If you enjoy snacking on popcorn but hate when it’s chewy, I can help!
Occasionally, you’ve either opened a bag of popcorn, or made it yourself, and they come out tough and rubbery. Read on down to learn how to fix this problem, so you’ll never have chewy popcorn again.
Why Is My Popcorn Chewy?
When the heat rises when cooking popcorn, the moisture becomes steam, and the pressure begins to build up until the kernel pops.
Occasionally, things like salt, heat, and agitation can cause the popcorn to be tough and chewy. Read on down to learn why popcorn becomes chewy and how to fix it.
1. Not Enough Oil or Using Too Much Oil
Remember an old kitchen fact that oil and water don’t mix. Instead, the oil coats the popped corn and then repels. It acts as a protective barrier and ensures the texture of the result.
When the oil is so thin, it cannot evenly cover the kernels when they pop. However, the oil must also be firm enough so that it won’t make the popcorn become a gooey mess.
Moreover, not using enough oil when you add butter, margarine, or butter spray will make the popcorn rubbery and less enjoyable to taste. Meanwhile, the oil has the benefit to repel the water in the butter.
Thus, not enough oil will make your popcorn soggy with a stale texture. So, how to keep the popcorn from getting soggy?
The advice is that you should drizzle pure, raw olive oil over the popcorn.
On the other hand, how about adding too much oil while making popcorn? You will receive the same results, it seems to make kernels to drowning in oil, then slowly roasted in place of fully exploding as normal.
2. Storage of the Popcorn
Additionally, if popcorn is not stored properly after it is cooked, it can become chewy over time. Popcorn is best stored in an airtight container at room temperature, as this will help preserve its crispness and texture. If it is stored in a damp or humid environment, the popcorn can absorb moisture from the air, which can cause it to become soft and chewy.
Basically, the popcorn becomes stale.
To prevent popcorn from becoming chewy, it is important to store it properly after it is cooked. Using a good-quality popping machine and following the instructions carefully can help ensure that the popcorn is cooked evenly and fully, and storing the popcorn in an airtight container at room temperature can help preserve its crispness and texture.
3. Not Enough Salt
Many people ignore this ingredient without realizing its significance. The popcorn is absorbent, and the salt is a great factor to help the kernel explode properly to come out as a fluffy popcorn.
However, don’t use granulated table salt, you will still eat bland popcorn because the salt will fall to the bottom of the bowl.
Instead, use popcorn salt, which is a very finely ground-like powder. The small particles will cling better to the oil on the kernel surface.
4. Not Enough Heat And Agitation
If you heat the kernel unevenly, you will be burning just one side of the kernel. And instead of exploding, it will lose its strength and burst prematurely or not even explode at all.
It will end up like either an oil maid or a small “dud” kernel. Furthermore, when you heat the kernel too slowly, the kernel’s shell will leak out the moisture, and the starch will overcook.
Much as important as heat, agitation is a major factor contributing to the texture of the popcorn. If you don’t keep the kernels moving, the heat will not go evenly to each one, which will result in chewy popcorn.
5. Improper Steam Control
When the kernels pop, they release a burst of steam. And what happens to the steam can decide whether the popcorn will come out crispy.
If the steam does not go out of the pot, the popcorn will absorb the steam and makes popcorn tough. Thus, when you pop popcorn in a tightly covered popper, there is a significant possibility that the popcorn will come out chewy.
If you are using a popper, make sure it is well vented to leak the steam away and do no harm to the popcorn. The popper does not need to be expensive and high-tech.
Instead, a popper should ensure the popping process occurs correctly. The steam should be able to escape, move past the corn and out of the pot.
6. The Popcorn Itself
More than often it’s fair to blame the quality of the popcorn. Popcorn can lose moisture as it ages. The popcorn may not pop if it is old, which is called an old maid. “Popcorn that fails to pop is often found at the bottom of the popcorn bowl, known as Old Maids.
Even when you follow the exact recipe and use the best popper, the popcorn will not be crispy in any way. So anytime you buy it, make sure the expiration date is not close.
How Long Is Popcorn Good For?
Like any other snack, popcorn has its expiry date. But how long does popcorn stay fresh?
Naturally, the raw popcorn in packs may have a long shelf life. If you keep the unpopped kernels in a tightly sealed jar in a cool area, they should remain usable for a very long time.
However, the time popcorn stays fresh changes when you pop it. Due to the added moisture that makes the kernel burst out, it diminishes the popcorn shelf life and makes it go bad quicker.
How To Avoid And Fix Chewy Popcorn
What Makes Popcorn Pop
It’s fun to listen to the popping sound when you put a popcorn pack in the microwave. Do you know what causes the hull to extend its size?
There is a micro droplet inside the kernel wrapped by the hard shell of the seeds we can see. When you add heat via microwave or a hot pan, it steams up this liquid and builds pressure that explodes the fluffy part.
If you’re looking for the question “why isn’t my popcorn popping“ it’s because the popcorn does not have enough moisture or the heater is not use the correct temperature to pop it.
How To Improve the Taste of Popcorn
While plain air-popped popcorn can be boring, you can add flavor to the popcorn to make it tastier. Below are a few ideas to add some extra flavor to popcorn.
Crushed basil or oregano with some chilly powder will make your bowl of popcorn hard to resist. Simply toss the mixture into the hot popped corn and mix them evenly.
2. Olive Oil
For huge fans of olive oil, it is possible to drizzle your dish with a tablespoon of the liquid. You can sprinkle the pan with your favorite seasonings and mix until you like its taste.
It’s hard to resist salty Parmesan cheese in your popcorn. One tablespoon of the ingredient will elevate the tasty level for this very ordinary snack.
How to Fix Old Popcorn
Fill a bowl with water and add the older kernels. Next, soak the popcorn kernels in water for about 10 minutes.
Next, drain out the water and cook the popcorn like usual. You may notice that you will have fewer unpopped kernels and fluffier popcorn.
Other Tips for Popcorn
Follow my below checklist to ensure the air-popped popcorn comes out fluffy and crunchy everytime.
Avoid chewy popcorn
- High smoke point oil is the best oil when you stove top popcorn such as canola oil, or the next best option is avocado oils.
- ¼ cup of popcorn oil for ½ cup of kernels
- Three tablespoons of unsalted butter for a 5-quart pot
- Vent the moisture when popping
- Store popcorn on a pantry shelf at room temperature
Fix chewy popcorn
- Add a little extra moisture: add 1 teaspoon of water for 1 pound of popcorn will make popcorn fluffier puffs.
- The easiest way is shaking it up 2-3 times a day for three days
- Reheating the leftover popcorn: simply spread a baking sheet in an oven, leave it for 2 minutes and take it out to get crispy popcorn again.