How To Keep Popcorn Warm

Popcorn is a handy food, tasty as it is convenient. You can get a lot of popcorn at little cost, and heat it up quickly as well. It’s even low in calories, despite tasting like a cheat meal! 

But how does one safely reheat cold popcorn without ruining the quality? Today we’ll tell you how to keep popcorn warm, as well as sharing some fun facts along the way.

Microwave it! The most obvious method is sometimes the best one, and that’s the case here. The same microwave that most often cooks popcorn should do fine at reheating it later. However, you need to make sure to lower the power first!

We’ll get into that in more detail later in the article, but keep in mind that popcorn is susceptible to burning. It doesn’t take much to make popcorn hot, and too much heat can totally ruin them. 

The History Of Popcorn

Popcorn in some form has existed for longer than our history books can document. But its popularity skyrocketed during the Great Depression, due to being a relatively cheap food source. Eating popcorn whilst watching a film is a time-honored tradition. The salty snack was first seen in theatres dating back to 1938. 

Popcorn is also closely associated with microwaves, as today microwavable popcorn is by far its most popular form. This is appropriate, because popcorn was actually the first thing ever deliberately cooked by a microwave back in the 40s. Percy Spencer, inventor of the microwave oven, felt it was a solid choice to test out his creation. 

Three Different Ways To Keep Popcorn Warm

  1. Reheat It In The Oven

This will take extra work compared to the other choices, but can get better results than a microwave if done perfectly.

  • Step 1: Preheat your oven to 250 °F (121 °C) and set it to bake.
  • Step 2: Spread the popcorn out upon a baking sheet by hand. Make sure none of them are touching so that they’ll reheat evenly!
  • Step 3: Place the popcorn in the oven and keep it there for around five minutes. Make sure to check on it regularly; remove the popcorn if any pieces start to turn brown.
  • Optional: During step 3, you may go ahead and get any additional seasonings ready. It’d be a good time to melt some butter, or prepare a substitute for butter, while you wait.
  1. Heat Up Popcorn In The Microwave

As stated, this is the easiest thing to recommend due to sheer convenience. Almost everyone has a microwave and this method is by far the fastest.

  • Step 1: Prepare the popcorn in a microwave-safe dish. If possible, a large flat dish is best, to allow room for more of an even spread.
  • Step 2: Set the microwave’s heat level to medium or low. Many default to the high setting; that would very quickly burn already popped popcorn. Some microwaves are simply stronger than others, so use your own discretion as to whether you need low or medium.
  • Step 3: Heat the popcorn for 10-30 seconds. It’s recommended that you only cook for a short burst. Popcorn warms quickly!
  1. Use A Professional Warmer 

An interesting alternative, if a bit situational, is to make use of a professional popcorn warming display case. You will often see cases like this at movie theatres, glass boxes which contain a heating lamp. These gently maintain warm temperatures and do the job great, however this is an expensive investment. So while it gets the best results, it’s not recommended for most people. 

You probably should only buy one of these if keeping popcorn warm for lengthy periods of time is key to your job. For example, if you’re running a concession stand, this will be very handy for you. However it’s possible to rent one if you have only a brief, temporary need for such a thing.

  • Step 1: After obtaining a professional warming display case, set up the machine on a level surface and plug it in.
  • Step 2: Turn on the heat lamp and give it some time to get warmed up. How long it takes to get hot will depend on the case you get.
  • Step 3: Make the popcorn in whatever typical method you prefer.
  • Step 4: Open the lid at the top of the display case and dump the popcorn inside. Keep it in there for as long as needed; these can maintain popcorn for long stretches of time. 

How Do I Know If My Popcorn Is Burned?

Burnt popcorn is just the worst, and something that you’ll want to be wary of. It’s easy to spot burnt kernels, as their typical off-white color turns to black in the worst cases. 

These popcorn pieces will have a very ashy taste and texture. It really just ruins them, and if you’ve burnt one piece, you’ve probably burnt them all! That’s just a sad day for everyone so let’s avoid that at all costs.

In Conclusion…

Popcorn heats up fast, which is a big reason why it’s such a popular and convenient food. However, by that same token, it burns just as quickly, especially when it’s already popped! It probably goes without saying that it’s best to simply eat it while it’s fresh out of the oven! But as that’s not always possible, exercise caution when reheating. 

Whatever your method is, be sure to keep a close eye on your popcorn.