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[LPT Request] How to evenly distribute butter on homemade popcorn

Video: How to Make Perfect Popcorn


My mother's method of making popcorn not only pops almost every kernel, it also prevents the kernels from burning. She first learned this technique decades ago from the back of a popcorn box.

Her approach allows the popcorn kernels to come to an even temperature before popping, which results in much fewer un-popped kernels (usually none) and fewer burnt kernels (again, usually none).

Ever since we first posted this how-to in 2005, it has been one of the most popular recipes on the site. Enjoy!

The Best Popcorn Makers for Easy and Delicious Snacking


Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

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Icing sugar / powdered sugar

  • Why you need it – Dusting the popcorn for a lightly sweet note. We need icing sugar/powdered sugar because normal sugar won’t stick to popcorn unless you use lots and you melt it, like with Caramel Popcorn or my variation of it, Christmas Popcorn Candy!

  • How to do it – Use a small sieve to sprinkle the icing/powdered sugar over the popcorn, for even coverage and to remove lumps.

  • How much to use – I only use 2 tablespoons which makes it lightly sweet. Because the whole point of this popcorn is that it’s slightly sweet and slightly salty, an addictive and can’t-stop-nibbling combination that won’t leave you reaching for glass after glass of water!


How do you make natural popcorn?

MethodHide Photos
  1. 1 Heat the oil: Heat the oil in a 3-quart thick-bottomedsaucepan on medium high heat.
  2. 2 Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil.
  3. 3 When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcornkernels in an even layer.
  4. 4 Cover the pot, remove from heat and count 30 seconds.


  1. Pour popcorn kernels into the hopper. If the tray on top has a section for melting butter, add the butter and olive oil there. Otherwise, melt them separately in a saucepan.
  2. Place a bowl under the hopper and turn the machine on. After the kernels have completed popping, turn the machine off and pour any remaining popped corn into the bowl. Pour the melted butter/olive oil over the popcorn. Use two forks to distribute it evenly.
  3. Sprinkle sea salt and sage/marjoram over the top and mix with your forks. Give it a taste test and add more, if needed. This has become my favorite popcorn recipe.

How do I pop popcorn without a popcorn maker?

Operating Machine:
  1. Plug in machine.
  2. Push kettle lid up to the top of cabinet where a magnet willhold it in place.
  3. Turn HEAT and LIGHT switch to ON (Wait 3-4 minutes for kettleto heat up).
  4. When ready to add oil and popcorn, turn KETTLE MOTOR switch ONto start the motor.
  5. Open the oil pouch and pour into the kettle.

Energy Use Comparison

Air poppers save energy—kinetic (human) and gas or electric, whichever you would otherwise use to make popcorn with if you cooked it over a stove. If you would otherwise use a microwave you will not save energy, but you will have a much better tasting popcorn with the air popper that is also healthier. In what way? You can choose your own toppings (see below) to replace the microwave's fake butter.

The model I use is the West Bend Poppery II. I've been using the same popper since 1989 and have never had any problems. I've been told you can use it to roast coffee, too. West Bend still makes air poppers, even after all these years.

🥄 Common Methods

We did a survey of some of our email subscribers asking them what method they use for adding butter to popcorn. The most common methods were spoon butter over the popcorn or spraying it on.

Spoon Method

? Pros: This is better than just dumping it on the top and everyone already has a spoon.

? Cons: The problem with using a spoon is that it’s very easy to dump too much butter on at once. And I find the whole process to be kind of clunky.

Spray Method

? Pros: A device that sprays butter on popcorn can be effective. Not to mention kind of fun!

? Cons: But cleaning them isn’t super easy and they can be costly. they have cordless electric butter sprayers that go for over $60! The last thing I need in my kitchen is something else to charge.

Clarified butter (or ghee)

  • Why you need it – For an intense buttery flavour, and keeping your popcorn crispy instead of going soggy like with normal butter, as explained above;

  • How to make it (else buy it) – Melt butter and simmer for 10 minutes to evaporate the water content. See separate recipe for full directions – How to make Clarified Butter and Ghee.

Note: Ghee is a purer form of clarified butter that is used in Indian cooking. It tastes virtually the same as Clarified Butter which is more associated with European cookery (like Swiss Potato Rosti!), but it’s slightly nuttier (which is delicious!)

🥶 Cold Butter

If you aren’t buttering all your popcorn at once, you will need to deal with cooling butter. As butter cools it will naturally start to solidify. That could cause some issues.

If you are having that problem, you can add a small amount of a neutral tasting oil to help the butter to continue flowing. When you buy a spreadable butter at the grocery store, often oil has been added to it, so it’s softer when cold. You are applying that same principle here.

I prefer to use all the butter up before it cools or keep it warm.

Perfect Popcorn

Cook Time 10 mins Total Time 10 mins Servings 4 servings Yield 2 quarts

Make sure the inside of the pot is completely dry before heating the oil in it, or else the oil will sputter.