What is the Difference Between Yellow and White Popcorn?

(Last Updated On: May 11, 2017)

I love popcorn. It is my ideal snack. Reasons being – it is cheap (CHECK!), easy to make (CHECK!) and believe it or not it comes in different flavors and textures (SUPER CHECK!). Most of us would think that popcorn is just popcorn. But when you go out there and seek out popcorn to pop yourself you will see that this is not the case. If you are just getting into the world of popping your own popcorn, this post is going to be a good introduction for you.

I want to start with the top most commonly found popcorn in the store – yellow and white popcorn. Those are still pretty generic terms. For the sake of this post we are talking about what is commonly found labeled as yellow and white popcorn. There are actually numerous varieties of each color that actually exist. I will talk a little about them as well.

What is the Difference Between Yellow and White Popcorn?

At first glance the clear difference is the color of the kernels themselves. But when you pop them the inside of the popcorn is white no matter what the color of the kernel outside is. The shade of white can vary. Look closely at the photo below.

The white popcorn is on the top and the yellow is underneath. Notice that the white popcorn is a brighter white when popped then the yellow.

Yellow popcorn tends to pop up larger than does white popcorn. I first saw this at an apple orchard that brought in popcorn to sell. It labeled the difference between the two as being the size of the popcorn when it has been popped. I observed this for myself at home. The yellow kernels themselves are generally larger in size, that makes sense.

The Flavor Difference

When it comes down just to flavor, everything else aside – size, texture, etc, I think yellow popcorn has more flavor than white. The flavor is simply more corny – and in this case being corny is a good thing! This blogger’s all time favorite popcorn is called Monarch Butterfly. The most flavorful popcorn I ever put in my mouth. I could even dedicate some flavor before I put on the salt! I got it from Brennan’s Market in Wisconsin. Monarch Butterfly is grown by Wisconsin Gold Harvest.

The Hulls

When it comes to eating popcorn, a lot of people are bothered by the hulls. They get stuck in their teeth. In general, the white popcorn is better for that group. The hull on it is smaller. Some white varieties I have seen labeled as hulless. This doesn’t mean that the kernels have no hulls just that when popped the hulls explode enough for you not to detect them when you eat the popcorn.

If you want to buy yellow popcorn for it’s flavor and not have to worry about the hulls, looking for a specific heirloom varity called Tiny But Mighty. The popcorn has a fascinating story behind it of how it was saved from the brink of extinction. It is easy to find at Whole Foods Market. You can even buy in bulk along with white, yellow, and rainbow popcorn.

non-GMO Popcorn
Here is an up close picture of the tiny kernels popped from the Tiny But Mighty popcorn variety.

What I Prefer – Yellow or White Popcorn

I think that’s pretty clear which one I favor. Both varieties I said you need to check out are yellow. I prefer the yellow popcorn simply because of flavor and the hull thing has never been an issue for me. However I do eat a variety of popcorn. I like to mix it up with some yellow, white, red, midnight blue, black, purple, ladyfinger, Tiny But Mighty, Monarch Butterfly, etc. I just love popcorn and experiencing the wide range of sies, textures, colors, and flavors. Some Real Salt (the best popcorn salt) and butter or coconut oil is all I ever add to it.

1 Comment

  1. george roze says:

    Coconut oil makes the popcorn old time theater type. When you walked into the theater the popcorn is what you smelled first. And the flavor, the butter could not match. Then the health police killed it. Made it Fake Popcorn. In fact they took the oil off the grocery shelves. At least they brought that back.

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