Canchitas: Peru's Simple and Delicious Popcorn

A perfect salty crunchy snack, we're sure you'll fall in love with.

Canchitas are one of my favorite snacks. I first tried them years ago at a Peruvian- Asian fusion restaurant, before I met R (my Peruvian partner and the other half of SVC). I had no idea it was something typical to Peruvian cuisine, I just knew I wanted more. 

I’m a sucker for salty crunchy snacks, so it was inevitable that I would fall in love with canchitas.

What are Canchitas?

In Peru “cancha” means popcorn! In Spanish “-ita” is added to the end of a word to make it smaller and usually cuter too. It's sort of an endearing way of naming something. Hence, CANCH + ITA = cute lil' popcorn.

Made from the Peruvian corn called chulpi, canchitas are usually found in Peruvian restaurants where they are served as a snack while you wait for your meal or garnished on a ceviche dish.

They are a type of corn that doesn't necessarily “pop” like the popcorn we are used to seeing– instead they puff-up, giving them their meaty center while still maintaining their crunchy outer shell. They are simple, easy to make, and absolutely delicious. Canchitas pair great while sharing a few drinks with friends and family or to complement a charcuterie board. You can serve them in individual shot glasses for guests or enjoy a bowl while watching your favorite tv shows.

¿Chulpi? What's that?

A fun word for a Peruvian corn that puffs up but won't pop open. Chulpi is the corn before it is cooked (see image below), canchita is the cooked version of chulpi.

Where to buy chulpi?

We've found it at Hispanic markets or large Asian markets with an international foods section, but it's also available online.

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How to cook canchitas.

Similar to making popcorn on the stove top, you'll simple "pop" these in a little oil, making sure to continuously shake them. The most important note we have is to keep a lid on it! Seriously, these little corns pick up a lot of heat and start shooting out! Shake them with a lid on the pot. Reference the images below (from left to right, top to bottom).

Image of oil being poured into pot for canchitas
Image of oil in pot
image of peruvian corn about to be cooked
Image of peruvian canchitas

Canchita - Peru's Delicious Popcorn

Crunchy, Salty, Puffed-Up Corn
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Hispanic, Latin America, Peruvian
Keyword: Simple Recipe


  • 1 Cooking Pot with Lid


  • 2 tbsp Oil or enough to thinly fill the bottom of the pan
  • cup Chulpi Peruvian Corn enough to fill a layer at the bottom of the pan
  • Salt to taste


  • Use a pot with a lid, add Oil and Chulpi corn.
  • Set the heat to medium - high.
  • Keep the lid on and shake the pot while holding the lid and the handle.
  • Be careful not to open the lid while they pop,
    they are very hot and can jump very far!
  • After a few minutes you'll notice most of the chulpi has popped.
    Take them off the heat and serve them in a bowl with some napkins to absorb the excess oil. Be careful, some corn may still be popping.
  • Add salt to taste, give them a quick toss, and enjoy!
besitos, J & R

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