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Popcorn Sutton Moonshine

Popcorn Sutton Moonshine

Anyone who calls themselves a ‘shiner surely knows about Popcorn Sutton and his legendary moonshine. The godfather of modern-day home distillation and moonshine production, Marvin ?Popcorn? Sutton was a rebel at heart and a true believer in the old ways of making white whiskey.

This recipe is based on his renowned moonshine that uses both sugar and corn meal to make the timeless Tennessee spirit that the man used to sell from the back of his legendary truck.

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Popcorn Sutton Moonshine
A simple recipe from the Master himself: Popcorn Sutton!

  • 5 lbs of Sugar
  • 4 gallons Filtered Water
  • 2 1/2 lbs of Coarse Ground White Corn Meal
  • 1 small packet Yeast (preferably Distiller’s Yeast)
  • 1 gallon of Malt (rye, corn or barley)

    EquipmentSee our guide here!

  • Boiling Pot
  • Fermentation Bucket
  • Airlock
  • Siphon Tube
  • Cheesecloth
  • Moonshine Still

  1. Add 1 gallon of water to the pot and bring it to boil.
  2. Add cornmeal and cook, don?t forget to stir occasionally.
  3. Remove the heat and let the cornmeal cool down some, then add the remaining water, then mix in the sugar and ground malt.
  4. Transfer mixture into the fermenter, let it cool to room temperature then add yeast.
  5. Let the mash ferment completely until no visible activity can be detected.
  6. Rack the wash off the yeast sediment with a siphon tube into the still’s boiler.
  7. Distill the wash as normal.

Classic Popcorn Sutton mash undergoes open fermentation, so just need to cover the bucket with a cheesecloth and let it ferment.

More cautious folk are concerned the mash might get infected with wild yeast or bacteria. We are of that mindset and recommend using a proper fermentation bucket with an airtight seal and an airlock in place.

Preferably use a copper pot still for this one in order to keep it true to the way Popcorn Sutton used to do it.

Manage the cuts thoroughly, as you?re aiming for the very hearts to get that legendary moonshine flavor.

Adjust recipe to size of container. Cornmeal should equal about half or less of container.

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If It’s Worth Doin’, It’s Worth Doin’ Right

Make sure you’re well prepared to perform this run!

Keep it Clean

The biggest difference with this recipe is the open air fermentation (if you want to keep it true & traditional). This is a bit less sanitary but can be done safely if you keep the wash indoors and keep it covered.

We usually recommend a glass fermenting vessel but for open air fermentation you want the expose the most amount of the wash to the air as you can. So we recommend using one of these fermenting buckets (you can always keep it for future runs, too!):

Also, you want to be positive you’re not letting any airborne elements get into the wash. We’ve all seen the boys on Moonshiners let their vats open to the wild while they ferment. Realistically though this makes it extremely likely animals and all the bacteria that come with them will sour your batch.

Even if you have your fermenting bucket indoors, cover it with a breathable (unbleached) cheesecloth, please!

Keep it Traditional

Popcorn always insisted that copper brought out the best in his ‘likker.

Copper is an ideal material for stills as it actually attracts impurities from the mash and keeps them out of your product. This is a great traditional copper still that’s mostly assemblsed and of good quality:

If you want to compare your options for stills to use, be sure to check out our guide on the best moonshine stills!

Don’t Make a Mess

The cornmeal in this recipe makes quite a bit of sediment in the bottom, and when it’s time to rack off the liquid into the still you want to avoid as much of that as possible. It’ll cook onto the inside of your still and it’s hell to clean off afterwards.

These auto-siphons have become extremely popular for their huge convenience in this regard. They’re also fairly light on the wallet considering the headache they solve:

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23 thoughts on “Popcorn Sutton Moonshine”

  1. My wife is Marvin’s niece, I met the man a few times. Really cool dude. He will be greatly missed. So will his REAL shine recipe.

  2. everyone around knew popcorns recipe, Don’t know what there was to sell. we all used the same one.

  3. Can I make Popcorn Suttons cornmeal moonshine on top of the stove. How long to forment? Or make it in an Insta pot pressure cooker

  4. Mark and Digger resurrected Popcorn’s famous recipe for three grains that was the most popular on the TV show MOONSHINERS. Watch the early season 9 episodes and you can catch the recipe.

  5. yep the two moonshiners that knew him best know his recipe and its being remade under the name of Popcorn Sutton’s Legacy

  6. Christal Arbuckle

    Where can I find the Mason jar with the XXX on it and at the top it is signed by Popcorn Sutton I want to buy a couple of the jars with the liquor and it it’s called popcorn Sutton’s Legacy Liquor XXX

  7. Copper is the only way to run. I got a 30 gallon boiler and it does a great job. Col Vaughan Wilson out of Alma Arkansas will make you what ever you need. He built mine over 10 years ago and I?ve have no problems at all. I had two uncles that shined and they always said ? gonna do it, do it right?. R I P to both of them.

  8. I’m from Louisiana. I make my shine the same way popcorn sutton made his. Over a wood fire.

  9. Popcorn did NOT use yeast! Watch his video. Yeast is what makes hangovers, is pretty much what he said. A good shiner knows what he used instead. If you want to know what he used, watch his video. I’m not going to tell you what he used!

  10. Kinda misleading to say yeast gives you hangovers. Alcohol is a dialectic to begin with. There’s plenty of culprits to blame for feeling off in the morning. Dehydration is usually at the top of the list. But poorly cut spirits would probably have more a share of the blame than most other factors.

  11. It says use a small packet of yeast, what does a small packet weigh, and a gallon of malt,is that literally a gallon bucket, sound silly but just wanna be sure I’m in the same measure boat

  12. D.A.D.Y. Yeast is best. Distillers active dry yeast.
    What T.V. Don’t show you is very important. Since we are all from different areas, the water is not the same. You have to adjust your P.H. To 5.2 for the yeast to be. Happy . Citric acid is fine to use.

    4th generation distiller.

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