What’s For Snack? Homemade Kettle Corn!

Hey y’all! I am so. anxious. to get into some Fall recipes! Unfortunately, the weather here in Texas is not cooperating very well. We’re still dealing with some warm temperatures, and have yet to feel that crisp chill in the air that says, “Ah… Fall is here.” *sad* 😦
However, my family and I did just go to the pumpkin patch this past weekend, which is getting me excited for the season, so I’m getting my ‘Fall Recipes Thinking Cap’ on. But while we were there at the pumpkin patch, our friends picked up some kettle corn that we all  had to agree left a little to be desired. It was still good, but it just didn’t have that salty-sweet balance just right. And that got me to thinking… I’ve got a recipe I recently found for some homemade kettle corn that would be perfect to share with y’all as somewhat of an intro to the fall season recipes… And it is 100% food storage friendly!
And seriously you guys… Once you have tried this homemade kettle corn, you will never go back to the microwave version again. (And in case any of you do not know what kettle corn is… it’s a salty sweet popcorn that is OH-SOO yummy!) This recipe tastes just like the kettle corn you would buy at the country fair (and apparently not a pumpkin patch :))… only you can have it in your kitchen any day of the week! Sweet!! It has become a new Sunday night tradition for my family. We just love it! And it’s super easy to make… just be prepared to give your arms a little bit of a workout (but my arms need it anyway). 🙂 Whoever said food storage was boring?! 😀

Homemade Country Fair Kettle Corn

Download Printable Version

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup white sugar*
  • ½ cup popcorn kernels
  • salt to taste

(*You can use brown sugar in place of the white to get more of a caramel corn taste to it.)


  1. Get a large pot with a lid and with handles on each side (mine’s a 6-qt pot). Also get out a large bowl for dumping the kettle corn into (you will want this out and ready in advance).
  2. Pour the oil into the pot and place three kernels in varying spots on the bottom (this is for our 3-kernel pop test) and place the lid on the pot.
  3. Turn the heat to about medium high (maybe just a tad bit higher) and let the oil heat up. You will know it is hot enough when all three kernels have popped (the 3-kernel pop test).
  4. Once the kernels have popped, add the sugar and give it a quick stir, making sure there are no clumps. Then add the rest of the popcorn kernels.
  5. Immediately put the lid back on and, using your hands to hold the lid securely on (use hot pads to protect your hands!), give the pot a good, quick shaking to get the kernels coated with the sugar. Place immediately back on the heat.
  6. Now all you have to do is let your popcorn cook, but continue to shake the pot for about 3 seconds at about 10-15 second intervals (this prevents the sugar or popcorn from burning on the bottom and keeps the heat evenly distributed among the kernels). Cook-shake-cook-shake-cook-shake**. You get the idea. 🙂
  7. The popping will really get going after about a minute or so. Continue to cook and shake until the popping slows to 2-3 seconds between pops.
  8. Immediately remove the popcorn from the heat and dump directly into your large bowl. (The sugar will continue to cook and potentially scorch if you leave it in the pan, so don’t wait to dump the popcorn out!)
  9. Sprinkle on some salt to taste, give it a toss in the bowl, and enjoy your country fair style kettle corn! Yee-haw! 😀

**Update (11/21/2010): It has come to my attention that there is some clarification needed regarding the “cook-shake-cook-shake” process. When you ‘shake’ your pot, you need to pick it up off the burner and give it a good solid shaking for a few seconds. Do NOT just leave it on the burner and shake it in place over the heat. Two things can happen: 1) you will likely burn your popcorn, and 2) if you have a glass-top stove (like my mom does) and your brother happens to be shaking the pot quite vigorously ON the glass-top, you may end up with a scratched glass-top stove. Ugh! Sorry Mom. 😦
So remember… pick the pot up before you shake, then replace it back on the heat for another 10 seconds or so, pick it back up to shake, back on the heat, etc. Hope that helps.

Shop Taste of Home (Readers Digest)


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