How to make sweet popcorn at home

Sweet popcorn tastes heavenly, but not everyone understands how to make them. This post will help you learn how to make sweet popcorn at home.

Theatre attendances continue to be affected due to the pandemic, but that does not mean we still can’t enjoy delicious popcorn. You can make delicious popcorn at home for the whole family. A great opportunity to begin a tradition in your family where you all prepare popcorn and enjoy a movie at home. Popcorn may also be enjoyed during family get-togethers like game days, cookouts, and your kids will appreciate it on birthdays.

There’s a multitude of ways you can enjoy popcorn. From salted or unsalted, with butter or without, flavoured or unflavoured as long as you enjoy the taste. If you have a sweet tooth, sweet popcorn tastes heavenly. But not everyone understands how to make them. This post will help you learn how to make sweet popcorn at home. 

A glass bowl with freshly made sweet popcorn on a table to show how to make sweet popcorn at home.

How to make sweet popcorn at home

Popcorn is healthier compared to other popular snacks. It does contain some carbohydrates, which is not all bad because some are in fibre form. It also adds proteins, vitamins, iron, and magnesium to your diet. When you make it at home, it is cheap, and you have control over the flavourings and other added ingredients. Plain popcorn tastes good, but when you sweeten it, the taste is out of this world. Depending on what you are looking for, you can sweeten your popcorn with honey or brown sugar. It’s possible to add spices such as cinnamon, pepper among others to your popcorn as well. The bottom line is that you don’t have to be a master chef to learn how to make sweet popcorn at home.

A white bowl filled with popcorn on a wooden table, next to a remote.

Ways to pop popcorn

The first step to making delicious popcorn is popping the kernels. There is no significant difference between yellow and white kernels except for the former having a thicker hull. The white kernels pop smaller due to their thin hull. You can either use a stovetop or the more traditional method of using a microwave.

After the pop, add your glaze to make sweet popcorn. Adding the glaze before popping the popcorn prevents them from popping. Some brands of popcorn pop better than others so ensure you buy a high-quality brand of unpopped kernels. 

If you have never made popcorn at home, you may be shocked at the volume of unpopped kernels. They may not seem much at first but don’t worry as the volume increases with every pop. We will show you the different ways to pop popcorn using eighty grams of unpopped kernels.

Popcorn that's being popped in a red pan.

In a large pan on the stovetop

You will also need a teaspoon of oil, preferably flavourless oil. It is advisable to use oil with a high smoking point, such as vegetable or canola oil. If you want homemade popcorn to have a movie theatre flavour, use coconut oil which is also very good. 

You will need a large, heavy-bottom saucepan with a lid for the popping. 

Instructions:

  1. You begin by coating the saucepan with oil. A kitchen towel will help you do a thorough job of it.
  2. Place the pan on medium-high heat. Add three to four kernels to test the heat and cover.
  3. When the 3 or 4 kernels have popped, it’s time to add the rest. Swirl them around to coat them in oil.
  4. They should begin popping any minute now. Kids love listening to the popping sound.
  5. As soon as you hear the first few pops ever so slightly, turn the lid to form a vent. It is vital if you do not want your popcorn to become soggy from moisture.
  6. Shake the pan occasionally to ensure all the kernels pop.
  7. If you can only hear a pop here and there every two seconds, remove the pan from heat. Leave it covered for a few minutes. You will get a few pops.
  8. Pour the popcorn into a bowl. Leaving it in the pan may cause it to burn.

If you are after a pan yourself, why not try our Swan Retro 5 Piece Pan Set.

A bowl full of popcorn that has been made in a microwave.

In a microwave 

If you often make popcorn at home, then investing in a special popcorn bowl is prudent. They can serve as serving bowls as well. But lack of one is not a big deal as a brown paper bag also does a good job. Ensure there is enough room for the popcorn to pop cause if you don’t, it will spill. 

A cling film-covered microwavable bowl can also be used to pop popcorn in the microwave. Use several layers of clingfilm to be on the safe side as the force of popping kernels may tear a single layer.

Instructions: 

  1. Place the kernels in your container, ensuring it is covered. If you are using clingfilm, make small holes to act as vents.
  2. Put in the microwave with the settings set on high. The timer should be set for three minutes—press start.
  3. When the popping dies down to a pop per second, turn off the microwave and remove the popcorn.

If you’re on the market for a new microwave, why not take a look at our extensive microwave collection. Or the brand-new Swan 20L Nordic Digital Microwave.

A brown bowl on a tabletop full of popcorn.

How to sweeten the popcorn

There are various ways you can sweeten your popcorn. You can follow these recipes to make glaze topping for your popped popcorn. 

Sweet popcorn glaze

For a sweet but not overwhelmingly sweet glaze, this recipe is perfect. Ensure you do not cook long enough to caramelize. 

You will need: 
  •  120ml butter
  • 60ml sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of water.
Instructions:
  1. In a pan, melt the butter and add sugar. Bring it to a boil.
  2. Boil for two minutes, add the water, and stir well.
  3. Quickly pour it over the popcorn you prepared using one of the methods above.
  4. Toss to coat. You can chill for 10 minutes before you serve.
Overflowing popcorn in a white bowl.

Brown sugar and syrup topping

You will need:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
Instructions: 
  1. Put all the ingredients in a pan.
  2. Place on the stove over low heat. 
  3. Stir until all of them are melted and thoroughly mixed.
  4. Pour it over the popcorn you can stir or toss to coat.
  5. If the popcorn becomes sticky when it cools, break it up by hand.

You can make your popcorn sweet and salty by tossing it in sugar and salt. The sugar adds a bit of a surprise, especially when served to your party guests. Make the popcorn even more enjoyable by tossing in spices of your choice. You can also drizzle melted chocolate over the popcorn.

Making sweet popcorn is simple enough, but there are some common mistakes you should avoid if you want it to be perfect.

A selection of burnt popcorn curnals.

Common mistakes when cooking popcorns 

  • Sometimes when saturated with oil, kernels do not pop, and if they do, they become soggy. On the other hand, if the oil is too little, some kernels will not pop. Two tablespoons of oil for every 64g of kernels is enough.
  • The main reason popcorn salt is sold separately is that the grains are fine enough to stick to the popcorn. Too big grains, and they won’t stick. You can make your popcorn salt by grinding the salt you use at home.
  • If you try to pop all the kernels at the first attempt, you burn the ones that popped first. Regardless of which method you use, it is almost impossible to pop all of them.
  • If you overdo the toppings, you destroy the fluffiness. You do not want to overpower the popcorn flavour but complement it. Ensure you add the toppings in a separate bowl and not on the saucepan because heat may destroy the flavourings.
  • The water content of popcorn is very low; hence it burns very easily. Do not leave your popcorn unattended if you don’t want burnt popcorn. Worst case scenario, a fire may erupt.
  • When popping kernels on the stovetop, keep shaking to move them around. If they sit on the hot surface for too long, they will get burnt, and the smell may taint the bunch.

Takeaway on how to make sweetened popcorn

Making sweet popcorn is a fun activity that you can engage in together with your kids. Homemade popcorn is cheap compared to what you get at the movie theatre. You can make it for your family to enjoy every movie night and any occasion such as game days, birthdays, or present it for the next community cookout. It is as simple as popping the kernels and adding the sweet toppings of your choice. Go make the delicious snack and enjoy.