Is kettle corn popcorn better than butter popcorn? Well, when it comes to taste, that’s always a matter of personal opinion. Kettle popcorn and butter popcorn are two distinctly different flavors — kettle popcorn is a sweet and salty treat, while salted butter popcorn is a savory snack. 

Kettle corn has more sugar than butter popcorn; however, it has significantly less sodium. Kettle corn could be better for those watching their cholesterol levels. If you prefer sweet, crunchy popcorn, kettle corn is best. Butter popcorn is best if you like savory popcorn that melts in your mouth. 

Kettle corn and butter popcorn differ in shape, texture, taste, and nutritional value. Keep reading to discover the differences between the two types of popcorn to see which is best for you.

Is Kettle Popcorn Better For Your Health Than Butter Popcorn?

It’s hard to say if kettle popcorn is better for your health than butter popcorn because both have a few unhealthy ingredients. Kettle corn contains a lot of sugar. However, butter popcorn contains more sodium and saturated fats. 

Sugar generally increases calorie count, so kettle popcorn may have more calories per serving, depending on how it’s made. 

If you’re concerned about your cholesterol, kettle popcorn popped on a healthy cooking oil like olive or canola oil is a more viable snack. Likewise, if you’re worried about your sugar intake, butter popcorn is the “healthier” option. 

Let’s now compare the ingredients in both and see if kettle corn is better than butter popcorn.

Ingredients In Kettle Corn

Kettle corn consists of three essential ingredients: popcorn kernels, oil, and sugar. Most people add a pinch of salt to their kettle corn; however, some recipes don’t call for it. Therefore, if you eliminate the salt, you can end up with low-sodium kettle corn. 

You can also cut calories and make your kettle corn healthier depending on the oil you use to pop the popcorn. Olive oil is the most nutritional type of cooking oil, and you can use it to make delicious kettle corn. Using olive oil is healthier than popcorn oil or other heavily-processed oils that contain large amounts of saturated fat. 

If you purchase popped kettle corn, it’s sometimes difficult to tell what oil the manufacturers used to make it, so you have less control over its nutritional value.

Sugar is probably the most unhealthy ingredient in kettle corn. Diets high in sugar can lead to obesity, diabetes, and weight gain. Additionally, foods containing a lot of sugar tend to have more calories. 

However, you could substitute the sugar in homemade kettle corn with a sugar substitute to reduce the calorie levels and make a healthier snack.

For reference, Orville Redenbacher’s Kettle Corn is store-bought kettle corn that contains: 

  • 160 calories per serving
  • 8 grams (0.28 oz) of fat
  • 4 grams (0.14 oz) of saturated fat
  • 150 milligrams (0.0052 oz) of sodium

Keep this in mind the next time you opt for store-bought kettle corn instead of making your own!

Ingredients In Butter Popcorn

Most butter popcorn recipes call for oil, salt, and butter. You can skip the oil by air-popping your popcorn. However, salt and butter are unavoidable. After all, it’s in the name! 

To make good butter popcorn, you need to coat the popcorn with finely-grained salt so that the butter has something to stick to. 

Butter has both trans and saturated fat, which can directly increase the cholesterol levels in your blood. High cholesterol can lead to blocked arteries and heart problems. Salt also contributes to high cholesterol, and adding both salt and butter is an unhealthy combination. You could substitute the butter with a healthy butter alternative to reduce the sodium levels in butter popcorn.

For reference, Orville Redenbacher’s Butter Microwave Popcorn is store-bought contains:

  • 170 calories per serving
  • 6 grams (0.21 oz) of fat
  • 0 grams saturated fat
  • 320 milligrams (0.011 oz) of sodium

How Do You Make Kettle Corn?

You typically make kettle corn using mushroom popcorn. Mushroom flake popcorn is spherical. Using mushroom-shaped popcorn allows the sugar mixture to stick more evenly to the popcorn, creating a smooth, even coating.

Kettle corn is made using a dutch oven, pot, or a cast-iron kettle over the stove. Start by mixing the kernels, oil, salt, and sugar mixture on high heat until the seeds pop. Continuously stir the kettle corn mixture so that it doesn’t burn or caramelize. 

If you let the sugar caramelize, you’ll end up with caramel popcorn, which is also delicious but not what we’re after.

Once the kernels have popped, remove the mixture from heat and let it cool. You can also air-pop your popcorn and then add the sugar mixture later. However, this method isn’t very popular because you don’t get a homogeneous coating.

How Do You Make Butter Popcorn?

Butter popcorn is either air or oil popped. Add the kernels to a pot or pan, add the oil (skip it for air-popped popcorn), and let the kernels pop over medium-high heat. Next, stir in melted butter and salt to taste. Allow the mixture to cool down and enjoy!

Air-popped popcorn is generally better for you because it doesn’t have any oil in it, which is typically high in fat. However, since you’ll be adding butter later, it’ll still contain a lot of saturated fats.

How Do You Compare The Taste and Texture of Butter Popcorn and Kettle Corn?

Butter popcorn is light and airy, and the popcorn itself is quite fluffy. Kettle popcorn is more dense and crunchy because of the sugar coating. Kettle corn is generally chewier, and butter popcorn will melt in your mouth.

If you prefer savory treats, butter popcorn is your best option. It’s salty, butter-flavored, and rich with savory goodness. 

However, if you like sweet treats, kettle popcorn is for you. Coated with a sugar and salt mixture, kettle corn is a light dessert that satisfies a salty craving.

Final Thoughts

Both kettle and butter popcorn have pros and cons. Ultimately, the two popcorn types weigh similarly in health terms. Kettle corn has less sodium than butter popcorn but more saturated fat. 

If you’re concerned about your sugar intake, kettle corn isn’t for you. However, sweet and salty kettle corn is better for your cholesterol levels than traditional butter popcorn. 

If you’re looking for a savory snack, go for butter popcorn.

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