How to Make Popcorn

Three Methods:Quick, Cheap DIY Paper MethodStore-bought Microwave Popcorn MethodOld-fashioned Stovetop Method

Popcorn is great food, especially when paired with a couch and your favorite movie. Some people love the convenience of the microwave versions, and others swear by the stovetop method. (Note: Kernels can also come from bags of bulk popcorn but the taste will be better from cans of kernel.)

Here are three ways to make popcorn at home, depending on your preferences.

Method 1
Quick, Cheap DIY Paper Method

If you don't want to shell out money for pre-packaged popcorn, you can bag it and save yourself $3.03 per pound, according to This is also a way to make popcorn, without fat. You'll just need bags, bulk kernels, and the seasoning(s) of your choice.

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    Buy some brown paper bags (lunch bags), but make sure the package is labeled as being microwave-safe. Bags not meant for use in the microwave can catch on fire.
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    Pour 1/4 to 1/3 cup kernels to the bag.
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    Fold the bag over twice. Do not use staples.
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    Place the bag on its side in your microwave.
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    Cook on high for several minutes. This time varies, depending on your microwave. Do not leave the bag unattended. Stop the microwave when the pops are about 2 seconds apart and remove from the oven.
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    Pour the popcorn into a bowl and top it with butter and/or your seasoning.

Method 2
Store-bought Microwave Popcorn Method

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    Buy your favorite popcorn.
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    Follow the instructions on the bag, which typically recommend the following:
    • Massage bag with fingertips to break up mixture before placing in microwave.
    • Set microwave for a few seconds longer than recommended, listen carefully, and stop microwave when pops are about 2 seconds apart.
    • Remove from bag immediately for flavor. Open bag away form you (steam is hot!) then serve and enjoy!

Method 3
Old-fashioned Stovetop Method

Popcorn made on a stovetop tastes great, and it doesn't take as much time as you might think. Keep in mind that cooking with oil can be dangerous. Kids should not try this method without supervision.

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    Use a pan with a lid, preferably a lid with holes to allow steam to escape during popping. This keeps the popcorn from being chewy.
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    Add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan (suggested on your package of kernels).
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    Turn the heat to medium and add two kernels to the pan. When those kernels pop, the oil is hot enough to add the rest.
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    Add amount of kernels suggested on the bag to the pan and cover. If the lid does not have holes, keep it slightly ajar.
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    Gently shake the pan to keep the kernels from burning.
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    Keep shaking while the kernels pop. Once the popping slows to a stop, turn off the heat.
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    Wait a second for any final pops, and then remove the lid—away from you to avoid steam.
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    Immediately pour the popcorn into a bowl, add your seasoning of choice, and enjoy!


  • Popcorn will absorb toppings better while it's still warm.
  • Do not put bags in the microwave that are not labeled for use.
  • Be careful when using hot butter as it may spatter and burn you or sting your clothing.
  • Popcorn can be a fire hazard, so watch carefully.
  • Do not heat a container. It may explode.
  • Make sure to always be watching the popcorn in the pot because sometimes, the bottom of the pot can sometimes burn.
  • Never leave your popcorn unattended while popping.
  • Do not overcook popcorn; it will burn.
  • Keeping the heat too low will slow cooking time and can result in low yield and can often lead to scorching, which smells bad!

If you're making popcorn for a girl's sleepover, try dying the popcorn with pink coloring and drizzle sauce over the top for a creative treat.

  • Don't use oil as an alternative to butter if it will be heated. When popcorn is heated, the oil gets hot enough for the bond in the acid to reverse, turning the oil to trans fat.
  • Always use butter instead of margarine.


  • Stick with the method that works best for you unless you're feeling brave, or have someone around to teach you another method.
  • Alternative flavorings:
    • popcorn: 1 tsp. pepper and 1 tsp. oregano added to butter
    • style: Squeeze some lemon on top of the salt
    • popcorn: 1 tsp. curry added to butter
    • popcorn: Minimal oil instead of butter (do not heat vegetable oil in microwave; see warning) and little
    • Experiment! Often, trying spices can result in popcorn that is much to your liking.
    • Add a little grated cheese (such as parmesan or other dry, aged varieties) for a different taste.

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