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Stovetop Popcorn

The method of cooking popcorn on the stove is very simple: almost all the grains will pop and nothing will burn, leaving you with a big bowl of beautiful popcorn!

We like it with just a pinch of salt, but it’s great for making old-fashioned caramelized corn and popcorn balls.

Best Stovetop Popcorn Recipe

We absolutely love popcorn and I make it almost every night – it’s such a great snack. I’m old school, though, using a pot and my stove.

Using this stovetop method for making popcorn, the kernels reach an even temperature before popping, so almost every kernel pops at the same time and nothing burns, resulting in very little waste and perfect popcorn that tastes crisp and wonderful.

So go grab yourself some kernels and make up a batch!

Ingredients Needed

You only need 3 ingredients to make this popcorn recipe.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)

  • Popcorn kernels – Yellow or white. See note below.
  • Oil – See below for the best oil to use.
  • Salt – For flavor.

What’s the difference between yellow and white popcorn?

I always laugh at this question, and since I’m snarky, usually answer with “well, one is yellow and one is white.” HA. But there actually is a difference, albeit small. Literally. The “hull” that surrounds a white kernel isn’t as thick as yellow kernels, so they pop up quite a bit smaller and more tender. Yellow kernels have a sturdier flake and don’t crumble as easily. Sometimes I’ll combine the two and pop them together.

What is the best oil to use for stovetop popcorn?

It’s important to use an oil with a pretty high smoke point for perfect stovetop popcorn, which both vegetable and canola oil have. I, personally, always use vegetable oil. Coconut oil will get you more of that movie theatre flavor and works well. Olive oil works great too, which makes this snack even healthier.

Why not just make bagged microwave popcorn?

Well, you certainly can! But homemade is so easy to make, inexpensive, it’s actually healthier, and it tastes so much better! (For reference, 1 regular sized bag of Microwave popcorn yields approximately 4.5 cups of popped popcorn. This recipe yields approximately 14 cups.)

Is popcorn healthy?

Air-popped or stovetop popcorn with just a bit of oil and lightly seasoned is very healthy. For this stovetop popcorn recipe, 1 cup of popped popcorn is only 56 calories and 4 carbs.

How to Make Stovetop Popcorn

Making popcorn on the stovetop is so easy and tastes so much better than the bagged microwave kind.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)

  1. Warm the oil. Pour 1/4 cup oil into a large heavy bottom pot (with lid.) The oil should cover the bottom of the pot. Warm over medium-high heat.
  2. Test the oil with just a few kernels. Place 3 kernels in the oil, in the center of the pot; wait for the kernels to pop. Once the kernels pop, remove them with a slotted spoon and discard.
  3. Add the rest of the kernels. Add a 1/2 cup kernels, making sure they’re in an even layer.
  4. Cover, take off the heat, and count! Place the lid on the pot and remove from the heat. Count to 30.
  5. Place the pot back on the heat and shake. Return pot to the heat. The popcorn will soon begin popping, and all at once.
  6. Shake. Once the popping is more intense, gently shake the pot back and forth over the burner, leaving a slight opening for steam to escape (which results in crispier popcorn.)
  7. Pay attention the the frequency of popping. Once the popping settles down in between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and immediately pour the popcorn into a big bowl.
  8. Season and enjoy! Sprinkle the hot popcorn with a little salt to taste (and drizzle with melted butter, if using) and enjoy!

Proper Storage

Store any leftover homemade popcorn in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks. The more airtight, the better. You can even cover the top of the popcorn with a piece of cling wrap before placing the lid on, which can lock in some moisture.

Perfect Stovetop Popcorn

This cooking method for Stovetop Popcorn is so easy, results in nearly every kernel popping and nothing burns, leaving you with a nice big bowl of beautiful popcorn!
Prep Time 5 days
Cook Time 2 days
Total Time 10 days
Course Snack
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup vegetable or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels (yellow or white)
  • Salt , to taste

Instructions
 

  • Pour the oil into a large heavy bottom pot (with lid.) The oil should cover the bottom of the pot.
  • Warm the oil over medium-high heat
  • Place 3 kernels in the oil, in the center of the pot; wait for the kernels to pop.
  • Once the kernels pop, remove them with a slotted spoon and discard, then add the 1/2 cup kernels, making sure they’re in an even layer.
  • Cover the pot and remove from the heat. Count to 30.
  • Return pot to the heat. (The popcorn will soon begin popping, and all at once.)
  • Once the popping is more intense, gently shake the pot back and forth over the burner, leaving a slight opening for steam to escape (which results in crispier popcorn.)
  • Once the popping settles down in between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and immediately pour the popcorn into a big bowl.
  • Sprinkle the hot popcorn with a little salt to taste (and drizzle with melted butter, if using) and enjoy!

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