What Oil is Best for Popcorn Machines?

Microwave popcorn can be a quick and easy way to prepare your favorite snack. Admittedly, though, it doesn’t compare to the taste of popcorn that is authentically prepared in a popcorn machine. When pursuing this classic route, you’ll need to choose a type of oil for your popcorn. With so many options out there, it can be difficult to determine which would be the best popcorn oil for you. No need to get overwhelmed; we’re here to help. Read further to discover the benefits and drawbacks of the best oils for popping popcorn.

Why Oil for Popcorn is Important

When making popcorn the old-fashioned way, it is important to know that the oil you choose can greatly affect the final product. Not only can the type of oil change the taste of the popcorn, but it also has a big say in the nutritional value of the snack. The fat content of your popcorn is dependent on the oil you use, so be sure to be mindful if you want a healthier final product.

Further, each oil type contains a different flavor profile, and everyone has their preference! Additionally, you want to consider the smoke point of each oil. The smoke point is the temperature at which an oil begins to smoke. A high smoke point will allow your popcorn to pop with a lower risk of taking on a bitter taste. In this article, we will look at the best oils for popping popcorn, and discuss the pros and cons of each one.

The Best Oils for Popcorn Machines

If you want to know what oil is best for popcorn machines, you should consider that everyone has a preference. While some prefer a health-conscious option, others may value taste. Either way, we want to help you decide for yourself. Below, we have listed the pros and cons to the most popular options for popcorn oils:

  • Coconut Oil: If you want to emulate the taste of movie theater popcorn, coconut oil popcorn may be the way to go. Coconut oil is able to mimic the creamy flavor of butter while keeping it from becoming soggy. In fact, many movie theaters use this as their preferred popping popcorn oil. However, this type of oil has a serving size of 14 grams of fat with a high percentage of saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol levels more than plant based oils. So, while it provides the most well-known and familiar taste, it is not the healthiest. Unrefined coconut oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees Fahrenheit, while refined coconut oil has a smoke point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Sunflower Oil: Sunflower oil's biggest advantage is its nutritional value. Generally speaking, the fat in this oil is seen as healthy by experts, especially compared to something like coconut oil. The typical sunflower oil will contain about 3,699 kJ of energy for every 100 gram serving and contains 10.3 saturated fat, 19.5 monounsaturated fat, and 65.7 grams of polyunsaturated fat. Additionally, it is high in vitamin E and K. The drawback would be the flavor, as some consider it to have a less impactful flavor profile than others. While it may give off a faintly nutty flavor, you may need to rely on add-on products to make this popcorn flavorful. The smoke point for sunflower oil is 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Canola Oil: Canola oil is the most popular alternative to coconut oil as it is flavorful while still being low in saturated fat. When using this oil for popcorn, you will enjoy a buttery taste that comes close to the classic taste of coconut oil popcorn. Similar to coconut oil, it contains 14 grams of fat, but is mostly monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Further, it is the cheapest of the options. It has a smoke point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Peanut Oil: Peanut Oil is often a popular option to deep fry food due to its 450 degree Fahrenheit smoke point. With 14 grams of fat per serving, with relatively low unhealthy fats, it is an acceptable option that is somewhere in the middle when it comes to nutrition. The most distinct quality of this oil is the strong peanut flavor and aroma that it will give your popcorn. It can be an acquired taste for some, but is worth a try if you are looking for popcorn oil that will give your snack a unique taste.
  • Avocado Oil: Many consider avocado oil to be the best oil for popcorn. It offers the highest smoking point of 500 degrees Fahrenheit, while still containing 14 grams of healthy, rejuvenating fats. Out of all the oils on this list, avocado oil is considered the healthiest option among experts. When using this oil for popcorn, you will receive a rich, buttery flavor while avoiding unnecessary calories. However, it does come with a drawback, as it is the most expensive of the oils.

There is a lot to consider when determining what oil is best for popcorn machines. Whether you pursue a health-conscious option like sunflower oil, a cost-effective option like canola oil, the classic taste of coconut oil, the distinct and nutty flavor of peanut oil, the healthy and flavorful option of avocado oil, or a combination of multiple oils, you will find that each gives you a unique popcorn experience. We hope that this post has helped guide you toward your preferred method.

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Our founder, Charles Cretors, invented the popcorn machine and founded our company over 137 years ago. Since then, we have continued the long tradition of providing equipment for popcorn consumption. We are honored to bring popcorn to businesses, theaters, and homes worldwide and would be elated to provide you with an exceptional and authentic popcorn experience.

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