Wondering how long does popcorn last or what is the best way to pop your own? Here you will find everything you need to know about popcorn storage, popping tips, and the best seasonings.

Popcorn is a popular snack that has been around for centuries. It is made from corn kernels that are heated until they pop and can be enjoyed with salt, butter, or other flavorings. It’s perfect for an at-home movie night or an after-school snack.

popcorn in a pink and red bowl

Popcorn is relatively easy to make, but it can also be bought pre-packaged in stores. You can make popcorn with kernels, oil, and a pan on the stovetop, or you can buy pre-packaged popcorn that is popped in the microwave.

No matter how you choose to make your popcorn, you may be wondering how long it will last. Popcorn is a perishable item, so it will not last forever. However, with proper storage, it can last for a significant period of time.

📆 Shelf Life of Popcorn

The amount of time that popcorn will last depends on the type of popcorn and how it is stored.

Does Popped Popcorn Go Bad?

Store-bought popped popcorn has an approximate shelf life of two to four weeks if in its original unopened package. However, the shelf life decreases to one to two weeks after opening the packaging.

Homemade popped popcorn will last for 1-2 weeks in an air-tight container like a sealed jar or a sealed bag at room temperature. If you want the popcorn to last longer, you can store it in the fridge, where it will keep for a bit longer. Don’t store leftover popcorn in the original popcorn bag or other paper bags because it won’t last as long.

Does Microwave Popcorn Go Bad?

open bag of microwave popcorn in a microwave

Any food product with fats or oils has a chance of going rancid. However, unpopped microwaveable popcorn typically has an expiration date of 6–8 months, but this is only if the popcorn is unopened.

Do Popcorn Kernels Go Bad?

white popcorn kernels in a wood bowl

Popcorn kernels can be stored for a long time if they are kept in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight or a dark place like a kitchen cabinet. Unpopped kernels will have an indefinite shelf life if they are stored properly.

How to tell if popcorn has gone bad

You can tell whether your popcorn is no longer fresh by its texture and flavor. Popcorn that hasn’t been properly stored will be stale. It won’t have as fluffy of a texture, and instead of having a crunch, it might have more of a soft chew. It is a good idea to store leftover popcorn properly to avoid stale popcorn.

Can You Reuse Unpopped Kernels?

popcorn popped and kernels

When making homemade popcorn, If you take it off the heat too soon, some kernels can be stuck to the bottom of the pot. Don’t worry, though. You can put them back in the pot and add a little more oil, cover the pot, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook the kernels as you usually would to re-pop them.

🥶 Can You Freeze Popcorn?

In order to freeze your popcorn, do the following: Put your popcorn in a freezer-safe, airtight container, placing some plastic wrap in between the lid and the popcorn to help seal in the freshness. Set your container in your freezer on a level surface after wrapping it in freezer-safe foil or plastic. Wrapping it like this is the best way to ensure that you have fresh kernels for a couple of months or longer.

How to Freeze Popcorn Kernels

When you freeze popcorn kernels, they don’t actually freeze, but they do stay fresher longer. To freeze your unpopped popcorn, just seal it in a freezer bag, and make sure to remove any excess air. Before freezing, you can wrap the freezer bag in layers of plastic wrap to ensure that it stays sealed.

🍿 What Types of Popcorn Are There?

There are actually many different flavors and types of popcorn. The most popular type is probably the typical brown kernel popcorn, but there are also many other varieties.

Here are some of my favorite types of kernels for homemade fresh popcorn:

Ladyfinger Popcorn: I especially love this popcorn because it has super small hulls that don’t get stuck in teeth and braces. 

Purple Popcorn: Only the kernels are purple. After popping, you have a bowl of white popcorn.

Red Popcorn: Cerernals are reddish in color, but it pops up white.

Blue Popcorn: Blue popcorn is a hit sweeter than yellow or white popcorn.

Yellow Medium Size popcorn: A great all-around popcorn. Perfect for caramel popcorn.

Medium White Hulless: Another good popcorn to use when making popcorn balls.

Mushroom Popcorn: This popcorn is an extra large size that pops into a mushroom-shaped round ball. It tends to have fewer unpopped kernels. Great for stringing popcorn at Christmas time.

There are also many great flavors of store-bought and microwavable popcorn that you can find at your local grocery store or online.

Store-bought already popped

Here is my favorite store-bought flavored popcorn. When home in Indiana, I just happen to pick up a bag of Herr’s Fire Roasted Sweet Corn Flavored Popcorn. It is amazing how much it tastes like hot buttered sweetcorn! Really, it does.

  • Kettlecorn: A mix of sweet and salty, kettle corn is a popcorn classic.
  • Butter: You can’t go wrong with the classic butter flavor.
  • Caramel: Sweet and rich, caramel popcorn is a favorite among many.
  • Cheese: If you love cheesy snacks, you’ll love cheese popcorn.
  • Salt and Vinegar: This zesty flavor is perfect for those who like their popcorn on the tangy side.
  • Chocolate: For those who like their popcorn sweet, chocolate is a great option. Try this Chocolate Brownie Flavored Popcorn.
  • Peanut Butter: How about Peanut Butter Cup popcorn? A match made in heaven.

Storing Tips For Popcorn

Follow these tips to ensure that your popcorn stays fresh.

How to Keep Popcorn Fresh

  • Keep the popcorn in an airtight container.
  • Store in a cool, dry place.
  • For best results, consume within two weeks of opening the original packaging.
  • If you want your popcorn to last longer, you can store it in the fridge or freezer.

How to Store Popcorn Kernels

  • Keep kernels in an airtight container. This Grain Storage Container works great!
  • Store in a cool, dry place.
  • Kernels will last indefinitely if stored properly.

How to Store Popped Popcorn

  • Keep popped popcorn in an airtight container.
  • Store in a cool, dry place.
  • Popped popcorn will last for up to two weeks when stored properly.
  • You can also store popped popcorn in the fridge or freezer if you want it to last longer.

🌡 What temperature does popcorn pop?

Popcorn kernels must be heated to approximately 355 degrees Fahrenheit or 180 degrees Celsius for the starch in the kernel to build up pressure and explode.

Can You Pop Popcorn Without Oil?

Yes, you can! You can pop popcorn with only air when you use an air popper.

This Microwaveable Silicone Popcorn Popper is my favorite. I pop it in the microwave, spritz it with a little coconut oil, and shake on some salt. 

If you want to pop your kernels in oil, you can use any type of cooking oil. The best oils for popping are those with a high smoke point, such as olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil.

Best oil to pop popcorn in

woman shopping in a grocery looking at a bottle of oil in the oil isle

Here are a variety of oils to pop popcorn in.

  • Coconut Oil: With a slow smoke point at 350F, cold-pressed coconut oil is an option for popping popcorn. The bonus is the slightly sweet flavor coconut oil adds to popcorn.
  • Olive Oil: Cold-pressed olive oil can be heated to 350-400F, perfect for popping kernels. As a bonus, olive oil contains oleic acid and other monosaturated fats and antioxidants that our bodies need.
  • Avocado Oil: Avocado oil adds a hint of smooth buttery flavor to popcorn. The smoke point, between 375 and 400F.
  • Canola Oil: If you need to make a lot of popcorn, canola oil is a cheaper option. It has a smoking point of 435F degrees. Canola oil is considered a highly processed oil so the nutritional value is not good compared to cold pressed oil.

Best popcorn popper using oil

My favorite popcorn popper for using oil is this Dash SmartStore Deluxe Stirring Popcorn Maker. Note that it is best to remove the popcorn from the popper as soon as it is done popping. Condensation can build up on the plastic lid and make your popcorn a bit soggy.

🧂 Homemade Popcorn Seasoning Ideas

maple glazed popcorn on a cookie sheet and in bowls

One of my favorite, slightly sweet, popcorn recipes is this delicious Maple Glazed Popcorn.

Want to spice up your popcorn? The following are some of my favorite homemade seasonings to top popcorn with. These seasonings make the most delicious popcorn, with yummy unique flavors.

3 boys smiling over a big bowl of popcorn they are eating

Popcorn is a delicious snack that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Follow the tips listed in this article for storage to ensure that you get the best quality and flavor from your popcorn.

Depending on your preference, you can pop your kernels in oil or air. My favorite way to eat popcorn is with some salt and coconut oil spritzed on top. However, if you want to add some extra flavor to your popcorn, try one of the homemade popcorn seasoning ideas listed above.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab some of your favorite kernels and get to popping!