Popcorn may be the perfect snack, as it’s easy to adapt to be healthier, meet your personal tastes, and replace unhealthier foods. It’s commonly suggested as a weight loss aid. Thanks to the many high-quality gourmet popcorn kernels available to connoisseurs of this high-fiber whole grain, it can also be eaten as a delicacy. 

The best gourmet popcorn kernels come down to variety and style. Some are light and fluffy, others are more dense and high in flavor. This provides them with more crunch, better hold flavor, and are more complex than the average microwave popcorn. 

Read on to find the best gourmet popcorn kernels you can buy and what makes choosing the right kernels crucial in the first place. 

What Varieties of Gourmet Popcorn Kernels Are There?

Gourmet popcorn kernels come in a variety of colors, and two styles–mushroom and butterfly. Each will offer its own shape, density, and flavor. Gourmet popcorn makers take advantage of the unique qualities of these types of kernels to create their products.

White vs. Yellow Popcorn Kernels

You may prefer yellow popcorn kernels if you enjoy a nuttier flavor and larger popcorn. Even though it has more of its natural taste, it enhances certain additives for a tasty treat that’s hard to beat. Butter and salt are most common with yellow popcorn. 

White kernels are much milder in taste, and some even describe it as bland. The resulting popcorn is also smaller. The good news is that it’s lighter, especially when air-popped, and very fluffy. Spices and additives stick well to its surface, and it won’t overwhelm or detract from any flavors. 

You may notice when looking at gourmet popcorn kernels that most varieties are white, or variations of white. That is due in part to the lighter texture and the flavoring used, especially more unique tastes like chili powder or brown sugar. 

Butterfly vs. Mushroom Popcorn Kernels

Anyone who has been given one of those giant popcorn tins knows these two shapes. Some of the popcorn will have a round appearance, while the other will have a more “normal” popcorn shape. These are mushroom and butterfly kernels, respectively. 

A mushroom kernel style comes out round and a little more on the dense side. It’s often used for heavier flavors, such as caramel or toffee. It keeps its shape as the sweet flavors are added to the batch. Kettle corn is also frequently made with mushroom kernels. 

Cheddar, salt, butter, and other spiced popcorns are usually made with butterfly kernels. These are named for the expanded shape that looks a bit like a butterfly’s wings. They’re lighter with a more airy density and might be what you are more used to when eating popcorn. 

What Makes For The Best Gourmet Popcorn Kernel?

Any gourmet popcorn kernels worth buying will take advantage of the kernel style to make the best final product possible. So when looking for the perfect brand, you should be aiming more for what you want in your popcorn. 

The best gourmet popcorn kernel will have the proper size, density, and flavor for your palette. If you like a good caramel coating, you might be better off with a white mushroom kernel. A white butterfly is better if a light, salty, and nutty snack is wanted. 

Specialty gourmet popcorn kernels will also come in different colors, flavors, and pre or unspiced. Getting a variety pack and experimenting may lead you to find your new favorite or introduce you to some forgotten classics. 

Do Movie Theaters Use Gourmet Popcorn Kernels?

Movie theaters are well known for their gourmet popcorn kernels, and many consumers try hard to duplicate that special taste you can’t find anywhere else. Try a yellow butterfly kernel if you want to recreate this fan-favorite food, and use theater style butter to make it a perfect flavor match.  

What Are the Best Gourmet Popcorn Kernels Available on Amazon?

The best gourmet popcorn kernels available on Amazon.com are: 

  • Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popcorn Kernels
  • Amish Country Popcorn Kernels
  • Urban Accents Popcorn Kernels and Seasoning
  • Franklin’s Gourmet Popcorn Classic Popping Kernels
  • Concession Essentials Gourmet Mushroom Popcorn Kernels
  • Black Jewell Hulless Popcorn
  • White Cat Corn Gourmet Popping Corn Kernels

Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popcorn Kernels

Available in both white and yellow varieties, Orville Redenbacher offers a simple classic. If you want a basic gourmet kernel you can cook on the stove, with no frills, you’ll love these. They’re as old school as it gets. 

Amish Country Popcorn Kernels

Made in Amish Country, as the name suggests, these unique popcorn kernels come in the rarer purple, red and blue variety. Each bag comes with fifteen recipes to try, introducing you to delicious new ways to eat this traditional snack. 

Urban Accents Popcorn Kernels and Seasoning

This variety gift set comes with three bags of kernels in white, red, and tricolor to try. Then you can spice them with their included flavors, including lime, Sriracha, sweet-and-salty, cheddar, and caramel. 

Franklin’s Gourmet Popcorn Classic Popping Kernels

Imitating the immediately recognizable taste of movie theater popcorn, these yellow kernels are bursting with the unique nutty flavor this variety is known for. These are very high fiber, so they make for a filling option. 

Concession Essentials Gourmet Mushroom Popcorn Kernels

One of the few gourmet popcorn kernels to offer the mushroom style, these are best known for creating extra-large popcorn that’s thick and perfect for adding heavy toppings like toffee and caramel. 

Black Jewell Hulless Popcorn

Do you hate it when you get popcorn husks stuck in your teeth? Then you need to try his hull-free variety of kernels. They pop without the husk in four different colors with their own exciting flavors. No more digging popcorn out of your gums! 

White Cat Corn Gourmet Popping Corn Kernels

One of the airiest popcorn you can buy, these kernels produce the lightest and fluffiest popcorn you can imagine. It’s the yellow variety, so it maintains that noticeable nutty flavor but goes great with any topping. It pops evenly, too! 


This may be an old classic, but gourmet popcorn kernels can be jazzed up in limitless ways that keep them exciting and fresh. It all starts with the best kernels and ends with your imagination. From healthy snacks to tasty treats, you can’t go wrong with these babies.

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