We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Popcorn is the perfect snack. It’s a great choice whether you’re watching a movie at home or wanting to eat something that is filling without a lot of calories. If you want to skip the microwave popcorn and make it the old-fashioned way, it is important to know which types of oil to use for popcorn. Here are three reasons you should know what types of oil are best for making popcorn:
- Smoke point
- Fat content
- Flavor profile
The smoke point is the temperature at which your oil will begin to smoke. You want an oil with a high smoke point so that the popcorn will get hot enough to pop without taking on a bitter taste. The fat content of a specific oil is an important detail if you want a healthy snack.
Finally, if you crave that rich butter taste of movie theatre-style popcorn, it is key to know what oils will affect this flavor profile. We have gathered ten types of oils for popcorn, so let’s check them out.
1. Refined Coconut Oil
Refined coconut oil has a smoking point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Coconut oil mimics the rich flavor of butter without making your snack soggy. This is the type of oil that most movie theatres use to cook their popcorn in.
The serving size of this type of oil will have about 14 grams of fat, most of which is saturated fat. Due to this, coconut oil is not the healthiest oil option and should be used sparingly. This type of oil can be used both on the stovetop and in a traditional popcorn machine.
Reviews online said that Franklin’s Coconut Oil gave their popcorn the same golden appearance and taste as movie theatre popcorn. Click here to view Franklin’s Gourmet Popcorn Coconut Oil on Amazon.
2. Refined Olive Oil
It is important to use refined olive oil when preparing popcorn since it has a smoke point of 410 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas extra virgin olive oil has a much lower smoke point. It has a neutral taste, so it will not affect the flavor profile of your popcorn. You will want to add clarified butter or a butter-flavored salt after popping if you crave that buttery essence.
A big positive of this type of oil is that it contains monosaturated fats, which are good for your health. The suggested serving size of olive oil contains about 13 grams of fat.
Not sure what cooking vessel is best to prepare your popcorn in? Read this article to learn the answer to this question: What Is The Best Pot For Making Popcorn?
3. Avocado Oil
Avocado oil has an impressive smoking point of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. We think this oil is the ultimate choice if you want a healthful treat with a typical serving size containing 14 grams of heart-healthy fats. The strong butter flavor will give your popcorn a satisfyingly rich taste without unnecessary calories.
You can use this product whether preparing popcorn on the stovetop or in a machine. It does come with a hefty price tag, but some would argue you should not put a price on your good health.
Chosen Foods 100% pure avocado oil is cold-pressed and certified non-GMO. Click here to view Chosen Foods avocado oil on Amazon.
4. Canola Oil
Canola oil has a smoking point of 430 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a prominent alternative to coconut oil since it does not contain as much saturated fat. The recommended serving size does contain 14 grams of fat, most of which are monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Canola oil has a neutral, pleasant flavor that is barely discernible. It is one of the most affordable options on this list which may be why it is so popular.
5. Vegetable Oil
Similar to canola oil in price, appearance, and fat content, vegetable oil has a smoke point of 420 degrees Fahrenheit. The main difference between the two is that vegetable oil is primarily made from soybeans, while canola oil is made from rapeseed. Vegetable oil has a mild flavor that won’t alter the taste of your popcorn. Vegetable oil can be used for whatever preparation method you prefer.
Amazon’s personal brand of vegetable oil is light-flavored, non-greasy, and great for cooking. Click here to view Happy Belly vegetable oil on Amazon.
Check out this stovetop popcorn recipe that uses vegetable oil from A Couple Cooks.
6. Sunflower Oil
Created by pressing the oil from sunflower seeds, sunflower oil has a smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This oil has high levels of vitamin E, which is an essential nutrient for the health of your brain, blood, and skin. The typical serving size contains 14 grams of healthy fats. Sunflower oil has a slightly nutty flavor that may impact the taste of your popcorn.
Produced exclusively in Turkey, Safya sunflower oil is a great all-purpose option for high-temperature cooking. Click here to view Safya Sunflower oil on Amazon.
7. Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is typically used to deep fry food since it has a smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Like many other oils on this list, peanut oil has a fat content of about 14 grams per serving. Low in unhealthy fats, this is a fine choice for those concerned with the health of their heart. This oil usually has a mild flavor but has a stronger peanut flavor and aroma if made with roasted peanuts.
8. Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil has a smoking point of 420 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a viable option for popping your popcorn. This oil is packed with omega-6 fatty acids, which, when consumed in moderation, can be good for your heart. Once again, only 14 grams of fat in a serving of this oil. It is fairly neutral in flavor, somewhat resembling the taste of extra virgin olive oil.
Crafted from grapes imported from France, Pompeian grapeseed oil is a rich source of vitamin E. Click here to view Pompeian Grapeseed oil on Amazon.
9. Safflower Oil
Safflower oil is another option for popping popcorn with a smoke point of 510 degrees Fahrenheit. Can you guess the fat content of this oil? If you said 14 grams, you would be correct! With an indistinguishable flavor and aroma, safflower oil is perfect for cooking popcorn. Due to its high smoke point, this oil can be used in a commercial popcorn machine or on the stovetop.
Hollywood Safflower Oil is naturally extracted by pressing the seed without using chemical solvents used by most other oil brands. Click here to view Hollywood safflower oil on Amazon.
10. Bacon Grease
Our final oil on this list is a bit unconventional and very old-fashioned. We found many enthusiasts of the decadent flavor that bacon grease lends to popcorn. Bacon fat has a smoke point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit which makes it a feasible choice. While a serving size contains only 13 grams of fat, this is not the healthiest oil to use for preparing your popcorn. Depending on the type of bacon grease you use, it can imbue your popcorn with a very smoky flavor.
Bacon Up is 100% real bacon grease, triple-filtered for purity with a hint of hickory-wood smokehouse flavor. Bacon Up allows you to enjoy the taste of bacon without the mess, time, and expense of frying bacon. Click here to view Bacon Up on Amazon.
Dying to try popcorn made with bacon grease? This recipe from Kitchn shows you how to make bacon fat popcorn.
What is the healthiest oil to pop popcorn in?
We found plenty of healthy oils that you can use to prepare popcorn, but which one is the healthiest? We found due to its content of antioxidants and healthy fats. Avocado oil is the healthiest oil you can use to pop popcorn in.
Among its many benefits, avocado oil contains lutein, which functions as an antioxidant that aids eye health. Be sure to purchase cold-pressed avocado oil, as this extraction method helps preserve the most nutrients.
Some may argue that olive oil has similar health benefits, which would be true if you were using extra virgin olive oil. However, since extra virgin olive oil has a low smoke point, we suggest using refined olive oil. Due to refining olive oil, many nutrients are lost, and therefore this oil has far fewer health benefits.
Furthermore, olive oil does not have the same creamy flavor as avocado oil, so you need to add butter and extra calories to achieve a similar taste.
What is the best oil to use in a commercial popcorn machine?
If you happen to have a commercial popcorn machine, the best oil to use would be coconut oil. It is what most major movie theatres use, although some use a combination of coconut and canola. If you want a truly authentic movie theatre popcorn experience and use coconut oil, you should also use flavacol popcorn salt.
These are the ingredients that create that irresistible salty, buttery movie theatre popcorn we all know and love. If you are concerned with clean eating, then you should skip the flavacol.
Flavacol is a super-fine salt that will stick to your popcorn and contains a blend of yellow #5 and #6 colors to give popcorn a bright, appealing yellow color.
Can you put oil in a hot air popcorn maker?
We researched several hot air popcorn makers, and they all said not to add oil to the machine. Since the popcorn is cooked using extremely hot air, oil is unnecessary. Furthermore, if you add oil to a hot air popcorn maker, it can cause damage to the unit.
If you want to, apply oil or melted clarified butter to your popcorn after popping to add flavor. If you want to liven up your popped popcorn, check out these flavored popcorn recipes from Taste of Home.
Designed with a bigger heating chamber, this hot air popcorn machine can make up to 3.5 ounces of fresh popcorn within two to three minutes. Click here to view the Hirifull hot air popcorn machine on Amazon.
Whether binge-watching your favorite Netflix show or just wanting a healthy snack, munching on popcorn is the best. If you want to achieve that classic movie theatre taste, use refined coconut oil with some flavacol. Or, you can use avocado oil if you want to keep it healthy.
For a real indulgent treat, try making your popcorn with some bacon grease. Now that you know what types of oils you can use to make popcorn at home, you can make this delicious snack anytime you want.
Not sure when to toss out your prepared popcorn? Check out this article that answers the question: How Long Can You Keep Popped Popcorn?