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Have you ever tried to pop a batch of popcorn kernels only to have many of them come out unpopped? It could be because the kernels were stale. Preserving your popcorn will help keep kernels fresh and ready to be popped. There are a number of ways to preserve already-popped popcorn, too, to keep it tasting crisp and delicious

Preserving Unpopped Kernels

Purchase the freshest popcorn kernels, in a plastic or glass container if possible, to get the longest life from your popcorn. Bags are more likely to have small rips and tears from transit that can cause the kernels to go stale.

Leave the bag, jar or container of popcorn unopened until you are ready to eat the popcorn. Air can ruin the popcorn quickly.

Store the popcorn at a cool temperature in a dark area, away from any heat or humidity that can degrade the kernels.

Transfer any popcorn left in an opened bag to an airtight container or resealable bag with the air pressed out.

Freeze popcorn that will be kept for longer periods of time, up to a year. This prevents the oil in the kernel from going stale and it will keep the moisture inside the kernel responsible for popping from evaporating. Thaw the kernels before cooking.

Preserving Popped Popcorn

Pop the popcorn as close as possible to the time it will be eaten. Popped popcorn can start to go soft and stale in as little as an hour.

Sprinkle toppings like salt or butter on the popcorn when it will be served. Salt draws moisture from the popcorn while butter will make the popcorn soggy the longer it sits.

Store popped popcorn in an airtight glass or plastic container at room temperature in a dark, dry place.

Lengthen the life of your popped popcorn by making popcorn balls or following a popcorn recipe that will coat the popcorn. The coating will protect the popcorn from going stale and make up for any lost crispness.

Open popcorn that has been purchased already popped when it will be eaten and store in a cool, dry place.


Do not refrigerate popcorn.

Popcorn that has already been popped should not be reheated.

Throw out any popcorn that looks discolored or has become moldy.

About the Author

Michael Kay

A graduate student in Boston, MA, Michael Kay has been a professional writer for over five years. After working in political communications, he began working as a copywriter for a national advertising agency based in Chicago. His work can be found in college textbooks, corporate marketing materials and across the Web. He has a Bachelor of Arts in magazine feature writing from Ball State University.