Kettle corn was introduced to the United States in the 18th century. It is referenced in the diaries of Dutch settlers in Pennsylvania circa 1776. It was a special treat often consumed at fairs or other festive occasions. The corn is cooked in iron kettles and then sweetened with sugar or honey before adding salt. The combination was widely popular in the early 19th century but fell from wide usage during the 20th century.
In the early 21st century, kettle corn has made something of a comeback in America, especially at 19th-century living history events. As of the 21st century, it is cooked and sold at fairs and flea markets throughout the United States, especially art and craft shows. Hand-cooked home recipes are available, and the microwave version is sold at grocery stores by Orville Redenbacher's, Act II, and other brands.
Most microwave varieties of kettle corn do not contain sugar, since sugar tends to burn in the microwave. This problem has been solved by replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners such as sucralose.