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Does Hulless Popcorn Exist?

by klarsen28@gmail.com
bowl of hulless popcorn

Everybody loves a delicious bowl of popcorn! One of the best things about popcorn is its versatility. You can serve popcorn at parties, picnics, movie nights, game days or even for dinner. You can make sweet popcorn, savory popcorn, desert popcorn, vegan popcorn, etc. There are so many ways to enjoy popcorn!

But one thing we don’t enjoy is getting popcorn stuck in our teeth and gums. It’s inevitable. No matter what we do, we always end up picking our favorite snack out of our teeth for hours after we’ve eaten it.

But what about hulless popcorn? Is it for real? Is there really a popcorn we can eat without having to dig around our mouths for those leftover bits?

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Does Hulless Popcorn Exist?

Sadly, hulless popcorn is not real and doesn’t exist. All popcorn has a hull. Many brands carry “hulless popcorn” however it’s not completely hulless. Hulless varieties have a thinner, softer hull resulting in smaller and finer hull pieces and they don’t stick in your teeth like regular popcorn.

That said, popcorn that’s called “hulless” is a great alternative if you’re looking for something that’s less irritating than the large, hard hulls common with regular popcorn. Hulless popcorn is easier to digest and doesn’t stick in your braces or teeth like regular popcorn hulls do.

What Is a Popcorn Hull?

The hull is the hard, outer shell of the popcorn kernel. It contains the starchy center and a small droplet of water the kernel needs to pop. When the kernel is heated, the droplet of water turns into steam and pressure builds inside the kernel until the kernel can’t hold the pressure and it explodes. 

When a kernel pops, it explodes and turns inside out, exposing its white, fluffy, starchy insides. The hull is still there, it’s now on the inside of the popped kernel. 

Most popcorn kernels have those hard, crunchy hulls that get stuck in your teeth. You know, the ones that you continue to pick out of your teeth and gums even after brushing and flossing. This is not only annoying but can also be a health hazard for those with digestive conditions such as diverticulitis.

What Is Hulless Popcorn?

Hulless popcorn is a smaller kernel and has a thinner, softer hull. When hulless popcorn kernels pop, the hull shatters into smaller, finer pieces which are much less noticeable than regular popcorn. They are easier to chew and digest, and don’t get stuck in your teeth as much as regular popcorn does

What Popcorn Has the Least Amount of Hulls?

There are many different types of hulless popcorn, each with their own unique features. They vary in color, size and taste.

Some of the more common varieties of hulless popcorn include:

  • Lady finger
  • Medium white
  • Baby White
  • Baby Yellow
  • Midnight blue
  • Gourmet White
  • Gourmet Red

How to Pop Hulless Popcorn

Hulless popcorn is much smaller and lighter in weight than regular popcorn kernels, so the way you pop them may take a bit more care.

My favorite way to pop any popcorn is on the stovetop. Click here for my perfect stovetop popcorn recipe.

If you’re using an air popper, be aware that the kernels are so small and light, they can easily fly out of the machine before they pop.

Amish Country Popcorn has a solution. Here’s what they recommend:

“Pro Air Popping Tip: The best method we’ve learned for preventing popcorn kernels from blowing through the fan is using an oven mitt to cover the popping chamber. Once the kernels start to pop, there will be enough popped kernels to hold down the other unpopped kernels in the chamber so they don’t fly out.”

Do you have a special technique for popping hulless popcorn? Let me know in the comments!

Hulless Popcorn Brands

hulless popcorn comparison

I tried 5 different varieties of hulless popcorn from 4 different brands. The photo above shows a comparison of all of them side-by-side. I also included some regular Pop Secret popcorn so you can see the difference in size and shape when compared to hulless popcorn.

I’ll also go into detail about each variety I tried so you can get an idea of which ones you may want to try!

I popped all of them in my Salbree silicone microwave popcorn popper.

As I mentioned above, there is no such thing as “hulless” popcorn. Instead, it should be called “less hulls”. Each of these popcorn varieties have hulls, they’re just smaller, softer and less noticeable in your teeth. 

Amish Country Popcorn started in Indiana in 1965 and has been in business for over 50 years. Their popcorn is non-GMO, gluten free and preservative free.

Medium white is similar to ladyfinger, but the popped kernels are larger. They pop into more of a medium-sized popcorn. They’re crispy and very white in color with a great popcorn flavor.

Amish country hulless popcorn white medium

This popcorn business is a 3rd generation family business. Located in Breda, Iowa, they’ve been growing and selling popcorn since 1940. That’s quite a track record!

The popcorn is non-GMO and gluten free. The kernels are small and pop into tender, white popcorn. The popcorn flavor is mild, but there are lots of nooks and crannies to hold toppings. It’s really yummy!

snappy white hulless popcorn

Black Jewell began selling their black heirloom popcorn back in 1962.

Black Jewell does a lot to make healthy popcorn for you and the environment. They are non-GMO verified, whole grain, gluten-free, and cholesterol free.

They have a richer taste compared to all the kernels I tried. The popped popcorn is fluffy, tender and crispy.

The deep, red kernels pop into bright white popcorn. The red hulls make the white, smooth surface stand out. It’s beautiful and delicious!

black jewell crimson red hulless popcorn

 Dutchman’s popcorn is grown in America’s Heartland. It’s non-GMO, gluten free, preservative free, vegan and kosher.

The popcorn is light and fluffy and has a tender hull which makes very few hulls. It has a light popcorn flavor and would hold any seasonings or toppings you want to add.

dutchmans white hulless popcorn

Amish Country has several different varieties of hulless popcorn, so it’s no surprise that there are two on this list.

This is the smallest of all the kernels I tried. It popped the cutest little, tiny popcorn I’ve ever seen! The popcorn is so tiny it just melts in your mouth.  The small size is great for little kids as it’s less of a choking hazard.

The popped kernels are small and virtually hulless. They have a great popcorn flavor with the perfect amount of crunch. They make a very quiet popping noise.

Because it’s so small, you’ll probably have to pop a lot more kernels to fill up a bowl

Amish medium white hulless popcorn

What Microwave Popcorn Has the Least Hulls?

I haven’t tried any of the hulless microwave popcorn, but here are a few of the more popular ones.

1. Black Jewell Gourmet Microwave Popcorn

I’m not usually a fan of microwave popcorn because of all the unhealthy chemicals used in the flavorings and in the bag itself. But what I learned about Black Jewell is making me very open to, and excited about trying this microwave popcorn.

Their popcorn is non-GMO verified, low fat, gluten-free, vegan, and Kosher.  They use unbleached, chemical free microwave bags that are PFOA and PFAS free.

They make a plain microwave popcorn, without any natural or artificial flavors. This is a great, healthy snack!

2. Amish Country Old Fashioned Microwave Popcorn (Ladyfinger)
This microwave popcorn is the ladyfinger variety, so the kernels are very small (and so cute!)

The popcorn is non-GMO and gluten-free.

3. Riehle’s Select Hulless Tender Lite Natural White Microwave Popcorn

Grown in Indiana, this popcorn is non-GMO and virtually hulless.

Do you have a favorite hulless popcorn? Or favorite toppings for hulless popcorn? If so, share your story in the comments! 

Is Hulless Popcorn Good for Diverticulitis?

For many years, it was thought that eating seeds, nuts and popcorn caused diverticulitis. A large study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2008 showed that eating seeds, nuts and popcorn did not cause diverticulitis, and they may play a role in prevention. In fact, participants in this study who ate popcorn at least twice a week had a 28% lower risk of developing diverticulitis!

For those who have diverticulitis, popcorn is generally not recommended. When having a flare up, it’s recommended to eat a low fiber diet until symptoms subside. At that time, your doctor may recommend increasing your fiber intake.

So, it may be best to avoid both hulless and regular popcorn if you have diverticulitis. That’s a discussion you’ll have to have with your doctor. I’m not a doctor and I’m not providing any medical advice here.

Can You Eat Hulless Popcorn With Braces?

Popcorn and braces don’t go together. I remember way back when I had braces and tried to eat popcorn. It got stuck everywhere! I was so bummed because I couldn’t eat one of my favorite foods without annoying consequences.

Popcorn is not recommended to eat when you have braces for many reasons, including the hulls can get stuck in your braces and even break them. But what about hulless popcorn?

Most health professionals don’t recommend eating hulless popcorn with braces. Although the hulls are smaller and softer, they can still get stuck under your braces.

If you absolutely can’t live without popcorn for a couple years, then hulless is better option than regular popcorn, but it’s probably best to find an alternative snack that’s safe for braces. Always consult with your orthodontist about this! They know best!

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