So, what does an inflammation-fighting, real-food-eating person do when she wants a crunchy, salty snack? Most chips are cooked in unhealthy (and illegal on this diet) vegetable oils, so they’re out. Pretzels are made with white flour. So what to do? The answer – in our house, at least – is popcorn. Huge bowls full of popcorn!
But not that gross, toxic microwave stuff full of partially hydrogenated oils, diacetyl, Tertiary Butylhydroquinone, potassium chloride, “natural” flavors (whatever that means), and artificial flavors. Yuck.
No, I’m talking awesome, flavorful, stovetop popped popcorn that will knock your socks off! You may be someone who thinks that microwave popcorn is the bomb, but I’m hoping that this post will convince you that there is an alternative to that which is infinitely tastier – not to mention healthier – and that you’ll love it so much you’ll never look back!
The thing that’s so great about the way I do popcorn? The butter and salt are infused directly into the popcorn kernels during popping. We used to use an air popper and then melt butter to pour over top, but that resulted in soggy, greasy popcorn. The way we do it now makes light, airy, crisp popcorn with tons of flavor.
The other secret? Coconut oil. This is the stuff that movie theater popcorn used to be popped in (though they’re increasingly pre-popped in hydrogenated oils and stored or popped in canola oil now…boo!) It’s what always gave theater popcorn that distinctive flavor, though, and is smells divine!
No special equipment is necessary. They do sell these popcorn kettles with paddles on the bottom that seem super duper cool. I would love to have one, actually, but I don’t. Chances are you don’t either, but that’s okay – the kettle makes it easier, but all you really need is a large pot with a lid!
This is all there is to it:
First, put about 3 Tbsp of coconut oil in the bottom of a large pot with a lid. You need enough to cover the bottom of the pan, so the exact amount will depend on the size of your pan.You can use either refined or unrefined, but unrefined gives it great flavor. (Don’t worry – it doesn’t make the popcorn taste like coconut AT ALL. It just makes it good.)
Turn on the heat to high and put in about 2 tsp of salt and three popcorn kernels. You may want it saliter, but just in case start small. You can add more at the end if you want, and then next time you’ll know better how much you like. Stir it around while it heats to dissolve the salt into the oil.
Keep the heat on until the kernels pop, and then immediately take the pot off the heat and quickly pour in enough popcorn to cover the bottom of the pot in one layer, plus about 3 Tbsp butter. The butter should either be room temperature or melted previously.
Put the lid on and let it sit for 30-60 seconds. This gives the kernels time to heat up a little, and melts the butter (if you didn’t melt it already.) Take off the cover and stir the kernels around, distributing the butter evenly, then put the lid back on and turn the heat on high.
Leave it on the heat until you start to hear (or see, if you have a clear lid) the popcorn popping. Once it starts popping, you want to shake the pot to keep everything moving in there. If you have an electric stove, you can just move the pot back and forth on the burner. I have a gas stove, so I have to pick the pot up and shake it over the flame while it pops. It sounds like a lot of work, but it only takes like a minute until everything pops, so it’s not really.
(By the way, this is why the popcorn kettles have the paddle that you turn around while it cooks – it takes the place of you having to shake it around.)
Here’s a nice action shot my son took of me shaking the pot. (Thankfully it’s a photo and not video, because I’m pretty sure I look pretty ridiculous with my butt shaking all around while I do this part….)
Another (rather blurry) action shot compliments of my son….
That’s a lot of popcorn! And, if you only put one layer of kernels in the bottom like you were supposed to, there will be no unpopped kernels left over!
Making popcorn this way, admittedly, is more work than just pushing a button on a microwave, but I PROMISE it’s totally worth it. Give it a try! What you end up with is perfectly natural, crisp, tasty, salty, buttery, awesome popcorn that you’ll never want to stop eating! And you can eat as much of it as you like – everything in it is perfectly legal!
Besides the salt and butter, after it’s popped you can put on whatever other spices or flavors you want. I’ve never tried it, but I hear that some nutritional yeast shaken on top of the popcorn makes it taste like cheesy popcorn. My husband is partial to nutmeg and Old Bay seasoning, and my daughter loves tons of pepper on hers. I just like good old sea salt! Here’s a site that has lots of interesting ideas for flavors to make with your popcorn!
So, go on, throw out all your microwave popcorn, buy yourself some popcorn kernels, and make some tonight!
(Are you scared of the butter and coconut oil in this recipe and wondering how that can be healthy? It’s something I’m asked a lot. We’re so brainwashed to be scared of saturated fats and cholesterol, when we shouldn’t be. For a really good explanation of these things, read this article. It’s a must read! http://paleodietlifestyle.com/cholesterol-is-not-bad/)
Butter Infused Popcorn
- About 1/4 cup organic popcorn kernels (or enough to cover the bottom of your pot in one layer)
- About 3 Tbsp coconut oil (refined or unrefined, but unrefined has more flavor)
- 3 Tbsp butter (room temperature or melted)
- 2+ tsp salt (more if it’s a large pot)
- (optional) other spices/add-ins as desired
Get a heavy-bottomed large pot with a lid (or a popcorn kettle). Put the coconut oil in the bottom, along with the salt and 3 kernels of popcorn. Stir it around as the coconut oil melts, dissolving the salt into the oil. If there isn’t enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the pot, add a bit more.
Wait until the kernels pop, and then immediately pour in enough popcorn to cover the bottom of the pot in one layer as well as the butter. Take off the heat completely, put on the lid, and wait for 30-60 seconds. This gives the kernels time to heat up to make popping go faster, and also gives the butter time to melt. Remove the lid and give everything a stir to distribute the butter evenly.
Replace the lid and turn on the heat again to high. When the popcorn starts to pop, begin moving the pot around to keep the kernels moving. On an electric stove you can just move it back and forth, but on a gas stove you might have to pick it up and shake it over the flame. You don’t have to go crazy – just a bit of agitation is fine. (If you have a popcorn kettle, instead of shaking all you have to do is turn the crank to move the paddle inside.)
Shake it around until you stop hearing the popcorn popping. Pour it into a large bowl. Taste for salt and add more if desired.