How to Make Kettle Corn

5 from 1 vote

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Kettle corn is a delicious treat commonly served at carnivals, outdoor fairs and festivals. Find out how to make a batch right in your own kitchen.

A large white bowl full of kettle corn

Homemade Kettle Corn Recipe

My kids love family movie nights and we just can’t watch movies without popcorn! This Kettle Corn is an incredibly quick and easy, salty and sweet popcorn recipe. You don’t need a fancy popcorn maker since this is a stovetop popcorn recipe.

What You Need to Make Kettle Corn

  • Large Pot, Pan, or Saucepan with a Clear Lid – Use a bigger pot than you think you need! Stockpots or dutch ovens work well. Make sure it has a clear lid so you can keep an eye on the sugar.
  • Baking Sheet – Put out a baking sheet before you start making your kettle corn. When it is ready, pour it onto the baking sheet to cool and to make it easy to separate un-popped kernels.
  • Large Serving Bowl – If you are using a metal bowl, be careful, the bottom will be hot if you are eating it right away.
  • Oil – I like to use vegetable oil or canola oil, but you can also used refined coconut oil or avocado oil.
  • Popcorn Kernels – You can buy these at the grocery store near the microwave popcorn!
  • Sugar – White granulated sugar works best in my experience.
  • Salt – Adding just a little bit of salt at the end gives this popcorn the best flavor!
Popcorn kernels, oil, and sugar in a large pot

Making Kettle Corn for a Crowd

Need more than a couple servings of kettle corn? You can easily scale this recipe up using the same ratios. However, make sure you have a big enough pot or pan to fit the popcorn. If you are making multiple batches one after another, make sure to let the pot cool down a little bit and wash off any leftover melted sugar. If you leave the melted sugar on the pot, it will burn quickly when you start the next batch.

Recipe Tips

A baking sheet full of kettle corn

Unlike normal popcorn, the un-popped kernels of popcorn will not fall to the bottom of the bowl. The sugar will make some of the kernels stick to the popcorn. If you are serving this popcorn to young kids or if you have sensitive teeth or dental work, then spread the kettle corn out on a baking sheet and carefully comb the popcorn for kernels.


How do I store leftover kettle corn?

I would be surprised if you had leftover kettle corn! But, if you do, store it in an airtight container at room temperature. It will only really last a couple of days so eat it quick!

Why is my kettle corn chewy?

Your kettle corn might turn out chewy if the lid on your pot is too tightly sealed. If the steam can’t escape from the pot, then it will add moisture to your popcorn. To fix this, periodically lift the lid a tiny bit to let steam out.

Do I need to use a lid?

YES. The popcorn really does POP. If you don’t have a lid on the pot, then hot oil and popcorn will be flying all over your kitchen.

A large white bowl full of kettle corn

More Snack-worthy Recipes

If you love snacking on this kettle corn, try some of our other salty, sweet, crunchy snacks!

  • Muddy BuddiesThis Classic Muddy Buddies recipe is crunchy and so satisfying. Made with Chex Mix cereal, peanut butter, chocolate, and powdered sugar, these bite-sized treats are always a hit!
  • Cinnamon AlmondsCinnamon Almonds roasting in the slow cooker is the perfect way to make your whole house smell like Christmas. The cinnamon and sugar coating gives the almonds a sweet crunch.
  • Salted Caramel Rice Krispie TreatsSalted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats take your traditional Rice Krispie treats to a whole new level. You will love the gooey caramel and the hint of salt! They are sweet and salty just like this Kettle Corn!
  • The Best Chex MixThis Chex mix recipe is the BEST snack for family get-togethers or parties with friends. It is toasty, savory, and completely addicting! This Chex mix recipe comes together quickly and is much better than the store bought version.
  • Sweet Chex MixThis Sweet Chex Mix Recipe is SINFULLY delicious! Loaded with chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, and marshmallows, it’s a party favorite and so easy to make!
  • Almond Joy Chex MixThis Almond Joy Homemade Chex Mix combines two favorite treats: Almond Joy Candy Bars and Muddy Buddy Chex Mix! Everything you love about muddy buddies with a chocolate coconut twist.
  • Avalanche BarsThese Avalanche Bark bars are the best no-bake summer treat. They are so simple and you don’t have to heat up your house to make them!

How to Make Kettle Corn

A large white bowl full of kettle corn

How to Make Kettle Corn

5 from 1 vote
Kettle corn is a delicious treat commonly served at carnivals, outdoor fairs and festivals. Find out how to make a batch right in your own kitchen.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 2


  • 1 large pot with glass lid


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/3 cup sugar ¼ cup if you don't want it as sweet
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste


  • Place a large pot with a glass lid over medium high heat on the stove. Heat vegetable oil in the pot. Once oil is hot, add popcorn kernels and sugar. Quickly stir to combine. Put the lid on.
    Popcorn kernels, oil, and sugar in a large pot
  • Wait until you hear the first kernel pop. Then, every 10 seconds, lift the pot off the heat source and shake it, holding the lid on, to toss the popcorn inside. Then put it back down. Once you can count to 3 without hearing a kernel popping OR when you see the sugar turning a golden brown, take the pot off the stove. It is more important to not burn the sugar than it is to pop all the kernels. Pour popcorn onto a baking sheet to cool. Sprinkle salt over the popcorn.
    A baking sheet full of kettle corn
  • Sift through the popcorn and remove any un-popped kernels. Serve in a large bowl.
    A large white bowl full of kettle corn

Nutrition Information

Calories: 486kcalCarbohydrates: 64gProtein: 5gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gSodium: 852mgPotassium: 125mgFiber: 5gSugar: 34gVitamin A: 1015IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 11mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Kelsey Crist

Kelsey lives in Washington with her husband, Alex, and two cats, Diana and Nova. Her happy place is in the kitchen listening to an audiobook and trying new recipes. When she's not in the kitchen you can find her hiking, shopping at Trader Joe's, or playing Animal Crossing. Her favorite food is pasta and Alex loves when she makes Homemade Oreos.

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  1. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing this amazing kettle corn recipe! Will surely have this again! It’s really easy to make and it tasted so delicious!