How to Dye Popcorn Kernels

Written by cori brenning
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How to Dye Popcorn Kernels
Add some colour to your bowl of popcorn. (bowl of popcorn image by David Smith from

The Popcorn Board reports that Americans consume 16 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year. If you're bored with plain old butter, you can dye the popcorn that you pop at home to spice up your 52 quarts. Coloured popcorn is a sweet treat. It is easy to make and fun to use. You can roll it into a popcorn ball or string it together to create a colourful garland. Dyed popcorn is a popular snack, and can add a festive flair to Christmas, Easter, Halloween, or the Fourth of July.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Baking tray
  • Waxed paper
  • 3 tbsp popcorn oil
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 7.09gr. food colouring, any colour
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 4-qt. saucepan with lid
  • Wooden spoon
  • Oven gloves

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  1. 1

    Line the baking tray with waxed paper. Combine the popcorn oil, sugar, food colouring and unpopped popcorn in the saucepan. Mix thoroughly with the wooden spoon.

  2. 2

    Put the saucepan on the stove and heat it over medium-high heat. Cover the saucepan with its lid, but leave a crack between the lid and the edge of the pan. The crack will allow steam to escape, which will keep your popcorn from becoming too moist.

  3. 3

    Wear your oven gloves. Shake the pan with one hand. Hold the lid in place with the other.

  4. 4

    Continue to shake the pan as you listen to the popcorn as it pops. It will be ready in three to five minutes. Remove the lid when the sound slows or stops. Do not return the pan to the heat, even if you see unpopped popcorn kernels. The sugar coating on the popcorn is very hot and could burn.

  5. 5

    Scrape the popcorn onto the lined baking tray. It will be sticky. Let it cool. Break it into clumps and serve it as a dessert, or use it in a holiday party recipe to make a sweet, colourful treat for your guests.

Tips and warnings

  • Pop the popcorn in a popcorn popper to save time. You will not have to shake a pan for five minutes; instead, just set the popper to “stir.”
  • Be careful as you hold the lid. The handle and the escaping steam will be hot and could burn your bare skin.
  • Shake the pan the whole time that it is on the hot burner. If you stop shaking the pan, the sugar will burn.

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