Can You Re-Pop Kernels at the Bottom of the Pot?

We test if kernels can be saved.

Popcorn Popping Out of a Black Pot
Photo: Tim Oram/Getty Images

Making stovetop popcorn is one of winter's greatest gifts. It makes working from home, watching a movie, or waiting out a snowstorm infinitely more exciting. That's why sharpening your popcorn-popping skills is a worthy use of your time—especially if you're spending extra time indoors due to cold weather.

In an ideal scenario, you'd pour your homemade popcorn into a large bowl and find there are no kernels left in the pot. Congrats! You just made the perfect batch of popcorn. But, if you pulled it off the heat a little early, you may have some kernels at the bottom of the pot. The good news: You can re-pop them.

Here's my go-to method for making stovetop popcorn and getting the most from those leftover kernels.

Homemade Popcorn Recipe

(yields about 11 cups of popcorn)

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of canola, vegetable, or coconut oil in a large, lidded saucepan over medium-high heat. (Avoid olive oil, which will smoke when heated over a high flame.) 
  2. Add 3 popcorn kernels and wait for them to pop, about 30 seconds. (This lets you know when the oil is hot enough to pop the remaining kernels). 
  3. Add ½ cup kernels, cover the pot with a lid, and gently but continuously shake the pot, allowing the kernels to pop but not burn. 
  4. When the popping slows, remove the pot from the heat, but keep it covered. Allow it to rest for another minute, which lets the last few kernels pop.

How to Re-Pop Popcorn Kernels

If you still have unpopped kernels, simply add an additional splash of oil to the pot and cover it. Return the heat to medium-high, and proceed as you would for new kernels. When the popping slows, remove from heat.

Now that you're a popcorn expert, try making honey nut popcorn or campfire popcorn.

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