Microwave popcorn is great and all but why use microwave popcorn at home when you can make your own popcorn and flavor it and season it how you like?
Making homemade popcorn is pretty simple, especially if you have a popcorn popper. But the real key is finding the perfect popping corn kernels.
There are a lot of popping corn kernels on the market and while they are all quite similar or made with a similar concept, some of them are really quite unique or different.
Some of them are different flavors and some of them are harvested from very different selections and qualities of crops.
What is the best popping corn kernel? Taste is a matter of preference. However, in general, the best popcorn kernels are soft and will pop easily and consistently. You may also want to consider a healthier kernel option that isn’t overly salted or one that isn’t genetically modified.
In this guide, we will share with you the 9 best popping corn kernels. We’ve searched the market to find some really great options and we’re excited to get to share each of them with you. Each kernel we share will have a complete review so you know just what you are looking at.
Keep reading to learn about the 9 best popping corn kernels and more.
How to Choose Popping Corn Kernels
Before you start looking at your options, there are a few things you might want to learn or be aware of. There are a lot of different types of kernels out there so we simply want to share some information with you to help you make the best choice for your popcorn needs.
Take a look at these tips and characteristics that you should understand and be aware of when choosing the best popping corn kernels.
By size, we are not necessarily referring to the size of the kernel, although that may be relevant to you.
We are talking about the size of packaging. When it comes to popcorn kernels, it is often far more affordable to purchase the kernels in bulk.
If you don’t make it very often and just need a smaller size, that’s quite alright too. Be familiar with the sizing that you are looking for or comfortable purchasing.
If you do buy in bulk, rest assured that popcorn kernels store really well if the containers are airtight. They will stay fresh for quite some time.
Type of Kernel
One thing that you should be aware of is that there are different types of corn and therefore different types of kernels as well.
The two main types of kernel are called mushroom or butterfly. Mushroom kernels pop in a round shape, like a ball. You may be familiar with this shape in kettle corn. Butterfly kernels pop in irregular shapes which can look a little like a butterfly. This is probably what you think of as a “normal” popcorn shape.
There are also different colors of popcorn, from classic yellow or white kernels (which are probably the most common options), to black, red, purple, and even blue.
Different colors of corn and different varieties can have different flavors and different sizes and styles when they pop. White corn tends to pop fairly small while yellow pops fairly large.
Then, if you venture to try black kernels, you will enjoy a nutty flavor. Red and purple kernels turn white when they pop but may have a slight hue to them. Purple is sometimes considered to have the strongest flavor of the “color” popcorn options (excluding white and yellow kernels).
You can always season your own kernels or you can even buy some that have some variety of seasoning on them. Some people prefer to eat their popcorn just plain and fresh. Others like butter and salt or different flavorful spices and oils.
If you like to have the fun stuff done for you, opt for pre-seasoned kernels. Or, if you are hoping to season your popcorn yourself, it may be worth considering the flavor of your kernel type, in case one goes better with your flavor choices.
By the way, if you do decide to season your popcorn, you should always season your popcorn while it’s still hot to get the seasoning to really stick to the surface of your popcorn.
Method for Making Popcorn
There are a lot of different ways to make your popping corn kernels into popcorn. People prefer different methods and there is not necessarily one right or wrong method.
Here are some of the popular methods:
- Air popper
Within each of these categories, there might be a lot of options as well. For example, when it comes to microwave popcorn, you can purchase those bags of microwave popcorn but there are also dishes that you can use to pop your own kernels in the microwave instead.
Then, there is the stovetop. There are all types of stovetop kernel poppers but you can also just use a pot with a lid to pop your popcorn.
The solutions are endless from hand-cranked popcorn poppers that are really neat to other simple methods. You simply need to know how to pop the popcorn for the best results.
Then, there are air poppers. These are really popular because all you have to do is load your kernels and whatever else and let the appliance do the work. They’re pretty neat because they use hot air to produce popped kernels and let you avoid working over the stove to get it done.
9 Best Popping Corn Kernels
All right, now is the part we’ve all been waiting for!
Below, you will find our top picks for the 9 best popping corn kernels on the market.
|1.||Amish Country Mushroom Popcorn Kernels||Yellow (mushroom)|
|2.||Anthony's Organic Yellow Popcorn Kernels||Yellow|
|3.||Dutchman's Gourmet Yellow Popcorn Kernels||Yellow|
|4.||White Cat Corn Popping Corn Kernels||Yellow|
|5.||Mulberry Lane Farms Multi-Colored Popping Corn Kernels||Red, blue, and yellow|
|6.||Black Jewell Hulless Popcorn Kernels Pack||Black, crimson, Native mix, white|
|7.||Jolly Time Select Popcorn Kernels||White|
|8.||Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popcorn Kernels||Yellow|
|9.||Snappy White Popcorn Kernels||White|
We searched the market to bring you some of the very best popping corn kernels that you can find. While making an effort to bring you the best options we also worked to try to provide you with a variety of options to choose from.
Whether you’re looking for something organic, mushroom kernels, black, red, yellow, or white, hopefully we can help you find a good solution for your needs here!
1. Amish Country Mushroom Popcorn Kernels
Best Mushroom Popping Kernels
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This first option is the best mushroom popping corn kernel option out there. These Amish Country mushroom kernels are old-fashioned kernels that are hearty and delicious. You can certainly rely on this brand for providing you with gourmet homemade popcorn.
This particular option comes in a six-pound bag of kernels and they store really well in an airtight storage container. The kernels are grown and harvested in the heart of Amish Country, hence the name of the brand. This truly is where these kernels come from.
When you purchase this popcorn, you also get recipes for different ways to use and enjoy the popcorn. It’s a non-GMO solution and it is also gluten-free. It’s a low calorie popcorn option and it tastes really great, with or without seasoning. Another reliable quality is that this mushroom popcorn is tree nut and peanut free through the entirety of processing.
- Mushroom popping corn kernels
- Old-fashioned style
- Gourmet flavor and quality
- Comes with recipes
- Tree nut and peanut free
- Some users mention that the mushroom kernels are mixed with regular kernels.
- Might be slightly harder to pop than some popcorns out there.
2. Anthony’s Organic Yellow Popcorn Kernels
Best Organic Popcorn Kernels
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If you’re looking for something of supreme quality that is organic, this might just be the option for you. These popping corn kernels from Anthony’s Goods is an organic yellow popcorn and it is really good. This particular selection is USDA-certified as organic so you know it truly is acceptably organic.
This brand is both grown and packaged in the USA, which is a nice benefit to the brand. It comes in a 3-pound bag. The quality is definitely outstanding though and it’s a highly-rated option across the board.
You can pop it on your stovetop, in an air popper, an electric popper, or a pop on popper. It’s versatile and it tastes great with big, fluffy yellow popped corn when you are finished.
- USDA organic certification
- Made and packaged in the USA
- Flavorful yellow popcorn
- Versatile to various cooking surfaces
- High-quality, organic yellow kernels
- Some users mentioned that this popcorn has quite a bit of husks to the popped kernels.
3. Dutchman’s Gourmet Yellow Popcorn Kernels
This next option is a gourmet yellow popcorn from Dutchman’s. It’s absolutely delicious and it’s popular because it pops easily and you get nice, big popcorn when you use it. This comes in a 4-pound bag of kernels and they are high-quality kernels that are highly-rated across the board. The instructions are pretty simple for popping purposes as well.
This company values freshness and quality. They stand behind their product and the word on the street is that this is flavorful and you get a higher ratio of popped kernels to unpopped. It’s also easy to pop and prepare.
This popcorn has a subtle flavor to it so you can enjoy it flavored or unflavored. It’s made in the USA and harvested and grown in rich, black soil. The company has perfected the harvesting process for the best kernel. This brand is also non-GMO.
- Non-GMO popcorn
- Subtle flavor that seasons well
- High popping ratio
- Made in the USA
- Fluffy, yellow popcorn easy to make
- Might pop slightly tough and may have quite a few hulls since it is yellow popcorn.
4. White Cat Corn Gourmet Popping Corn Kernels
This next option comes from White Cat Corn. This white popcorn is a bit more premium of an option, coming with only slightly over 1.5 pounds of kernels. It also comes in a sealed glass jar. The quality is definitely there to accompany the cost.
This white corn is considered to be a premium popcorn that pops perfectly with very few kernels that don’t pop. It has a slightly sweet flavor to it and pops with a texture that is light and slightly crunchy.
The kernels pop to large and fluffy popcorn so you get the lightweight and the crunch but also perfect fluff behind it. You can pop this in a variety of ways and the hull is supposed to be minimal when you get it popped. This is another non-GMO kernel that makes a great option.
- Non-GMO white kernel
- Slight sweet flavor
- Light and fluffy when popped
- Has a slight crunch
- Pops with very little hull remaining
- The quality is not always consistent.
5. Mulberry Lane Farms Multi-Colored Popping Corn Kernels
This next option is certainly a unique one, and a great choice for those who are conscious about organic foods and preserving the natural world, which is something Mulberry Lane Farms takes seriously.
This popcorn gives you the best of all of the different popcorns out there with a multi-colored kernel bag so you get a nice mix of flavors and styles.
All of the corn for this popping corn is grown in the U.S. Every last bit of it is also organic. These are both USDA and GOA-certified for organic quality. The kernels come from a family-operated farm that cares about both quality and flavor for your enjoyment.
What you get when you use this popcorn is high-quality and optimal flavor. It’s fresh and it pops really well. This is nice because you get a blend of flavors and styles all in one package so you can enjoy a variety, even in a single popping if you want.
- Certified organic through 2 agencies
- Grown in the U.S. on a family-owned farm
- Delicious and healthy
- Mix of popcorn kernels and flavors
- Minimalist packaging style without empty space to look bigger
- Sometimes there are a lot of kernels that do not pop.
6. Black Jewell Hulless Popcorn Kernels Variety Pack
If you like the idea of having a variety of kernels to make whatever you are craving, this is a really great option.
In this pack of 4, you get 15 ounces of 4 different kernels. They are all separated and packaged individually so you can mix them or just make the one of your choice when you want it.
This is a top choice for popping corn kernels. In the variety pack, you get black, crimson, white, and a native mix of kernels. All of the kernels are whole grain and have an accompanying certification. They are also all gluten-free and non-GMO.
When you pop these kernels, they pop freshly and crisp well. They are listed as having few to no hulls on them, which makes them tender and delicious to enjoy. Everything here is grown on a family farm in the U.S. The company is very active with pollinator advocacy groups as well.
- Grown on family farms in the U.S.
- A variety pack with separated options
- 100% whole grain
- Gluten-free and non-GMO
- Few to no hulls when popped
- “Hulless” really seems to mean few hulls rather than none.
7. Jolly Time Select Popcorn Kernels
Jolly Time has always been a known brand in the popcorn industry and they have a lot of great solutions. We love this white gourmet popcorn popping kernels option from them. It’s a well-known brand for a reason, it seems.
This comes in a single jar with 30 ounces of popcorn, which is a pretty reasonable amount. It’s a high-quality popcorn and they are a brand that is known for quality and has been around for years. If you’re looking for something known and comfortable, this is it.
All of these kernels are grown and packaged in the U.S. They are non-GMO kernels that are gluten-free and high fiber. This is a reliable brand and actually one of the first popcorn brands in America, established in 1914.
- Grown and packaged in the U.S.
- Comes with 12 pounds of kernels
- A timeless brand that you can depend on
- High-quality white popcorn kernels
- Highly-rated as a favorite
- Quality from bulk packaging is not always consistent.
8. Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Yellow Popcorn Kernels
Next up is another popular popcorn brand that you really can’t go wrong with. This option from Orville Redenbacher is another classic favorite among Americans and they are well worth trying out. We listed their 5-pound package here but they have several other size options to choose from as well.
This is yellow popcorn so it pops large and fluffy with premium kernels and a good ratio of fully-popped kernels in the end. It’s easy to pop and it tastes great both flavored and unflavored. This is their original popcorn option and it continues to be a popular option across the board.
This brand produces quality kernels that are non-GMO, whole grain, and gluten-free. It’s a reliable brand that has been a fan favorite and they continue to offer consistent and reliable popping corn kernel solutions for you.
- Long-standing brand
- Several size options to choose from
- Yellow popcorn kernels
- Easy to pop and use
- Non-GMO and 100% whole wheat
- Quality control for shipping seems to be inconsistent.
9. Snappy White Popcorn Kernels
Our last option is another classic winner that we simply couldn’t overlook. This is another classic favorite, although maybe not as well-known as some of the others like Jolly Time or Redenbacher. This option comes in bulk in a 12.5-pound bag. It is in a bag so you may want to use an airtight container for storage.
This is white popcorn so it pops slightly smaller but it has fewer hulls and will be light and crunchy when it’s popped. This is another quality option that is non-GMO and is also gluten-free and 100% whole grain. The flavor is great and the company has been around since 1940.
These raw kernels are farm-fresh when they are packaged and distributed. They work well in just about any popping appliance or style. The popcorn is considered to be gourmet and delightful when you get to enjoy it and almost all of the kernels will pop.
- Raw, farm-fresh white kernels
- Quality and flavorful popcorn
- Comes in a large, bulk bag
- Company established in 1940
- Pops almost all of the kernels
- Quite a few hulls when you pop.
- You will need reliable storage since this comes in a bag.
We hope that you have found this guide to the best popping corn kernels to be helpful for you in choosing the best ones for you! There is a lot of information to be aware of and a lot of different qualities and options so understanding the details might just help you out a bit.
We invite you to take a look at the following question and answer section for some additional details as well.
Do I Have to Use Oil or Butter?
There are some popping corn kernels out there that do not require butter or oil to pop but they are rare.
The majority of options will require one or the other in order to successfully pop your kernels. This has always been the way popping corn kernels has worked and it most likely won’t change much.
How Can I Keep My Kernels Fresh?
The best way to keep your kernels fresh is to store them in an airtight method.
If your kernels come in a plastic bag, we recommend storing them in a container or perhaps even a jar to keep them fresh. You always want it to be sealed when not in use.
Do I Need to Flavor My Popcorn?
This is absolutely a matter of preference. Some people feel as though the butter or oil the popcorn is popped in is sufficient.
Others like to just add some salt or even seasoning salt. There are a lot of seasoning options out there if you want to experiment but it is certainly not required.