If you’re a popcorn lover, the chances are that you really love gourmet popcorn. After all, this type of popcorn is fluffier and tastier, not to mention much healthier for you than standard popcorn. With regular popcorn, just about any kind of corn is used, but that’s not the case when the popcorn is gourmet.
With gourmet popcorn, only certain types of corn and specific kernels are used. They have to be much higher quality than standard popcorn, and while they might be a little more expensive, their quality always makes them worth it in the end. Let’s take a look at some of the things that you should look for when you’re researching gourmet-quality popcorn.
At a Glance – Gourmet Popcorn Top Picks
How Is it Grown?
The way popcorn tastes is always a direct result of the quality of the kernels themselves. The production and processing of popcorn have a lot to do with how tasty it is in the end. There are two things to keep in mind when buying your gourmet popcorn.
First, try to find a popcorn manufacturer that grows organic popcorn. This way, there are fewer and maybe no harmful chemicals going into the final product. Organic always tastes better when it comes to food, and popcorn is no different.
Second, always go with a reputable brand so that you can feel comfortable about who made the popcorn.
The good news is that it’s easier than ever to research different companies when you go online. Make sure you pay attention to reviews from real-life customers because this will give you a good idea of how good their food products are.
Where Is it Grown?
Companies worldwide grow popcorn, but since each part of the world manufactures popcorn with a taste that appeals mostly to locals, it’s best to buy popcorn kernels from somewhere close to you. When it comes to gourmet popcorn, the best producers in the world are found in North America, particularly in Midwestern states such as Indiana. The raw flavor of the popcorn is always determined by where it is grown and produced.
For the best results, you should check to see where the kernels of a particular brand were grown and processed. Another reason for finding popcorn that’s made in your own country is that it can taste stale when it comes from another country, primarily due to the length of time it takes to get from that part of the world to where you live.
How Healthy Is it?
The best-tasting popcorn is always the healthiest, but keep in mind that the absolute healthiest popcorn is popcorn made without a lot of added ingredients. Many types of popcorn, including air-popped popcorn, are made without any salt or sugar, and that’s the best type to stick with.
If you are interested in healthy popcorn, check our air-poppers buyer’s guide.
Manufacturers sometimes add ingredients either to give the popcorn flavor or to increase its shelf life. Before buying gourmet popcorn, you should check the ingredients to make sure you are merely buying the popcorn and nothing else. In fact, the fewer ingredients you find on the package description, the healthier the popcorn will be.
Also, if you’re allergic to something in particular – nuts, for example – you’ll have to check the label to make sure the popcorn does not have any nuts in it. On the rare occasion when you cannot find this information on the packaging label, you can usually go to the company’s website and find it there. Keep in mind that it is a law that manufacturers must list most of the ingredients in all of their products, so what you’re looking for should be easy to find.
Regular Kernels vs. Hybrid Kernels
One of the reasons plain popcorn is so good for you is that it is a whole-grain product. Hybrid kernels are derived from corn that is crossbred between several other types of corn. It is still a good type of popcorn as long as the corn was explicitly grown to make popcorn.
Some people prefer hybrid kernels because they each seem to have a unique flavor since they are essentially a combination of several types of corn. At one time, it was thought that hybrid corn was less healthy for you than regular corn, but that is not the case. If you buy popcorn made with hybrid corn, you should be able to look at the packaging and learn exactly what types of corn the popcorn was made from.
Hybrid corn also tends to be a little cheaper than regular corn and is easy for popcorn farmers to find in large quantities, which is why hybrid popcorn is not that difficult to find. Hybrid corn is still a whole-grain product and still has a high fiber content. The only difference is that it is like getting popcorn that is made from several different types of corn.
Check the Shelf Life
If you make sure that the popcorn has only healthy ingredients and there are no added chemicals in the kernels, you’ll be much happier with the results. Nevertheless, you also have to store the popcorn correctly so that it lasts much longer.
Since you’re trying not to buy gourmet popcorn with any preservatives or chemicals in it, determining where and how to store it is important. Always store your popcorn in a cool, dry place. If you have to store it near a heat source, make sure it doesn’t get hot but stays at a normal level of warmth. Cool, dry places, of course, work best.
Our Favourite Gourmet Popcorn
If you want to get a jump start on your search for the perfect gourmet popcorn, below are a handful that you can consider.
Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Yellow Popcorn
This 5-pound, 12-ounce container of gourmet yellow popcorn sells for under $10 and comes from only high-quality premium kernels that are 100% whole grain, which means that the fiber content is high and the flavor is even better.
The popcorn tastes crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and it makes big, fluffy popcorn that everyone loves. It is also a 100% natural product that is gluten-free and non-GMO. In addition to the yellow, the same company makes white popcorn that is equally as delicious, so they truly offer something for everyone when it comes to their products.
Numerous names pop in most people’s minds when it comes to premium, high-quality popcorn, and popcorn made by Orville Redenbacher is always at the top of the list. With just one taste of their popcorn, you’ll understand why.
Killian Korn Butter Rum Pecan Gourmet Popcorn
This pack of two 11-ounce popcorn bags is homemade from a family recipe and comes in 12+ other flavors, including Hot Cinnamon, Blue Raspberry, Peanut Butter, Honey Cashew, Toffee, and numerous others. The popcorn will melt in your mouth because it is so tasty and has just the right texture. With this pack, you also get a free sample of another one of the company’s flavored popcorns so that you can sample what else they offer to their customers.
Killian Korn popcorn is made with only the very best ingredients; therefore, you can taste the difference in every single bite you take. And with all of these different flavors, they truly offer something for everyone.
Harry & David Moose Munch Gourmet Popcorn
Available in a tin container with an Oregon Trail design on it, this popcorn container consists of three different types of gourmet popcorn: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and classic caramel. It contains delicious, whole nuts and premium popcorn that you can enjoy both for special occasions and for a night staying in and watching movies.
The container is 8” x 6” x 8” and therefore holds a lot of popcorn, and it’s so tasty and fancy that you can use it for a birthday or holiday gift or even as a care package for a child who’s living in a dorm or a family member who’s in the military.
Popcornopolis Gourmet Popcorn in Two Flavors
This is a huge, 1.26-gallon tin container with two different popcorn flavors: cheddar cheese and yummy caramel. It is gluten-free and made without any high-fructose corn syrup, and its pieces are huge, fluffy, and delicious. Use this tin of delightful popcorn for a house-warming gift, a graduation gift, or to feed a hungry crowd at a party because it can feed up to around 15 or more people.
The Popcornopolis logo and signature stripes make it instantly recognizable. It will last for around six months after you open it, which means that you have a very long time to enjoy its tastiness.
Pops Corn Gourmet Caramel Popcorn Pack of 2
This package of two bags, totaling 1.26 pounds of pure, delicious popcorn, is non-GMO and made and processed in Indiana. There are no tree nuts, sesame nuts, dairy, or high-fructose corn syrup in these bags, but there is a lot of flavor and the perfect texture for popcorn. This is also 100% whole-grain popcorn to provide you with the extra fiber that everyone seems to need.
Best of all, the set of two bags is available for only $14.95, and when you receive it, it is fresh and ready to be eaten. This is truly an addictive type of popcorn, and the customers love that it has the taste of fresh popcorn that just came out of the kettle.
Gourmet popcorn is a treat but it can be hard to know when you’re getting the best. We hope this guide has been helpful in answering your questions and making you feel more confident about buying gourmet popcorn.