Kettle Corn

Kettle Corn (also called sweet and salty popcorn, kettle corn popcorn and candy popcorn) is a completely addictive snack your whole family will love!  It’s a sweet popcorn recipe that’s quick and easy to make and once you taste it, you’ll be hooked for life!   

bowls of popped kettle corn

This easy kettle corn popcorn recipe is made with corn kernels, oil, butter, granulated sugar and salt.

bowls of popcorn kernels, oil and butter

What is Kettle Corn?  Kettle corn is a delicious sweet and salty popcorn made by adding granulated sugar to the pan giving plain ol popcorn  a lightly sweet and highly addictive candy coating.  It’s perfect for movie night, the holidays, it screams of fall, festivals and fairs, and it’s really a great low-cal snack to make when you’re in the mood for something light and maybe a little sweet.

SWEET AND SALTY POPCORN RECIPE

This is an easy Kettle Corn Recipe requiring just a few ingredients.

  • Oil
  • Unsalted butter (I’ve used vegan butter, but it can burn the popcorn more easily)
  • Yellow popcorn kernels (white popcorn kernels can be used as well)
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt 

VARIATION

  • Pumpkin Spice.  Stir in 1-1/4 teaspoons pumpkin spice in with the granulated sugar before tossing in with the popcorn kernels for a fun fall flavored kettle corn.

HOW TO MAKE KETTLE CORN POPCORN

This sweet and salty popcorn comes together in about 10 minutes start-to-finish.

  1. Heat oil in pan.  Heat canola oil and butter to a large pan.
  2. Sprinkle in corn kernels. Add the popcorn kernels, then sprinkle the sugar over the top of the kernels.
  3. Popcorn popping.  You’ll want to be sure to shake the pan frequently as the popcorn pops to keep it from burning on the bottom 
  4. Remove from heat.  When the popping stops, turn off the heat and pour kettle corn into a large bowl right away.
  5. Cool.  Let the popcorn cool for about 5 minutes before tossing with salt.
  6. Season.  Sprinkle with salt and toss. 

pot of melted butter and oil

Add popcorn kernels

pot with melted butter and corn kernels

Pour in sugar

pot of melted butter with corn kernels

BEST OIL FOR POPCORN

  • Extra-virgin olive oil.  This is the oil that I prefer to use when making popcorn and kettle corn.  You want to be sure to cook this on medium heat.
  • Peanut oil.  Peanut oil, though not as healthy, can cook at a higher heat.
  • Vegetable oils.  Avocado oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil are all vegetable oils that can be used to make your kettle corn with.

BEST CORN FOR POPCORN

  • Any white or yellow corn kernels work fine.  I like white corn kernels best, but it’s easier to find yellow corn kernels in the stores.
  • Bob’s Red Mill, Jolly Time and Orville Redenbacher brands are all good brands to try.

bowl of cooked kettle corn

Tips for making best popcorn

bowl of cooked kettle corn

EASY SNACK RECIPES

Originally published 8.2013 – updated 11.2020

bowls of kettle corn
Yield: 2 servings

Kettle Corn

Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Kettle Corn (also called sweet and salty popcorn, kettle corn popcorn and candy popcorn) is a completely addictive snack your whole family will love!  It's a sweet popcorn recipe that's quick and easy to make and once you taste it, you'll be hooked for life!   

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (peanut oil will work too)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup yellow corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Heat oil and melt butter in a large heavy pot.
  2. Add the corn kernels, then sprinkle the sugar over the top of the kernels and stir with a wooden spoon to distribute sugar evenly.
  3. Place the lid on the top of the pan and increase the heat to medium.
  4. Shake the pot frequently security the lid with one hand that same as you do when making stove top popcorn to keep it from burning on the bottom and so all of the kernels are heated and pop.
  5. When the popping stops, turn off the heat. Pour the kettle corn into a large bowl and cool for 5 minutes before seasoning with salt.
  6. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon.

Notes

BROWN SUGAR

You can substitute the granulated sugar with brown sugar for a caramel corn-like taste.

PUMPKIN SPICE

Stir in 1-1/4 teaspoons pumpkin spice in with the granulated sugar before tossing in with the popcorn kernels for a fun fall flavored kettle corn.

BEST OIL FOR POPCORN

  • Extra-virgin olive oil.  This is the oil that I prefer to use when making popcorn and kettle corn.  You want to be sure to cook this on medium heat.
  • Peanut oil.  Peanut oil, though not as healthy, can cook at a higher heat.
  • Vegetable oils.  Avocado oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil are all vegetable oils that can be used to make your kettle corn with.

BEST CORN FOR POPCORN

  • Any white or yellow corn kernels work fine.  I like white corn kernels best, but it's easier to find yellow corn kernels in the stores.
  • Bob's Red Mill, Jolly Time and Orville Redenbacher brands are all good brands to try.

TIPS FOR MAKING BEST POPCORN

  1. Temperature.  It's best to cook on medium heat. Popcorn can burn easily when cooked at a high heat.  Keep your flame turned to medium heat and keep a careful watch of the popcorn to prevent it from burning.
  2. Add starter kernels.  As your butter and oil heat, toss in a few popcorn kernels and once they pop, you're good to add the rest of the popcorn kernels to the pot.  I like to stir the popcorn kernels with a wooden spoon to evenly distribute before placing the lid on the pot.
  3. Shake frequently.  Raising the pot just above the flame (with one hand securing the lid) and shaking frequently helps to keep the popcorn from burning and distributes the kernels so they will evenly cook.
  4. Popcorn Overflow.  As the popcorn pops to the top of the pot, have a large bowl handy so you can pour out some of the popcorn to make room for the remaining kernels to pop.
  5. Leftover kernels.  Remove any remaining popcorn kernels that don't pop or any pieces of popcorn that got burnt from the bowl before serving.


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