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Easy Homemade Kettle Corn Popcorn Recipe - Sweet and Salty Snack!

Craving a sweet and salty snack? Try our simple and delicious Kettle Corn Popcorn recipe. Perfect for movie nights or as a quick treat, this homemade kettle corn is irresistibly tasty!

December 8, 2023
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Kettle CornPhoto By Canva
Difficulty Easy
Servings 4 people
Preparation 5 mins
Cooking 10 mins
Total 15 mins



  1. In a large pot or a deep saucepan with a lid, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add a few popcorn kernels to the oil.
  2. Once the test kernels pop, you know the oil is hot enough to add the rest of the popcorn.
  3. Add the rest of the popcorn kernels and sprinkle the granulated sugar over them quickly. Stir briefly to distribute the sugar.
  4. Place the lid on the pot. Shake the pot gently back and forth over the burner to prevent the sugar from burning and to help the popcorn pop evenly.
  5. Continue to cook the popcorn, shaking the pot occasionally. Once the popping slows down and there are several seconds between pops, remove the pot from heat.
  6. Pour the kettle corn into a large bowl carefully (as the sugar is hot and can burn).
  7. While the kettle corn is still warm, sprinkle it with fine salt. Toss to evenly coat the popcorn.
  8. Let the kettle corn cool for a few minutes before eating. It will crisp up as it cools.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Kettle Corn
Serves 4
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Protein 1 g2%
Total Fat 5 g6.4%
Sodium 250 mg10.9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


  • Use a large pot. Choose a pot with a good amount of space for the popcorn to pop without overcrowding. This helps in even cooking and prevents burning.
  • Ensure the oil is at the right temperature before adding the sugar and popcorn. The test kernels should pop, indicating it's hot enough.
  • Keep the pot moving once the popcorn starts popping. This prevents the sugar from burning and ensures even coating.
  • Be prepared to act fast. Once the popping starts, things move quickly, so have all your ingredients ready and stay focused.
  • Use fine salt for even distribution. Coarse salt won't stick as effectively to the popcorn.
  • Adjust sweetness and saltiness. Modify the amount of sugar and salt to suit your taste preferences.
  • Be careful when handling the pot, as the sugar gets very hot and can burn easily.
  • Store any leftover kettle corn in an airtight container to keep it crispy.
Rate This Recipe

Kettle corn is a popular fairground snack, known for its unique combination of sugar and salt, creating a flavor that's both satisfying and addictive.

Get ready to enjoy the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness with this easy-to-make Kettle Corn Popcorn recipe. Making kettle corn at home is a simple and fun process, and it's a great way to bring the joy of the fair into your kitchen.

Origins of Kettle Corn

Kettle corn has a long history, going back to the 18th century in early American cooking. Back then, settlers made it in big cast iron kettles, giving it the name "kettle corn." They used lard, popcorn, molasses, and honey to make this sweet and salty snack, especially during harvest festivals. Sweeteners like sugar and honey were scarce and expensive at that time.

Kettle corn maintained its popularity, especially at fairs, outdoor events, and markets. The recipe changed over time, and modern versions usually use vegetable oil and granulated sugar, making it lighter and easier to enjoy than the older recipe with lard and molasses.

Today, kettle corn is a favorite snack across the United States and beyond. People love the perfect mix of sweetness and saltiness, making it a snack for all kinds of tastes. You can enjoy it at home during movie nights, at gatherings, or whenever you want a quick treat. The recipe is simple, and making kettle corn is easy, giving you a taste of history with every bite.

Kettle Corn vs Popcorn

Kettle corn and regular popcorn are both popular snacks, but they differ in flavor, cooking technique, and ingredients, which gives each its unique characteristics.

Kettle Corn:

  • Flavor: Kettle corn is known for its distinctive sweet and salty taste. The combination of sugar and salt creates a balanced flavor that appeals to those who enjoy both sweet and savory snacks.
  • Ingredients: Along with popcorn kernels, kettle corn is typically made with sugar, salt, and oil. The sugar caramelizes as it cooks, giving kettle corn its signature sweetness and a slightly crispy texture.
  • Cooking Method: Kettle corn is traditionally made in a large iron kettle (hence the name), but it can also be made in a regular pot or pan. The key is to heat the oil, sugar, and kernels together, allowing the sugar to caramelize as the popcorn pops.
  • Texture: Due to the sugar content, kettle corn has a slightly crispy coating. The caramelization process during cooking creates a unique texture that's different from regular popcorn.

Regular Popcorn:

  • Flavor: Regular popcorn is typically either plain (tasting mainly of the popped corn itself) or savory, often flavored with butter and salt. It does not have the sweetness of kettle corn.
  • Ingredients: Standard popcorn is made with popcorn kernels and oil or butter. Seasonings like salt or herbs can be added after popping.
  • Cooking Method: Popcorn can be made in a variety of ways, including on the stovetop, in an air popper, or in the microwave. The kernels are heated until they pop, turning inside out to create the fluffy texture.
  • Texture: Regular popcorn is light and airy with a fluffy texture. When buttered, it can have a slightly moist exterior, but it lacks the crispy coating.

What To Serve with Kettle Corn?

Kettle corn is a versatile and flavorful snack that pairs well with various options. Whether you're enjoying it during a movie night, at a gathering, or just as a quick treat.

Here are our delicious recipes that you can serve with Kettle Corn:

How To Store Kettle Corn?

Storing kettle corn properly is essential to maintain its signature crunch and flavor. Here's how you can keep your homemade kettle corn fresh and delicious:

Short-Term Storage:

  • Allow the kettle corn to cool completely at room temperature. This step is crucial as any residual warmth can create steam, leading to a loss of crispiness.
  • Once cooled, transfer the kettle corn to airtight containers. Zip-lock bags or containers with tight-fitting lids work well.
  • Store the containers in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. The pantry or a kitchen cabinet is usually ideal.
  • Kettle corn is best enjoyed within a week of making it. Over time, it may lose its crispness even when stored properly.

Long-Term Storage (Freezing):

  • If you need to store kettle corn for more than a week, you can freeze it. Use heavy-duty freezer bags to prevent freezer burn.
  • Squeeze out as much air as possible from the bags before sealing them. This helps in preserving the texture and flavor.
  • Place the bags in the freezer. Kettle corn can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.
  • To thaw, simply take out the desired amount and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before consuming. The kettle corn will regain some of its crispness as it warms up.

Additional Tips:

  • Avoid Humidity and Heat: Both can make kettle corn go stale quickly. Do not store near the stove or in a humid environment.
  • No Refrigeration: Avoid storing kettle corn in the refrigerator as it can become chewy.
  • Check for Freshness: Before consuming stored kettle corn, especially if it has been stored for a while, check for any signs of staleness or spoilage.
Recipe byPetite Gourmets

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