The Trick To The Crispiest Homemade Popcorn Is Simply Using More Oil

If your popcorn always turns out soft and chewy no matter how quickly you take the lid off the pot to release the steam, we've got a trick to guarantee that your next batch of this classic snack is super crunchy. To make the crispiest homemade popcorn ever, you need to use more oil to repel the steam and encourage an even pop. The average popcorn recipe calls for a minimal amount of oil — a couple of tablespoons or so to lightly coat the base of the pot — or a small knob of ghee with a higher smoke point than regular butter, which can easily burn and imbue the popcorn with an acrid smell. Though this technique provides enough fat for the kernels to pop, it doesn't always result in popcorn with an extra crispy exterior that has that moreish crunchy quality.

Adding a bigger glug of oil to your pot will elevate your popcorn game to a superior level of crunch without leaving a greasy residue on your fingers. The extra oil repels the moisture in the kernels when they pop, which prevents them from becoming chewy and soft in the steam that's been created in the pot. Furthermore, cooking oil is the perfect medium for heat transfer — it distributes the heat evenly in the pot, resulting in kernels that open up at the same rate, and have a uniform, creamy color, instead of blackened edges once popped.

Generously cover the base of your pot with oil

The key to making crispier popcorn is to cover the base of your pot generously with oil until it slightly rises up the sides. Then, add in enough popcorn so the kernels are almost but not quite fully submerged in the fat (they should be peeping out of the oil ever so slightly). Vegetable, peanut, or canola oil make excellent choices because these neutral options don't impart their taste onto the popcorn; they simply create a blank canvas of popcorn goodness for you to layer your favorite flavors onto.

Once you put the lid on your pot, the kernels will pop at their usual pace but be beautifully crisp on the outside, lending them a satisfyingly crunchy mouthfeel. Then, all that's left to do is sprinkle in your seasonings and toss them well to transform your extra-crispy popcorn into a scrumptious snack. The classic combination of warm butter and salt is a winning savory option for popcorn purists, but anything goes from chili and garlic powder to citrus zest and herbs. You could even stir your popcorn through a gooey serving of homemade caramel or peanut butter for a sticky and sweet treat. Better yet, mix the sweet with the savory so every crunchy bite is a surprise.