In many high quality ready made popcorn, the popped grains are almost perfectly round, while home popped grains are the usual irregular shape.

How is that lovely round shape achieved?

  • I don't like round popcorn. I like them irregularly-shaped. It gives more diversity to the bowl when I look at it. I don't like to look at food that are too uniform in shapes and sizes. Creeps me up.
    – Cynthia
    Nov 1, 2012 at 20:09
  • 3
    The round popcorn is often preferred for things like kettle corn and carmel corn. The more consistent shape allows for better coating of the piece of popcorn (or so they say). Nov 1, 2012 at 21:29

2 Answers 2


Round popcorn is just made from a different variety of popcorn, called mushroom popcorn. The "normal" kind is called butterfly popcorn, or sometimes snowflake popcorn.

The two are mentioned in the wikipedia article (last paragraph of the linked section), along with a photo. It looks like it's pretty easy to buy online, if you prefer it.

Mushroom popcorn kernels are a little sturdier and easier to coat, so it's well-suited for prepackaged popcorn and especially things like caramel corn, but at least to me that sturdiness is also a slight toughness, so I prefer the butterfly-style popcorn most of us are used to.


I have a traditional looking popcorn maker like the ones you see at carnivals.

From my experience, if I leave it to heat up too much before putting the oil and kernels in they pop really quickly and are rounded but are chewy as they are quite dense. If I put the oil and kernels in soon after turning the heat on they take longer to pop and are the irregular shapes. Unlike the rounded popcorn the irregular ones aren't chewy.

In short, hotter oil makes round popcorn, while less hot oil makes the irregular chapes.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.