Homemade Popcorn: a super easy recipe with just two ingredients and a wok.
I can’t believe I’m posting about popcorn but I can tell you that popcorn really saved the day for me today. Let’s back it up and start this post from the very beginning. Today has been a bit of a shambles. When I woke up I realised the fridge had lost power overnight and for how long I will never know. Something tripped the switch in the fuse box and I lost power to the dehumidifier that was drying a load of laundry overnight that I really needed to dry in time for school today. Now it smelt musty and was a little damp. This all led me to run behind getting the kids ready for school. Then on my way home, I managed to coincide my drive into our car park with every single car that wanted to leave the car park. And they all gave me dirty looks as we always have to take turns to get around the turns on the way down to the basement.
Once home I decided I wanted to bake a delicious baked apple cheesecake. I had all the ingredients already and my mum had recently baked one for my dad’s birthday it was really on my mind. More fluster! I forgot how to line the tin correctly and the cheesecake mixture leaked out the bottom. Sigh. I slid the thing onto a baking tray, wiped some excess batter (argh the waste!) and baked it anyway. So now I have a hideous albeit edible and delicious monster version of my cake. But also far more washing up to do since the batter is stuck all over the baking tray and cake pan.
And it was only 11am in the morning.
So I sat down and sighed and decided to rectify this rather abysmal start to the week, I needed a go-to recipe that would be guaranteed a success. Something that would bring joy and happiness to me and the kids too! Something that was fast and easy to make. Something that did not need any prep or clean up!
So I made POPCORN.
The trouble in the past with making my own popcorn has been two extreme outcomes: burning the popcorn to avoid un-popped kernels or lots of un-popped kernels to avoid burning the popcorn. It’s like a vicious popcorn circle of hell.
I admit I have bought microwave popcorn before because it seemed easier but honestly the packets can produce just as much un-popped kernels or burnt popcorn plus there is the wasteful packaging.
So I did lots of research and tried different cooking techniques and vessels and now I have what I think is the perfect recipe to make my own popcorn at home. I use my cast iron wok with lid. It’s the perfect vessel as it heats quickly, holds the temperature, has a wide base to allow for all the kernels to sit on the bottom evenly and the glass lid allows me to see what’s going on inside during cooking. What’s more, the process of popping corn seasons the wok for me. I love multitasking!
This process has produced barely any unpopped kernels too. I’ve been testing it out over the last few weeks and so far have only averaged less than 5 un-popped kernels each time! So little waste!
Of course in terms of cost, a big bag of kernels is so much cheaper than a bag of microwave popcorn too. If you can find a bulk buy shop, even better because then the popcorn is plastic free too!
Another tip, I usually store my kernels in the fridge. The sudden change in heat when the kernels cook in the oil is what causes it to pop so if you keep them in the fridge, it gives you a higher chance of successful popping.
As for flavour, the coconut oil is actually the scent that you smell when you think of cinema popcorn. But of course this homemade popcorn isn’t covered in the same buttery stuff so it is much healthier as you can control what you put on it. I have to admit we don’t do fancy flavours because I’m too lazy so I usually only season with some sea salt. However there’s no leftovers so it can’t taste that bad. Other seasoning options we have tried are furikake or nutritional yeast and for some odd reason, Ton’s favourite topping is cracked black pepper. Clearly this choice is made to avoid sharing with the children.
So here’s the recipe for how to make the perfect homemade popcorn. It’s healthy and quick and the most economical way to make popcorn.
How to make homemade popcorn
What you need:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (liquid form)
- 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
- Seasoning (optional but recommended!)
- A wok with a lid (a heavy bottom pot will work as well but the wok has always been more successful and gentler on my wrists)
Starting with a cold wok, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 3 corn kernels.
These are the sacrificial kernels that help you to tell when the oil has reached the ideal popping temperature.
Place the lid on the wok and turn the stove to medium-high heat.
When all 3 kernels have popped, remove the lid and gently pour the rest of the kernels into the oil. Be careful as it is hot. For my wok this is 1/4 cup, but the aim is to cover the bottom of the wok with a single layer of kernels.
Jiggle the wok to distribute and coat the kernels. Now take the wok off the heat source and count for 30 seconds. This is important as it allows all the kernels to evenly come to the same temperature and not overheat (which equals burning).
I count aloud. The kids love it.
After 30 seconds put the wok back onto the stove and continue to cook the popcorn. The popping will begin very soon so don’t walk away.
To avoid steam trapping inside the wok, I prop a chopstick under lid to keep it slightly ajar. Occasionally give the wok a jiggle so all the kernels have a chance to pop (we are an equal opportunity corn popping family here).
Eventually your wok will be full of beautiful popcorn and the popping will slow down significantly. This is when you can turn the heat off and give the popcorn a little stir to see if there’s any kernels left. Usually there’s barely any (wohoo!).
Now season the popcorn and serve it up!
And that’s it. I pack the popcorn for the kids to eat after school pick up and there’s none left between the two of them by the time we drive home. And it’s a really short drive. So easy. Everyone is so happy. Monday annoyances solved.
Super easy and quick homemade popcorn recipe using just your wok and some popcorn kernels.
- Keep your popcorn kernels in the fridge to improve popping success
- Remember to count to 30 after adding all the kernels, while keeping the lid on and jiggling the wok
- Enjoy with any seasoning you like
- 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- a wok with a lid
- Add oil and 3 kernels to the wok over med-high heat. Cover.
- Wait for all 3 kernels to fully pop
- Remove the lid and carefully pour in the remaining kernels. Cover.
- Holding the wok off the heat, count to 30. Jiggle to cover kernels in oil.
- Return the wok to the heat and wait for popping.
- Occasionally release the steam by lifting the lid. Jiggle the wok to ensure no burnt popcorn.
- When popping slows considerably, turn off the heat.
- Season the popcorn. Enjoy.
Hope you try the recipe. Any questions or comments, let me know below.