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Easy Homemade Kettle Corn

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Easy Homemade Kettle Corn Recipe – The perfect treat for family night. This simple popcorn recipe is not only easy to make, it makes everyone I know happy with its subtle sweetness!

sweet kettle corn in a large tub

The Best Snack Ever… Salty-Sweet Popcorn

Today I’m sharing my absolute, all-time, can’t-beat, would-never-give-up, FAVORITE snack… Homemade Kettle Corn. This simple kettle corn recipe is not only easy to make, it makes everyone I know happy. That is, until their bowl is empty. 

What to say about homemade kettle corn. I LOVE IT.

In fact, I can’t think of anything I’d rather snack on during movies or family game night.

The salty-sweetness and crunch of a good kettle corn recipe are nearly more than I can bear. I can only make kettle corn when the whole family is at home, or else I will sit and eat the entire batch all by myself. We’re talking four quarts worth.

Homemade Kettle Corn close up with sugar crystal present

How to Make Kettle Corn at Home

If you’ve never tried making homemade kettle corn, today’s the day. You probably already have everything you need in your pantry.


  • Popcorn Kernels these can be easily found at most grocery stores
  • Vegetable Oil or Coconut Oil, Grapeseed Oil, or another high-heat oil (flavorless oils are best)
  • Sugar provides the sweetness for this recipe and a glistening coating on each kernel 
  • Salt because nothing pairs better with sugar than saltiness
  • Cayenne Pepper – the pepper is completely optional, but adds a great pop of heat to this popcorn recipe

Cooking Steps

  1. Start by making stovetop popcorn just like you normally would… Place a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add the popcorn kernels and oil. Cover the pot with a lid, but make sure to open the vent to let the steam escape.
  2. Measure the sugar and salt, then listen as the popcorn pops.
  3. Timing is everything in a good kettle corn recipe. You need to add the sugar at exactly the right moment. If you add it too early, the sugar will burn. Yet if you add it too late, the sugar won’t melt and coat the popcorn.
  4. The moment the popping starts to slow down, and you can tell there are only a few kernels left to pop, add the sugar and salt (and a little cayenne for kick if you like.) Toss it vigorously while the popcorn and pot are still hot. Tossing thoroughly will ensure the sugar melts and coats all the kernels. Then dive in!

Homemade Kettle Corn is a great after-school snack or movie night staple. Give it a try!

kettle corn popcorn in a decorative bucket

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does Homemade Popcorn Keep?

This kettle corn recipe can stay fresh in an airtight container for up to a week, if you can keep your hands out of it!

Is This Recipe Healthy? Or is Popcorn Healthier Than Kettle Corn?

The biggest difference between this recipe and regular stovetop popcorn is the sugar coating. Therefore because kettle corn includes sugar it is slightly less healthy than standard popcorn. But it’s still worth making, especially for weekend gatherings or holiday gifts.

Why Do My Popped Kernels Burn Every Time I Make it?

It sounds like you are either: A) adding the sugar too early, B) forgetting to turn off the heat, or C) not shaking the pot vigorously.

If you follow the directions below, adding the sugar right when the popcorn is done popping, and shake shake shake, your kettle corn will turn out perfect every single time!

Is This Recipe Gluten-Free?

Yes! This recipe is naturally Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Nut-Free so it’s a great snack for those with food allergies.

This simple popcorn recipe is not only easy to make, it makes everyone I know happy with it’s subtle sweetness!

Other After School Snacks

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Easy Homemade Kettle Corn Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
The BEST Homemade Kettle Corn – This simple kettle corn recipe is not only easy to make, it makes everyone I know happy!
Servings: 4 quarts



  • Place the oil and popcorn kernels in a large 6-8 quart heavy-bottomed pot with a lid. Shake the pot to cover the kernels in oil. Place the lid on the pot and open the vent. If your lid doesn’t have a vent, offset the lid a little so there’s a crack in the side.
  • Place the pot over medium heat and wait for the kernels to start popping. Measure the sugar and salt so it’s ready once the popcorn stops popping.
  • The moment the kernels slow and are about to stop popping, open the pot and pour in the sugar, salt, and cayenne. Turn the heat off, hold the pot by the handles, and toss the popcorn in a circular motion. Do this quickly while the popcorn and pot are still hot so the sugar melts and coats the popcorn. If your pot isn’t big enough to toss the popcorn, pour it out into a large bowl to toss, but work fast. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.



Serving: 1serving, Calories: 267kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 438mg, Potassium: 66mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 210IU, Vitamin C: 0.4mg, Iron: 0.6mg
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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22 comments on “Easy Homemade Kettle Corn”

  1. I’ve been meaning for awhile to try this recipe.  Made it last night.  It’s the first recipe that didn’t burn the kettle corn.  Thank you!  It was delicious.  Should have made more.

  2. This recipe is so great! I love to make it when I have friends over and we are planning on watching a movie! 

  3. Delicious snack

  4. I had no idea that making the perfect kettle corn has all to do with timing.  Such a great tip.  I’m excited to try this yummy recipe. 

  5. It was so hard not to eat it all at once! Definitely making again!

  6. Pingback: Slow Cooker Asian Meatballs - A Spicy Perspective

  7. Hahahahaha…. That’s hysterical…. “Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.” hahahaha – as if it would last for more than 3 minutes with my fiends!

  8. Each summer we go the town parade, and each time we buy big bags of kettle corn and spend a lot of money. Now we can make our own!

  9. Love kettle corn! Only got it once a year at a festival when I was younger. It was such a special treat. My husband would love this because he only likes popcorn with sugar! It’s a European thing! ;-)

  10. I love kettle corn, maybe a little too much! Can’t wait to make this!!

  11. Our youngest daughter is not a popcorn fan, but she LOVES kettle corn. Can’t wait to make this for her! (and me!!)

  12. We love making kettle corn!

  13. This is one of my family’s favorite snacks!

  14. I will definitely have to try this! I normally just throw the kernels into a paper bag and microwave it.

  15. Kettle corn is our favorite! This looks so good!

  16. Your kettle corn looks perfect! This is a favorite in my house, but I don’t think mine ever looks that good!

  17. My family loves all popcorn and this kettle corn looks beyond delicious!

  18. Love kettle corn! I need to make this at home.

  19. I have a secret obsession with microwave popcorn. As in I eat it for lunch, multiple times for week. I also guess that’s not a secret anymore.
    I have been pondering not being so lazy and making it myself, and then you posted this! Perfect! Pinned :)