Kernel-Less Popcorn – Everything You Need to Know

  • Author: Sue Dorrens
  • Published: December 19, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Snacking on popcorn is pretty much the best, especially during movie night. But those hard kernels stuck in your teeth can taint the experience, right? Kernel-less popcorn is the solution to this pesky problem and is worth a little extra effort to seek out.

Whether you have braces, sensitive teeth, or don’t like picking hulls out of your teeth, this nifty option is the answer.

What Makes Popcorn Kernel-Less?

What is hulless popcorn? Nothing can make popcorn kernel-less. The kernel is what pops, creating a fluffy, tender snack; getting rid of the kernel is impossible. That being said, there are different types of popcorn with less pronounced kernels.

More on that…

Popcorn can be made from many types of kernels. Some are softer than others, some are larger once popped, and some are different shapes. If you’re looking for something that won’t get stuck in your teeth, you’ll want to pay attention to what type of kernel you’re purchasing.

There are many types of popcorn called ‘hulless,’ which is what you want. This refers to the popcorn having a less prominent hull after popping (those hard parts still stuck to the kernel after it pops). While hulless popcorn might not be accurate in name, it does contain less of those hard little bits that get stuck in your teeth.

What Types of Popcorn are Kernel-Less?

There are some specific varieties of popcorn that have smaller kernels and market themselves as ‘hulless.’ While they are smaller, they boast the same texture and flavor as regular popcorn, without all the little hard hull pieces remaining after popping.

Here are some varieties to look for:

  • Lady Finger
  • Baby White / Yellow / Blue
  • Gourmet Red / White
  • Autumn Blaze

Best Hulless Popcorn

And here are some hulless popcorn brands with great options:

These are a few of the options available, but there are many more as well. Hulless popcorn has become more popular as it becomes more well-known, and manufacturers and brands focus on this product. Who doesn’t want to buy popcorn that doesn’t get stuck in your teeth, right?

Pre Popped Hulless Popcorn

If you fancy grabbing a bag of ready-popped hulless popcorn, there are a few options:

Where to Find Kernel-Less Popcorn

Thankfully, you can find these kernel-less types of popcorn right next to your usual popcorn brand at the store. You can also find various options through online retailers such as Amazon. You can search for the brands listed above, look specifically for the label ‘hulless,’ or search an online retailer for ‘hulless popcorn’ and check the reviews of the options.

You’ll be surprised…

There are quite a lot of options for hulless varieties of popcorn. This is true for the plain, naked kernels and pre-packaged microwave popcorn brands.

How to Remove Kernels from Popcorn

Whether or not you decide to take the plunge and purchase hulless popcorn, you can remove those harder, less popped pieces before sitting down to snack. This method works whether you’ve popped your popcorn from bare kernels or a bag in the microwave.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Grab a cooling rack (choose one with smaller spaces if possible)
  • Place a cookie sheet over the top of the rack
  • Set the rack (still with the cookie sheet on the top) over the top of your bowl of popcorn
  • Flip it over
  • Shake back and forth, up and down (every direction)

Your popcorn experience will never be the same! Now that you can remove those unpopped kernels and harder hulls, your teeth will thank you. This, combined with switching to kernel-less or hulless varieties, will transform your popcorn snacking experience forever.

An Alternative Method (for Microwave Popcorn Only)

If you’re using microwave popcorn, you can use a simple method instead, if preferred. It’s so simple, there isn’t even a list of steps.

When the bag is finished popping (once the pops are spaced out by about 3-5 seconds), remove it from the microwave.

Rip just a small amount of the corner open instead of the entire length of the bag (it should be slightly larger than an unpopped kernel but smaller than a popped kernel). Now, shake the bag over a bowl, and the unpopped kernels will shake loose.

This only works for fully unpopped kernels, not the ones that pop but leave hard little pieces of the hull outside the kernel. If you’re using a hulless variety of microwave popcorn, though? You should be able to kill two birds with one stone and mix both the unpopped kernels and the hard hull pieces.

How Do They Make Hulless Popcorn?

They don’t ‘make’ hulless popcorn because, technically, all popcorn kernels have a hull. However, it refers to different varieties of popcorn kernels that have softer, less-pronounced kernels.

Factors to Consider With Kernel-Less Popcorn

Hulless popcorn kernels sound like a dream, right? Yes, it is easier on your teeth and makes for a more pleasant eating experience, but what should you consider when you switch over?

Here’s the deal.

The taste is pretty much the same. As far as texture is concerned, the kernels are smaller, meaning there won’t be as much air inside. This results in a slightly less tender, airy product. That being said, the difference isn’t drastic.

One thing to remember: don’t use the microwave button. This automated setting doesn’t account for every type and size of popcorn kernels, and you’ll likely end up with some burnt or unpopped kernels.

Simply follow the directions on the bag (whether you’re using plain kernels or a microwave popcorn bag), and you’ll be fine.

What Type of Salt to Use

Kernel-less (or hulless, kernelless, kerneless) popcorn has smaller kernels, so putting a little extra effort into getting the seasoning right pays off.

Instead of using your usual table salt for these smaller-sized kernels, try using popcorn salt. It will stick to the kernels better and provide a better experience since they don’t usually have as many nooks and crannies to hold salt as regularly-sized kernels.

So, there is a solution to keeping popcorn kernels out of your teeth after all. Popcorn without kernels is a delicious way to enjoy the fluffy, salty snack without having to pencil in a teeth-picking session afterward.


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