Freshly popped kettle corn in a Popsmith Popper

How to Make Kettle Corn Easily at Home

Have an intense craving for kettle corn? Here’s how to make homemade kettle corn that actually tastes like the one at state fairs.

Nothing takes you back to county fairs quite like kettle corn popcorn.

But what if we told you that you don’t have to wait another year to get your hands on your favorite kettle corn? 

That’s right! You can actually make homemade kettle corn that captures everything you love about this classic treat — from its crunchy glaze to its perfect balance of sweet and salty. Cast iron kettle not required.

Check out the steps below:

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make Kettle Corn 

If you’ve previously attempted homemade kettle corn, you might have ended up with an inedible mess and realized it’s more challenging to make than your usual popcorn.

Don’t blame yourself — burnt and unpopped kernels basically come with the territory since sugar is so sensitive to heat. Even seasoned chefs can burn a batch if they don’t get the timing correct. 

So how can you enjoy kettle corn that tastes just like the kind they sell in carnivals?

Simple — use the Popsmith Popper. With its patented stirrer and multi-clad bottom, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the best-tasting kettle corn you’ve ever had. 

All you have to do is follow these steps:

Step 1: Prepare Your Materials

For this homemade kettle corn recipe, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup kernels
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon fine salt (or to taste)
  • Popsmith Popper

Take note that this makes around 6 quarts of popcorn. 

PRO TIP: Make your life even easier with our Classic Kettle Popcorn Kit. Each packet comes pre-measured with kernels, sugar n’ salt mix, and coconut oil so you can enjoy consistently yummy kettle corn every time.

Classic Kettle Popcorn instructions

Step 2: Heat

Person sets stove to medium heat

Set the Popper over medium heat and let it pre-heat for 1-2 minutes.

Step 3: Melt

Person adds coconut oil to the Popper

Start adding the kernels and coconut oil. 

Step 4: Turn 

Person twists the crank of a mint Popsmith Popper

Close the lid and turn the handle clockwise to coat the kernels in oil. 

Step 5: Sweeten

After the coconut oil has fully melted and you start hearing an unmistakable popping sound, take out the lid and throw in sugar and salt. (Or, if you’re using our pre-measured kit, the Sugar n’ Salt mix.)

Step 6: Mix

Person puts the Popper's lid back on the pot

Put the lid back and turn the Popper a few more times to mix all of the ingredients together. You can also shake it a bit so the kernels at the bottom don’t burn. 

Step 7: Pop

Remove the Popper from the burner once popping slows. 

Step 8: Enjoy Your Homemade Kettle Corn

Popped kettle corn in a mint Popsmith stovetop popcorn popper

Pour your popcorn into a bowl and allow it to cool for a few minutes so it develops a nice glaze (and doesn’t turn chewy). And voila, you have homemade kettle corn ready to sweeten up snack time. Happy munching!

More Homemade Kettle Corn Tips

Birthday cake flavored popcorn served in a cobalt Popper

  • There’s a chance unpopped kernels will stick to the rest of the popcorn, so be careful when you grab a handful from the bowl. You don’t want to pay your dentist an unexpected visit!
  • Made an extra huge batch of kettle corn? Store it in an airtight container. It can stay crispy for up to a week (though we’re sure you’ll finish it before then).
  • Our Classic Kettle Popcorn is great as is, but feel free to customize it to your heart’s content. Add a splash of vanilla for more sweetness, or sprinkle some cinnamon for a warm kick. You can even use it as a base for birthday cake popcorn.
  • Transfer your kettle corn from the Popper to the bowl right away. The bottom layer can burn fast in a hot cooking vessel, even with the heat off. 
  • Hardened sugar may stick to the Popper and can be particularly stubborn to remove. Give it time to soak in warm water, and then gently scrub it with a brush before placing the pot inside the dishwasher. 

Here’s to Sweeter Days Ahead

Now that you know the secret to making homemade kettle corn, your mission is to try it out for yourself. Don’t be afraid if you don’t get it right the first (or second) time around. Just experiment with the heat and timing, keep a close eye on your Popper, and remember to have fun!

FAQs About Kettle Corn

What gives kettle corn its flavor?

Every kettle corn recipe requires sugar and salt to give it its distinctive flavor. This fusion of sweet and slightly savory makes it a popular treat at county fairs, although you really don’t need an excuse to eat it any time of the year. 

Why does my kettle corn always burn?

Either the heat setting or your timing of adding sugar is the likely culprit behind your burnt kettle corn. Sugar melts fast, so if you cook in the highest heat setting or combine it with the other ingredients right away, it might burn most of the batch.

How to make kettle corn without burning the sugar?

The key to making perfect homemade kettle corn is to constantly stir the kernels after mixing in sugar. This coats them evenly and prevents the ones in the bottom of the pot from sticking.

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