Making stovetop popcorn at home is surprisingly easy. You can definitely ditch the microwavable popcorn and start making your own, stovetop popcorn as a fun way to upgrade your snacking game. Homemade popcorn is perfect for movie night, date night, or just as an afternoon snack. All you need is popcorn kernels, some oil, and a pan.

Choosing the best oil to make popcorn is important. The types of oil you use can really alter the way your popcorn tastes and the nutritional value of your snack. We are going to explore 8 different types of oil that can be used to make stovetop popcorn. Read about each and see which kind of oil you will use on your homemade popcorn. 

8 Best types of Oil to Use When Popping Popcorn

There are lots of different kinds of oil in the grocery store. You can use almost all of them to make popcorn. Some oils are better than others and you will learn all about the best popcorn oil here.

1. Canola Oil

Canola oil is a perfect, universal cooking oil that you probably already have at home. It is great for use in a stovetop popcorn maker or just in a big pan on the stove. This oil is simple, almost flavorless, and inexpensive. 

Canola oil has lots of healthy fats and fatty acids. It is a highly processed oil that some may want to avoid if you are looking for an oil that is made with more natural ingredients. The neutral flavor of canola can’t be beaten. Pop your kernels with canola oil then pile on the seasonings and butter flavor for a perfect popcorn. 

2. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a very popular choice for popping popcorn. It has a high smoking point so it can withstand the high heat that is required to pop popcorn. Coconut oil is also widely available and can be found in most grocery stores. 

Refined coconut oil has a very subtle flavor while unrefined coconut oil will give your popcorn a yummy, tropical taste. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils to use for making popcorn. It is low in trans fats and saturated fats. Coconut oil is a great natural oil for making popcorn at home.

3. Peanut Oil

Peanut oil is a great option for those who want to give their popcorn a slightly nutty flavor. Peanut oil really is made from peanuts so this type of oil will not work for those with nut allergies. You may want to use a different kind of oil when preparing popcorn for large groups, just to be safe. However, if you can enjoy peanuts, then peanut oil is perfect for popping naturally buttery popcorn. 

Peanut oil has a high smoke point which is perfect for making popcorn. It will not burn even if you heat the oil to a high temperature, getting it ready to pop kernels. You can find peanut oil in most grocery stores but it can be a little pricy compared to other oils. 

4. Sunflower Oil

Sunflower is an interesting oil choice for making popcorn. It has a very high smoke point, not burning until well over 400 degrees F. You don’t have to worry about kernels burning in this oil.

Another benefit of sunflower oil is the high quantity of healthy fats and the low cholesterol levels. It is a good choice for people who are health conscious. The best part about using sunflower oil to make your kernels pop is that it won’t impact the taste or texture of the popcorn. That neutral taste is great for making mild popcorn that is ready to be seasoned.

5. Vegetable Oil

Speaking of neutral-tasting oils, vegetable oil is another cooking oil that won’t change the taste of your popcorn too much. It will help pop any type of kernels, keeping them soft and also a little bit crunchy. 

Vegetable oil is very highly refined which may be a point of contention for some people. It is also not consistent when it comes to ingredients. Every brand of vegetable oil differs, blending anything from soybean oil, canola oil, and other plant oils together. 

The smoke point of vegetable oil will vary from brand to brand because of these inconsistencies. However, it can still be a good, inexpensive oil to use for making popcorn. 

6. Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is the most expensive oil on our list. Because of the high price, it is often used to make gourmet popcorn. Avocado oil does taste good, though. It is a great popcorn oil option that you can use at home in smaller batches. 

Avocado oil is pretty healthy, containing tons of healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids. It makes buttery popcorn without actually using butter. This is a great way to get creamy, salty, flavorful popcorn without needing that greasy popcorn butter they use at the movie theater. These benefits may actually justify the high price of avocado oil.  

7. Olive Oil

Olive oil is a popular cooking oil that many of us have at home. It is convenient and has a familiar taste. Olive oil is also rich in monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and vitamin e. It does have a lower smoking point compared to other oils on our list but it still gets hot enough to make kernels pop. 

Extra virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil can all be used to make popcorn. The mild flavor of the oil goes well with garlic powder and parmesan cheese seasonings. 

8. Soybean Oil

You should be able to grab a bottle of soybean oil for a low price in almost any store. It has a perfect neutral flavor that is good for creating plain popcorn, ready for any kind of seasoning. 

Soybean oil is a great source of antioxidants and vitamin E as well as other minerals. The easy-to-use oil has a high smoke point and will not burn your kernels. 

How Much Oil To Use to Make the Perfect Popcorn

The exact quantity of oil needed to make popcorn will vary depending on the amount of popcorn you want to make. However, you will need about 4 tablespoons of oil to pop 1 cup of popcorn kernels. Use this ratio to figure out how much oil you need to pop your quantity of kernels. 

Another point to consider is how much oil you actually like on your popcorn. Some snackers prefer a very small amount of oil while others want their popcorn to be greasier. If you want to decrease the cholesterol levels or saturated fat in your popcorn snack, you can easily use less oil. On the other hand, you can always add more melted butter and seasonings to the popcorn after it has popped in the oil. Oil quantity is quite flexible.

What Type of Oil Do Movie Theaters Use to Pop Popcorn?

Are you trying to replicated movie theater popcorn at home? Then you should definitely use coconut oil to pop your kernels. Movie theaters find that coconut oil is the best oil as it is gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and free from most other allergens. 

Remember that movie theaters add a lot of buttery flavored oil on top of the popcorn. This is what gives the popcorn its extra buttery taste. It is hard to believe that movie theater popcorn actually has no “real” butter. 

Making Popcorn Without Using Any Oil

While popping popcorn kernels in oil is a fantastic way to make popcorn at home, there are a few oil-free methods you can try at home. Air-popped popcorn is the most common way to make popcorn without oil. Kernels are added to air poppers which use high heat to make the kernels pop. Popcorn machines like this can be expensive, but they are worth the investment if you love air-popped popcorn.

Air-popped popcorn is also a little healthier than traditional stovetop popcorn or microwave popcorn. It is completely oil-free, made with whole grains, and quite tasty. You can still season the air-popped popcorn however you’d like.

Get More Healthy Snack Inspiration with Popsmith

There are so many different types of oil that you can use to pop popcorn. Each one has its own health benefits, and unique flavor and the oils are priced all over the board. You are sure to find a popcorn oil that is perfect for you. 

We at Popsmith love learning about popcorn and bringing you fantastic articles like this. Send us a message and tell us how much you love popcorn. It really is such a great movie night snack or any day snack. Popcorn is made for anyone, anywhere, any time they’d like it. And with this helpful popcorn oil article, you can make all different types of popcorn right from home. Enjoy.