On paper, nothing seems easier than whipping up a batch of movie-style popcorn. You just add the kernels in your popcorn maker, fill the special socket with butter and let the machine take it from there. But simple instructions aside, there is something slightly concerning about this process, and that’s the heaps of fat that lurk inside the butter.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on popcorn ’cause… cooking oils. This versatile food can readily replace your fat-laden butter sticks while adding tons of flavor to the mix and keeping the popped kernels moist enough for you to chew.
The only problem? Not all cooking oils are created equal. While some can handle the heat, others don’t fare so well, ruining the snack’s taste and sinking its nutrition content to a new low. If you want to avoid all that and be able to enjoy a batch of healthy popcorn every time, these five cooking oils are a great place to start. So, let the popping begin!
Table of Contents
- Here are the best popcorn making oils!
- Smoke Points -The Need-to-Know
- 15 Cooking Oils Perfect For Popping Corn
- Canola Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- 10. Healthy Harvest Sunflower Oil
- Avocado Oil
Here are the best popcorn making oils!
|Image||Title||Type of oil||Buy|
|Happy Belly||Canola Oil||Buy now on Amazon|
|Healthy Harvest||Canola Oil||Buy now on Amazon|
|Crisco||Canola Oil||Buy now on Amazon|
|Carrington Farms||Coconut Oil||Buy now on Amazon|
|Happy Belly||Coconut Oil||Buy now on Amazon|
|Pompeian||Olive Oil||Buy now on Amazon|
|Iberia||Olive Oil||Buy now on Amazon|
|Healthy Harvest||Sunflower Oil||Buy now on Amazon|
|Iberia||Sunflower & Olive Oil||Buy now on Amazon|
|Safya||Sunflower Oil||Buy now on Amazon|
|Chosen Foods||Avocado Oil||Buy now on Amazon|
|BetterBody Foods||Avocado Oil||Buy now on Amazon|
|Baja Precious||Avocado Oil||Buy now on Amazon|
Smoke Points -The Need-to-Know
Also known as burning or flash point, the smoke point(1) of an oil is the temperature at which it starts breaking down and produces a continuous bluish smoke that is visible to the naked eye. Contrary to popular belief, this aspect has nothing to do with the oil’s boiling point as the fatty liquid begins to smoke well before it reaches the optimum boiling temp.
As you probably know, there are different types of oils, all of which feature their own unique smoke points. For example, canola oil starts smoking at about 435oF while flaxseed oil is a tad more tricky to use with a burning point of just 225oF. These fluctuations depend on a variety of factors such as volume and acidity.
But, the real question is: Why on earth should you care about the flash point of the cooking oil you use? According to experts(2), once this food is heated, its particles start breaking down, causing it to produce a foul odor and increasing its toxin content. That basically means that the nutrient makeup of any oil is likely to take a huge nosedive once it’s heated past the smoke point. As a result, heating oil based on its unique flash point is the best way to prevent toxins from building up and making.
15 Cooking Oils Perfect For Popping Corn
Well, now you know; being aware of an oil’s burning point is the key to healthy-ish popcorn. With that in mind, it’s high time you chose the best oils for the job and finally get rid of all the trans fats that come with every popping sesh.
A staple in budget-friendly pantries, canola oil can do so much more than just save you a pretty penny. This popular type of oil is rich in essential fatty acids(3) such as linoleic acid (omega 6) and alpha-linoleic acid (omega-3), which the human body can’t produce on its own.
That said, using canola oil to pop your corn is a great way to sneak a generous amount of these heart-boosting nutrients into your body without so much as a sweat. But, canola oil’s benefits don’t end there. Sporting a high smoke point (435oF), this cooking staple is perfect for high-heat pan frying, a.k.a. popping corn.
This is a very affordable option of canola oil. This is a very light canola oil, this means that you will never have that oil residue left after cooking with it. As a cholesterol and trans fat free product it even increases the benefits of using this oil for popping corn.
This is a larger bottle of canola oil which is roughly four times the price of the Amazon Brand oil. However, there is a reason for this larger price tag. This canola oil is Non-GMO certified which the last one was not. It also is certified to have Antioxidants and Omega-3s, two things that are great for your health.
If you are looking for a well-known brand of canola oil then Crisco is the way to go. In terms of pricing it comes out in the middle of the last two. This is a cooking oil that has been in market since 1960 and has always satisfied the customers. This has a very light flavor so that there is never any residue left over after as well as having no cholesterol.
Chances are you are no stranger to coconut oil. This delicious food comes in both refined and extra virgin options which either add a coconutty flavor to the mix or keep your meals as neutral as possible. Compared to other oils, this one also has a fairly low smoke point (350oF), but don’t let that stop you from using it for popping corn. It can actually withstand some seriously high heat which is always the case when you are popping those kernels.
Also, note that it’s packed with heart-friendly fats which -according to experts(4)- may help improve your cardiovascular health. One study(5) also links coconut oil to abdominal fat loss, especially in women. So, there you have it; a tasty and healthy way to enjoy your favorite snack.
If you are looking for the least refined and most natural coconut oil possible then this should be your go-to. Carrington Farms organic coconut oil is gluten-free, unrefined, and cold-pressed so that it comes out perfect for any kitchen need. It is not the cheapest but it may very well be the best product out there.
For those who do not want to have to melt the cold-pressed coconut oil, Carrington Farms also offers a liquid coconut oil. This is a bit more expensive but for those who don’t like to fuss it can save a lot of time. This oil is once again gluten-free and NON-GMO, but it also comes in a BPA free bottle. It is unflavored so it will work just like any other cooking oil.
If you are looking for one of the cheapest options or the fastest to ship then the Amazon brand organic coconut oil is your best bet. This is a refined coconut oil but it still holds many of the healthy fats that improve your heart and your metabolism.
Oh, the all-mighty olive oil. This kitchen all-star is one of the most common household oils, and while it’s most flavorful in its raw, uncooked form, it can sure take your high-heat cooking to the next level. But, that’s just one of the reasons olive oil is a top choice for popping corn.
The favorite food is also packed with monounsaturated fats(6), a.k.a. the healthy kind of fats, and phytochemicals(7) which serve as powerful antioxidants. That said, olive oil(8) is linked to low cholesterol levels and cancer prevention. In some cases, it’s even referred to as an appetite suppressant(9) which means it can be an effective way to prevent diabetes. Talk about an easy way to healthify your popcorn, right?
Pompeian extra light olive oil is one of the most recognizable brands of olive oil, and that is for good reason. Pompeian olive oil is had-crafter and very subtle in flavor and texture so it never overpowers what you are cooking, including popcorn.
If you are looking for a good option for organic olive oil then 365 Everyday Value will be the best brand to go to. It comes in a little more expensive, but it is North American Olive Oil Association certified quality so you know it is good. It is also certified organic, vegan, and kosher so it works for everyone.
Iberia is the most cost-efficient olive oil on this little list. This is NON-GMO and has a very high smoke point so you never really have to worry about burning it. Extra virgin olive oil also means that it is made from pure, cold-pressed olives rather than a blend. If you are looking for the least ingredients then extra virgin olive oil would be the choice for you.
With a smoke point of 440oF, sunflower oil is one of the easiest ways to pop corn. This underrated variety also coats the kernels with a slightly nutty flavor, making them a tad more exotic. The best part about using this cooking oil? It’s known for having a preservative effective on any kind of food which means it can keep your popcorn fresh for longer.
Healthy Harvest has a large option for sunflower oil. This is a NON-GMO option of sunflower oil and it is created without the use of chemicals. Since it is farm fresh sunflower oil it is naturally processed and comes with tons of Vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids intact.
Iberia doesn’t have 100% sunflower oil but they do have a blend of 20% extra virgin olive oil with 80% extra virgin sunflower oil. This is a great way to get the benefits of both oils in an affordable way. This option is cholesterol-free and NON-GMO as well making it a very healthy choice.
If you are looking for 100% pure sunflower oil then the most affordable option would be from the Safya brand. It is at about the same price as Healthy Harvest’s product. Safya sunflower oil is premium quality and high oleic oil which makes it great for high cooking temperature.
Sure, this type of oil is on the pricier side, but let us tell you that it’s totally worth the splurge, and not just from a culinary point of view. You see, avocado oil is packed with healthy fats(10) which help your body get rid of all the harmful toxins and, thus, work more efficiently. It also has a relatively high smoke point (375-400oF) and a butter-like flavor which make it the perfect option for a batch of movie-worthy popcorn.
Chosen Foods had a 100% pure avocado oil, which is the most expensive on this list but it may very well be worth it. This product is free of soy oil, canola oil, and gluten. It is NON-GMO certified and also plant-based certified making it a very healthy and clean option.
This is a far more affordable brand of pure avocado oil, it clocks in at about half the price of the last one. Since it has a lot of monounsaturated fat it can be used just like olive oil for cooking. The flavor is mild which means it will not change the taste of any foods you cook in it. This is another one that is NON-GMO and gluten-free as well.
Even cheaper than the last, is the Baja Precious pure avocado oil. This is an all-natural avocado oil that is expeller pressed. This is a thicker version of avocado oil but that doesn’t mean it will change the smoking point or the taste of it at all. Since it comes in a gallon version on Amazon this is a great option for those who always want to have it around.
From affordable options like canola and olive oil to gourmet variants such as avocado oil, the sky’s the limit when it comes to choosing a healthy way to pop your kernels. So, depending on your taste buds and health goals, these five cooking oils can help you enjoy your favorite snack guilt-free. So, which one is it gonna be?