The Secret to Perfect Popcorn

When popping corn on the stove, using the right oil can mean the difference between a burnt mess and a generous yield of puffy popcorn. The secret: It's best to cook the kernels in a fat with a high smoke point, and to save the butter and olive oil for dressing the popped corn.

Refined peanut oil is freia's top choice: "I found [that] when I started using peanut oil, waaay more popcorn kernels got popped because you could get to popping temperature and hold it there longer before the oil started to smoke/burn."

Several hounds favor coconut oil for this task. sandylc says that even though it's "fairly expensive," it has a pretty high smoke point and "does a great job." And Becca Porter says she loves the flavor that it adds.

Grapeseed oil works, too. EWSflash says it serves as a flavorless base, to which butter and then the popcorn kernels can be added. The butter then "doesn't burn during the popping cycle," EWSflash notes.

As for which popcorn is best, monavano recommends Orville Redenbacher's because it yields a greater percentage of popped corn to unpopped kernels. The output is "[b]ig and fluffy, too," monavano says.

Discuss: What's the best plain oil for popping corn?

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