Yellow vs. White Popcorn – The Key Differences Explained

  • Author: Sue Dorrens
  • Published: September 2, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.

When shopping for popcorn kernels to microwave or air-pop at home, you may notice some popcorn kernels are labeled as white or yellow. Despite their appearances, yellow and white popcorn are two distinct types of popcorn.

Generally, popcorn kernels are classified as yellow or white. If you’re one to like your popcorn a certain way, you’ll want to choose the best popcorn kernels to suit your needs. So, in this article, we’ll break down the key differences between yellow and white popcorn and explore which kernel is best for you, so you know what to choose on your next trip to the store. Scroll on!

The Different Types of Popcorn

Not all popcorn is the same. Popcorn kernels are commonly classified into two types: white and yellow.

Yellow popcorn is made from kernels that are usually pearl-shaped and yellow in color. This color is caused by carotene, a photosynthetic pigment that produces a yellow serum color in plants.

Aside from the color, yellow popcorn typically has medium to large kernels. When popped, yellow popcorn produces significantly larger popcorn with a yellowish tint that is fluffier and sturdier than white popcorn.

On the other hand, the kernels of white popcorn are much smaller. Some call it ‘rice popcorn’ because of its granular size. When popped, it forms a smaller, more tender, crunchy popcorn with finer white shapes.

Despite being known as ‘rice popcorn,’ white popcorn has nothing to do with rice cakes, as they are made from puffed rice.

Yellow vs. White Popcorn

The main difference between yellow and white popcorn is the color of the grain. The kernels of yellow popcorn are usually yellow in color, while the kernels of white popcorn are white.

Shape-wise, the kernels of yellow popcorn tend to have pearl shapes with a rounded top, while white popcorn kernels tend to have long kernels pointed at both ends, just like rice granules.

There is also a difference in the size of the kernels, where yellow kernels are medium to large while white kernels are of a small, granular size.

When popped, yellow kernels pop a light yellow color, while white kernels pop white. In terms of texture, yellow popcorn has a fluffier, sturdier, and more durable texture because of its larger shapes, while white popcorn has a more tender and lighter texture because of its smaller, more fine, bright white shapes.

There’s also a difference in the popped popcorn shapes, where yellow popcorn tends to form fluffy snowflakes or butterfly shapes, while white popcorn tends to form a mushroom-like shape.

Which is Better, White Popcorn or Yellow Popcorn?

It depends on how you like your popcorn. In terms of taste, yellow popcorn has a stronger flavor than white popcorn, which has a mildly sweet flavor. However, when flavorings and toppings are added, they both taste nearly identical!

If you want a smaller and more delicate popcorn, go for the white variety. However, if you prefer larger and fluffier popcorn, yellow popcorn is the way to go. The size and texture are usually useful if you frequently get popcorn hulls stuck between your teeth.

It will happen more frequently with larger and sturdier popcorn than with smaller and softer popcorn, which helps to create a more pleasant experience.

What is the Most Tender Popcorn? White or Yellow?

White popcorn is the most tender popcorn because the kernels are much smaller in size than yellow popcorn, resulting in smaller, lighter results.

It’s said that white popcorn pops 40 times more than its kernel size, while yellow popcorn pops 46 times its kernel size.

If you factor in the size of the kernels, white kernels hold less moisture within their thinner hulls to form finer, more tender shapes.

What Popcorn Do Movie Theaters Use?

Popcorn movie theaters often use yellow popcorn because of its larger, fluffier shapes that look enticing in those popcorn machines. Because they have a much more durable, much sturdier texture, they can withstand dense toppings and spot attractive yellow colors that make them seem buttery.

Yellow popcorn has become more popular and commercially available due to its use in movie theaters, as opposed to white popcorn, which is mostly used for personal consumption due to its softer texture.

This also influences their price, with yellow popcorn being less expensive than other varieties.

Is White or Yellow Popcorn the Healthiest?

There is little difference between white or yellow popcorn as they are both regarded as healthy snacks.

1oz (28g) Serving sizeYellow PopcornWhite Popcorn
Calories124130
Fat7.1g7g
Carbohydrates14.2g16g
Protein3.5g3g
Fiber3.5g3g
Sodium195mg105mg
Yellow Popcorn vs White Popcorn Nutritional Values– Source – My Food Data

In terms of nutritional value, yellow popcorn has more fiber, protein, sugar, fat, and sodium than white popcorn, which tends to have a slightly higher calorie content.

It all stems down to how you prepare your popcorn, so always evaluate the options that are suitable for your diet and health and choose the right toppings and flavorings to use.

Pop Away!

Whether you’re a fan of yellow or white popcorn, both have great value to offer. While white popcorn will go easier on your teeth, yellow popcorn has a more visually appealing look.

Regardless of which popcorn you prefer, they’ll both make a healthy snack for any occasion, provided you use the right seasonings and flavorings to suit your needs. Enjoy!

Sources

https://www.difference.wiki/white-popcorn-vs-yellow-popcorn/
https://healthagy.com/yellow-vs-white-popcorn/
https://oureverydaylife.com/white-vs-yellow-popcorn-12237884.html
https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/nch/nch-5.html
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/flint-corn

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