Real Buttered Popcorn

Real Buttered Popcorn

The perfect fast food and a great place to experiment with your stove and your spice rack.
TIME 10 minutes
MAKES 4 to 6 servings (12 to 14 cups)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup popping corn
4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter

1 Put the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 3 kernels of popcorn and cover the pot. Put the butter in a small saucepan over low heat; when the butter melts, remove the pot from the heat.

2 When the 3 kernels pop, remove the lid from the pot and add the remaining corn. Cover and shake the pot once or twice, holding the lid on. Cook, shaking occasionally, as the corn begins to pop vigorously. Adjust the heat—and remove the pot from the burner briefly if needed—to keep the corn popping steadily without burning. When you can count to 3 between pops, 3 to 5 minutes after adding the corn, remove the pot from the heat.

3 Pour the popcorn into a large bowl, drizzle with the butter, and sprinkle with a big pinch of salt. Toss, taste and add more salt if you like, and serve.

  • 7 Quick Seasonings for Popcorn. In Step 3, sprinkle the popcorn with any of the following instead of, or in addition to, the salt:

1 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
3 1 teaspoon chili powder, curry powder, or cayenne
4 2 to 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
5 ¼ cup chopped nuts
6 ¼ cup chopped dried fruit
7 ¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut

  • Use your ears: When the popping slows down, and a couple of seconds go by between pops, it’s time to turn off the heat.
  • It’s unlikely that every single kernel will pop. If a few kernels are left at the bottom of the pan when the popping sounds stop, just leave them there (or eat them if you like). It’s better to sacrifice a few kernels than to burn your popcorn.
  • For lighter popcorn, leave out the extra drizzle of fat altogether.
  • Eat the popcorn while it’s hot if you can.

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