11/04/2011 11:24 am ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Make Popcorn

Chef Joseph DiPerri of The Culinary Institute of America demonstrates how easy it is to make popcorn on the stovetop. He starts by adding a thin layer of vegetable oil to a pot with a lot of surface area. He adds enough popcorn kernels to cover the bottom of the pot, then covers the pot once the kernels begin to sizzle. He moves the pot around in a circular motion, shaking slightly, to keep the kernels from burning and facilitate popping. As the popping sounds slow, he lifts the pot off the heat slightly, still moving the pot around, to keep the popcorn from burning. Once the popping sounds have almost stopped, he removes the lid, pours the popcorn into a bowl, and adds a generous pinch of salt. Now all you need is a good movie.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Joe DiPerri from the Culinary Institute of America, and today I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to pop popcorn in a pot.

We're going to start with a pot that has a lot of surface area; this is very important to making good popcorn in a pot. A standard vegetable oil is just fine to use: corn oil, canola oil, they're very good as far as making popcorn is concerned. We have to add enough oil, and we're going to add enough popcorn to basically cover the bottom of the pot.

We're going to watch the kernels begin to sizzle a little; now it's time to pick up the lid and put it on top. Moving the pot help keep the kernels moving, and keeps keep them from burning. Typically you know when the popcorn is finished popping because you won't hear any more of the kernels bursting in the pot.

You see I've lifted the pot off the heat. The kernels are still popping. We're coming to the end; you can hear that the popcorn kernels are not blistering as much, you can hear that they've slowed down quite a bit. I think we're ready to have a peek and - ooh la la!

We have a few kernels unpopped; that's okay.

Don't forget the salt. If you don't want salt, maybe you can have butter. If you don't want butter, you can have caramel sauce, or there's many many different things you can put on popcorn - but this is the basic. Let's go to the movies!