Alton Brown's Trick for "Perfect" Popcorn

Give your next movie night the Alton Brown treatment!

Alton Brown
Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

It's no secret that Alton Brown is a culinary genius. So, when the cookbook author, television host, and certified food science whiz says he's found a better way make something—whether it's coffee or popcorn—you better believe we listen.

Thanks to Buzzfeed, Brown's trick for making "perfect popcorn" recently caught our attention. Unlike some of his more complicated kitchen hacks, fortunately neither beakers nor Bunsen burners are required to pull this one off. The key to Alton-approved popcorn is something most people already have handy: a metal bowl.

In an old episode of Good Eats, Brown claims that a standard, six-quart metal bowl is "the perfect corn popper." That's because the shape of the bowl causes the "oil and unpopped kernels pool at the bottom where the heat is the greatest, while popped kernels rise up the side away from the heat" Brown explains. This prevents the already popped kernels from burning.

His foolproof method starts with combining oil, popcorn kernels, and finely ground salt in a large metal bowl. Next, he covers the bowl with aluminum foil poked with a few holes to let off steam.

Brown then places the bowl directly over a medium flame on the stovetop and uses tongs to safely shake the bowl. "Forty-five seconds to a minute will go by and nothing is going to happen," explains Brown, "but it's important that you keep the vessel in motion."

With just a few minutes of shaking, the popcorn will be perfectly popped without any burned pieces in sight.

You better believe we're giving it a try this weekend!

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