What Are the Best Tips for Making Skillet Popcorn?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 21 February 2020
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Skillet popcorn is a quick and easy snack to make on the stove top. Before cooking popcorn in a skillet, the skillet needs to be coated with a tablespoon or so of oil and then heated to a temperature that will cause the popcorn kernels to pop open. Once the popcorn is cooked, it can be topped with butter, salt, sugar or other seasonings. Popcorn should be eaten right away so that it doesn't become stale.

Making good skillet popcorn is not particularly difficult to do, but it helps to start with high quality ingredients. Though popcorn is a dried food, it doesn't retain its flavor forever and tastes better if it is less than a year old and if it has been stored in an airtight container. The type of oil used isn't particularly important, but it shouldn't have a strong flavor so that the flavor of the popcorn can be better appreciated.


A person making skillet popcorn should cook the popcorn over medium heat on a stove top. One of the most important things to do when making skillet popcorn is to heat the skillet before placing the popcorn kernels into it. In order to heat the skillet to the correct temperature, it should be placed on the hot burner with oil in it and left for a couple of minutes. One easy way to see if the skillet and the oil are hot enough is to place a couple of popcorn kernels in the pan while it is still cool and to wait for them to pop. Once they have, the pan is hot enough to cook the popcorn.

When cooking skillet popcorn, the skillet should be covered and the popcorn must remain in constant motion so that it doesn't burn. Popcorn can be kept in motion through the use of a crank attached to a metal plate that pushes the popcorn along the bottom of the skillet. Alternatively, the skillet can be held just above the heat source and shaken while the popcorn is cooking. Either way, it should be taken off the heat source promptly once the kernels have stopped popping.

After the popcorn is cooked, it should be coated with salt, butter, sugar, powdered cheese or any other toppings immediately. This allows the flavorings to stick to the popcorn. Once the skillet popcorn is ready it should be eaten right away.


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