Who doesn’t love popcorn! It goes fantastic with virtually any occasion! Movie nights, birthday parties, going to the fair, even simply staying at home!
There is no occasion too big or too small that doesn’t go well with some delicious freshly popped popcorn.
But, alongside that delicious buttery goodness come those pesky little kernels that get stuck in your teeth.
In an ideal world, we would eat popcorn without kernels! We have all heard the rumors about hulless popcorn, but does such a thing exist, or is it all mere fantasy?
So, is hulless popcorn a real thing? Unfortunately, hulless popcorn doesn’t exist. There are however some varieties of kernels that produce smaller hulls or hulls that break into much smaller pieces, making them less noticeable once they pop.
Today, we will be discussing exactly what “hulless popcorn” is and how to make it.
And most importantly, we will be discussing the many different brands of hulless microwave popcorn bags, air-poppers, raw hulless kernels, and even pre-popped and packaged hulless brands.
What Is Popcorn?
Despite popular belief, popcorn didn’t just magically appear in those classic red and white striped baggies. Popcorn actually has a very rich history that played a massive role in the food industry – even up to this very day!
Although popcorn is arguably one of the most American things to exist, America wasn’t the first to make this discovery.
Corn was domesticated more than 10,000 years ago around the region where Mexico is situated today.
The Aztecs accidentally discovered popcorn when the harvested kernels accidentally became too hot. They started popping, and like most food, a new dish was discovered!
Ever since, many cultures and cuisines have developed their own unique way to produce, flavor, and serve popcorn and even ways to elevate it.
Popcorn is a variety of corn kernels that pops into delicious fluffy and airy snacks when extreme heat is applied. The popcorn hull is the kernel or seed that pops under pressure.
The kernel contains a small amount of water, which when heated up causes pressure against the hard surface to build, which then eventually explodes or, well, pops!
As the kernel explodes, the soft starch from the inside inflates and turns the kernel inside out, which is why you have that pesky kernel on the inside!
There are many ways popcorn can be made and as we have mentioned, different cultures normally have their very own methods.
The most common way fresh popcorn is made is by heating the kernels inside a large pot alongside some oil or butter (for butter-flavored popcorn).
Popcorn can also be used to make kettle corn, a type of candy-coated popped kernel that is very commonly sold at carnivals and fairs.
You can also find commercial popcorn-making machines which have small built-in pots that rotate so the kernels don’t burn.
And then finally, we have processed popcorn and flavor kernels that are popped inside the microwave – a very quick and convenient method that has become more and more popular over the decades.
Does Hulless Popcorn Exist?
Let’s get right down to business. Hulless popcorn is a complete myth! It doesn’t exist. But you would think that by now something as simple as hulless popcorn would have been invented.
Popcorn has been around for so many years, someone must have got fed up along the way and attempted inventing hulless popcorn?
Unfortunately, while many have tried and tried, none have succeeded. Not even in reducing the amount of hull on each popped flake!
In essence, it is impossible! The kernel is the source of this puffy inside-out snack. There are no ways popcorn can be popped without the kernel, meaning there is no way to remove the kernel completely!
The Next Best Thing
So, for those whose hopes and dreams we have just shattered, do not fear! As there is light at the end of the popcorn tunnel! While there isn’t anything like hulless popcorn, there are a few “next best” options out there.
What many people refer to as “hulless popcorn” actually refers to small hulled popcorn.
It technically still contains a hull, but it is much less prominent and noticeable compared to regular popcorn. You have probably even had some without even realizing it!
Small hulled popcorn is a type of popcorn that looks like a perfect cartoon piece of popcorn. They are much smaller in size, are more tender, and have a less noticeable hull. What makes the hull “smaller” is the way the kernel pops.
When the heat is applied and the moisture inside causes the kernel to pop, the hull breaks into lots of smaller pieces and is widely dispersed on the surface of the popped kernel.
This is what makes the pieces not stick between your teeth as easily and makes the hull less noticeable.
Good quality popcorn usually is this type of small hulled popcorn. The lower quality brands that produce popcorn uses “bad” kernels that create the large hulls.
Those kernels will definitely get stuck in your teeth, so if you’re looking to avoid that pesky kernel, spend a few extra bucks – it is definitely worth it!
Hulless Popcorn Brands
As we now know, hulless popcorn is a complete myth, but we do get popcorn brands that have products that are so close to being hulless that they are promoted as such.
ORGANICS, Riehle’s, and Bobs Red Mill Whole White Popcorn are great brands to try.
All three brands do still admit that every piece of popped corn still does have a hull, but it is considered so small compared to other varieties that many will prefer this.
ORGANICS Virtually Hulless Popcorn Kernels
These popcorn kernels are so small that when they pop the hull almost disintegrates.
The popcorn kernels are 100% natural, raw, non-GMO, and even gluten-free!
They make perfectly white popped fluffy snacks that are high in fiber and low in calories, especially when they are popped without any oil, fat, or sugar.
Riehle’s Select Popping Corn
Riehle’s popcorn is made from baby white whole-grain popcorn where the hull, which is just like the Organics’ brands’, just disintegrates because it is so small.
This opcorn is high in fiber and also contains antioxidants.
This popcorn is not recommended for air fryers and is best when made on the stovetop in a pot.
Bobs Red Mill Whole White Popcorn
Bobs Red Mill popcorn is also made from the same white popcorn kernel variety that has small kernels that disappear.
It is a great whole-grain snack that is gluten-free, a good source of fiber, and a certified non-GMO product.
Microwave Popcorn Brands
Microwave popcorn is probably one of the best inventions of all time! It’s convenient, doesn’t take up a whole lot of time, makes delicious flavored popcorn, and saves you a heap of dishes!
Microwave popcorn works about the same way regular popcorn works. The kernels are placed in a microwave-safe bag that doesn’t break or catch fire when heated.
These kernels are doused in some type of flavoring, some of the most popular being butter, salt, vinegar, or chives.
Then, once the bag is placed inside the microwave, the intense heat causes the kernels to heat and pop into the spice mix, creating flavored popped kernels.
The high quick heat from the microwave is what makes this method work much quicker compared to others and more convenient. You can eat the popcorn straight out of the bag without using one dish.
However, standing in the microwave popcorn aisle might be a little daunting.
There’s always the chance that one brand of microwave popcorn might have bigger hulls, poor diluted flavors, or incorrect times that cause the kernels to burn.
So, we have searched far and wide for the best microwave popcorn brands with the smallest kernels, and luckily, they can all be found online!
Amish Country Popcorn
This popcorn is made from small natural white kernels which reduced the popcorns’ popping time considerably! This makes it an even more convenient option!
And because the kernels are so small, the hull is practically nonexistent compared to big kernel varieties, and it breaks into even smaller pieces.
Black Jewells Microwave Popcorn
This is a product we are obsessed with! This is a type of super small corn kernels that are black in color, but still pops white! It is quite a sight to behold!
The extremely small hull, again, makes the kernel virtually non-existing so that you can eat your popcorn with no irritation or distractions.
The black kernels have a richer taste compared to regular small hull popcorn and are almost more tender too. It is hard to describe if you have never experienced something like this, so definitely go give it a try!
Tiny But Mighty
This is another great option for convenient microwave popcorn. These are heirloom kernels that result in virtually hulless popcorn.
They unfortunately only sell salted and butter-flavored popcorn, but for most those are the only flavors you need!
Popcorn Popper Brands
An automatic popcorn popper; every popcorn lover’s best friend.
Popcorn poppers are basically small versions of the large machines you usually see at the movies.
The popcorn popper works by spinning the uncooked popcorn kernels inside a large chamber. The popcorn popper generates heat that then heats the kernels and ultimately causes them to pop.
A popcorn popper is amazing because it uses a lot less oil than popping popcorn in a pot and it also is a quicker process because of the automatically controlled instant heat.
And, all of the kernels pop at equal times so you don’t have to worry about some not popping while others start burning.
There are two different types of popcorn poppers: electric popcorn poppers and microwave popcorn poppers.
Electric popcorn poppers work like the popcorn machines from the movies, but they are a smaller version. The machine heats the chamber and the kernels start popping.
Microwave popcorn poppers are usually made from glass or silicone. They are kind of a blend between an electrical popcorn machine and a microwave in the way that they work.
The popcorn popper traps the steam inside the container which then heats up. Then, the kernels heat and eventually start to pop. This is a cheaper option than buying an electric popcorn popper.
DASH Hot Air Popcorn Popper
This DASH popcorn popper conveniently pops popcorn without needing any added oil. It is easy to work and heats the kernels very quickly.
It has only one button which makes it easy for kids to use as well.
Presto Poplite Hot Air Popper
This particular model is actually quite similar to the DASH popper.
It pops with air rather than oil, it’s easy to use, and has a nifty butter melter that can be used as a measuring cup as well.
Presto’s Stirring Popper
Presto’s Stirring Popper works in a slightly different way as compared to the normal air popper.
The popcorn is enclosed inside the dome and doesn’t leave the chamber as it pops.
The butter melter on top of the machine ensures the butter is distributed evenly over the popcorn while they turn.
Pre-Popped Popcorn Brands
Pre-popped popcorn is exactly what the name suggests. These are those bags of popcorn you buy already popped and flavored. Pre-popped popcorn is a great way to dodge the hassle of popping the kernels yourself and making dishes.
Pre-popped popcorn can stay fresh once opened for up to 3 days if it is stored in a cool dry place. Commercial pre-popped popcorn usually has a much longer shelf life due to all the additives and preservatives.
Pre-popped popcorn is also great because usually all the half popped popcorn has been removed which means you are less likely to get kernels stuck in your teeth.
The manufacturers also prefer using hulless kernel varieties because they know how much people hate it!
Colby Ridge’s Gourmet White Popped Popcorn
Colby Ridge’s pre-popped popcorn is sold in bulk packs and contains up to 80 cups of popcorn.
This bag is amongst the fresher popped versions and doesn’t contain as many preservatives and even flavorings. It can easily be stored and resealed for up to 30 days.
Farmer Jon’s Popcorn Butter Bash Bag
This popcorn has soft and tender kernels, which means the hull will be scattered and not robust.
It’s perfectly flavored with butter and has no added MSG or preservatives.
Boom Chicka Pop
Boom Chicka Pop has many different flavors which include sea salt and sweet and salty kettle corn.
The popcorn is pre-packed which means the popcorn will last longer compared to freshly popped versions.
Now that we’ve gone over the best “hulless” popcorn brands, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
What are the main differences between microwave popcorn and stovetop popcorn?
Microwave popcorn is made to be as convenient and easy as possible. Stovetop popcorn might be a little more work, but once you have mastered the process, it beats microwave popcorn every time.
Stove-top popcorn can be made to your preference, the flavor is better and more concentrated, and bulk amounts of popcorn can be popped at once.
Is Popcorn a healthy snack?
Yes! It is a whole grain, high in fiber, and has a bunch of antioxidants. Air-popped popcorn with no added butter or oil and a minimal amount of spice and salt makes the healthiest kind.
How do you make perfect microwave hulless popcorn?
Every bag of microwave popcorns’ instructions vary, but popcorn should be popped in 2-4 minutes. As soon as the popping sound slows down with 2-3 seconds between pops, your microwave popcorn should be done.
The method and times will not impact the amount of hull in your popped kernels.