Recipe: Perfect Kettle Corn

Recipe #5 from the Joy The Baker cookbook!

Kettle corn is one of my favorite foods of all time. I always thought a homemade version could never compare to the overflowing bags of perfectly sweet, expertly kettle cooked popcorn you find at the circus or a fair. Well folks, I was wrong. This recipe comes so darn close you might not be able to tell the difference.

Joy The Baker’s Perfect Kettle Corn
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 cup corn kernels
1 tsp. kosher salt


A word about hardware first: I thought for sure my Le Creuset would be optimal for popcorn making – it’s big, holds in heat, has a tight fitting lid, etc. But actually a Le Creuset, or any heavy cast iron pot, will not work for stovetop popcorn making. You have to shake the pot often while the corn pops to avoid burning and a Le Creuset is way too heavy to move around like you’ll need it to. I recommend using any large but light saucepot you have with a lid. I used my 5 quart T-Fal dutch oven.

Heat the vegetable oil and butter over medium-high heat until the butter is completed melted.


On top of the hot oil/butter, spread out the corn kernels and, as evenly as you can, sprinkle the sugar on top. Do this step quickly and then put the lid on the pot.


Make sure the lid is on tight and the heat is medium-high. Every 10 seconds or so you’ll need to shake the pot a little to make sure none of the kernels are sticking to the bottom or burning. This is relatively easy – put on potholders, hold the handles of the pot while keeping your thumbs on the lid, and shake gently. The popcorn will take 1-3 minutes to start popping. Keep shaking at 10 second intervals throughout the cooking process.


When the popping starts to slow down, reduce the heat to low and let some of the steam escape.


When the popping has completely stopped turn off the heat, remove the lid, and sprinkle on half of the salt.


Transfer the kettle corn to a big bowl and sprinkle on the remaining salt.


Divide up into smaller bowls or eat right out of the big bowl (preferably under a blanket with your sweetie while watching a bad action movie, just saying.)


This kettle corn amazed me. I couldn’t believe I made this in my own kitchen! It was literally perfect: the best combination of sweet, salt, and crunchy. I prefer this recipe and method to any I’ve tried in the past. I’ve made a sweet syrup to go over the top of air popped popcorn but that leaves the batch a little soggy. Joy’s recipe/this method produces dry popcorn with a crisp sugary salty shell, if you will. So good!

Author: Domestocrat

I'm a lady who enjoys photography, football, cooking, long drives with the windows down, This American Life, kettlecorn, hot yoga, pop punk, my nephews, my cat Reggie, and my home: Boston.

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