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How to Make Popcorn Without a Microwave

How to Make Popcorn Without a MicrowaveWhenever someone learns that we don’t have a microwave in our kitchen, the first question they always ask is, “How do you make popcorn?”  It makes me wonder if that’s all people cook in their microwaves.  Popcorn cooked on the stove is super easy, tastes great, and can be so much better for you than microwave popcorn.  Have you ever read the ingredients in microwave popcorn?  My recipe is very easy and has yummy spices.  If your kids enjoy cooking, this is a great starter recipe and you can teach them how to make popcorn without a microwave.

How to Make Popcorn Without a Microwave

Popcorn is a great after school snack or if we’ve had an early dinner and people are getting hungry, we make popcorn.  I’ve also served it as a snack for the soccer team when I’m “Snack Mom” after the game.  With a big bowl of popcorn, a large scooper, and brown lunch bags, I’ve got snacks for the team and no waste.  Take the brown bags home with you and put them in your compost bin.  It’s very Go Gingham!

Popcorn is naturally high in fiber and is gluten-free.  If you have any leftover, place it in an air-tight bag or container and serve the next day.  Popcorn is also fun to bring camping and cook over your campfire.

I serve popcorn in bowls with spoons, too.  This began as a trade-off to the “no eating in the living room rule” we have.  The deal went down like this, “Well, if you eat popcorn in a bowl with a spoon then you can eat it in the living room.”  And, the next thing I knew, popcorn was being served in bowls and eaten with spoons.

Popcorn Without a Microwave
Recipe Type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Sara Tetreault
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Gluten-free, easy, and filling – popcorn is the best snack! It’s so easy to make on the stove top and add your own flavors. No junk or hard to pronounce additives either!
  • Popping corn -organic – from bulk section of grocery store
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Salt and other seasonings
  1. In a large pot with a lid, add 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil and/or butter (I like to do a combination of both) and turn to medium high.
  2. Add salt and Frank’s or Tabasco.
  3. Add 1/2 cup organic popping corn.
  4. As soon as kernels start popping, place lid on and move pot around/shake. Carefully do this with hot pads.
  5. Popcorn is done once popping has slowed/completely stopped.
Let popcorn cool and then place in bowls or pour into paper bag. Add extra salt if you’d like – I always do. Serve in bowls with spoons or pass out small bags and let everyone serve themselves.

So, blame it on me if you start eating popcorn with a spoon served out of a bowl.  You can still lick your fingers.

How to Make Popcorn Without a Microwave

Shake pot with both hands on it, being careful to keep kernels in the pot.

I purchase my popcorn from the bulk food bin at my local grocery store.  I like to buy the organic popcorn – either white or yellow – whichever they have on hand.  Also, you can always add more butter or oil to this recipe, depending on how healthy you want your popcorn to be.

What’s your favorite way to eat popcorn?

Go Gingham related links:

Spicing It Up in the Kitchen
After School Snacks
Camping Cooking Supplies

10 thoughts on “How to Make Popcorn Without a Microwave

  1. I’ve almost always cooked popcorn on the stove top. Microwave popcorn just doesn’t taste the same to me. And, all those chemicals —— just don’t need them. We’ve also tried an airpopper (back when they were all the rage), but you almost felt like you were eating Styrofoam when you ate that popcorn. Here’s my recipe for popcorn:

    1/4 c vegetable or canola oil
    2/3 – 3/4 c unpopped popcorn (depending on the size of your pot)

    Find a heavy pot with a handle that you can grab onto. Put the oil in the pot, and heat it up over medium-high heat. Toss in one popcorn kernel. When the oil starts sizzling around that poor little kernel, put the rest of the popcorn in. (I keep my temp at medium-high, but then my popcorn kettle is a heavy pot) Put the lid on it, and as soon as you hear the first kernel pop, start moving that pot around. You can take it off the heat for a moment or two to shake the pot, but don’t stay off the heat too long. Once there’s a few seconds between pops, turn off the burner, and toss the popcorn into a really big bowl. Now, it’s time to season!

    Butter and salt are Roger’s favorites. Butter, Lawry’s season salt (or cayenne), and maybe some Parm is Meggie’s favorite. I’m ecumenical. I’ll eat it almost every way. For Roger and Meggie, more butter is better! If I’m in control, it’s about 2 Tbsp butter, melted, and poured over top. Then, we just add salt and whatever to taste.

    I also will make Kettle Korn at home. Same basic recipe as above, but when you put the popcorn in your pot, sprinkle 1/4 c white sugar all over the top. This one, you HAVE to shake and move around, or you WILL burn it, and make all of the smoke alarms in your house go off. Do not walk away from the stove when you’re making Kettle Korn. You can still add some melted butter after you dump it into the bowl, if you’d like, and you will need to sprinkle some salt on it. Meggie likes to put a little cayenne in her Kettle Korn.

    Hmmmmmm ——– maybe popcorn tonight.


  2. I also make popcorn on the stovetop about once a week. I have one pan in the house which I use for only popcorn and bacon (go figure!). It’s beat-up but has a steam vent in the lid, ideal for popcorn.

    I put a single layer of kernels in the bottom (it’s a wide deep pan) and about 2 Tablespoons grapeseed Oil. I prefer grapeseed to canola because it is higher in Omegas and Vitamin E. Then I put it over high heat and gently shake occasionally until the popping has slowed. Then I turn down to low until popping stops. I layer it in a big Tupperware vegetable tub with melted butter/Cholula mixture, salt, and nutritional yeast.

    When it comes to eating, we put it in wide shallow bowls and eat it with our tongues. No greasy fingers, and only one bowl to clean. This is also our exemption to the “no eating in the living room” rule!


      1. We had other exemptions in the past, specifically for my husband’s favorite treat: graham crackers smeared with peanut butter sprinkled with chocolate chips. That ended the first time I found a chocolate chip under the seat cushion of the couch when I was vacuuming!


    1. That is very funny! You may want to ditch the microwave altogether and have more space in your kitchen…I have a very small kitchen so a microwave is out of the question for us. We do give our toaster oven a workout!


  3. We’ve been doing this way for over a year and LOVE it. I do olive oil but want to try coconut oil, heat that up, add the popcorn, and in a separate small pan melt some butter. Once popcorn is popped, add the butter, salt, and nutritional yeast for a cheesy veg*n topping. It is SO freaking good!

    We don’t have a microwave and don’t miss it either (although Jeremy would like something to reheat his coffee in).

    When we did have one, my Mom taught me a healthy way to make popcorn. Grab a large brown paper ‘lunch’ bag and add to it 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels mixed with about 1 TB of oil, tightly roll/close the bag and use the microwave’s popcorn setting. Perfectly popped and without all the hydrogenated oils.


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