Sugar-free Kettle Corn
This Healthy Kettle Corn is the perfect healthified popcorn treat. The perfect blend of sweet and salty, this Sugar-free Kettle Corn is so flavorful you won't be able to stop eating it!
Popcorn is, if you ask me, THE perfect snack. It's delicious, it's easy to make, crunchy, and great for almost any special diet too. And it's also super adaptable with all kinds of fun ways to make it---from plain to buttered to all kinds of fun toppings.
And it's a super frugal snack too.
We buy our organic popcorn in bulk to save money, but no matter how you slice it, popcorn is (unless you're buying it pre-popped in a bag) is a SUPER snack for those of us who are obsessed to frugalness.
What Is Kettle Corn?
Kettle Corn is popcorn that has both salt and sweetener on it. Not as much sweetener as caramel corn, but just enough for that perfect, delicious balance of salty and sweet. And of course that underlying crunch.
The Perfect Easy Healthy Snack
This Sugar-free Kettle Corn is truly the perfect snack for most people--and here's why.
It's a healthier, lower carb, and lower calorie snack.
It really hits the spot when you're craving something sweet.
Ditto for when you're craving something crunchy.
So easy....it's something you can whip up anytime.
So tasty, it tastes like you've made something really special.
The only diet that this recipe isn't perfect for is those who are eating keto, or those who are allergic to corn ;).
How We Made the Perfect Healthy Kettle Corn
Like most (or all) of my recipes, we made this over and over 'til we got it right. We tried out other versions online first, and noted what we liked or didn't.
There was one recipe with soy sauce in it (yes, soy sauce. Don't worry--there's no soy sauce in this recipe LOL!), and others that had too much oil or too much sweetener. Or simply too much salt.
This one, however, is pretty close to, if not perfect.
Just right sweetness and saltiness on crunchy, yummy popcorn.
I think you'll agree.
How to Make This Sugar-free Kettle Corn
What You Will Need
4 tablespoons coconut oil or cooking oil of your choice
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
5 tablespoons (25g) granulated low-carb sweetener (or sweetener of choice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
A large pan or stove-top, crank style popper. (Note that the popper there is stainless, which is preferable to other aluminum poppers.)
Have a large bowl available for pouring the popped corn into it quickly when it's finished popping.
Set aside 3-5 popcorn kernels. Place the remaining popcorn, sweetener, and salt in a small bowl.
In a large, sturdy pot over medium-low heat, place the oil along with the three to five kernels of popcorn.
Cover the pot with a lid and shake the pot back and forth continuously, or at least every 2-3 seconds, until the kernels pop.
When the popcorn kernels pop, add the remaining kernels, sweetener, and salt to the pot.
Cover the pot with a lid and shake the pot side to side a few times.
Continue shaking the pot continuously, or every 2-3 seconds until the popping slows to a stop (about 5 seconds between each pop).
Remove the pot from the heat.
Dump / pour the kettle corn into the large bowl, taking care to prevent burning yourself.
Let the kettle corn cool completely before eating as the hot sweetener can and will burn your hands, tongue, and lips.
CAUTION! Be sure to wear protective covering on your hands and arms. If you are using a stove top stirring popcorn popper, sometimes hot kernels come out of the top and can be quite painful, so you will definitely want good protective coverings in this case.
More Great Popcorn Recipes
All of you popcorn addicts (er--fans) will love these recipes too.....
The "BEST" Popcorn Seasoning
And..I'll have more popcorn recipes soon. Promise!
Recipe Notes & Tips
I've tried this recipe with both xylitol and Lakanto (erythritol / monk fruit blend) (use code wholenewmom to get 20% off!). Both work, but the xylitol option tastes better to us. Use whatever sweetener you like--you could even make this with coconut sugar or any granulated sweetener!
In fact, you could even make this with honey, or maple syrup!
Sugar-free Kettle Corn
- Large Pan or
- Crank-style Popcorn Popper
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil (or cooking oil of choice)
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels (organic preferred)
- 5 tablespoons low carb sweetener (see Recipe Notes for options)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Put oil in large pan (or stirring style popper) with 3-4 kernels. Cover with a lid.
- Shake the pan back and forth a few times (or stir the popcorn with the popper's crank handle) to combine.
- When the first kernel pops, put the rest of the ingredients (sweetener and salt and the remainder of the popcorn) in the pan / popper.
- Shake the pan (or turn the crank handle) continuously until the popping stops.
- Put the popcorn in large (non plastic) bowl and let cool.
- In the unlikely event that there is leftover kettle corn, store in an airtight container.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
Can this popcorn be made in the microwave?
Hi Winnie! I personally don't like microwaves since they use radiation to cook food, but yes you can do that.
You'd put everything in a brown lunch bag, and then fold down the top at least 3 times. Microwave on high for 1 minute 30 seconds to 1 minute 45 seconds, or a little more, if needed, but check it after adding 10-15 second increments to make sure that the sweetener doesn't burn.
Remove the bag, and shake it, then open and serve. Hope that works out well for you! But I do highly recommend the stove ;).
This does not work with coconut sugar...lol! First time, I tried following the recipe. Kernels just clumped up, wouldn’t pop, and the sugar burned. Tried again. This time, I thought to wait to add sugar until the corn really started popping. As soon as sugar was added, the kernels stopped popping. After long wait, the sugar started burning...still no popping. Just wanted to share to save anyone else from disappointment with coconut sugar. I’ll try other methods.
Hi Susannah- I'm so sorry you had trouble with this. I haven't made it w/ coconut sugar for a long time but I know others have - there are recipes for it online. Are you sure the heat was low enough and you kept stirring / shaking it?
Oh, not a problem! Yes, low heat and crank style popper. All part of experimenting with new things. I appreciate your post because I hadn’t even considered home-made kettle corn—and with alternatives to regular sugar. So I’ll definitely keep trying. Thanks for the inspiration!
I guess we'll both have to experiment! Did you have any new developments? I didn't see any difference in my recipe really and the others on the internet that only talked about using coconut sugar.
I've made stove top popcorn a million times no problem, but this method burnt mine to a black crisp. Now I'm having to boil my pan with baking soda. Adding sweetener that early is terrible advice.
Hi there. What type of sweetener did you use and what level of heat did you pop the corn at? This has worked over and over for us and has for others as well. Sorry you had a problem!
I’ve made this a few times with xylitol
And it is amazing. I just tried it with honey and it didn’t turn out so amazing. Argh. Very caramelly color and not sweet with a little bit of a charred flavor. Boo. So, don’t try it with honey! I’m out of xylitol so thought I’d give something else a try. Going to give it a go with coconut sugar now and see what happens!
so glad!! I wonder about the honey - curious as I have heard of others doing it. Maybe it needs a lighter heat???
LMK how the coconut sugar goes. Lakanto worked out pretty well... but I agree w/ you on the xylitol. These are best w/ xylitol as well but yumminess regardless. :). https://wholenewmom.com/honey-bunches-of-oats-coconut-chips/
How much maple syrup would you use, and how would you do it? I love to use that as a sweetener.
You could use the same amount or 1/2 - 3/4 since it's sweeter than sugar (more info in this post). Just add it to the pan as you would with any sweetener. Enjoy!