Posted on: November 20, 2008 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 5

There’s nothing like a bowl of lightly-salted, buttered popcorn when watching a movie, especially in the comfort of your own home. You get to choose a good movie as you set the pot of popping goodness on the stove or inside the microwave. But then you realize that you haven’t turned the DVD player on, or that the disc has scratches. After some troubleshooting, you get the movie to play. Then you smell a rather putrid, burning odor coming from the kitchen. Oops, you just burned your popcorn.

Some people may enjoy the burnt bits of a bag or a pot of popcorn, but a bowl of brown, burnt bits doesn’t really go well with movies. Burnt popcorn doesn’t smell good, and the odors may confuse the fire alarms and smoke detectors installed in your kitchen. Here are some ways to get rid of that nasty burnt popcorn smell.

Fan Away

You don’t have to use room deodorants or odor-removing sprays to get rid of burnt popcorn smells. An open window or a door is usually enough to send the smoky and burnt smell out of your kitchen. You can also turn on the kitchen exhaust fan, or the exhaust fan above your gas range.

Burnt popcorn usually does not release smoke, unless you use a bit too much oil or if you cook your popcorn with a dollop of butter. You don’t have to worry so much about triggering the fire alarms or smoke detectors.

If you do smell burnt popcorn, take the pot away from the heat as soon as possible. Chances are that you’re probably smelling only the burned bottom kernels, and that you haven’t burnt the entire kettle of popcorn. You can still save and eat the cooked kernels, while you can throw away the burnt kernels.

Washing Tips

The smell of burnt popcorn kernels linger in pots, kettles, or microwaveable kitchen wares. Here are some tips to remove the burn marks and odors from burnt popcorn kernels:

  • Use citrus-scented detergent, which helps in masking and removing the burnt odors from cookware and microwaveable kitchen wares.
  • Wash the walls of your microwave oven thoroughly with warm soapy water.
  • Old-fashioned dish washing paste can help remove burn marks on metal cookware. Make sure not to use the abrasive kind of dish washing paste if you’re cleaning a non-stick pan.
  • Natural deodorizers like lemons, oranges, and baking soda can help remove the burnt smells inside your microwave oven.

“Disguise” the Burnt Bits

If you have a lot of burnt bits in a bowl of popcorn, you might end up transferring the nutty, burnt odors into the cooked kernels. It’s such a chore to pick out all the burnt kernels and bits from the pot, and you may end up throwing bits that can still be eaten. Popcorn is cheap, but there’s no sense throwing food away just because it’s a little bit burned.

There are many ways to save food, and at the same time enjoy the still-edible bits of burnt or toasted popcorn:

  • Add more butter or margarine to the popcorn.
  • Add some powdered cheese, barbecue, or sour cream flavoring into the bowl of popcorn.
  • Add more salt to the popcorn.
  • Sweeteners like caramel, sugar, or flavor packets that come with the popcorn can also help get rid of the burnt smell and taste.

You can make a textured dip out of the burnt popcorn kernels left in the bowl, which goes great with nachos, potato chips, or other snacks like vegetable sticks
. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Toasted or burnt popcorn kernels
  • Half a can of chickpeas/garbanzos
  • Two tablespoons of tahini paste
  • Peanut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • Cane vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • One cup of chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together in a blender or a food processor, a lot like how you would make a hummus or a vinaigrette. The burnt popcorn kernels add an interesting texture and depth to your snack dip. You’ll be surprised at how delicious the dip tastes.

How Not to Burn Your Popcorn

Like any kitchen odor, burnt popcorn smells can easily be avoided. The trick is to know how to cook popcorn properly.

  • Follow the directions on the package. Don’t microwave the bag on a higher or lower temperature setting than what is recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Don’t rush it. If you’re using a gas range and a pot to cook your popcorn, don’t set it on high at once. You’re better off cooking the popcorn on medium to low heat to allow the kernels time to pop and cook thoroughly.
  • Don’t mix the butter in. Butter and grease burn quickly. Unless the manufacturer of the popcorn indicates it in the package, you should only mix in the liquefied butter when the kernels have popped fully.
  • Keep track of the time. Popcorn will continue cooking, and will burn, if you allow it to stay on the heat for too long. At most, five minutes should be enough to heat the pan, and an additional five minutes off the heat should be enough to pop all the kernels without burning them.
  • Use good-quality popcorn. Burnt popcorn is often caused by the kernels having too much or too little moisture, or that they’re made from a low-grade variety of corn.
  • Use the proper cookware. Pots that transfer heat evenly are a great way to keep popcorn kernels from burning. Do not use a frying pan, a wok, or a porcelain-coated pan, because they tend to keep the heat from spreading evenly across the heating surface and through the food.

Some people like burnt or lightly toasted popcorn, but most people prefer the white, fluffy stuff. Popcorn goes great with any movie or any show on TV, but not when it’s burnt and difficult to eat. Now that you know how to get rid of burnt popcorn smells and how to cook popcorn just right, it’s only a matter of enjoying the show and keeping the chewing noises down.

Click here for more information on how to get rid of burnt popcorn smell.

5 People reacted on this

  1. I just posted a tip in “How to Get Rid of Microwave Odor” that I think people would appreciate. I found a product called What Odor? that works on virtually everything that stinks!! Its fabulous and you can use it in the kitchen and bathroom. NO MORE SMELLS!! Non-toxic and biodegradable makes it safe for animals and the kids rooms!!

  2. This isn’t really helping me, I accidentaly poored too much oil and it has the horrible smell I’ve opened the doros and windows all day and it still hasn’t gone, I’ve tried room odor and everything. Got any idea’s?

  3. My roomate decided to try and boil some peanuts, he left and when he returned all the peanuts were burnt. The house now has been smelling for the past 4 days. How can I get ride of this awful smell in my house?

  4. This didn’t really help me either. Popcorn was burnt to a char. house still stinks after hours of open windows…spraying freebreeze, boiling vinegar, and baking vanilla extract…I guess i’ll try burning candles next. I got better tips off of eHow.com, but still stinky…maybe i haven’t given it enough time. Help!

  5. This wasn’t too helpful for me. My roomate had a friend and the friend’s girlfriend over and she decided to cook some microwave popcorn… Long story short, the fire alarms did go off and the top floor of my dorm had to be cleared. A day later the smell is still everywhere and someone is not allowed to cook popcorn in our dorm anymore.

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