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Dutch Oven Popcorn

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There’s nothing like the smell of fresh popped popcornSalty, butttery and fluffy. Learn how to easily make perfectly popped popcorn on the stovetop in your Dutch oven.

A blue dutch oven full of freshly popped popcorn.

I’m so excited that I am finally getting to share a recipe that’s cooked in my Chantal Dutch oven. Chantal is one of my favorite brands of cookware and the only brand that I’ve had that has lasted in my kitchen since I got married 20 years ago. Chantal sent me this Dutch oven to try out after hearing about my great experiences with their other products and I’ve been using it a ton! I’d planned on sharing a ham and brisket recipe but because of the pandemic, it’s kind of hard to find meat in the store!A serving bowl of popcorn next to a red and white striped towel.

Instead I’m going to share something that’s super cheap, easy to make, and is a filling snack for those of you who’ve had kids home for months eating everything in sight…popcorn! This week I have 5 days of gourmet popcorn recipes to share. You can make all 5 with one 2 pound bag of popcorn which costs about 2 dollars at the store and most take just 5 minutes or so.  I’ll be sharing basic Dutch oven popcorn, Salted Caramel Pecan Popcorn, Dutch Oven Kettle Corn, Homemade Dill Pickle Popcorn, and Smoky Bacon Popcorn

But first we have to start with the basics. Have you ever made popcorn on the stovetop? My grandma has always made her popcorn in the Dutch oven. It’s actually way less intimidating than it seems.  Try it once and you’ll probably never go back to the microwave! 

To make basic stove top popcorn you’ll need:

  • A large lidded pot, such as a dutch oven. Bonus points for clear lids that let you see the action inside.

  • A mild flavored cooking oil with a high heat smoking point, like coconut, vegetable or canola oil. (You can also use bacon grease, but we’ll get to that later with some Smoky Bacon Popcorn.)

  • Popcorn kernels, yellow or white. 

  • Kosher salt or seasoned salt, (my preference.)

  • Regular Salted Butter. 

A few test kernels are added to the oil in the dutch oven.

  1. You’ll start by adding 2-3 tablespoons of oil to your pan, along with about 3-4 kernels of popcorn and heating over medium heat. These are your test kernels, they will let you know when it’s time to add the rest of the popcorn. The test kernels have popped and show us the oil is at the right temperature to cook the popcorn.
  2.   When you hear the test kernels pop you’ll know the cooking oil is at the right temperature. Add  ½ cup of popcorn kernels along with ½ teaspoon of salt. I like to add my salt with the hot oil because it really helps to evenly distribute the salt through the whole batch.A blue dutch oven full of popcorn ready to be popped.
  3. Stay right there by the stove the whole time and cook for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to help keep the popcorn from burning. When the pops begin to slow, remove from the heat but leave the lid on for 15-20 seconds because there can be some late bloomers that will try and pop out and get ya!A close up image of the finished popcorn that shows the textures and seasonings.
  4. Remove the lid and transfer the popcorn to a large bowl. See note below about old maids. Add a tablespoon or two of butter to your pan, if desired, and melt it. Pour the butter over the popcorn and enjoy!
About old maids.

Listen, I don’t care what you’ve seen or read, there’s just no way to cook popcorn without old maids. I’ve tried every tip I’ve seen out there and most of them just seem to add hassle and time to cooking the popcorn in my experience. My best advice is simply to remove the cooked popcorn with a large slotted spoon so that the old maids get left behind in the bottom of the pot! 

A metal container full of fresh popped Dutch oven popcorn.

Dutch Oven Popcorn

Yield: About 12 cups
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Soft, fluffy and buttery popcorn is easy to make the old fashioned way on the stove top in the Dutch oven.


  • 2-3 Tablespoons cooking oil* see note
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or seasoned salt
  • 1-2 Tablespoons butter


    1. Add 2-3 Tablespoons cooking oil to your Dutch oven along with 3-4 popcorn kernels. Cover with the lid and heat over medium heat for about 2 minutes or until you hear the kernels pop.
    2. When you hear the kernels pop you'll know your oil is now the correct temperature for popping. Add 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the pan and cover with the lid again.
    3. Cook over medium heat for approximately 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan about every 30-60 seconds to help keep the popcorn from burning. When the pops begin to slow, remove from the heat but leave the lid on for 15-20 seconds because there can be some late bloomers that can pop up and burn you if you're not careful.
    4. Remove the lid and transfer the cooked popcorn to a large bowl using a large slotted spoon to sort out the old maids. Discard any unpopped kernels.
    5. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and melt. Pour the melted popcorn over the fresh popcorn and enjoy!


Recommended cooking oils are coconut, canola or vegetable oil.

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Soft, fluffy and buttery popcorn is easy to make the old fashioned way on the stove top in the Dutch oven. #dutchovenpopcorrn #stovetoppopcorn

*I received this cookware for free, but all opinions are my own.


Friday 28th of April 2023

Who would think that we would need a recipe for popcorn? I would, because, although I've made popcorn off & on for many years, I never made it in a dutch oven & I wanted to make a large amount for a group. Knowing how much oil, popcorn & butter to use for my dutch oven is awesome, and never knew I could make it in a dutch oven! Thank you so much for printing this!!


Wednesday 13th of May 2020

You know I have never heard the up popped kernels called old maids (I assume that is what you are referring to). However, I grew up with popcorn made like this. Microwave popcorn was a big deal when I hit college. I waffle back and forth between microwave (for kid ease) and stovetop popcorn. I’m excited for the other recipes to be published 😊


Sunday 24th of October 2021

@Amy D, Amy, The term old maids is not just regional to Missouri, nor is it rural. I’m a 75 year old native Californian from the Los Angeles beach area and have known unpopped kernels by no other name than old maids. Microwave popcorn may be easy, but it’s a lot more expensive and has nowhere near the freshness and flavor of stovetop popped corn kernels. Certainly not all old ways of doing things are better, but this is definitely one of them. Thanks for trying to encourage the younger generation to try something “new”.

Amy D

Friday 15th of May 2020


That's so weird! Yes, old maids are the unpopped kernels. That's what I've always heard them called, but I've always lived in rural Missouri. I wonder if it's a regional colloquialism. You'll have to tell me which version you like best from popcorn week.


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