Stove Top Popcorn has become a new staple in my kitchen this fall. After years of buying microwave popcorn, it took a bag of gifted popcorn kernels and a broken microwave to get me to turn to the stove. Though it was a last resort at the time, it is now my first choice when it comes to popping corn. Honestly, I don't know why it took me so long to discover the pleasure of stove top popcorn.
Popping popcorn on the stove is simple, takes about the same length of time as the microwave, and the taste is incomparable.
When I was younger, visiting my grandparents on an overnight trip, my grandmother pulled out her largest soup pot to cook up a batch of popcorn. It was the first time I had watched someone make popcorn on the stove and I found the process utterly fascinating. The sputtering oil, the explosions of kernels, the unmistakably scent filling the air—there was something magical about it.
Perhaps that childhood "magic" is what carries over as we grow older. Though the science teacher in me could describe the scientific principles involved at length, theory never quite matches experiment. I still find wonder in cooking up a batch of stove top popcorn, delighting in each experience as if it were my first.
In the winter months, when the world is cold and the glow of television feels warm, popcorn is a regular on the menu, often composing late night snacks and the occasional meal. While microwave popcorn can leave a waxy, unpleasant taste in my mouth when I near the end of the bag, stove top popcorn is never too greasy and is easy to customize.
The recipe I've shared with you is as basic as it comes. You can dress it up with melted butter and spices or, if you are a popcorn purist like me, leave it plain and enjoy it just the same.
Stove Top Popcorn can be made in 3-4 minutes with only three ingredients. Popcorn kernels, a neutral oil, and a little salt are all you need for perfect popcorn. The oil is heated on the stove, the popcorn is added, and the heat is removed to allow all kernels to reach the same temperature. Once the pot is put back on the stove, the kernels pop quickly. In the dozen of batches I have made, I have never encountered more than 3-4 un-popped kernels. This recipe is easy and produces easily customizable results.