How Do You Make All Popcorn Kernels Pop? [Tips And Tricks]

You love popcorn and don't like to waste a single kernel. Every time you try to make a batch of popcorn, you come across unpopped kernels and are wondering how to get all of the kernels to pop. You might wonder what kind of oil to use and how much. You might also wonder how many kernels in the pan are too much. Keep reading to get the answers to all of these questions.

Preheat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. After a couple of minutes of preheating, you can test the heat of the oil by adding in a kernel or two to see if it pops quickly. If it passes the heat test, then take the pot off the heat.

Add in all of the kernels and make sure it only covers a single layer at the bottom of the pan. Swirl around the oil, so they all come into contact with the oil and place it back on the heat source with the top on. 

Now that you know the tricks to get all of your kernels to pop, you might have more questions. If you have already popped a batch, you are probably wondering what you can do with the unpopped kernels. You might wonder if there are similar tricks to make sure all the kernels pop in microwave popcorn. Perhaps you have heard some other tricks like soaking popcorn and wonder if this is a good strategy. This post will be a thorough discussion on the topic. Keep reading to learn more.

A stainless pan full of popcorn. hand picking puffs. How Do You Make All Popcorn Kernels Pop [Tips And Tricks]

How Do You Make All Kernels Pop?

The key to getting all kernels to pop is to make sure they have the proper amount of oil, kernels, and the heat is distributed evenly. The standard amount of oil for popcorn is to use two tablespoons for 1/2 cup of unpopped kernels.

It is vital to use the right amount of kernels with your popcorn maker so that there is only one single layer at the bottom of the pan. If you put too many kernels into the pot, the heat and oil will not distribute evenly.

Movie Popcorn container and pile of popcorn. How Do You Make All Popcorn Kernels Pop [Tips And Tricks]

How To Make Sure All Popcorn Pops?

Preheat, the popcorn maker with oil for 1-2 minutes. After you have preheated the oil, you can test by adding a kernel or two to the pot. It should pop within 5 seconds. If the kernel passes the popping test, then you are ready to add all of the kernels to the pot.

First, remove the pot from the heat source, add the kernels, then move the pot around to coat the kernels with oil. After moving all the kernels around in the oil, you can add the pot back to the heat source.

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Use The Right Amount Of Oil

You must use the correct amount of high smoke point oil. Low smoke point oils and butter will cause the popcorn to become burned. Using too much or little oil will result in the wrong amount of moisture content for the kernels to pop properly. You also want to shake the pan or use a stove-spinner to move popped kernels away from the hot surface that will cause them to burn.

For more information on which pan or popcorn maker to use, check out this post: What Is The Best Pot For Making Popcorn?

Does Soaking Popcorn Make It Pop Better?

Soaking popcorn will increase the water content and make it pop a little faster. If you are ready to make popcorn now, then soaking it for 10 minutes to save 45 seconds on popping time is not a useful step. Soaking popcorn may increase the number of popped kernels if you are using older popcorn but makes no difference on fresh popcorn kernels. Soaking your popcorn kernels may yield slightly fluffier popcorn.

If you would like to try soaking your popcorn kernels, then put them in water for about 10 minutes. After they are done soaking, drain the water and pat the kernels dry. They are ready to be popped after these two steps. If you don't pat the kernels dry, they will not pop properly or evenly.

What Oil Should I Use To Pop Popcorn?

You want to use oil that contains a high smoke point. While butter is very tasty on popcorn, it is not the best to use for popping corn. This is because it has a low smoke point. Olive oil also has a low smoke point, which may cause the burning of the oil and popcorn.

For best results, choose oils like sunflower, safflower, canola, coconut, grapeseed, or sesame oils for making popcorn. You can still add your favorite butter, ghee, or other oil after the popcorn is done popping.

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What Do You Do If Your Popcorn Doesn't Pop?

There are several possible causes when your popcorn doesn't pop. It is common for people to have a few kernels that don't pop with the rest of the bunch. This can be solved by preheating the oil. Test the oil with a single kernel to see if it pops within 1-2 seconds. If it passes the pop test, then you can remove the pan from the heat source. Add all of the kernels and swirl them around to coat them evenly in hot oil. Return the pan to the heat to pop all of your kernels.

If you have many kernels that are unpopped, then your kernels may not be fresh. You can try soaking these kernels for at least 10 minutes and patting them dry. Then repeat the process of preheating the oil and try again. If you have some unpopped kernels, you can add a few drops of water to them and try popping them again.

Is It Possible To Pop Every Kernel Of Popcorn?

It is possible to pop all of the popcorn kernels if your popcorn is fresh. You will need to preheat the pan with oil for a few minutes. Use two tablespoons of oil for every half cup of kernels you plan to pop. If you use too little or too much oil, there will be many kernels that will not pop. You can run a test by putting a kernel into the preheated pan to see if it pops within a second or two.

Popping every kernel shouldn't be the ultimate goal because the pursuit of perfection can have consequences. You should stick to the rule of pulling the popcorn off the heat when there are two seconds between pops. Not following this rule to obtain a 100 percent popping success rate will cause some of the popcorn to burn. The burnt smell and taste can even permeate throughout the whole batch of popcorn.

Popcorn on the stove cooking in a popcorn cooker

How To Pop All Kernels In Microwave Popcorn?

There is no magical trick to popping all of the kernels in microwave popcorn. The bags are pre-packaged, so you can't ensure the proper amount of moisture exists in all popcorn kernels. It is most important to stick to the rule of stopping when there are two seconds between pops. Waiting for longer may get all of the kernels to pop, but it may also cause many kernels to burn. You will be happier with a few unpopped kernels if most of the batch is fluffy and not burnt.

For more information on microwave popcorn, check out our post here: Does Microwave Popcorn Expire? How Long Does It Last?

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In Closing

The recipe for perfect popcorn requires just the right amount of oil, which is two tablespoons per half cup of kernels. Make sure to use a high smoke point oil such as coconut, canola, sunflower, or safflower oils. These oils will provide the heat necessary for popping all the kernels without burning them in the process.

Preheat the oil in the pan before adding the kernels to ensure an even amount of popping time. It is not always worth pursuing popping every kernel because you may burn your popcorn in the process.

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