Darn Near Perfect Popcorn

Darn Near Perfect Popcorn


Popcorn is high in fiber, which we all know is a good thing. Dentists dig it because it is a sugarless snack. And although pediatricians warn against serving popcorn to toddlers because of potential choking hazards, they do like home-popped corn for older kids because it doesn’t contain additives, dyes, preservatives, or other, you know, stuff.

Microwaved and butter-flavored movie popcorn could possibly be another story, so pop your own. It’s good, it’s good for you, and it’s more fun than a barrel full of M.D.s.

If you’re feeling culinarily adventurous, try stirring in 1 to 2 tablespoons of Furikake (a Japanese seasoning packing plenty of umami goodness) before adding the butter.

This recipe originally appeared in Season 10 of Good Eats.

3 tablespoons peanut oil

85 grams (1/2 cup) popcorn kernels

1/2 teaspoon popcorn salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Place the oil, popcorn, and salt in the a large, 6-quart, metal mixing bowl. Cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil and poke 10 slits in the top with a knife.

Place the bowl over medium heat and shake constantly using a pair of tongs or kitchen towels to hold the bowl. Continue shaking until the popcorn finishes popping, approximately 3 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the heat and carefully remove the foil. Stir in any salt that has stuck to the side of the bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave. Slowly drizzle over the popcorn while spinning the bowl. Serve immediately.

Yield: 3 1/2 to 4 quarts

Active time: 5 minutes

Total time: 8 to 10 minutes

Alton Brown's Perfect Popcorn with Furikake

98 Comments

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  1. 1
    Patti

    My daughter and I have made our popcorn his way only since we saw him do it on an episode on TV. We use a stainless steel wok, since the handles makes it so much easier. As far as those looking for the recipe, this is how we do it.
    Have your tin foil set up before you start, going around the outside, seal it well and the slits cut in for steam release. I use the heavy duty foil that comes in the longer box, it fits the wok. After you heat up your favorite oil, , put in the 1/2 cup of popcorn. He had said to slide the bowl/wok back and forth quickly on the stovetop, ,but if you are using a electric flat top, you might want to shake it until the popping slows down.
    I’ve personally found to pull it out of the bowl/wok sooner than later to avoid burning it, don’t wait until it’s just a occasional pop. I put it in another bowl, put salt and melted butter to taste and enjoy! I’ve found with a 1/2 cup of popcorn it will fill a large bowl!. We’ve been making our popcorn this way for over 10 years, in fact my daughter took my wok with her when she moved 3 years ago, because she claimed it was properly seasoned.

  2. 2
    Barbara Kane

    I can’t find the actual recipe for the nearly perfect popcorn. All that comes up are the comments on the recipe. Frustrating!

  3. 4
    James Jacobs

    I just tried this recipe for the third time this week and it’s fantastic! Thank you – much better than any previous method I’ve used. I find that using two sheets of foil on the bowl at a 90 degree angle from one another prevents any determined kernels from escaping the bowl. Also on my electric stove on medium heat it takes 4-5 minutes before any popping takes place so the whole process can take close to ten minutes which causes my carpal tunnel to act up. I’m afraid of turning up the heat because I know what it’s like to burn popcorn. Still the end result is worth it. For toppings I like a combination of butter, EVOO, nutritional yeast and cayenne pepper.

  4. 6
    Kathy

    Any kind of metal mixing bowl ? Stainless , aluminum , copper ? I thought I read somewhere certain metals couldn’t be used directly over heat.

  5. 7
    TMK

    Using clarified butter or even Ghee is perfect all around… Takes care of flavor and cooking medium and with a smoke point of 486 it will get the job done… Just my two cents…

  6. 8
    Popcorn Junkie

    Use a regular pan instead of a mixing bowl, and add the butter to the oil while popping. When the popcorn pops it will soak up the butter with the oil and give it better flavor without ‘wilting’ the popcorn which happens when you pour hot butter over it after you pop. Salt it immediately after you pop and add whatever toppings you prefer.

  7. 10
    Rob Shields

    In Canada I own a whirley-pop (stupid fancy popcorn pot)
    I LOVE it…… my wife loves sugar popcorn

    1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoon coconut oil
    3 – 6 tablespoons white sugar
    1/3 cup popcorn

    I live in Spain now and am using an induction stove and NO whirley-pop *
    Can’t stop burning sugar to pot while trying!
    PLEASE Alton…. help me unlock the secret…..
    Sincerely, Canadian in foreign land.

    PS I please your good eats program on par with the original Bob Ross painting program (can watch them over and over)

  8. 11
    Wendy

    Gotta tell ya, butter with a bit of red miso stirred in and some togarashi and crumbled dried shallots is my absolute favorite so far.

  9. 12
    Steve

    @Brad – Peanut oil does not contain any of the allergens that people with peanut allergies are sensitive to. It is completely safe to use.

  10. 16
    Austin Ray

    Try using ghee instead of popping oil. Use a little extra ghee when popping and you don’t need to even add the butter. We use a Teflon stock pot set to high heat on the stove. Works great! We prefer white popcorn for fewer hulls. I like the idea of making your own popcorn salt. We have been having a hard time finding it in the stores.

  11. 17
    Lew

    I pop my corn in a lunch bag with two staples in a microwave. I add either Kerrygold butter or good EVOO & add salt & pepper & have added such things as smoked paprika or Creole seasonings.

  12. 21
    Ken

    Nothing beats old-school stove top popcorn. To keep kernels from getting tough, I start with lid on cast iron Dutch oven, and switch from lid to splatter screen soon after popping starts to let steam out that makes kernels tough. I read it somewhere and use pickling and canning salt on my popcorn. It’s pretty fine grain, so it sticks really well.

  13. 22
    Bruce

    I have an old pressure cooker I saved just for making popcorn in. I can use it for other dishes as well so t’s not a single-tasker.

  14. 24
    Bonnie

    Carla, I offer a wee bit of help with your spelling, and reputation; it’s “bowl”, not “bole”, and I am almost POSITIVE you meant “crushed pepper”, not “crushed pecker”.

  15. 27
    Edward

    I just made this and I have to say it’s the easier sure fire way not to burn it and I put some trader Joe’s seasoning salt. The best. Thank you Alton love all your science behind the food

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