Homemade Kettle Corn: a delicious (and cheap!) snack for a crowd

Homemade Kettle Corn: a delicious (and cheap!) snack for a crowd

I love kettle corn.  This sweet, salty, crunchy snack is satisfying–and totally addictive. I’ve never liked plain popcorn, but I sampled real homemade kettle corn at a party when I was well into adulthood and fell in love. Back home, I was determined to figure out how to make my own. I love to caramelize anything in my kitchen, so I played around with the technique until I could make crave-worthy kettle corn at home.

If you need to serve a crowd–of any age–it’s hard to find a cheaper snack than homemade kettle corn. All you need are popcorn kernels, oil, salt and sugar. My grocery store sells 2-pound bags of popcorn kernels for $1.65, so I can make 4 quarts of kettle corn for 37¢.

How to make kettle corn

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup popcorn
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons oil (I love coconut oil for this, but regular vegetable oil works great)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I use kosher)

Set a large pot over low heat while you’re getting your ingredients together.  (I use an old, banged-up 6-quart Calphalon stockpot.)

Have a bowl at the ready to catch the freshly-made kettle corn.  It will be hot–keep this is in mind when choosing your bowl.

Turn heat to medium and add oil to the pot.  Add three popcorn kernels to the oil.

When two of the three kernels have popped, pour the rest of your popcorn into the pan.

Add lid and shake pan periodically while corn is popping.

When popping slows, pour the sugar and salt into the pan and cover.  Count to ten.  Turn the burner to low.

Using a wooden spoon, stir the popcorn and salt mixture, scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir.  (A flat-bottomed wooden spoon is ideal.)  The sugar will begin to melt and brown.   Be careful–the kernels can still pop!

When the kettle corn is a pretty amber color in spots, dump it into the bowl.  The kettle corn will be hot!

Let cool a few minutes before serving.

how to make homemade kettle corn

Linking this up with Thrifty Thursday at Living Well, Spending Less. 

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20 comments | Comment


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    • Anne says:

      Yes, I have tried that method and really want to love it. But I always end up with a nasty burned mess! I’m glad it works for you at least!

      • Sonia says:

        I am SO glad I found this! I tto tried one of those recipes where you put the sugar and oil in together and got a nasty, burned mess in my pot. I thought we just wouldn’t be able to make kettlecorn at home. Today I decided to look around for a different recipe. I am going to make this for an after school snack for my kids and the neighbor kids.

  1. Sonia says:

    This is officially delicious! Even my junk-food-junky teenager (who never likes the homemade version of anything) loved it and was mad when it was gone.

  2. Bonnie says:

    I love kettle Corn. I make mine with a whirly popcorn popper and add everything at once the whirly kelttle keeps everything moving sp little burning. Kds love it.

  3. Melanie says:

    Making this right as we speak!! I’m having a Harvest Party this weekend and it will be a perfect snack for the kids! Thanks for the awesome recepie!! 🙂

  4. Melanie says:

    Ok, so I just finished making it for the first time. I have to say… this is the best popcorn I have ever tried!! I made it in my cast iron stewing pot and only made a half recipe just to try it and I’m hooked! I’ll never make microwave popcorn again!

  5. Chris F. says:

    Thanks for sharing, I might make this as a wedding favor for my wedding. How long would you say it stays fresh– how many days in advance could I make this and still have it be fresh and not stale for guests to enjoy for a few days after the wedding?

    • Anne says:

      I’ve heard that kettle corn will stay fresh for a week but we’ve never had the opportunity to find out: we always eat it well before the week is over!

  6. Lakia thompson says:

    Well my my my did i just find this k corn recipe just n x 4 halloween or what. Mmm know what im makin 2 snack on yep(shut up)!!! k corn oh mmm nom nom nom!!! Tysvm 4 this post.

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