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Can You Pop Rice Like Popcorn?


Popcorn is a tasty snack that’s mostly enjoyed during movies but can totally be eaten anytime, anywhere. While popped corn kernels are fun to munch on, did you know that rice can also puff up and be eaten like popcorn? If you’ve never heard of or never tried popped rice before, you’re in for a treat!

Can Rice Puff Like Popcorn?

As mentioned, rice can puff up like popcorn! The resulting snack is called popped rice or puffed rice. There are also regions where this snack is called pop rice. While the terms popped rice and puffed rice are used interchangeably, there is actually a difference between them. 

Puffed rice retains the shape of the grain but is much larger in shape. On the other hand, popped rice refers to grains where the hull or the bran is intact. When cooked, the grain explodes through the hard outer covering due to heating, giving it an irregular shape similar to a popped corn kernel.

Popcorn rice happens because the moisture left inside the rice kernel heats up and turns into steam, pushing the rice to pop out of the shell when it gets too hot. Dry rice grains rarely pop out due to the moisture in them. On the other hand, freshly harvested rice quickly pops due to the moisture in the grains.

What Kind of Rice Can You Pop?

Almost all grains can be used to make pop rice, but different types respond differently when popped. White rice, brown rice, arborio rice, millet, quinoa, wheat grains, and more are all possible to turn into popcorn rice. 

No matter the grain used, popcorn rice does not taste exactly like regular popcorn kernels. It has a distinct chewy and slightly crunchy texture with a somewhat nutty flavor. 

Can You Pop White Rice?

You absolutely can! In fact, white rice is the most commonly used grain for puffed rice. A lot of people use long-grain rice such as Basmati or Jasmine rice, but medium and short-grain work just as well. If you pop the cooked rice, it should be dry and not too sticky.

Is Puffed Rice Healthy?

Popping rice and eating it comes with a lot of health benefits. One of its biggest benefits is that it’s a whole grain that contains all of the body’s essential nutrients to function properly. These nutrients include fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Another benefit of pop rice is that it’s low in calories and fat. One cup of pop rice contains only about 50 calories and 1 gram of fat, making it an excellent snack for people who want to eat healthier.

How To Pop Rice Like Popcorn

Popcorn rice is fun to make and is enjoyable to snack on.  It comes with health benefits too that won’t make you feel bad for munching on it throughout the day. Pop rice is available in many groceries, particularly Asian ones, but you can certainly cook your own pop rice at home. Here’s how:

  1. Heat your pot on the stove over medium heat.
  2. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot. 
  3. Add the popcorn rice in a single layer, covering the bottom of the pot entirely. Stir to coat the popcorn rice in the oil.
  4. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pot and wait for the rice to start popping.
  5. Once the rice has stopped popping, remove it from the heat.
  6. Take the popcorn rice out of the pan and remove the oil from it.
  7. Let it cool before eating.
  8. Enjoy your delicious popcorn rice!

You can also make pop rice without the oil! Just follow the steps below:

  1. Place a pan on the stove and heat it until the point of smoking.
  2. Add the popcorn rice to the pan and don’t cover it.
  3. The rice will start to pop in less than 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Add a little butter or salt according to your taste preference.
  6. Enjoy and eat the popcorn rice to your heart’s content!

Popping rice can create a sweet or savory snack! If you want popcorn rice as a dessert, you can add melted chocolate or caramel over the rice pop kernels after popping them. To have savory popcorn rice, you can use different spices such as salt, chili powder, garlic powder, pepper, and a whole lot more. 

Aside from eating popcorn rice on its own, it’s always a great way to add texture and flavor to various dishes. You can use popcorn rice as a replacement in stir-fries, soups, and salads. Many people also use popcorn rice to make rice pudding. You can even use popcorn rice as a topping for ice cream.

Can You Pop Rice in a Popcorn Maker?

It is possible to pop rice in a popcorn maker. However, it is a little more challenging to pop rice compared to a corn kernel in a popcorn maker. This is because raw rice does not have a lot of moisture in it and you may end up with burnt rice instead of pop rice. You’ll need to make sure that the rice you will use is not completely dried up.

Popping rice in a popcorn machine doesn’t need oil, butter, or water. To make pop rice in a popcorn maker, simply ensure that the temperature is around 240 degrees C. It will take roughly 30 to 25 seconds for the rice to pop. You can also cook rice at a temperature of 275 degrees C for 40 to 45 seconds. 

Final Note

Can you pop rice like popcorn? Absolutely! Popping rice results in a great, delicious snack that you can eat on its own or as an additional ingredient to numerous dishes. It’s easy to do; just add the grains to the pan and watch the rice pop! Try it out today!

Hui Yin

Hui Yin moved from Hong Kong 🇭🇰 to the USA 🇺🇸 when she was just 8 years old. Now in her late 20's she enjoys writing and taking long walks in the park to burn off the copious amounts of rice she eats for dinner.

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