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I have twice popped corn on an electric stove and both times resulted in near disasters with nearly burned popcorn and what did pop was minimal and flat. I was used to a gas stove and always had beautiful popcorn. The pot used has been used before with no problems. I also normally use coconut oil for the kernels. Help me make the transition, please. Thank you

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  • Have you looked at the answers to this question (first linked on the right under related)? Not specifically gas vs. electric, but does cover technique. Jul 21, 2017 at 15:12
  • what heat setting are you turning your stove top to?
    – Cos Callis
    Jul 21, 2017 at 19:04

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I've always popped my popcorn on an electric stove, and the kernels turn out fully-popped and delicious. Here is my technique:

  • I heat a deep pot on high heat and melt coconut oil inside.
  • I throw one kernel in, cover the pot, and wait for the kernel to pop. This indicates the oil is hot enough so that when the remaining kernels are poured in, they will pop in a relatively short time.
  • I then pour in all the kernels at once and cover the pot, while keeping it on high heat.
  • I wait for the rapid popping to slow down and take the pot off the heat and set it on a cool eye, where the remaining popping will come to a stop.
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    I also never add more kernels than enough to cover the bottom of the pot: this way all corn is in contact with the hot oil.
    – Luciano
    Jul 27, 2017 at 9:09
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I managed a movie theater in my youth, went to culinary school some years later, was a chef for a little while at a bar which I occasionally served popcorn, and have just moved into an apartment with an electric stove. I know more about both cooking popcorn and electric stoves than I ever wanted to.

Part of the problem is likely the kernels you're using. Not all corn is created equal, and bad kernels will make bad popcorn. It also goes stale, after a long while. I've found that some of the organic brands, in particular, make consistently crappy corn.

And for the heat, as long as the contents are properly agitated, the heat you're getting from the gas and the heat you're getting from the electricity are going to be pretty much the same when translated through the bottom of a pan covered in oil. All of the big professional kettles are electric, and they do just fine.

Make sure you really shake your pan around and get the oil and kernel's moving constantly. People tend to move pans much more gingerly on electric stoves because they're worried about damaging them or making noise or whatever... but agitating those kernel's is crucial to getting evenly popped corn that isn't burnt. Using nothing but a sauce pot, lid, corn, oil, salt, my electric stove, and some energy put into really shaking the pan around, I can get 100% pop rate with no burning on a small batch of corn, every time.

If it's too much effort, there's zero shame in using an air popper... and you can use it to roast coffee, too!

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  • Thanks for your help. I have turned the heat up, not quite all the way but very close (8 on a top range of 9) and yes, I did look for a related answer but didn't seem to find a pertinent one. I will head back to the drawing board with fresh corn and a new effort.
    – phoebe
    Aug 4, 2017 at 2:16
  • Good luck @phoebe!
    – ChefAndy
    Aug 5, 2017 at 3:41
  • But this doesn't explain the complete difference between using electric versus gas which is what is being asked. The age of the kernels does not come into play here.
    – Rob
    Jan 29, 2022 at 14:02
  • @Rob: They asked for popcorn help, not a breakdown of gas v. electric. I said electric works fine w/proper agitation, physical timidity on electric stoves specifically can be a problem, and ingredients and technique are more important considerations than fuel source— "the heat [..] from the -electricity are going to be pretty much the same," "professional kettles are electric, and they do just fine." "People tend to move pans much more gingerly on electric stoves because [...] but agitating those kernel's is crucial to getting evenly popped corn that isn't burnt."
    – ChefAndy
    Jan 30, 2022 at 21:56
  • @Rob "Help me make the transition, please." Implies they want to move forward with good popcorn— not a forensic breakdown of the problem.
    – ChefAndy
    Jan 30, 2022 at 22:01
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little tip - when all the popping stops remove the popcorn immediately from the pot as the heat will dehydrate and rapidly harden the popcorn and also give it an undesirable flavour....in short, well-cooked popcorn should melt in your mouth, chewy popcorn is overcooked

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What Jabulani said. I pop on both gas and electric, and the source of the heat doesn't matter. The technique does.

One layer of kernels so that they all have good contact with hot oil. I never agitate, just let them pop until they slow to a stop and immediately remove from heat and pour into large bowl. I rarely have more than 4 or 5 unpopped kernals.

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