Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo



Make kettle corn at home

by: Chica

Make kettle corn at home
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I remember the first time I tasted kettle corn. It was at a local art fair in the park and I saw the booth with cooks making popcorn in a giant copper kettle. I thought they were crazy… that is, until I tasted a free sample. I was instantly hooked and bought the largest bag they had. Since then, I simply can not pass a kettle corn booth without buying some. Fairs don’t happen every day, though, and sometimes I need some perfectly sweet and salty popcorn at home, so I learned how to make my own, and for mere pennies a batch!

Equipment-wise, you need a hand-cranked stovetop popcorn popper, such as a Whirley-Pop. If you’ve got one of these old-fashioned poppers in your cupboard, now you’ve got a reason to actually use it! What’s great about these (and key to making kettle corn) is the fact that there’s a little stirring blade inside that you can turn with the crank on the handle. This lets you keep the popcorn moving and evenly coat it with sugar as it cooks (and you don’t have to shake the pan at all while it’s popping).

The ingredients for this recipe are actually quite simple:

  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt to taste

With this recipe, it helps to have a few things ready ahead of time, before you start cooking. Once the popcorn starts popping, things happen fast! So measure out your sugar and set it aside, along with a large bowl and your salt shaker.

Then add your kernels and oil to the popper.

Put the popper on the burner on medium-high heat, and start turning the crank on the popper somewhat slowly (take about 1-2 seconds per rotation) while the oil and popcorn heat up.

As soon as you hear one or two kernels pop, QUICKLY open the lid, dump in the sugar, and close the lid back up. Do this fast so you don’t end up with popcorn all over your kitchen!

Continue to turn the crank on the popper, at the same rate. You’ll notice that the popping slows down, because the sugar has cooled the oil slightly. Keep turning the crank and soon you’ll hear the popping start up again.

As soon as the popping starts again, increase your speed on the crank to about 3 turns per second. You’ve got to keep it all moving so that the sugar doesn’t burn and the popcorn is evenly coated.

When the popping reaches its peak, remove the popper from the burner but KEEP turning the crank! Do not stop until the popping has almost stopped. Then dump the popcorn into the bowl you had ready and waiting.

Immediately sprinkle the popcorn with salt.

You’ll see that the popcorn is sticking together and may be one giant clump. Turn it over and over in your hands and add more salt, as desired. You don’t want to put too much salt on, but you want to get it on all the kernels.

As the popcorn cools, the clump will break apart easily with a quick stir.

Now you’ve got yourself a yummy, sweet and salty snack to enjoy, and it’s low-calorie and inexpensive to boot. And it was so easy!

Some final tips:

  1. Cleaning the popper and is actually really easy. Just put it in the sink and fill it with hot water. Come back an hour later and all the sugar will have dissolved and it will rinse clean.
  2. If you want to make more popcorn in a single batch, you can try increasing your quantities of kernels and sugar to 1/2 cup of each, but be careful not to do too much at once, or it won’t fit in the popper! I prefer smaller batches, which gives me control over the sugar and prevents burning.
  3. If you want to make a second batch after the first one, you can do so without cleaning the popper in between uses. Anything more than twice, though, and you’ll have too much sugar build-up in the popper and it’ll burn.
  4. Kettle corn will stay fresh and crispy in an air-tight container for several days. If you set it out for a party or outdoor event, keep in mind that humidity will cause the popcorn to lose its crunch and stick together (I learned that lesson the hard way!)
Make kettle corn at home
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84 comments so far:

  • 1
    Mikayla 04/27/2008 at 3:26 pm

    I have tried this recipe before and lately toward the end of the day or several hours later, it gets really soft. I wonder if its the brand of popcorn. So, once you make the kettle corn, don’t y9u have to let it cool before putting it in an airtight container? Just asking because I want to give these as gifts and so am hoping for ways to make them stay crunchy a little longer… Thanks for any tips…

  • 2
    Chica 04/27/2008 at 5:12 pm

    Hi Mikayla! I often take kettle corn to parties, so whenever I need to package it right after making it, I usually only wait about 5-10 minutes for it to cool. I then dump it right into gallon-sized zip-lock bags and seal them up tight. On the rare occasion that I have any leftovers, I find that it stays crunchy for a couple days in the bag.

    I’m not sure how long you are keeping yours out before packaging, but it sounds to me like humidity is getting to it. If you leave it out in a bowl on a humid day, it will go soft in a matter of hours. I assume its nice and crunchy as soon as you make it, so if it’s getting soft on you there’s got to be moisture coming from somewhere. I don’t think the brand will make much difference because I use the super-cheap stuff and Jo uses the fancy stuff, and we both get along fine.

    Please let me know how it goes!

  • 3
    Dave 09/16/2008 at 4:31 pm


    I use clarified butter instead of oil. Same measurements. Much less grease on the hands. Also, we season the finished popcorn with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt or grated parmesean cheese.

    Have fun!

  • 4
    bob 09/21/2008 at 1:47 pm

    Had a craving for kettle corn and the local grocery store’s brand is not very good…in fact it plain awful. This recipe is amazing! First time I ever tried it and it was superb. So simple! Thank you!!!

    To Dave, once you add anything like seasoned salt or grated cheese…it’s not kettle corn anymore!!!

  • 5
    Chica 09/21/2008 at 7:04 pm

    Bob, you sound just like me when I first came up with this recipe. I was craving “the real thing” so bad and stuff in the store isn’t even close! I’m so glad this worked for you and you were able to enjoy a bowl of kettle corn :)

  • 6
    Tam 11/08/2008 at 4:22 pm

    you can store the kettle corn in the freezer and it stays crunchy…

  • 7
    Lynn Duvall 12/01/2008 at 11:39 pm

    Have you tried this with Splenda substituted for sugar?
    You write instructions very well – not easy to do.

  • 8
    Chica 12/02/2008 at 7:41 am

    Hi Lynn. I’ve never worked with Splenda before. If you try it out, let us know how it goes. And thanks for the compliment :)

  • 9
    Laura 01/09/2009 at 12:26 pm

    Hi, this recipe sounds great, but I dont have a whirly popper. Will i get the same results on the stove top if I do alot of pot shaking?

  • 10
    Chica 01/09/2009 at 3:07 pm

    Hi Laura. Your question intrigued me (and I was hungry for a snack), so I just tried to make kettle corn using a regular pan on the stove, and I’m afraid it didn’t work out very well.

    I put the sugar in right after the popcorn had started to pop, and I shook that pan as hard as I could the entire time. I took it off the heat as soon as the pops started dying down.

    Unfortunately, the sugar syrup that forms is so thick that it sticks to the bottom of the pan and shaking doesn’t help. It really needs to be stirred instead, and that’s why you need the Whirley-Pop. My sugar turned into a brown caramel and when I poured the popcorn into a bowl, the caramel was all on the bottom, and had an almost burned taste to it. I tried stirring it with a spoon, which helped to distribute it, but it just didn’t taste right.

    This might be a good way to make caramel corn, but it didn’t have the lightly sweet taste of traditional kettle corn, so I’d have to say it was not a successful experiment. Sorry :/

  • 11
    Laura 01/09/2009 at 7:20 pm

    Hey, thanx for testing that and for the quick reply. I have alot of kids, so making a snack thats gonna turn out right the first time is a plus! Trader Joe’s has a great bagged kettle corn I can buy until I can get a Whirley Pop. Thanx again! Bye

  • 12
    Sharon 01/26/2009 at 8:56 am

    How do you think this would work in a commercial pop corn popper? Like they use at ball games & movie theaters. I work in a library & we have a commercial popper and would like to try it for cheap snacks for an up coming program. Thanks for any information you can give me.

  • 13
    Jo 01/26/2009 at 9:21 am

    Sharon, we have a small commercial popper here at home so I will try it out this evening and let you know how it goes!

  • 14
    Jo 01/28/2009 at 12:54 am

    Sharon, making it in one of the small at-home-theater poppers didn’t work! My husband cursed me as he was trying to chip popcorn and hardened sugar out of the kettle. So, if your kettle is rather small, I wouldn’t suggest it. The turning mechanism got stuck once a lot of the kernels started popping. However, if you have a really large kettle you could try it. What we managed to get out did taste good. I know this wasn’t a definitive answer but I hope it helps some!

  • 15
    Ernon 03/19/2009 at 11:33 pm

    I dont usually comment, but after reading through so much info I had to say thanks

  • 16
    Jo 03/19/2009 at 11:54 pm

    Ernon, you are quite welcome! Please come back to visit us soon, we have lots more to share!

  • 17
    Johnguy 03/21/2009 at 8:40 pm

    I tried twice before with other recipes and made quite a burnt mess. Your recipe, however, worked out great! The difference was waiting until the popping started before adding the sugar. Also, removing from the heat once the popping was full swing really helped. I made this in a regular old large pot, but I made sure I stirred the sugar with a wooden spoon really well, then recovered and shook like crazy, and kept removing from the flame so as not to burn the sugar. It was just a tad overdone (my fault), but still really great. I think I’ll invest in a Whirley-Pop and make it perfect next time. Thanks for a great recipe.

  • 18
    Masami 04/22/2009 at 11:12 pm

    This recipe was soooo good. I made first batch this afternoon and loved it so much,made another one with double amount. After that made 3rd finally 4th after dinner. And you know what? It’s almost all gone and everybody loved it. Thanks for the recipe.

  • 19
    Jo 04/22/2009 at 11:22 pm

    Glad you love it! It is quite addicting, isn’t it?

  • 20
    Sue 07/05/2009 at 8:40 pm

    I have made this for years. I usually put 1/4 cup oil in the Whirley-Pop,add 1/4 cup of sugar right to the oil, heat to medium while stirring it, and then add 1/3 cup of popcorn.Keep stirring and when it almost stops popping, I lift it and hold it above the heat so that it doesn’t burn and let it pop the rest of the way..empty into a pan and let cool a few minutes. Break up large clumps with hands and add a little salt..I made five batches of this kettle corn for a 4th of July party. What a hit it was!! Just put little paper cups in the container with the popcorn for serving!

  • 21
    Chica 07/05/2009 at 8:45 pm

    Sue, your proportions are a little different than mine, but I bet the result is just as yummy! Now that I’m thinking about it, I think I might go make some kettle corn right now :)

  • 22
    christina 07/29/2009 at 7:35 pm

    This may be a dumb question but is white sugar the same as granulated sugar??

  • 23
    Chica 07/29/2009 at 7:55 pm

    Hi christina. Yes, white sugar is the same as granulated sugar. Enjoy your kettle corn!

  • 24
    Rachael 02/04/2010 at 11:01 am

    I am so happy to have found a recipe for Kettle corn. I just had a batch for the first time up in New Hampshire, and the kids and I fell in love with it! I can’t wait to try it at home, and I will be making the pink kind for a Valentine’s Day treat for the fam. I LOVE the Chica and Jo page for fun creative ideas. Keep it coming! Oh-and with 3 kids I appreciate frugal ideas!!!

  • 25
    Chica 02/04/2010 at 11:07 am

    Rachael, I was just as hooked after my first taste of kettle corn. So nice to be able to make it at home for pennies now :)

    Thanks for the kind words about our site. We’re glad to have you as a loyal reader!

  • 26
    Rachael 02/04/2010 at 6:43 pm

    I made a batch this afternoon, and the kids ate it all! We love it and I’m making more for myself and hubby once they are in bed. Thanks again for all the great ideas.

  • 27
    Chica 02/05/2010 at 7:02 am

    Haha, I love the way you think!

  • 28
    Heather 02/05/2010 at 4:43 pm

    AMAZING!! I am a popcorn lover so I am going to have to seek out a whirley pop so I can make kettle corn. Very very excited!

  • 29
    Chica 02/07/2010 at 1:53 pm

    Hi Heather. The Whirley-Pop is definitely needed for this technique. As you may have read in my comments above, I tried with a regular pan and it just didn’t work! Good luck and I hope you enjoy the snack :)

  • 30
    joanne 02/28/2010 at 10:17 am

    Just have to tell you that I made my first batch of kettle corn per your recipe.. ( notice I said FIRST batch ) and it is sooo good. My granddaughter (who is 5) is over for an overnighter and she did the measuring out of stuff and most of the crank turning-until it got too hard to turn when grandpa took over the job. There is a little left over which she said she wants for breakfast tomorrow!

    Just a little story to this: I didn’t have a whirly popcorn popper. But when I read your recipe I made it a quest to find one. So I posted my request for a whirly popcorn popper on freecycle and wouldn’t you know! Within hours someone emailed me to say she had one that was brand new, with instructions and all sitting in her garage that she’d give me. So off I went to pick it up. I also love freecycle.
    Thanks again Chica.


  • 31
    Chica 02/28/2010 at 10:18 am

    joanne, that is such a great story! Sounds like your granddaughter really loved the special treat. And way to go, Freecycle!

  • 32
    joanne 03/02/2010 at 2:44 pm

    Chica, this is Joanne from Calif. again. Just thought you’d like to know (for your diabetic readers) that tonight I tried making your kettle corn with 1/8 c (more or less) granulated sugar and 1/8 c. sugar substitue (I use Diabetasweet but probably any sugar subs. that you can cook with would work) and it came out almost the same. Naturally it didn’t taste quite the same but it was still very good. Nothing tastes quite like the ‘real thing.’ But being a diabetic, this cuts down on the carbohydrate content.
    Many thanks again.


  • 33
    Chica 03/02/2010 at 2:45 pm

    joanne, thanks for the update! I know Jo has been wanting to try a sugar substitute for a while now, and she will be so happy to hear that it works. Thanks for looking out for our diabetic readers and sharing your results!

  • 34
    Brian 06/10/2010 at 9:54 am

    I’m assuming if I do not have a whirley-pop that I can still follow these instructions while using a standard deep pot (but will have to shake to prevent burning, since I wouldn’t have the crank handle).

  • 35
    Chica 06/10/2010 at 9:58 am

    Hi Brian! A while ago, I tried to make this in a regular pan, but it didn’t work out for me. Look up at comment #10 to see the details about my results. Please let us know if you have better luck!

  • 36
    kat 07/05/2010 at 7:14 pm

    Someone once shared a secret with us about this Kettle Corn…they said it’s made with COCONUT oil. I am going to try this recipe but sub. with the coconut oil.

  • 37
    Chica 07/05/2010 at 7:29 pm

    kat, we’d love to hear how it comes out!

  • 38
    Toi Roberts 08/06/2010 at 12:43 am

    I just made kettle corn about one minute ago. It tastes really good. I was tired of running to the store trying to find good kettle corn every week, just to find that it’s all gone if I got their to late. My son loves it also. Thanks for the recipe, it’s also easy to adjust the suger for more sweetness. I used seasson salyt on the first batch, and regular table salt on the second. YUMMMM!!!!!

  • 39
    Chica 08/06/2010 at 7:53 am

    That’s great to hear, Toi. Thanks for letting us know how it went!

  • 40
    AJ 08/14/2010 at 10:34 pm

    I had a craving so I just did a random search on Google. Saw this, tried it, and it worked amazingly well! Thank you very much!

  • 41
    Jo 08/14/2010 at 10:57 pm

    AJ, so glad you found us and it worked so well for you!

  • 42
    monique 09/22/2010 at 12:15 am

    i got to make this soon sounds so good

  • 43
    david 11/13/2010 at 10:55 pm

    Thank you for the great website and awesome recipe! I found this website though another site about kettle corn, you said something like, sounds nice, but sounds more like carmel corn,etc…anyways, I made that one first before reading your reply and it was a disappointment with the brown sugar syrup made separate on the stove, as the pop corn got all mushy and wet. I read their replies and found your website and hurried to make another batch with your suggestions as I already had a Whirley Pop that I use and love. All I can say is WOW, AWESOME!! As per your reply instructions, I have had excellent luck adding everything all at once from the beginning without preheating. The sugar does not burn and I have delicious results each time so far. Mine says crunchy at least 30 minutes, the time it takes to eat it all… :) Thanks again for your time to share a great Whirley Pop revival!! I gotta go make a popper of kettle corn, buh – bye!

  • 44
    Chica 11/14/2010 at 8:52 am

    David, we’re so happy we could help. Thanks for the great comments and make me a popper of kettle corn while you’re at it! :)

  • 45
    Stacey 12/31/2010 at 7:15 pm

    Just tried this tonight and LOVED it! Your recipe was the inspiration for me to buy a Whirly-Pop. The instructions are very clear! Thanks!

  • 46
    Localfunforkids Mom 01/07/2011 at 11:21 am

    Yummy~ You should add them to my ‘Fun for Kids Friday’ Blog Hop.

  • 47
    Teresa 04/01/2011 at 12:05 am

    Thanks for this! I’ve been making this kettle corn all week! We don’t have the Whirly-Pop, I just use a cast iron pot. It has turned out perfect every time. I heat the oil up before adding the popcorn and sugar.

  • 48
    Bern 04/10/2011 at 4:24 pm

    I’ve tried several ways of making kettle corn but had poor results. Using a Whirley Popper was the big break through. I was very skeptical when I first got my hands on the popper, seemed kind of light weight and cheap. It did exactly as you described though and made an instant believer out of me. My sincere thanks for the tutorial.

  • 49
    Chica 04/10/2011 at 4:44 pm

    Bern, we’re so glad you finally had success. We feel that the stirring device on the bottom of a Whirley-Pop is key to the success of this recipe, and are glad you agree. We wouldn’t steer you wrong :)

  • 50
    Mary 04/13/2011 at 6:24 am

    Thank you soo much for the recipe! I live in Italy, and very few times I found kettle corn bags in the shops, and my kids love it! Unfortunately, not being exactly an italian dish, it’s next to a miracle to find it here. I tried to make it but with no success (sticky burnt mass and all…) Your recipe is exactly what I need, now I must find a way to build myself a Whirley Popper replica … Any suggestions? :)

  • 51
    Chica 04/13/2011 at 7:12 am

    Hello Mary, and we’re delighted to be hearing from you in Italy. We are actually planning to visit Italy next summer! I’m excited that we’ve given you the recipe you need, but I’ve never thought about making a Whirley Pop before. Hmm… As you can see in this picture, there are two metal arms at the bottom of the pan that rotate around to stir the popcorn on the bottom. If you can fashion something like that out of heavy wire and feed it up to a turning gear in the lid of the pan… Gosh, I think it would be a lot easier to just buy one on Amazon :)

  • 52
    Heather 06/08/2011 at 10:37 pm

    Thanks for the sugar substitute recipe. I just made a batch and it tastes sooo good! I wasn’t sure if splenda alone would create the crunch I love so much, but adding white sugar did the trick.

    And if you are looking to change it up (just a little), add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract. Yum!

  • 53
    Chica 06/09/2011 at 8:18 am

    Heather, a little vanilla sounds like a great addition. I wonder how it would taste with some of the vanilla-butter-nut flavoring that we use with our Butterbeer recipe and sell in our store? Hey Jo – you should give that a try!

  • 54
    Jo 06/10/2011 at 4:38 pm

    Hmmm…Butterbeer kettle corn! Sounds yummy to me!

  • 55
    Lena 07/15/2011 at 3:51 pm

    My late husband used to make Kettle corn in a “Stir Crazy”.

    Unfortunately I don’t know how much oil, corn and sugar he used..

    Now I do want to get a stir crazy and try your recipe!

    Thank you for sharing it!

  • 56
    Chica 07/15/2011 at 7:48 pm

    Lena, I haven’t seen one of those in ages. Since it has the revolving arms on the bottom, I bet it would work much like the Whirley Pop. One thought, though… you can completely soak a Whirley Pop in water to get the hardened sugar off, but it doesn’t look like you could do that with the Stir Crazy. But the Stir Crazy has a nonstick surface, so maybe it wouldn’t matter? If you get one, let us know how it works out!

  • 57
    Stephanie 07/27/2011 at 12:14 am

    Necessity is the mother of invention. I don’t have a Whirley Pop and I had an uncontrollable craving for kettle corn this weekend so I figured I’d try it in a pot and just go for it. It worked! I have one of those non-stick pasta pans with holes in the lid to drain water from (this was perfect for letting the steam vent). I googled several recipes and settled on 1/4c oil, 1/2c kernels, 1/4c sugar. You add the oil in the pan on medium-high heat, and toss in 3 kernels. Once all three kernels pop the oil is hot enough, then you dump in the sugar and kernels. To keep it from burning I used a wooden spoon and stirred for 20-30 seconds or as long as I dared before the popcorn starting going. Then I put on the lid and started shaking while keeping it on the burner. I took it off the heat before it was done popping (it goes extremely fast) and then once it stopped, immediately put it in a bowl to sprinkle with some kosher salt. Shake it up and you’re good to go! I’ve made it 3 times since then (Yes, every night – this is bad, very bad!) and haven’t burnt it once. :) Plus, since the pan is non-stick it is a breeze to clean.

  • 58
    Chica 07/27/2011 at 8:03 am

    Stephanie, I’m glad to hear you had good results with a regular pan and stirring. I tried that myself and it didn’t turn out well at all. You must be a stronger (or braver) stirrer than I am! :)

  • 59
    CherylAnn 07/30/2011 at 4:52 pm

    Kettle Corn has been around for ages and I have had my Whirly Pop for years, since before 2005. Recipes came with it, incluing the one above, thought they recommend as the #57 post states to put 3 kernels in the oil, then when those pop add the rest of kernels and the sugar. They also had a recipe variation, that I am surprised hasn’t been mentioned yet. Use brown sugar instead of the white/granulated sugar and it gives a caramel corn taste to it. Yummy!

  • 60
    Chica 07/30/2011 at 5:05 pm

    Hi CherylAnn! I’m tickled to hear that the recipe we came up with while experimenting is so close to the “official” one from the packaging. Great minds think alike, I guess! I like the idea of testing with 3 kernels, and I love the idea of using brown sugar… I bet that makes it very tasty.

  • 61
    joann 07/31/2011 at 8:20 pm

    Hi…. I just made a batch of kettle corn for the first time the other night…I used a Stir Crazy and the recipe was 1/4 cup each of popcorn, sugar and oil. I used olive oil and I used white popcorn.
    I let the oil heat a bit, added the corn and when the first kernel popped, I dumped in the sugar..had to be fast to do that for the corn was starting to take off… end result was PERFECT..the corn was just the way it should be, it had a nice crisp coat to it and did not burn.

    I flipped it over into its own bowl..then started breaking it up..but realized the plastic bowl which is also the cover to the Stir Crazy had hardened sugar drops on it…so I put the corn in to a different bowl and soaked the plastic bowl/lid..the sugar dissolved by the time the popcorn was eaten… no issue there.

    The bottom of the Stir Crazy has a non stick it wiped clean very easily…however I have been wondering if the sugar will build up in the mechanism that turns the wire stirrer??…I dont know yet as I only made the one batch..but it came out perfect..and I am trying right now to justify making another batch tonight…. IT IS A KEEPER! But think I will try a bit of Splenda or Truvia next time and not use so much real sugar.. I will try to come back here and post if I do that and what the ratio was that I used..

  • 62
    Jo 08/01/2011 at 1:04 pm

    joann, we’ve been making the kettle corn in our Whirley Pop for years now and it hasn’t clogged up our stirrer so as long as you soak it immediately in some hot water, you should be fine. Let us know how your batch turns out with the lower sugar. I have been trying to perfect that myself!

  • 63
    Denise 08/14/2011 at 2:31 am

    I have made this for several years. I use a pan on stove. The key I found is to only use glass lid. And a non stick kettle. I put in 1\2 cup oil, and 3 kernels when they pop I add 1\4 cup sugar and stir it in than add 1 cup of pop corn. And let it pop shaking a bit. When done I dump in glass cake pan and salt. than when cooled enough to handle I put in large container with lid. 1. You do not have all the unwanted kernels . 2. It is ready and fresh for many days kept up to a week in Tupperware.

  • 64
    tom 08/29/2011 at 7:39 pm

    for the true authentic Kettle corn recipe you have to use mushroom popcorn. It pops into a round ball and has more surface area to hold the sugar and salt… I just bought some mushroom popcorn on eBay and it makes the world of difference:

  • 65
    Sara 09/17/2011 at 6:18 pm

    Hi. I was just wondering, I’ve never done this previously, but is there a way to color dye the popcorn ? I wanted to make kettle corn this year as gifts to give to family members since I’m on a strict budget. I don’t know how to go about adding food coloring and making sure it coats evenly. Thanks!

  • 66
    Chica 09/17/2011 at 9:55 pm

    Sara, you can definitely color the kettle corn. Jo first tried this last year for some Halloween popcorn and has used the technique several times since. Check out that post to see the details on how to do it!

  • 67
    Jim from Minnesota 09/28/2011 at 1:24 pm

    I just made a variation of this recipe using a sugar substitute. I put in a stir popper 1/4 cup of Orville Redenbacher Buttery Popcorn Oil; 1/4 cup of yellow popcorn, 1/4 cup of Altern which is Walmart’s Great Value sugar substitute. I think any sugar substitute would work. I set the electric stove on medium high.

    I stirred the popper three or four turns and then shook the kettle so the mixture would be in the center of the kettle. Let stand and cook 20 seconds and did another three to four turns, shook to center oil and corn and let cook again.

    When it started to pop, I continued to stir until it started to give a good strong popping acting and then shut the heat off. I stirred another 15 seconds and then dumped it into a large bowl.

    I then took a fine salt salt and mixed it in. The popcorn came out 99.5 percent perfect. The taste was great. I only had around 6 to 7 slighly burned pieces and they even were good to eat.

    Clean up was simple. Fill the kettle half full of hot water. Add some soup and any sticky materials in the kettle wash right away. If there is anything burnt on the bottom, use a scrub pad and it will come right off. Clean the top the same way. Everything washes up perfect. Clean up took about five minutes.

    Next time I will put the sugar substitute in when the first piece pops and see if there is a difference.

    Highly recommend using a sugar substitute if you are watching carbs or need to be on a low sugar diet.

  • 68
    Chica 09/28/2011 at 7:48 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your results, Jim. I’m very glad to hear that the recipe worked with sugar substitute!

  • 69
    Annette 10/22/2011 at 10:44 pm

    This recipe for kettle corn was so easy and quick…and the best part is it is even better that the kettle corn we usually get at our local farmer’s market. I’m definitely addicted. Thanks for posting.

  • 70
    Marilyn 01/06/2012 at 10:39 am

    Why don’t you add the salt to the kettle with the sugar?? won’t it be more evenly distributed to the popcorn?

  • 71
    GailG 06/02/2012 at 4:55 pm

    I had bought some kettle corn packets from an on line supplier and although the popcorn was great, it was quite expensive. I took one of the packets and separated the contents into measuring cups to get the exact amounts. I get great kettle corn every time now. The commercial kettle corn recipe uses soy oil. I have found that it’s soooooooo much better using coconut oil. The flavor is lighter and you can taste the popcorn along with the sugar and salt instead of just sweet and salty. The commercial recipe id 1/3c soy oil, 1/4c sugar, 1c popping corn and salt to taste

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    Shanda 09/21/2012 at 9:52 pm

    Thanks for the recipe and all the tips in the comments! I just tried this with a couple of my own variations (coconut oil and less sugar) I also read some where else to put about 3 kernels in the oil and wait for them to pop before you add the rest. I’m a bit impatient so I only waited until I heard them sizzle. I also turned up the heat, because of previously mentioned impatience, a couple of pieces came out a bit caramelized but still yummy!

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    Jeanne 10/16/2012 at 3:40 am

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I love popcorn! The REAL kind.. not those in the microwave bag, or popped in an air popper. Over the stove and in a pan! :}} I’m 54 yrs old and JUST tried kettle corn for the 1st time a few weeks ago at our downtown counrty market. It’s closed now for the season, and I was so sad to know I missed the last day when I had planned on getting one last bag of kettle corn. I don’t know how I found your page, but boy am I glad I did. I want to make this recipe for family members for Christmas gifts and give it along with some Harry Potter ButterBeer! I can just imagine the combination! YUM! BTW, thanks Sharon ^ for the diabetic recipe (I’m diabetic myself, so that really helps!) I don’t have a Whirley Pop yet, but I just hit Amazon after reading all these wonderful posts and one is now on it’s way! I can’t wait to have my grandbabies taste all the yummy goodness of the kettlecorn once I make it! (I hope mine comes out as good as yours!) Again, thanks so much for all the tips and comments and posting something I know I am REALLY going to enjoy for years to come! :}}

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    Chica 10/16/2012 at 7:25 am

    Jeanne, we’re so glad you found us! Like you, I had my first taste of kettle corn at a festival very late in summer and then couldn’t find it again for ages. It was so frustrating to wait to taste that salty-sweet delight again! Now I never have to wait, because I can just make it myself. Good luck with the popcorn and the Butterbeer and we hope you continue to enjoy the many projects on our site.

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    Eileen 10/22/2012 at 4:08 am

    very fun site with great instructions!

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    Victoria 10/24/2012 at 3:03 am

    change out the vegetable oil with coconut oil (found at Trader Joe’s) and the flavor is great and much healthier still

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    Chica 10/24/2012 at 8:16 am

    Thanks for the tip, Victoria!

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    John 12/02/2012 at 8:41 pm

    I just made a batch. I used just over half of the sugar and couple of tablespoons of melted butter added with the salt after popping. It is amazing, and so easy.

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    Alora 01/07/2013 at 10:53 am

    Thanks for this recipe. We found our old popcorn popper that was stored down in the basement for many years to try this out. The results were excellent. We used olive oil instead of vegetable oil but had fantastic results!

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    Tiffany 01/26/2013 at 2:40 pm

    I have been looking for a good kettle corn recipe, and came across your post. I was so excited because I had just purchased the Whirley Popper about 2 weeks ago, and just got a great sale on the Orville Reddenbacher pop corn, so I had everything that I needed. This is the best kettle corn I’ve ever tasted, so satisfied, thank you for sharing.

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    Chica 01/26/2013 at 4:08 pm

    Hooray, Tiffany! Sounds like everything came together for you perfectly :)

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    Lisa 01/26/2013 at 7:07 pm

    Followed the kettle corn recipe. My husband and I both love, love, loved it. It is perfect. A little to perfect. I could eat it every night. The next time I make it, I’m going to try it with all Splenda. Has anyone tried this to cut the calories?

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    Lisa 01/26/2013 at 7:13 pm

    BTW. I used the walmart brand, True Value, popcorn and was surprised at how big the popcorn kernel was. Thanks sooooo much for the recipe.

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    Chica 01/27/2013 at 11:44 am

    Lisa, glad to hear that the Walmart brand worked so well, and sorry (but not really!) to have given you a new addition :) We have not tried this with Splenda before, but in the comments above, Heather said that she used Splenda and some white sugar to ensure crunch, and that “did the trick”. If you try it out, please come back and let us know how it worked for you.

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