Perfecto Popcorn

I grew up in a house with a popcorn aficionado.  My dad popped popcorn on the stove after dinner more nights than not.  There was no Jiffy Pop, no air poppers, no *gasp* microwave popcorn...just plain ol' popcorn popped with a little oil on the stove.

how to make perfect stovetop popcorn

Dad held the BIG bowl and we got little bowls to dip in to get our share.  We could go back as many times as we wanted, but dad always held onto that big bowl. ;)

How to make the best stovetop popcorn

Popcorn on the stove is still my favorite way to make popcorn.  Here's what you'll need:

ditch the bag ... make perfect popcorn on the stove!

1. Popcorn. You'll need 1/2 cup popcorn. I like yellow popcorn; I think it pops up fluffier and bigger than white.  Mushroom popcorn will give you the largest, fluffiest popcorn. My grocery store carries an organic version in bulk.  Otherwise, look for it tucked away near the microwave popcorn.

2. Oil.  You can use any vegetable or canola oil.  Lately, I've been using grapeseed. 

3. The cooking vessel.  I use my 4 qt. pot with a lid.  It's a perfect fit for 1/2 cup popcorn.

4. Butter, kosher, and fine sea salt for seasoning. (I like to use a mix of salt...I love the crunch of kosher salt, while fine sea salt salt seems to get distributed more evenly throughout the popcorn.  My dad only uses table salt.)  Add salt only after the popcorn has popped...adding to the oil can make the popcorn tough. For the butter, I use salted, usually 2 tablespoons. Melt it in the microwave and have it ready.

Let's get started...

Pour oil into the pot to cover the bottom.  I never measure this.  It doesn't have to be a deep layer, just enough to cover.  Pour some in, swirl it around.  If it covers the bottom, you're set.

Toss in 2, yes TWO, kernels only.  (This will allow the oil to heat much faster and tell you when the oil is at the perfect temperature.)

Turn the heat to about 5-6 on the stove.
{psst...I *see* you. Can you see me? ;)}

Heat, uncovered, until one of the kernels pops.  (Do NOT stand with your face over the pot.)  Stay in the kitchen, but you can do other things while you're waiting, like melt 2 TBSP salted butter and set aside.

Once the kernel has popped, pour in the rest of the popcorn and cover with the lid.  Place the lid on the pot a little crooked so it is vented, and hold the handles using potholders.

Shake the pan frequently as the popcorn pops.  Once the popping has slowed to a couple seconds between pops, remove from heat and let stand a minute.  (You might hear a few more pops.)

Pour half of the popcorn into a large bowl.  Pour over half the butter, along with a pinch each of kosher and table salt.  Toss.  Add the remaining popcorn, butter, and salts.  Toss again.  Taste.  Add more salt if needed, but remember that the further into the bowl you get, the saltier it will become. :)
how to make PERFECT popcorn on the stove!

Perfecto popcorn.  You may never microwave again.

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