why it’s important to stir the popcorn frequently with a long-handled spoon or spatula.

You don’t stir often enough.

While stirring is important to evenly distribute the heat, don’t over-stir your kernels or you risk turning them into powder. Only stir enough to make sure they are all heated properly and that they aren’t clumped together.

Popcorn is an easy snack to prepare, but with so many different brands of popcorn makers on the market today, it’s all too easy to make mistakes when attempting to cook up your own batch of low-fat goodness. 

If you’re unhappy with the results of your homemade popcorn, the  simple steps above can help you make sure every batch of popcorn comes out better than before.