Kettle corn is a delicious, simple, and quick dessert, perfect for an amusement park or a quiet movie night. You can easily make some at home, and it’ll be just as tasty. But what’s the best oil to use for kettle corn? 

The best oil to use for kettle corn is coconut oil, canola oil, or refined olive oil. These are neutral oils that do not transfer their flavor to your kettle corn. Oils like avocado, peanut, grapeseed, and sunflower have intense flavors that affect the taste of your kettle corn.

If you’re craving the tasty fair-ground experience, you’d want to pick a type of oil that’ll bring out that exact taste. Here’s what to consider when choosing oil for kettle corn and the eight best types to use.

What Should You Look For When Choosing Oil For Kettle Corn?

The three main things that you should look for when choosing oil for kettle corn are flavor profile, fat content, and smoke point. You want to have a flavorful bowl of kettle corn with the least amount of calories. You also want to ensure all your kernels pop without burning.

Take a closer look at each of the factors that determine the most suitable oil for your kettle corn:

  • Flavor profile. The taste of kettle corn solely depends on the type of oil. You want to pick an oil that produces the most delicious kettle corn. An oil with an intense flavor might overpower the taste of your kettle corn.
  • Fat content. Oils are a vital component of your diet as they provide the necessary dietary fats for a healthy body. However, they can cause health problems if you consume them excessively. If you’re health conscious, pay attention to the fat and calorie content of the oil you are using.
  • Smoke point. This is the point at which the oil begins smoking. If your oil has a high smoke point, the sugar will get hot enough without burning, and your kernels will pop without acquiring a bitter taste. Using oil with a low smoke point will cause your kernels to burn before they pop.

What Types Of Oil Should You Use For Kettle Corn?

Some types of oil you should use for kettle corn include vegetable oils like coconut, canola, olive, and more. Bacon grease is also an excellent alternative. You can also mix any oil types for crispier and more flavorful kettle corn, depending on your taste and preferences.

However, sugar burns fast, so you must prioritize oils with higher smoke points. When mixing, combine flavorless oils with high smoke points and low smoke points. Such a combination will make all kernels pop and result in crunchy kettle corn.

Let’s take a look at the qualities of the different types of oil you can use for kettle corn:

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a delicious and common ingredient in making kettle corn. It adds a bit of coconut flavor to your snack, but it’s not overwhelming. It also blends well with sugar without making your kettle corn soggy.

Because of its high 400°F (204.44°C) smoke point, coconut oil is an excellent option for kettle corn. You can use it either in a kettle corn machine, a dutch oven, or a cast-iron kettle.

However, you should use coconut oil sparingly. In every 14 grams (0.03 lb) of fat per serving, the most significant percentage is saturated fats.

Canola Oil

Canola oil is an excellent substitute for coconut oil with a smoke point of about 430°F (221.11°C). It has less saturated fats and consists mainly of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. It has a pleasant, neutral flavor that’s barely detectable.

If you’re health conscious but still want tasty kettle corn, canola oil is a great option. It helps absorb necessary nutrients in the body and is also rich in essential fatty acids. However, highly processed canola oil is void of numerous nutrients.

Refined Olive Oil

This type of oil has a high smoke point, at 470°F (243°C), unlike the extra virgin olive oil. Due to the difference in smoke points, your kettle corn will be tastier if you use refined olive oil.

Its neutral taste won’t dilute the flavor of your kettle corn. Instead, this oil will allow the flavor of the topping to dominate.

Refined olive oil contains 13 grams (0.03 lb) of predominantly healthy fat in every serving. Unfortunately, it loses many beneficial nutrients during processing in contrast to the extra virgin olive oil which contains monounsaturated fats that promote good health. 

Avocado Oil

If you’re looking for a healthy treat with a strong flavor but without excess calories, avocado oil is ideal. Its impressively high smoke point of 520°F (271.°C) allows you to heat the oil without burning the sugar or the kernels.

Avocado oil has an intense flavor that is excellent for making kettle corn. In addition, it packs a lot of health benefits, such as being good for the heart and lowering bad cholesterol levels.

Peanut Oil

The smoke point for peanut oil is 450°F (232.22°C), which makes the oil perfect for deep frying food. It has a strong peanut flavor that adds more fun to your kettle corn popcorn. Some people may find it overpowering, though.

Peanut oil is an excellent choice as long as you don’t have peanut allergies. It’s good for the heart, can lower bad cholesterol levels, and has antioxidant properties.

Grapeseed Oil

The main feature that makes grapeseed oil a viable option for kettle corn is its 420°F (215.56°C) smoke point. It also packs generous amounts of omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants, which are great for your heart if you consume them in moderation. 

Grapeseed oil has 14 grams (0.03 lb) of fat per serving. It has a fairly neutral taste that hints at a nutty flavor and resembles extra virgin olive oil slightly. Therefore, grapeseed oil is perfect for kettle corn with unique flavors.

Sunflower Oil

Pressing sunflower seeds produces sunflower oil. It’s a rich source of Vitamin E, essential for your skin, blood, and brain. It contains 14 grams (0.03 lb) of fat in a typical serving size. Its high smoke point of 450°F (232.22°C) makes it perfect for kettle corn. However, it has a mild nutty flavor that might transfer to your kettle corn.

Bacon Grease

Bacon grease is an old-fashioned and unconventional oil that will lend a rich, luxurious, bacon-like flavor to your kettle corn. It has a 400°F (204.44°C) smoke point that makes it feasible for making kettle corn.

Some types of bacon grease will leave your kettle corn with an intensely smoky flavor. In addition, it holds 13 grams (0.03 lb) of fat per serving, making it an unhealthy option for kettle corn.

The Verdict

If all you want is an authentic sweet taste of kettle corn, coconut oil is the best option. If you want a healthier snack without sacrificing taste, use avocado oil.

Other vegetable oils like olive oil, grapeseed, and sunflower oils have a mild flavor that’ll preserve the taste of your kettle corn. They’re subtle enough to infuse a unique flavor yet mild enough to safeguard the sweetness of kernel corn.

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