REVIEW: Trader Joe’s – Partially Popped Popcorn …with Butter & Sea Salt!

Rating: ©©©©-1/4 chips  (lip-smacking)

Trader Joe's - Partially Popped Popcorn ...with Butter & Sea Salt!We’re guessing that many of you out there are familiar with the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, otherwise known by its bleach-blonde, spiky haired host Guy Fieri as ‘Triple D!”  Well, we are sort of the host of this little Chip Review “show”, and we have decided to coin this latest Partially Popped Popcorn snack from Trader Joe’s as ‘Triple P!!’  Ingenious, right?!  Well, at least easier to say three times fast, and for us to type out for the remainder of this review.

From Trader Joe’s website:

It’s popcorn, for sure, but popcorn that’s not fully popped. Our supplier uses a proprietary method in which they first steam a special hybrid of so-called “mushroom” kernels (instead of the fluffier, “butterfly” variety enjoyed in theaters), before heating them in canola oil to a state of half popp-ed-ness.

The finished corn resembles those (accidentally) par-popped kernels found in the bottom of your popcorn bowl. But, unlike those kernels—which can be real jawbreakers—this Partially Popped snack has a blissful bite that exists somewhere between the extreme crunch of corn nuts and the tender chewiness of fresh, fully- popped corn.

Correct us if we are wrong but that process sounds awfully similar to the process used by everyone’s favorite crunchy, corn, gas station snack – Corn Nuts.  According to legend, “Corn nuts are prepared by soaking whole corn kernels in water for three days, then deep-frying them in oil until they are hard and brittle. The kernels are soaked because they shrink during the harvesting and cleaning process, and rehydration returns them to their original size.” (

Well, there’s probably more of a difference in the process than we are alluding to, and we’re guessing that Trader Joe’s and Corn Nuts each use a different style of corn, but the similarities between the two products must be noted.  In fact, we would throw a third corn snack into the mix, to complete the triple popped theme of this review!  Pop’d Kerns are a crunchy corn hybrid snack that we have enjoyed, and reviewed, a few times on this site.  Their popped kerns are closer to a fluffy, fully-popped kernel of popcorn, than either Triple P or Corn nuts.  All three products are lip-smackingly delicious and crunchy in their own way.  In fact, one day we may have a popped corn party, invite all three of these guys, and a whole bunch of popcorn, and just let the good times roll!

Trader Joe’s Triple P embodies a real strong corn essence, and flavor.  They do in fact look like those partially popped kernels you find at the bottom of the popcorn bag or bowl, except that they don’t break your teeth when you chomp down on them.  They do have a very solid crunch, but not one that will send you running to the dentist.  Probably our favorite part of the snack is the dried, real butter powder that is amply coating each of the Triple P’s.  The powder really tastes like butter.  Not like fake, bright yellowish-orange, butter powder on microwave popcorn, but real melted butter.  We love it!

So, if you like Corn Nuts or Pop’d Kerns or the bottom of the popcorn bowl, you will undoubtedly like these too!

P.S. this Partially Popped Popcorn looks an awful lot like another product Trader Joe’s released over a decade ago called Corn a Copius….granted that snack wasn’t butter flavored.  But still, are you trying to pull one over on us Trader Joe’s?!

As always, these are our thoughts, we would love to hear what you think.  Agree or disagree, let us know.

Triple P discovered at Trader Joe’s; La Grange, Illinois

Trader Joe’s Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© return to sender

©© tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list

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