All About Popcorn

Frequently Asked Questions

Note: Because the Popcorn Board represents all U.S. popcorn processors, we cannot provide brand specific information, so we cannot answer questions such as:

  • What brand of popcorn pops best?
  • Can you recommend a popcorn maker or popcorn brand?
  • I remember a brand of popcorn that I can’t find. Can you help me?

Q: How can I make kettle corn at home?
A: There are recipes for different types of kettle corn in our recipe section and which can be prepared at home on the stove.

Q: How do I color popcorn kernels?
A: Because the moisture level of the kernel must be maintained at 13.5 to 14% for optimum popping, avoid liquid dyes. Some popcorn fans suggest using paste food coloring such as what is used for cake decorating.

Q: How do I color popped popcorn?
A: The recipe for Cheery Cherry Popcorn explains how to use dry gelatin to color popped popcorn.

Q: When I pop popcorn on the stove, it turns out soggy. How can I make crispy popcorn?
A: When a kernel of popcorn pops, the moisture is released and creates steam. Try using a vented or loose-fitting lid, the moisture escapes rather than settling back on the popped kernels and you will have crispy popcorn.

Q: Where can I find hull-less popcorn?
A: Popcorn must have a hull in order to pop. There are varieties which may have a less noticeable hull in the final popped popcorn product, but there are no varieties that are completely hull-less. Some white popcorn will have less noticeable hulls. Because the Popcorn Board promotes ALL U.S. popcorn, we do not distribute specific brand information.

Q: I'm growing popcorn in my garden. How do I know when it's ready to pick and how do I prepare it for popping?
A: Leave popcorn in the garden until the stalks and husks are brown and dry. When you can no longer leave a mark on the kernel with your fingernail, it's time to harvest. Twist and snap each ear from the stalk. Do this before the frost hits. Besides drying on the stalks, popcorn requires another four to six weeks of thorough drying in a warm, well-ventilated place.

To prepare popcorn for indoor curing, carefully strip away the dried husk from each ear. Place the ears in mesh bags or spread them out in an area where they'll have warm air circulating around them. You can also hang mesh bags full of popcorn ears in your garage for about four weeks. After curing, hang the bags of corn in a cool, dry place. The corn can keep for years in the cool, dry, dark conditions.

After a month of curing, the kernels can be taken off the ears and stored in airtight jars. Whether you're removing the kernels before storage or just before popping, there's no real trick to it. Simply grasp the ear firmly in both hands and twist until the kernels drop out.

Q: Is popcorn still healthy even with butter and salt added?
A: Popcorn can still be healthy with butter and salt, but in moderation. A light drizzle of butter and light sprinkling of salt can work in most diets, but you can't overdo either of those ingredients.

Q: I'm looking for information for my science experiment.
A: See the Science Fair Projects and Teaching Tools sections of our website for educational information.

Q: Do you have popcorn statistics for a business plan?
A: For specific business information, call the Popcorn Board at 312.644.6610 or email us at

Q: I would like 300 brochures for a health fair. Can you provide quantities of materials?
A: Yes, we can provide up to 300 brochures for non-profit events like health fairs.
Contact us with your material request. You may also download a copy of the brochure here to print for your use.