According to health experts, popcorn is a whole grain snack high in fiber and low in calories. But is there really a difference between microwave bags of popcorn, movie theater popcorn, and restaurant popcorn in terms of texture and flavor? I did some research to find the most tender popcorn!

White kernel popcorn is generally regarded as the most tender popcorn. People love white kernels because of their quality and taste. The best popcorn with the most tender kernels is corn that has been grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers.

The rest of this article will focus on the various types of popcorn and describe the best method for making tender popcorn. Additionally, I’ll share a few tips for getting perfect tender popcorn each time.

What Are The Different Types Of Popcorn?

There are many different types of popcorn, such as yellow, mushroom, white, and butterfly popcorn. The most common is yellow popcorn. White popcorn is also very popular.

Here’s a quick rundown of the different types of popcorn:

  • White Popcorn: White popcorn has a small, white kernel that has a soft, fluffy texture when popped. The kernels are usually light yellow in color and are much more tender than those of yellow corn. White kernel popcorn pops irregularly as it doesn’t have a hard shell like other types of corn.
  • Yellow Popcorn: Yellow kernel popcorn is by far the most popular and commonly grown variety. It has a very high moisture content, and each kernel has a white hull. The hull will turn yellow when the corn is heated, which gives it an attractive appearance.
  • Mushroom Popcorn: Mushroom popcorn is a strain of popcorn that has been around for a while. There are many varieties of mushroom popcorn, each with its own distinct flavor and color. You’ll find it at movie theaters, fairs, and specialty shops, as it’s quite attractive when popped and seasoned.
  • Butterfly Popcorn: Butterfly popcorn is small and doesn’t expand very much. It doesn’t have too much flavor, so it goes well with other snacks or as part of a meal. 

Is White Popcorn the Most Tender Type Of Popcorn?

White popcorn isn’t just a delicious snack — it’s also the most tender type of popcorn. It’s very tender because the kernels are softer than other types of popcorn, allowing it to pop with a fluffier texture. 

White popcorn is widely considered the most tender due to its lower water and protein content, which is what gives it its characteristic fluffiness. To make white popcorn, the kernels are allowed to mature for an extended period before being harvested and processed. 

White popcorn is the true gold standard of tenderness, and it offers the most explosive crunch. The majority of the popcorn we eat today is yellow kernel popcorn. White popcorn isn’t as common, but it’s no less delicious and nutritious than yellow popcorn.

What Is The Best Way To Make Popcorn?

Some people like to add butter or salt to popcorn. In contrast, others prefer to top it with delicious melted chocolate or caramel. Whichever way you choose, the key to making popcorn that’s both tasty and tender is understanding how to pop the kernels properly.

The best way to make popcorn for maximum tenderness is to cook the kernels on a stovetop with loads of oil. When you make popcorn on the stove, you can add a ton of oil to the pot to help the kernels pop so that they turn out extra crispy.

Or, you can make light and fluffy popcorn by using just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pot to prevent sticking. This method is significantly healthier, but you won’t get the desired level of tenderness.

What Is The Best Oil To Make Popcorn?

Canola oil is the best oil for making tender popcorn. It’s a type of vegetable oil with a high smoke point, making it suitable for frying. This oil also contains healthy fats and is cholesterol-free. Something great about this oil is that it doesn’t have a strong flavor. 

Besides canola oil, you can also use coconut oil if you’re aiming for a more theater-like flavor. Sunflower oil and avocado oil are also suitable alternatives, but I recommend using canola oil for the best results.

How Do You Get Perfect Tender Popcorn Every Time?

Tender popcorn is the best. It’s a little softer than usual popcorn, and it catches a lot more of the delicious buttery flavor. The problem is that most people don’t cook popcorn to the right degree of tenderness. 

You get perfect tender popcorn every time by allowing the kernels to steam. Popcorn needs a longer cooking time than most people realize — just like potatoes, it needs a few minutes to steam in order to reach the optimal tenderness.

Here are a few tips that’ll help you get the most tender popcorn possible:

  • Popcorn kernels contain moisture. If you don’t add enough oil to the popcorn kernel during popping, the steam created by the kernel will cause the hull to explode too early. 
  • Use a hot air popper or a stovetop instead of a microwave. The hot air popper creates an environment inside the corn where moisture can evaporate.
  • Cook over medium heat. The magic temperature for popping is 320°F (160°C). The best way to control the heat is to cook the popcorn on the stovetop — never pop it inside an oven!
  • Avoid adding butter to your popcorn — this will just make it greasy. Leave the butter alone until after you’ve popped the kernels.
  • Stir often. This helps distribute the heat evenly.


There are many different types of popcorn out there, and the one you choose to eat is entirely up to your own personal tastes. I’ve only reviewed some of the most popular options in this article to help you pick the most tender popcorn in the grocery store.

If you want the best and most tender popcorn, you’ll want to pay attention to these tips. Once you try the suggestions I’ve provided, you’ll never return to your old way of making popcorn again!

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