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Sunday, July 25, 2010

The cast iron popcorn popper

I fooled you. There are no "cast iron popcorn poppers", exactly.* But you can cook popcorn on the stove, in a cast iron pot.

*There is a made-in-Taiwan popcorn popper on the market, advertised as "cast iron," but in small print it says "steel with non-stick finish."

Now, before tonight I had never personally popped popcorn except in a microwave, but I decided to try it out in cast iron.

You need 1/4 cup cooking oil to 1 cup popcorn.

Heat up the dutch oven first, then pour in the oil. Allow the oil to heat up, then put in 2 kernels. When those 2 kernels pop, it's ready. Pour in your kernels and quickly put on the lid. Shake.

Then add salt and butter.

It's been a wonderful experience, but it made a mess on the stove and some kernels overcooked.

I think I'll stick to microwave popcorn*. Yeah, I know that's a sacrilege.

*I later tried it a different way, based on the comment posted below. I got much better results.


  1. Nothing like popcorn on the stovetop, no matter what you use to make it. It sure beats micro-wave popcorn.

    Anyway, I've been to a church camp where they build a fire underneath a cast iron cauldron, put the oil in and then pour in the popcorn and stir it with a big wooden paddle. Some of the popcorn does fly out but it's big enough that it contains the popcorn. Mighty tasty!

  2. I like real butter on popcorn, myself... mmm.

  3. I've been popping popcorn in this exact dutch oven and it has turned out great. The first time I did it I heated the dutch oven first and I burned the popcorn. Now I just put the oil and the popcorn in before I turn on the heat and then turn it to medium (I have a gas cooktop). When it the popping starts to slow down, I either decrease the heat to low and watch it closely to avoid burning or I remove it from the heat. I add however much better I want into the dutch oven and mix the popcorn around to coat it with butter (I don't like heavily buttered popcorn). It's DELICIOUS!!

  4. Good tips... I'm open to trying it again, once I have all my stuff moved here!

  5. Haven't made it for years, but:

    1.) Measure popcorn to amount that won't reach lid (loosely fill pot when done.)

    2.) Place measured oil (too little=scorch & too much=greasy) in CI sauce pan (dutch oven awkward when dump time.) Swish oil around, making sure at least half up sides (heat is not concentrated on bottom) and bottom are covered.

    3.) Preheat sauce pan with lid on (CI heats slowly, otherwise, baby popcorn.)

    4.) After about a 1-2 minutes put 3 kernels in pot and replaced lid (When pop, hot enough for popcorn.)

    5.) Quickly now: Lift lid with opening away from you (pop & spray hot oil), pour popcorn in, close lid, & a few swishes and shakes (cover kernels w/ oil.)

    6.) Popping starts: shake pot in flame (unpopped to bottom.)

    7.) Popping slows - 2-3 kernels / sec, dump into waiting bowl (CI retains heat, no fire, it still burns) at arm's length (late poppers.)

    8.) Scrape debris out of pot (will burn & stick.) Pot on safe surface with lid ajar. Turn heat off.

    9.) Top & ENJOY. Wipe pot out w/ paper towel, while warm & almost hot. Then another batch.

    Trial & error, then it worked: fully popped, few duds, not burnt, & delish! Hope it helps.

    Take care, Al