Ah, popcorn. It's an endlessly customizable snack that's quite simply fun to eat. Make it with bacon and cashews if you're feeling like something salty,or mix it with caramel and almonds to satisfy a sweet tooth. Toss it in togarashi for cocktail hour, or grate some Parmesan over it for movie night. And while you don't need a microwave to make good popcorn, you do need to follow a few rules. Bon Appétit's senior food editor, Dawn Perry, was reminded of this herself when she burned a batch the other night.
So, in honor of Dawn, here are the things you are doing wrong-so stop doing them!
1. MYTH: Only a High-Smoke-Point Oil Will Do
It might seem like only a peanut, canola, or grapeseed oil will work for popcorn, but actually, flavorful oils like olive or coconut oil-or even ghee-will work just fine. That's because of no. 2:
2. MYTH: High Heat = Faster Cooking You want to get things popping quickly, but you don't the kernels to burn. As soon asyou hear the first pops, turn your stovetop down from medium-high to medium or medium-low heat. This way, you'll give the kernels a sufficient amount of time to pop without burning the ones that opened up quickly. (And the lower heat means the oil won't smoke or burn either.)
3. MYTH: Set It and Forget It Popcorn will not take care of itself. Every minute or so, give the pot a shake to make sure that by the end of the process, all of the kernels have gotten to opportunity to hit the heat (and, thus, pop!).
4. MYTH: Cast Iron All the Way! While it's important to use a heavy-bottomed pot, you want to steer clear of enameled cast iron. It simply gets too hot if you're trying to pop corn, which can end up damaging the pot itself. Trust us on this-senior associate food editor Alison Roman ruined a rather expensive Le Creuset enamel pot this way.
5. MYTH: One Pot Is All I Need Whether it's Parmesan, togarashi, or just plain salt, you want to season your popcorn right away-so the heat will help the seasoning stick. But if you do it in the pan, a lot of the seasoning will adhere to its hot surface, not to the popcorn. So: remove lid, pour popcorn into bowl, season, toss, enjoy.
SEE MORE FROM BON APPETIT:
10 Snacks You Thought Were Healthy But Really Aren't
Your New Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie