I have always liked making my own popcorn in a pot. While microwave popcorn is pretty convenient, freshly popped "real" popcorn is so much better. Plus, you can make enough for a crowd and the only ingredients are corn, oil, and salt (unless you add your own flavorings).
I've pretty much taken it for granted that everyone knew how to make "home made" popcorn until I mentioned it at work... and got the look. The one that says "you mean you can make popcorn without a popcorn maker or a microwave?"
And then I brought in a big bowl of the stuff.... LOVE all around!!!!
If you have never made popcorn in a pan, you need to give it a try. No special equipment needed. Just a sauce pan with a lid and a stovetop.
I have been guilty of making a big pot of popcorn and eating it in lieu of lunch or dinner when I have a serious craving. My two favorite toppings are either salt or freshly grated parmesan.
One more selling point. Popcorn is great when you are having a family gathering and you need an appetizer that kids will enjoy. The kids crack up when the growing popcorn begins to lift the lid off of the top of the pan.
How to Make Popcorn in a Pot
3 Qt sauce pan: 3 T oil + 1/2 heaping C good quality popcorn kernels (this ratio works best with a 14" wok)
4 Qt sauce pan 1/4 C oil + 3/4 C good quality popcorn kernels
- Place the oil in the saucepan with three kernels of the corn and heat with the lid on at medium heat.
- When all three kernels have popped, add the rest of the kernels, place the lid back on and remove the pan from the heat for about 30 seconds (this is a trick I learned from Simply Recipes) and then move the pan back onto the heat.
- Cook the kernels on medium heat with the lid on but slightly vented so that some air can escape.
- As the kernels begin to pop, shake the pan a few times back and forth (no need to go crazy on this) to distribute the kernels evenly.
- Keeping the lid on but slightly vented, cook the popcorn until the popping begins to slow, lower the temperature, and remove the pan immediately when the gaps between pops are several seconds.
- Dump the popcorn into a large bowl and salt to taste. You can also add butter, parmesan, cheese powder, cinnamon sugar, paprika, or anything else you like at this point.
I've also made this popcorn with bacon drippings instead of oil. Seriously amazing.
Note: Recently I have been enjoying wok cooking and discovered from this book that cooking popcorn in a wok is great for seasoning it, so if you have a wok, it works fabulously with this recipe too.