8 ways to the best popcorn

Tips and tricks to making perfect popcorn

Stovetop popcorn recipe

Yes, we know it's the holiday season and the party invites are flooding in (or have already), but when the temperature dips below -20 C, who the hell wants to bundle up just to unbundle at a different location.

Stay cozy and warm at home. Rent a movie, reminsce about how "renting a movie" is not what it used to be (we miss you, video stores), pop some popcorn, get some hot chocolate going and just chill out.

While we'll never be able to get that movie theatre kind of taste in our bowls at home, here are some popcorn guidelines (consider them more like commandments) to stand by when you're popping.

Use a pot, not an air popper

When was the last time you heard someone say, "No, seriously! I make the best popcorn with the air popper my great aunt bought me for my birthday in 1993 from the Shopping Channel"? That's right. Never.

Jokes aside, using a stovetop pot will give you that good ol' homestyle taste that an air popper just couldn't. Sometimes, you've just got to keep things classic!

Use the right oil

So many people make the mistake of overheating olive oil, which has a very low smoke point( when oil starts to smoke and break down into free fatty acids).

Going on that notion, canola oil is always a fantastic go-to, as well as Three Farmers' Camelina Oil, which is steadily growing in popularity and for good reason, as its smoking point is 450 F. Holy hot pot Batman

Butter makes the world go round

Margarine is just not the same, is it? Instead of shaking some crazy flavour powders (i.e. dill pickle or ketchup) all over your popcorn and going overboard with sodium, try slowly melting butter in a small pot with a pinch of spice like cayenne or finely chopped fresh rosemary to really knock things out of the park.

We have a no-fail recipe for lemon rosemary butter, if you want to give it a try.

Dress in layers

Not unlike how you dress for the cold, popcorn needs similar treatment to be well coated. Start by putting one third of the popped corn into your serving bowl, dress lightly with butter and sprinkle with salt, add the second third and do the same. Lastly, pour the remaining popcorn into the bowl and drizzle with remaining butter.

If you're serving smaller bowls to a group, mix the popcorn together in a large bowl and portion out evenly.You wouldn't want anyone getting upset that Jimmy or Sally got more buttery popcorn than him.

Kettle corn

Kettle corn is a slightly different beast than the standard movie snack that we're used to at home. Basically, it follows the same procedure, but you add-in sugar with the corn kernels. Kettle corn is best made with a deep pan instead of a pot and be prepared to shake it. A lot. Otherwise, you'll end up with burnt popcorn and nobody wants that.

Slow and steady wins the race

Making popcorn on the stove is not about jacking up the heat, screaming when the kernels start to fly and running to cover the pot with a lid because you forgot to do so in the first place. No, no. A safe and comfortable medium heat will have your corn popping in the appropriate time frame without the worry of blackened bottoms. Patience is a virtue, and a delicious one at that!

Repurposing leftover popcorn

Normally, we all love to shovel as much popcorn as humanly possible into our mouths, store it in our cheeks like chipmunks until our hands have time to turn into scoops to restock — a never ending cycle of satisfaction. If by some miracle you have leftover popcorn by the time the movie comes to a close, repurposing the popcorn the next day is definitely an option.

Nowadays, it's not unusual to see restaurant chefs use this nighttime snack to finish the plating of everything from veloutés to carpaccio! Either way, using popcorn as garnish will put you in our cool books, even if it was made the day before.

Kernels to oil ratio

We're not making beer-battered corn kernels here, folks (which sounds like the worst idea in the world, but we're sure someone out there has tried it), so there's no need to dump a cup of oil into your pot when you're getting set to pop. No matter what oil you opt for, 1/3 cup of kernels needs only 1 tbsp of oil to pop perfectly.