Perfect Dutch Oven Popcorn

Over the last several years John had been gently, and then not so gently, encouraging me to retire my 20-year-old air popper before it burns our house down. Not only is it melting itself, but it doesn't have a switch; you turn it off by yanking the plug out of the wall as it sparks! (See: The Cornballer

We couldn't have more Dutch ovens in our teenie kitchen and while I'd tried making stovetop popcorn many times in the past, I hadn't come up with a satisfying technique that didn't either burn the bottom layer or leave a lot of kernels un-popped. Well, I've figured it out and I don't think I'm going back.

An aside for Seasoned Dutch oven cooks, dry-cooking, as you do for bread, can leave your seasoning dull over time and this is a great way to condition the cook surface!


Perfect Dutch Oven Popcorn

  1. Placing a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add several tablespoons of oil and a couple of popcorn kernels into the pot with the lid on. You'll need enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot, Cooking spray is not a good fit here. I like to use ghee, but any oil will do. You're going to taste the oil on the popcorn.

  2. Wait until several of the kernels have popped. Then add the rest of your popcorn, and stir it into the hot oil. Turn the heat off for ~20 seconds and let the kernels simmer. A single layer of kernels on the bottom of our 5.5 Qt Dutch Oven will completely fill the pot.

  3. With the lid cracked to allow steam to escape, it's time to crank the heat up all the way. 

  4. When you hear the popping start to slow down, turn the heat all the way off until the popping stops.*

  5. Season and enjoy!

* If you are not using one of our Dutch ovens, this may not work and will leave un-popped kernels. Our pots are very heavy-bottomed to retain heat.


My go-to flavoring recipe is drizzled olive oil on top with nutritional yeast and salt or everything bagel seasoning. Turmeric mixed with nutritional yeast and salt is actually my favorite, but it can stain your cuticles - not great for me already dealing with foundry-hands! This is the best turmeric out there, with suggestions on the ratio.



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Related: Thinking about a Dutch oven? How to choose what kind is best for you.