Learn how to make popcorn in a dutch oven. This method is incredibly easy and only takes a few simple ingredients.
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Making popcorn in a dutch oven is something we routinely do on movie nights, during the cold weather months, and whenever we want a quick snack! I like having recipes on hand that are made with simple ingredients and supplies I already have in my kitchen I use my dutch oven for soups, stews, pasta, sourdough bread, and popcorn!
Because I keep a large rotating pantry that keeps us stocked up on the essentials, I usually have all of these ingredients. This pantry inventory list boosts our food security! Popcorn is pretty cheap, especially when purchased in bulk. There are other reasons why we prefer to make our popcorn in a dutch oven instead of a microwave.
Why you want to skip microwave popcorn
Microwave popcorn is the most popular way of consuming popcorn in the United States! We do not keep a microwave in our home, so it isn’t very convenient for us. Plus, being able to make popcorn “the old fashioned way,” is freeing! Instead of buying expensive popcorn in pouches, you are able to take advantage of bulk prices and stock up on popcorn OR use the corn grown right at home. You may have your own reasons to add to this list, but here are some reasons why you might want to pop popcorn in a dutch oven.
- Bagged popcorn has chemicals-Even if you’re buying unflavored microwave popcorn, the bags themselves are coated with perfluorooctanic acid which is the same toxic substance that coats Teflon pans. PFOA stays in the body for a long time and cause health problems like cancer.
- It’s super delicious and chemical-free. Air-popped popcorn is also chemical free however, our family finds it flavorless and dull…not to mention it’s one more appliance to store! A dutch oven has many uses.
- It is cheaper than microwave popcorn-Popping popcorn on the stove is much cheaper, especially if you buy popcorn in bulk for your long term food storage pantry.
What You’ll Need to Make Popcorn in a Dutch Oven
Making popcorn in a dutch oven is extremely easy and only requires a few supplies and ingredients. Here is what you will need:
- A dutch oven! –we have this 7.5 quart one.
- A mild flavored cooking oil with a high heat smoking point, we use coconut oil…but you could also use vegetable oil, canola oil.
- Popcorn kernels
- a timer
- salt or other seasoning (see below for some ideas!)
How to make popcorn in a dutch oven
- Start by adding 2-3 tablespoons of oil to the dutch oven, along with about 3-4 kernels of popcorn and heat over medium heat. These are your test kernels, they will let you know when it’s time to add the rest of the popcorn! Cover with the lid and wait.
- When you hear the test kernels pop, the cooking oil is at the right temperature. Add ½ cup of popcorn kernels along with ½ teaspoon of salt. We like to add my salt with the hot oil because it really helps the salt stick. You can add more or less popcorn depending on how much you make. 1 1/2 cups of popcorn fills up my 7.5 quart Dutch Oven.)
- Stay by the stove the whole time and cook for 2-3 minutes. Shake the dutch oven occasionally, to help keep the popcorn from burning. When the pops begin to slow, remove from the heat but leave the lid on for 15-20 seconds to allow the popping to stop.
- Remove the lid and transfer the popcorn to a large bowl or serving dish. Add a tablespoon or two of butter to your pan, if desired, and melt it. Pour the butter over the popcorn and enjoy!
How to make popcorn in a dutch oven tips
- Don’t crank the heat up too high. It’s too easy to burn oil at temperature higher than medium heat, and if you catch even a whiff of smoke coming from the pot, your popcorn is going to taste burnt
- Start with two popcorn kernels to gauge the temperature.Once those pop, your oil is hot enough. Add the remaining kernels and remove the pot from the heat for 1 minute. This primes the popcorn to pop without burning the oil.
- Tip the lid slightly while the popcorn is popping: this helps the popcorn stay crisp! Otherwise it starts to steam itself!
- If the popcorn starts overflowing the pot: Remove the lid and tip the excess popcorn into a bowl. Return the lid and return the popcorn to the heat until popping slows.
- Season with salt carefully. You can always add more, but you can’t take away too much.
What to put on dutch oven popcorn
- Black pepper and good olive oil-a small drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of black pepper make this taste so special.
- Everything bagel seasoning-Popular on toast or just about anything. This seasoning mix is a dupe for an everything bagel.
- Cinnamon honey butter: This popcorn is a little sticky, but irresistible. Whisk 2 tablespoons melted butter with 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- Grated parmesan cheese:This dry cheese will stick right to the warm popcorn and give it a wonderful umami flavor!
- Cayenne pepper: Sprinkle with cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes or white pepper.
- Melted butter!: It is classic for a reason, it’s delicious!
- Taco seasoning-We make our own with 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder.
- Salt and sugar:try a take on the classic sweet and salty flavor combination. This makes the popcorn have more of a kettle corn taste.
- Ground freeze dried fruit powder: We like to freeze dry all kinds of fruit! Sprinkling the fruit powder on makes a fruity popcorn that would even taste good with chocolate. Chocolate covered strawberries anyone?
Dutch oven popcorn FAQ
What is the ratio of popcorn to oil?
Popcorn to oil ratio for stove top popcorn should be 2-3 tablespoons to 1/2 cup popcorn.
Is cast iron good for popping popcorn?
Yes! Especially an enamel coated cast iron Dutch Oven.
What kind of oil should I use to make stovetop popcorn?
Because the oil needs to get really hot for popping corn you need to use oils with a lighter smoke point. Our favorite is coconut oil, but you could also use canola oil, corn oil, or vegetable oil.
Is it cheaper to make your own popcorn?
Yes. Buying popcorn kernels in bulk is much cheaper than buying the packaged microwave popcorn.
Is homemade popcorn junk food?
Whether or not homemade popcorn is junk food depends on what you put on it! This can vary depending on how you dress it up!
Can I use a regular pot to make popcorn?
Yes! As long as the pot is heavy bottomed. I prefer to use my dutch oven, but have made popcorn just fine in my big heavy duty stock pot as well.
How to not have un-popped popcorn kernels in popcorn
Having popcorn kernels left is unavoidable. Here are my tips for minimizing them sneaking into the serving bowl. Use a big slatted spoon to scoop the popcorn from the pot into the bowl, instead of dumping it.