Homemade Kettle Corn

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I have a significant affinity for fresh, popped, popcorn. The good stuff must be made in an old, metal, electric, popcorn maker. You know the ones, the pot sits on glowing, red, coils and the metal gets so hot, you burn yourself taking the lid off? Oh and don’t forget the cord that sparks when you unplug it. It must be tossed in real butter and don’t skimp on the salt!

This sweet, salty and crunchy treat satisfies all the snack requirements!

This is how popcorn was made when I was a kid. I remember at some point in the early 80’s when air popped, popcorn poppers entered the culinary scene and dieters and health nuts went crazy for it. I could not figure this out, it tasted like I was eating a bowl of salted, styrofoam, packing peanuts. I could not get behind this imposter!

Homemade Kettle Corn is quick to make and so tasty to eat!!

When I married, the popper stayed with my folks, it was theirs after all. So, whenever I passed a pawn shop or an old thrift store, I had to stop and see if they had any old, metal poppers I could buy. This was the only place to find them, they just didn’t make them anymore. Occasionally, I would hit the jackpot and find two, and I would stash them away until my old, trusty, dinosaur died and needed to be replaced with one I had hidden away. I think my folks and both of my siblings, all still have their own second hand, relic of a popper. We covet them. It never goes into the dishwasher, it is always hand washed and hand dried before being placed back on the shelf in its safe place.

I consider myself a popcorn snob, so when I was younger, I wasn’t terribly eager to try Homemade Kettle Corn, whatever that was. In my mind, I thought it was just another version of caramel corn, which to me was just “myeh.” I eventually tried this slightly sweet and mildly salty, extra crunchy snack and about lost my mind! It was FABULOUS! This carnival treat, this master of county fairs and art festivals and I were now besties. I love kettle corn and it loves me!

A lot of people don’t make Homemade Kettle Corn, simply because they didn’t know you can, at least that was my poor excuse (I don’t have a HUGE caldron after all). There is the concern about not having the correct equipment (any nonstick pot with a lid will do) or differing opinions on when to add the sugar. The question is whether to add it into the oil or onto the popped corn (into the oil people, into the oil!). There is also a fear of burning the sugar. You can prevent burning the sugar by adding a few kernels of corn to the oil, wait until they pop, then add the rest of the corn and all the sugar. Stir the sugar into the oil and shake, shake and shake the pot while popping to prevent sticking.

Homemade Kettle Corn

Oma Darling
Crunchy, sweet and slightly salty popcorn that is absolutely a MUST have for family fun!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people


  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup granulated, white sugar
  • salt to taste


  • Put popcorn, oil, sugar in a large, non stick pot (needs to have a lid) or use a stove top popcorn kettle with handle. 
  • Turn heat to med/high and stir sugar, oil and popcorn together to help melt the sugar a little. 
  • Put lid on and once popping begins, shake pot continuously to keep kernels from sticking to bottom of pot.  Once popping slows or stops, dump popcorn into a large bowl and salt lightly.  If using a stove top popper with stir handle, stir continuously until popping slows down and then dump into bowl and lightly salt.  ENJOY!
Keyword Kettle Corn

Once I discovered the secret to making this Homemade Kettle Corn, I was done! Now my biggest challenge is controlling myself, because knowing how to make one of my favorite treats, a treat I once thought was a once in a blue moon delicacy, is an awesome, but dangerous scenario! Give this a try and let me know what you think. Enjoy friends!

Do you have a favorite snack like Homemade Kettle Corn, that you didn’t think you could make at home?


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8 thoughts on “Homemade Kettle Corn”

  1. It didn’t occur to me that you could make this at home. I’ve always just done microwave popcorn. Now I can have my favorite kettle corn without having to go to a sleazy carnival.


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