What are the Best Popcorn Kernels

With its low calories, homemade popcorn is a healthy alternative to many other fatty, sugary snack foods. To get the most out of your most popcorn for your money, you have to find a brand of popcorn that marries taste with maximum kernel popping.

What We Recommend:

Is Popcorn Healthy?

The heavily salted and buttered popcorn that you get at most movie theaters is definitely not healthy. But, that does not mean the plucky little kernel is off limits.

Homemade popcorn is high in fiber and protein and low in calories. It is even high in antioxidants, those tiny compounds that reduce your risk of cancer and is good for your heart.

As long as you keep it simple by choosing the right ingredients, homemade popcorn can be a tasty snack that you won’t feel guilty about eating.

OUR TOP PICK
Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popcorn Kernels
Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popcorn Kernels
  • Contains 5 lb, 12 oz of Orville Redenbacher's Original Yellow Gourmet Popcorn Kernels
  • Orville Redenbacher's Original Yellow Gourmet Popping Corn Kernels are premium popping at its finest, giving you delicious popcorn with a...
  • Use Orville Redenbacher's Original Yellow Gourmet Popcorn Kernels to make a simple, wholesome popcorn snack on your stovetop, air popper, or...

How to Choose the Best Popcorn Kernels:

There are three considerations to make when choosing what popcorn kernels to purchase and use. Look at how to pop them, how they taste, and whether they are actually healthy.

How They Pop

There are three ways to make popcorn at home: on the stove-top, in the microwave, or with a popcorn maker.

On the Stove

To pop kernels on the stovetop, you will need a pot, lid, and oil. Pour the oil into your pan and turn the heat to medium high. Once the oil heats up, pour in the popcorn kernels and close the lid. When all or almost all of the popcorn kernels are popped, pour the popped popcorn into a large bowl.

The key to successfully cooking popcorn over the stove is to cook the kernels evenly to ensure they do not burn or soak up too much oil. Medium sized, uniform kernels are the best choice for cooking on the stove or in the microwave because even cooking is more important.

In this video, you will find a complete walkthrough of how to make delicious stove-top popcorn.

In the Microwave

To make homemade popcorn in the microwave, you place 3 tablespoons of popcorn kernels in a paper lunch bag with no more than 1 tablespoon of oil. Roll the ends of the bag closed and place it in the microwave. Set the microwave to high heat for around 1 and 1/2 minutes.

Dump the popcorn from the bag into a large bowl. You can also just use a microwave safe bowl to pop your popcorn kernels. Add a small amount of oil, just like the bag method.

In the following video, you will get a step-by-step tutorial of how to make homemade microwavable popcorn.

With a Popcorn Maker

Popcorn makers use hot air to pop kernels by blowing it through the holes in the dish that holds the kernels. To make popcorn in a popcorn maker, just load the kernels into the popper and turn on the machine. Place a bowl under the popcorn maker’s spout and wait.

This method does not require the addition of oil which does make it the healthiest way to make popcorn.
Watch the video below to see how it works.

How They Taste

Yellow and white kernel popcorn are the most popular types of kernels. Some people think that yellow kernels are sweeter than white ones. Keep in mind that added flavoring and toppings could mean more calories. Always check the nutritional information!

How Healthy They Are

Organic corn is corn that is free from additives and grown without genetic enhancements. Additives, in particular, can mean hidden calories. Using unprocessed cooking oil also increases the health benefit of popcorn.

You can also choose sea salt over table salt for added flavor and health benefits.

Our Top 5 Best Popcorn Kernels

1. Orville Redenbacher: America’s Favorite Popcorn Brand

Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popcorn Kernels, Original Yellow, 5 lb, 12 oz

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Orville Redenbacher is a well-known name in the world of popcorn. These light, fluffy kernels come in a large, plastic jug. While the product is a good value, the kernels may go stale before you can use them all up.

The kernels are uniform in size and shape. Therefore, this popcorn is best popped on the stovetop or in a microwavable bag or bowl.

Pros:

  • Container is easy to store and to pour
  • Certified Non-GMO
  • Good Value


Cons:

  • Could go stale
  • Large container is bulky

2. Bob’s Red Mill Whole White Popcorn

Bob's Red Mill Whole White Popcorn, 27-ounce (Pack of 4)

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These white kernels are gluten free and vegan. They are made from 100% whole grains. They are made in a factory that uses tree nuts, wheat, milk, and soy so you should avoid this product if you are allergic to those things. They are best used with a popcorn maker.

Pros:

  • Best used in a popcorn machine
  • Kosher


Cons:

  • Inconsistent kernel popping
  • Flimsy container

3. Franklin’s Gourmet Movie Theater Popcorn

Franklin's Gourmet Movie Theater Popcorn. Organic Popping Corn, 100% Coconut Oil, Seasoning Salt. Pre-Measured Portion Packs (Pack of 24).

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These popcorn kernels come individually packaged with coconut oil and seasoning. The corn used to make these kernels is grown on a family-owned farm and is certified organic and non-GMO. This popcorn is free of gluten, peanuts, dairy and soy. Unfortunately, its buttery taste comes from artificial flavoring.

Pros:

  • Kosher
  • Allergen friendly
  • Individually packaged servings


Cons:

  • Added artificial butter flavoring
  • Expensive

4. Arrowhead Mill’s Organic White Popcorn

Arrowhead Mills Organic White Popcorn-24 oz

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These large kernels make fluffy popcorn, especially in the microwave. They have 5g of protein per serving and are high in fiber. They are also certified gluten free.

Pros:

  • USDA organic and Kosher
  • Good Value

Cons:

  • Flimsy plastic bags

5. Paragon Bulk Quad-Bag Yellow Corn

Paragon Bulk Quad-Bag Yellow Corn, 50-Pounds (12.5-Pound/bag), Pack of 4

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These large kernels come in an even larger bag. You will likely have to store them in a new container to keep them fresh. The kernels are uniform in size and shape and cook well on the stove or in the microwave.

Pros:

  • Large, fluffy kernels hold flavors well
  • Most of the kernels pop if you make it in smaller batches


Cons:

  • Large package can be unwieldy
  • No way to close the plastic package so they may go stale

Our Top Popcorn Pick

The overall best popcorn kernels are the Arrowhead Mill’s Organic White Popcorn. The uniform kernels turn into fluffy popcorn when you cook them in the microwave or stove.

They are a good value and are USDA organic and Kosher. The only drawback is the container. We recommend storing it in a sealed container after opening.

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