What Makes The Best Popping Corn?

Who knew there were so many kinds of Popping Corn? So which one makes the best popping corn?

I started out just looking for popping corn that had the least ‘debris’ to lodge in every nook and cranny of my teeth.

Was I in for a surprise! There is a whole world of popcorn kernels out there!

I have become a little obsessed with popcorn after I made this amazing Amaretto Salty Caramel Corn last Christmas.

Close up shot of caramel corn in a clear bag

This year this Buttery Sweet and Salty took center stage.

Bowl of fluffy sweet and salty popcorn.

And I still have lots of recipes to explore! Popcorn can make a fantastic, satisfying, healthy snack with lots of flavour. If you control the butter/oil in the process and seasoning you can control the final calorie and fat count!

Here Is What I Learned About Popping Corn


There is a breakdown by shape with a choice between Mushroom or Butterfly (sometimes also called Snowflake). Mushroom pops up round and fluffy and is the best choice for coating with caramel or chocolate. Butterfly pops up smaller and more ‘open’ – kind of like a set of wings. Butterfly is what is used in movie theater popcorn traditionally.

Close up of round mushroom popped corn kernel on left and popped butterfly popcorn kernel on the right.


Then there is the colour ‘coding’. The main differentiator is Yellow or White. But just to add interest there is also red, blue and purple which mainly applies to the shade of the hull. Red and blue pop white and are smaller and crunchy. Some suggest purple has the most flavour. It pops up slightly larger than red and blue and is pale yellow with small purplish flecks.

Of the main types yellow and white, they taste pretty much the same although white may be slightly more tender.

Yellow pops up with a pale buttery tinge which may make it visually appealing and suggest more butter flavour to us. Some people think that yellow popcorn has a bit more of nutty flavour but that doesn’t seem to be unanimous!

Hull or Hull-less

All popping corn has a hull, which is the exterior coating that locks the moisture in so the kernels will pop from the steam when subjected to high heat. What is marketed as hull-less is just a thinner hull.

Totally confused yet? For my purposes I am interested in the shape based on whether I am coating it with butter and salt or coating in caramel. But – my primary driver is to limit the hulls that love to lodge it seems in every nook and cranny of my teeth. So… ‘hull-less’ varieties are my mission first and foremost. Shape and size can come next although there is a bit of a rule of thumb that the smaller varieties have the thinnest hulls.

Cornpopper.ca has a great chart that you can choose colour size, hull features etc. That is if the corn is labelled is the store. I usually just see yellow or white in the labels but if you are really into popcorn and order online or buy it commercially popped you may see more differentiators.

They also ship popping corn and related seasonings, including one called Flavacol that movies theaters use commercially so you can get the real movie-theater-popcorn experience.

American readers can check out the extensive array available on Amazon.com.

My snack world has just expanded exponentially!

What Makes The Best Popping Corn?

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