Can you pop sweet corn? (+3 step popcorn recipe)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you pop sweet corn?”, and how to make popcorns?

Can you pop sweet corn?

No, you cannot pop sweet corn. Sweet corn contains more sugar than other types of corn, because of which it does not pop. Corn pops when the kernel is picked mature and dry, however, the kernels picked for sweet corn are tender and in the immature stage.

Popcorn has the perfect anatomy to pop when exposed to heat. Zea mays everta is a type of flint corn and is the most commonly used variety of popcorn. Read on if you want to know how to dry the corn cobs for popping.

What is sweet corn?

Sweet corn is a variety of corn with considerably high levels of sugar. Sweet corn is harvested at the milk stage and must be stored(canned or frozen) or consumed or else the sugars in the corn will convert to starch during maturation.

Sweet corn is frequently used as a pizza topping and added to salad bowls. Kernels are removed from the cob or consumed whole called, Corn on the cob, which has been steamed or grilled. Creamed corn, corn soup, succotash are some of the well-known ways to eat consume sweet corn.

What is popcorn?

Popcorn is another variety of corn that pops under high pressure when exposed to heat. Corn is commercially popped in a machine called Popcorn Hammer, however, it can also be made to pop at home using a pot. A modern version of popcorn maker is also available in the market.

Popcorn has been used as a snack for theatre and cinema since the 1930s. 

Popcorn is high in powerful antioxidants and dietary fiber and low in calories, sugar, sodium, and fat. These attributes make it a perfect food for people that have dietary restrictions like diabetics.

How to dry corn for popping?

The popcorns won’t pop if they have lesser water content than 14-20%. It is important to dry your corn on the cob for it to pop. follow the instructions below to dry your corn.

After drawing, you can store the corn cobs in the freezer using a freezer bag. They will stay fresh for about 2-3 years. There are two ways you can dry your corn cobs.

In the oven

Pick the corn ears at the right time i.e when the husk is dry and the kernel jas become hard. Remove the husk.

Preheat the oven at 300°F for about 20 minutes. 

Spread your corn ears on a roasting pan in a single layer.

Turn the heat as low as 200°F or below and place the tray inside the oven overnight or until the corn cobs are dry.

In a mesh bag

Place the corn cobs in a mesh bag or take a regular paper bag and poke holes in it.

Keep the bag hanging in a dry and cool place for at least a week or until the corn kernels are completely dry.

What is the science behind corn popping?

To understand science, there are three things to know that are responsible for the popping action

  1. Popcorn has an impermeable outer hull
  2. Popcorn has a hard starchy endosperm
  3. Corn kernel has oil in its germ part

When popcorn is exposed to heat, the temperature of oil and water inside it rise resulting in the formation of steam inside the kernel. In the presence of steam, the starch takes a soft and pliant form due to its gelatinization. 

The steam continues to develop inside until a pressure of 135psi and a temperature of 180°C is achieved. At this point, the hull breaks open, resulting in a sudden pressure and temperature drop and releasing the endosperm into a foamy mass. The foamy mass cools down and the starch and protein set and become crispy.

What other kernels pop?

Sorghum, amaranth, and quinoa are some other types of kernels that pop or get puffed up when exposed to heat. Amaranth and quinoa develop a moist and mushy texture like porridge when heated, therefore, they are referred to as pseudocereals.

All three of these types of kernels are nutrient-dense and are delicious when added to baked goods, granola bars, or eaten as a breakfast cereal, or added to salad bowls.

How to make popcorns on the stovetop?

  1. First, heat the oil or butter in a saucepan or pot on medium heat
  2. Add the high-quality corn kernels to the pan and cover for 30 seconds.
  3. Sprinkle some salt over your popcorns and enjoy.

For some variation, you can coat your popcorns in caramel if you have sweet tooth. Alternatively, you can coat them with some pesto or tabasco. Try adding cheese and some cayenne pepper on the top.


In this article, we answered the question “Can you pop sweet corn?”, and how to make popcorns?