The Tiny Popcorn Oprah and I Can’t Get Enough Of

These adorably miniature snacks are as satisfying, if not more, than regular-size popcorn.

I discovered Pipcorn nearly a decade ago. While meandering the plethora of tempting food stalls at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg, Pipcorn caught my eye.

They had hand-stamped brown paper bags full of tiny, crunchy kernels of popcorn. It turns out the snack was made from heirloom kernels, something I’d never heard of before.

Heirloom popcorn, and its kernels, are much smaller in size compared to the homogenous, yellow cobs that typically line supermarket shelves – hence Pipcorn’s distinctive size. But don’t underestimate them. Based on my experience, the tinier the kernel, the more concentrated the flavor – and the more satisfying the popcorn.

Using heirloom kernels results in popcorn that tastes better and that’s better for the environment. The seeds are grown by family farmers based in the U.S. who save seeds from the harvest to plant the next season. According to Pipcorn’s website, “Growing heirlooms helps protect the genetic diversity of our food supply because they are open-pollinated. Plus, growing heirlooms helps to preserve agricultural biodiversity by championing unique varieties that might otherwise be lost.”

Each popped kernel is flavored with all-natural ingredients meaning no chemicals, artificial flavorings or preservatives. You don’t get that fake chemical taste and the popcorn isn’t overly greasy either. Plus, the kernels’ small size means the snack doesn’t get stuck in your teeth as much as other popcorn.

Over the years, I’ve tried almost all of their flavors (now in airtight bags instead of brown paper ones), including Kettle, Vegan Caramel and Truffle. But I always find my way back to Sea Salt, my absolute favorite. It has just the right amount of salt and crunch. Be careful; it’s honestly addictive. But don’t take my word for it, take Oprah’s. Oprah picked this snack brand for her Favorite Thing’s list four times.

In 2019, Pipcorn expanded their snack empire to include Heirloom Cheese Balls and Heirloom Corn Dippers. Their Cheddar Cheese Balls send me on a trip back to my childhood, but I honestly can’t decide between their Jalapeno Cheddar, made with real jalapeños and organic cheese, and their Cacio e Pepe Cheese Balls.

When it comes to Corn Dippers (kind of like a lighter version of Fritos), I stay true to the Sea Salt but have strayed once or twice to the Lime Zest flavor. Truffle lovers won’t be able to resist their Truffle Corn Dippers made with actual truffles.

This year, Pipcorn made moves to be even more sustainable, launching a new product called Snack Crackers. These bites are made using upcycled heirloom corn flour left over from their Cheese Balls. Now the company uses 99.9% of the corn they purchase. Their new snack addition also comes with what may be their best flavor yet: Everything.

Ideal for afternoon snacking, party bites, school lunches or basically whenever you’re hungry, you can find Pipcorn at Whole Foods Markets around the country. You can also have it shipped directly to your door.

Forget movie theater popcorn; this is the real deal.

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