Yellow vs. White Popcorn: Everything You Need To Know

Tina Ruggiero

Popcorn is a favorite snack of so many people. It is delicious, simple and pretty healthy. Popcorn can be sweet or savory. You can add countless toppings to your popcorn to make it more exciting or eat it the classic way with just butter and salt. Popcorn is a perfect, whole grain snack that is great for pretty much any occasion. 

But there may still be a lot that you don’t know about popcorn and you may want to learn more. For example, what is the difference between yellow popcorn and white popcorn? Did you even know that two different types of popcorn kernels existed?

If you are becoming a popcorn expert and have ventured past microwavable popcorn, you may find yourself in new popcorn territory. When you start popping your own popcorn, you will immediately discover that there are two kinds of popcorn: white kernels and yellow kernels. Which should you choose? Keep reading to find out. 

The Two Main Varieties of Popcorn

There are two main types of popcorn kernels: yellow kernels and white kernels. Yellow kernels are a medium to large size and the popped popcorn has a yellowish hue. White kernels, on the other hand, are a little bit smaller and very white when popped. White kernels are also softer and not quite as crunchy as yellow popcorn. 

Both varieties of popcorn work well in specific scenarios and each has a preferred use. It is good to know the differences between the types of popcorn so that you choose the right kind for the occasion is important. No matter which type of popcorn kernels you choose, you can rest assured that you are choosing one of the healthiest snack options out there. 

Yellow Popcorn

Yellow popcorn got its name thanks to the light yellow color of the popped kernel. You won’t be surprised to learn that yellow popcorn comes from yellow corn. Many people look at yellow popcorn and immediately associate it with a buttery flavor. It does look like it is covered in butter even when it is plain. 

Yellow popcorn also has a very thick hull which means it is quite crispy when popped. It will actually stay crispy longer than other varieties of popcorn. Yellow popcorn is a lot larger than white popcorn kernels and, because of this, it is typically the type of popcorn used by movie theaters. Those large, crunchy pieces hold toppings easily and taste fresh for quite a long time. 

White Popcorn

White popcorn has no yellowish tint but rather, it is completely white. Some people even call white popcorn ‘rice popcorn’ because it is so pale. White popcorn kernels come from white corn and they are small with an almost oval shape. Even the hull on the white popcorn kernel is small so many declare it to be hulless. The thinner hull pops easily and makes tender, soft popcorn that so many people enjoy. 

Many people think that white popcorn is healthier than yellow popcorn kernels. However, white popcorn has about the same nutritional value as yellow popcorn. Both popcorn varieties are great, healthy snack options for any day.

Snowflake Popcorn vs Mushroom popcorn

All popcorn varieties will actually pop into two different shapes: snowflake-shaped popcorn or mushroom-shaped popcorn. Both the white variety and the yellow variety of popcorn can make either shape. It really just depends on the kind of popcorn you have.

Mushroom shaped popcorn looks like a little ball. It usually has specks or raised dots that make it look like a round mushroom. Most mushroom shaped popcorn is about the same size and fairly uniform looking. 

Snowflake popcorn is also called butterfly popcorn. It has lots of arms and knobs that reach out in all different directions. Each popped kernel of snowflake popcorn is different and unique, just like snowflakes. 

Popcorn Shape Uses

Mushroom shaped popcorn is quite sturdy and holds up well under heavy toppings. It is really good for making kettle corn or caramel corn. The sticky toppings coat the outside of the large, round surface really well. 

The flake shaped popcorn is really good for capturing dry, powdered toppings. It also absorbs butter which is why it is a great shape for movie theater popcorn. Next time you are out for a movie night, check out the shape of your popcorn and you will see that it is mostly snowflake shaped. 

How to Take Advantage of the Main Difference in Popcorn

Now that you know a little bit more about the main differences of popcorn, you want to be sure to take advantage of their differences. For example, if you are planning to make some air popped popcorn for your next movie night, you want to use snowflake shaped popcorn which will capture all the seasonings and butter. You should also choose a yellow variety of popcorn to make those big, easy to grab pieces. 

If you are trying your hand at homemade kettle corn, a mushroom-shaped popcorn is definitely best. It will hold the weight of the flavored coating well and give you soft, chewy pieces. But, if you are just looking to make popcorn to enjoy as a workday snack, grab some white popcorn kernels. The smaller hull is less likely to get stuck in your teeth. 

Put Your Popcorn Knowledge to the Test

With two different types of popcorn to choose from, your snacking selection is endless. Whether you’re a fan of white or yellow popcorn, this classic snack never gets old. Be sure to come back for more delicious popcorn facts, recipes and tips. We are constantly writing new articles so you can learn more about our favorite, amazing snack.

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