How to Pop Popcorn

Popping your own popcorn is surprisingly easy. You don’t need a fancy machine or pot, all you need is a saucepan and a stove top. Yes, you do dirty a pan as opposed to those microwave bags that you can just throw away. BUT purchasing popcorn kernels is way cheaper than purchasing microwave popcorn bags. Like, way cheaper. I bought two pounds of organic kernels at the local health food store’s bulk section for $2. I’ve already made three batches of popcorn and you can’t even tell I’ve dipped into my supply. Microwave popcorn isn’t all that good for you (what the heck is butter flavor made from!?), but it’s really not good for the people who manufacture it.

Benefits to popping your own corn:

  • no artificial flavorings, preservatives, or toxins
  • control oil and butter amount
  • so. much. cheaper.
  • source of whole grains
  • crunchy, fulfilling snack

Flavor Ideas:

    • grated Parmesan cheese
    • curry powder
    • creole or Cajun seasoning
    • smoked paprika
    • old bay seasoning
    • truffle salt
    • cinnamon sugar
    • dried fruit or nuts for additional nutrition
  • handful of chocolate chips or M&Ms
  • lime juice + chili powder
  • grated Parmesan + garlic powder + Italian seasoning = pizza flavor
  • dried parsley + dried dill + garlic powder + onion powder + dried basil + pepper = ranch flavor

What are your favorite ways to spice up your popcorn?


Stove-Top Popcorn


3 tablespoons oil (canola, grapeseed, peanut, virgin coconut)
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons butter


Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle oil with salt to taste. Put a few popcorn kernels in the oil and cover pan.

When kernels pop, add remaining kernels in an even layer. Cover pan and remove from heat for 30 seconds. Return pan to heat and wait for popcorn to begin popping, shaking pan gently and keeping the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove pan from heat and pour popped popcorn into a large bowl.

Place butter in now-empty saucepan and melt. Pour over popcorn. Add more salt to taste, if necessary.

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9 Responses to “How to Pop Popcorn”

  1. #
    Bek — November 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    While I prefer stovetop popping and I like your seasoning suggestions, you can do “homemade microwave popcorn” as well. Just put 1/3 cup kernals in a brown paper lunch bag, fold over the top and hit the “popcorn” setting on your microwave. It comes out perfect everytime and you can add melted butter and flavors (or skip the oil altogether) after it comes out, just toss it in the same bag!

    • handleheat replied: — November 6th, 2011 @ 4:36 am

      Bek – I actually tried that exact method a few days ago and ended up with a lot of unpopped kernels. I'll have to try again and alter the microwave times. Thanks for the reminder :)

      • Marienkaefer replied: — November 30th, 2011 @ 5:46 am

        Someone on another site suggested putting an inverted saucer (as in cup and saucer) in the microwave and set the bag on the saucer and it will take care of the the unpopped kernels for some reason. She says it works everytime.

  2. #
    Cynthia Soll — November 6, 2011 at 3:27 am

    This post is a sad commentary on our culture. Unfortunately, people actually DO need directions make fresh popcorn at home!

    • handleheat replied: — November 6th, 2011 @ 4:38 am

      Cynthia – I work at a kitchenware store and you won't believe how many people come in wanting to purchase an electric popcorn popper or special stovetop popper for $20, $30, $50! Some of them don't believe me when I say all you need is a burner and regular ole' saucepan.

  3. #
    Jesica — November 7, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Hmm.. Thank you for the details! :)

  4. #
    V Withers — November 10, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    I love using coconut oil in place of the butter and add McCormick's spicy curry powder and kosher salt. It's wonderful!


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