How To Microwave Popcorn

Okay, okay. Now. I’m aware that everyone knows how to microwave popcorn when it comes in those lil oil-and-chemical filled bags. But they are full of stuff that isn’t actually food. And they cost a lot more than the plain old popcorn kernels. And they’re not very versatile. And I know that whenever I eat that kind of popcorn, I feel moderately ill. Yes, you can pop popcorn on the stove in a big pot with some oil. Yes, you can use an airpopper. But the oil+stove method isn’t super easy, and the airpopper is a kitchen device that I do not own.

Allow me to share this super easy way to cook popcorn. All you need is popcorn kernels, a paper bag, and a microwave.

First off, please note that this ENTIRE bag of kernels cost $1.69. According to the bag, there are 27 servings of popcorn in here. That’s a lot. I think the pre-oiled microwave popcorn costs at least $2.99 for 3 bags…? I’m not sure. But this is, without question, a lot cheaper. I read somewhere once that if you store popcorn kernels in the fridge, they will pop into bigger pieces of popcorn. So. That’s what I do. 

A serving of popcorn is 2 tablespoons of unpopped kernels. Since there are always kernels that don’t pop and I want to eat as much popcorn as I can, I use 3 tablespoons, and figure that 1 tablespoon won’t pop. This is usually right. Just put your kernels in your paper bag. 

And then fold the top over a few times. There is no need to seal the bag (especially not with a staple, which will make sparks fly all over your microwave and probably both ruin your popcorn and perhaps burn down your kitchen)–folding it over a few times is all it takes.

ignore the semi-dirty microwave, please.

No one actually knows how long it takes to microwave popcorn. I set my microwave for 3 minutes, and then stay nearby, waiting until there are 2 seconds between pops. It usually takes 2:45, but there’s no science behind this.

see? the bag stayed closed just fine. And my camera flash sometimes doesn't want to work.

Then, BAM! Popcorn.

I've been using this paperbag for popcorn for many moons, and I have no idea what that oil stain is from, but I'm sorry that it's so gross looking.

And see? There’s about a tablespoon of unpopped kernels! Perfect.

Now to season it how you will… 

Sometimes I do a cinnamon/sugar type thing. Sometimes it’s just salt. Sometimes I make it spicy. One day I intend to cover it with dark chocolate shavings. Pretty much anything in your spice cabinet will be delicious on this popcorn. And if it’s not? At $1.69 for 27 servings, you can afford to make another batch.


This is the sad part.

See how easy this is? And isn’t it nice that there is nothing to clean up, really? Enjoy!


17 Comments to “How To Microwave Popcorn”

  1. love it! oil free, economical microwave popcorn. i don’t have a popcorn popper either. it’s just another kitchen gadget i don’t need, can’t afford, & don’t have the space for.

  2. Hi Sarah!
    Thanks for the helpful post! I will definitely try this, since I am a ‘corn ADDICT!
    What size bag do you use? Just a standard lunch-bag size? I’d assume so, since a larger bag won’t fit in the microwave. Just checking…
    I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights with the rest of us going thru the same journey.
    Blessings to you,
    Sarah in WI

  3. Totally learned something new today my friend. Good job, I will not only add it to my useless fact section of my brain, I will totally make this one day sooooon!

  4. Hi Sarah, I’m Tracy!

    I never thought about how much money I could save popping my own popcorn! I think I’ll have to try the salty-sweet mix with sugar and salt…

  5. Girl, you crack me up!! I’ve been so lazy all these years and always do the microwave kind. Shame on me! I’m definitely moving to your version to save $$, healthy alternative and spices galore. Yum!! Now if I can just get my 8-year old son converted we’ll be home free.

    Thanks again for the simple yet helpful blog. It’s awesome!!!

  6. I am going to try this one day because bag popcorn makes my tummy hurt lots so i stopped eating it. That was clearly upsetting, but not more upsetting than a sad tummy. Thus, this seems like an idea worth trying!

  7. Now I have to quit being lazy and figure out the points+ value!

  8. Sarah, this is a wonderful tip that I forgot all about. So much so that we bought a “special” gllas popcorn popper from crate and barrel to pop corn in.

  9. Sarah – I have an air popper, but like this method too! One of my favorite toppings is 1 part butter to 2 parts honey, microwave until butter is melted and the honey is runny, then pour over and add a little salt. A much healthier option for a kettle corn type taste than oil and sugar! Great post!

  10. I just tried this. I set the bag on its bottom (standing upright). After nearly 2 minutes the bag started to burn and I would’ve had a fire if I hadn’t been right there to turn it off! Eek!
    I enjoyed the 10 or so kernels that popped, tho! 😉
    Has this happened to anyone else?
    Does this process work better if the bag is on its side? I’m kind of afraid to try it again…
    Anyone have any insights?

  11. oh wow – someone must have taught you that curry popcorn is delicious. I mean, who could have shared that awesome idea with you?!?!

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