The Secret to Perfect Homemade Popcorn Is Aluminium Foil

Photo: Billion Photos, Shutterstock
Photo: Billion Photos, Shutterstock

Popcorn is more than a snack; for me, it’s a way of life. My dedication to the lifestyle means that I’m always interested in learning new ways to speed up or otherwise improve my technique — and I recently found what I believe to be the final piece of my perfect popcorn routine.

I learned it, of course, from YouTube. About a month into COVID-19 quarantine, Polygon video producer Brian David Gilbert published a video on his personal channel about “pepcorn,” a signature concoction that uses Lao Gan Ma chilli crisp and gochugaru for a savoury, spicy vibe.

After a couple of batches I decided that pepcorn’s not my jam, but it doesn’t even matter because this video is a nonstop homemade popcorn hack parade. My favourite: Instead of a regular pot lid, BDG covers the wok with a sheet of aluminium foil, which he then stabs with a knife.

To me, this is genius. The perforated foil works like a built-in release valve, allowing just enough steam buildup to get the popping started and then immediately releasing the excess so it can’t drip back into the pot. Plus, you don’t have to play the “how ajar is too ajar?” game, or handle a hot, heavy pot lid dripping with condensation. Jiffy Pop had it right all along.

The foil hack is compatible with any stovetop popcorn routine; all you have to do is swap out your usual pot lid for a sheet of foil. Crimp the edges to seal it up, stab it all over with a small, sharp knife, and crank the heat. In no time, you’ll have perfectly crispy, fluffy popcorn — with no drips to ruin the party.

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