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What's the best plain oil for popping corn?

I'm fairly broke all the time, and I make popcorn frequently, as it's very cheap, and is good for a snack while watching my detectives... ;)

I use pure olive oil, but I'm wondering if a more flavored oil might work as well? Also, I don't use much butter to dress the corn, just a little more of the olive oil flavored with a little pepper and or salt, sometimes with added southwest spice blends. Penzey's Arizona Dreaming, enough said!

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  1. Olive oil has a very low burning point and is rather expensive, relatively speaking. You might do better with peanut oil, very high burning point, or canola, both of which are fairly neutral in flavor. Then use your olive oil for your flavoring. Might vary that with a little Bragg's liquid amino acids, very tasty, and/or nutritional yeast, which are tasty on popcorn.

    1. Coconut oil - If you go to the dreaded WalMart, there is LouAna brand for about $6 - in a 32 oz jar.

      1. Coconut oil is a good choice - and it's the new "healthy" darling. It's fairly expensive, but has a pretty high smoke point and does a great job. I would with just a bit of butter and some sea salt for the best popcorn. Then, I am a purist and don't like things "flavored up"!

        1. I just use good old fashioned canola oil, though anything with a high smoke point will do.

          1. +1 for coconut oil.

            peanut oil is great too, though with the recent astronomical increase in the price of all things peanutty, i suspect it's no longer a very economical choice.

            1. I use peanut oil, its cheap and readily available with a high smoke point, plus its flavorless (at least to me). Meaning you can really dress your popcorn with flavored olive oil.

              1. Yep, I love the flavor coconut oil gives...

                1. Thanks everyone! I admit coconut oil scares me off, as I seem to recall it has a bit of saturated fat, and canola oil is just...no. But peanut is interesting, and I might try some better quality extra light olive oil (what I have at the moment is the Walmart brand).

                  I've been a popcorn addict since I learned to make it when I was 9!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Spaceechik

                    I love popcorn, too. I found when I started using peanut oil, waaay more popcorn kernels got popped because you could get to popping temperature and hold it there longer before the oil started to smoke/burn. I use a cuisinart popcorn machine now, and it only needs a tsp or 2 of oil, But with the peanut oil, I get every single kernel popped. Seriously. And I'm not using a premium popcorn. Give peanut a try, its pretty cheap and if you don't like it you can still cook with it, and let us know how it goes. :)

                    1. re: Spaceechik

                      The studies were done poorly and bad PR took off from there. Just know that saturated fat is not terrible and coconut oil is being viewed as the next health food.

                      1. It's not cheap, but I like grapeseed oil- flavorless to me, and then I drop in some butter when I put in the popcorn, and it doesn't burn during the popping cycle. Grapeseed oil has a real high smoke point.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: EWSflash

                          How is it price-wise? I've seem it recommended in "How to Cook Everything" app, by Mark Bittman.

                          1. re: Spaceechik

                            Ya, it can cost a fair amount, up here at least, and the extra cost doesn't relate at all to any significant value added IMHO. Peanut oil is everywheres and pretty cheap, very very close to canola oil costs. I can't justify the expense. I'd rather put that money into a great olive oil that I would only use for my salads. But that's just me...:)

                          2. re: EWSflash

                            It is not cheap, but I don't think it is much more expensive than say peanut oil. I have grapeseed oil around too.

                          3. Since you are popcorn lovers.... tell me the best kind of popcorn. I have been having bad luck with cheapest storebrands; usually the cheap corn is stale!!! i've also tried it from WF, and stale from there too....

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: cheesehead in recovery

                              I like Orville's and get great popping percentage. Big and fluffy too.
                              I use veg. or peanut oil.
                              EVOO is too strong for me.
                              Mostly, I can never go back to the bag...

                              1. re: cheesehead in recovery

                                I just use generic store brand popcorn, with peanut oil and I've never had a problem. I used to have real issues when I used olive oil or canola oil.