How to Make Kettle Corn

Kettle Corn. Photo © Erin Huffstetler
  • Prep Time
    2 min
  • Cook Time
    5 min
  • Total Time
    7 min
  • Yield
    16 cups

Kettle corn is the perfect sweet and salty treat, but you'll pay dearly for it if you buy it at a carnival or street festival. Fortunately, you don't have to. Here's how to make kettle corn at home for a fraction of the cost. This simple, stove-top recipe only takes about five minutes to make.


  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste


1. Heat vegetable oil in a large kettle over medium heat.

2. Then, toss in three kernels, and place the lid on the kettle.

3. Wait for the kernels to pop.

4. Once popped, quickly stir in the remaining kernels, and add the sugar (we measure the sugar and kernels into the same bowl, and dump them all in at once).

5. Replace the lid, and listen for the kernels to start popping.

6. Then, remove the kettle from the stove, and shake to keep the kernels from burning.

7. Return the kettle to the stove for a few seconds; then, lift and shake again.

8. Repeat until the popping slows down and most of the kernels have popped (don't wait for all of the kernels to pop. You'll burn your kettle corn).

9. Transfer your finished kettle corn to a large bowl as soon as it's done; salt to taste; and enjoy!

** It's important to remove your kettle corn from the pot right away. As hot as the pot is, your popcorn will continue to cook (and ultimately burn), if you leave it in the pot. This will ruin your kettle corn and make your pot harder to clean.**

Plan on Making Kettle Corn Often?

Then, consider investing in a Whirley Pop. It's a stove-top popcorn popper with a handle that you turn to stir the popcorn. The built-in stirrer eliminates the need to shake the kettle, and does a good job of preventing the popcorn from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning. It also cleans up easily.We have one, and have given several as gifts.

It really is a kitchen gadget that's worth owning.

Buy a Whirley Pop on Amazon

Want Your Kettle Corn to Come Out Just Like Festival Kettle Corn?

Buy mushroom popcorn. It's a type of corn that pops into huge, mushroom shaped balls of corn. This is the stuff that festival vendors and gourmet popcorn companies use.

You won't find it at your grocery store, but it's easy enough to order online.

Buy Mushroom Popcorn on Amazon

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