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How-To Make Stove Top Popcorn (Video)

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Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks to make , but I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of microwave popcorn.  I’m also not a big fan of lots of kitchen gadgets (ie. a popcorn maker), which makes this the perfect popcorn recipe for me.

My husband is actually the one that taught me how to make popcorn like this.  I also took a few tips from Elise over at SimplyRecipes just to be sure I wasn’t missing any secret steps.

The flavor of the stove-top popcorn is SO much better than the microwave popcorn that you buy in those little bags.  Plus, have you ever read the ingredients in those microwave popcorn bags?!  Yikes!  They can get pretty hairy.

I usually try to follow the simple rule of thumb, that clearly state, “If you can’t pronounce it, then for-Gods-sake, don’t eat it!”.

For me, popcorn is the perfect snack,  it’s crunchy, salty, high in fiber, low in fat, and really filling. (oh. and did I mention it’s really yummy!!  That always helps:).

Once you guys see how easy it is to make popcorn on the stove you may just say good-bye to the microwaved stuff forever.

How-To Make Stove Top Popcorn

Yield: Serves 6

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 6 minutes

Total Time: 8 minutes


  • ¾ cup popped corn kernels
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 tsp salt


Heat the oil in an 8-quart saucepan over a medium high heat.

Add two or three popcorn kernels into the oil and pop the lid on. Once the kernels pop, add the rest of the kernels to the pot.

Cover the pot, remove from the heat and wait for 30 seconds before placing the pot back over the burner (this will help to ensure that all your kernels pop at the same time!).

Once you hear the popcorn begin to pop begin to gently shake the pot back and forth over the burner (I usually pick the whole pot up and give it a few intermittent shakes throughout the popping process.

Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pot from the heat and pour your popcorn into your serving bowl. Enjoy!!

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrients per 1/6th of recipe: Calories: 130 Total Fat: 3.3g; Saturated Fat: 0.5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 384mg; Carbohydrate: 26g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugars: 0g; Protein: 4g

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20 comments on “How-To Make Stove Top Popcorn (Video)

  1. That’s a great video which reminds me of my Mom. She never gives us Microwave kind popcorns. She sticks to the traditional kind and they indeed taste fresh. Her secret ingredient is fresh Lemon juice on top of the freshly popped pop corns mixed thoroughly to prevent sogginess. And they taste yum!

  2. Dani – we must be in synch, because stovetop popcorn has recently re-entered my life as well! I was inspired by a Nigella Lawson recipe to top mine with a mix of: olive oil (or butter) heated gently over the stove with the addition of cumin, cayenne, brown sugar (I used agave) black pepper and a pinch of garam masala. It is really delicious stuff. Or just popocorn with a little sea salt and white truffle oil. Yum!

  3. Prinyanka – Lemon juice, huh? I would have never thought of that one. I’m gonna have to give it a try, thanks!

    Jaya – I sometimes add spices to my popcorn too, but my I must admit I like it best with the olive oil and salt ALTHOUGH, truffle oil sounds amazing!! That is something else I will be trying in the very near future:). thanks Jaya!

  4. How fun! My mother-in-law always makes popcorn on the stove top, but she has one of those fancy pans with the rotating thing in it. Glad to see that I can make it with just my big stockpot!

  5. Homemade popcorn was the Friday Night Snack in our house growing up. But being Italian, we cooked it right in the olive oil. I’ve recently traded the microwave popcorn for the way my Dad would make it and now I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  6. I’ve never been a fan of the really buttery bagged popcorns or theatre buckets – in fact, so much so that I tend to tell people that I don’t like popcorn altogether. This looks (and sounds) good, though! The crunch is noticeably different from the butter-soggy popcorn that is so prevalent! Strangely, I had a dream about this video last night… I was trying out the recipe myself. I guess that’s foretelling!

  7. Culinary Wannabe – No fancy pots needed!

    Annie – It’s the only way to go;).

    Channing – You had a dream about the video before I even posted it?! That’s weird! doo doo doo doo…..

  8. Hehe, no – it was after I watched the video ;D That would have been cool if I hadn’t, though!

  9. I made my first batch cooked on medium-high heat and as a result, I had a lot of partially-popped kernels and burnt ones. My second batch cooked on medium heat, using 3 tbsp. grapeseed oil and 1/2 cup kernels came out perfect. I have done this three times already. I notice you are cooking on a gas stove with a nonstick pot. I used a 6-qt. stainless steel pot on an electric stove. I’m not sure if that really makes a difference, but now I know I don’t have to spend $70 on a very high-rated electric popcorn maker that I saw at Williams-Sonoma (I forgot the brand name, but it is a popular brand and was rated well by consumer).

  10. D: Cooking temps can be tricky because all stoves vary. what may be a high heat on my stove may be medium on yours and visa versa! Also, like you said, there is a big difference between electric and gas BUt either way I’m happy you figured out all the tricks that worked best for you and thanks for sharing:).

  11. After watching your video I went straight to my stove to try your method. I was worried that it might burn but you were right…every kernel was popped and tasted delicious. Thanks for the tutorial.

  12. I have been an exclusive stovetop popcorn maker for a couple of years now–no microwave stuff for me anymore. Microwave tastes so….yuck!…and, like you, I was concerned about those strange ingredients. Really, it takes no more time than microwaving and I usually have enough for leftovers which I sometimes think popcorn is better on day #2!

  13. Since you came out with your video on Popcorn 101, I’ve been in a popcorn phase at the moment. I’ve been trying to perfect stovetop popcorn, but I cannot make consistently good popcorn every time. Sorry Dani: I tried the stovetop popcorn with a regular pot and lid and somehow, it doesn’t seem to work for me, at least not the way I like it. So what did I do? I bought the Whirley-Pop Popcorn Popper from Amazon.com for $19.98 and the money is well spent. I bought a cookbook along with the popcorn popper to waive shipping cost (FREE shipping $25+ purchase(s)). Popcorn is done in 3 minutes and it comes out crispy and fluffy everytime. How? The Whirley-Pop has a mechanisim that turns the popcorn at the bottom of the pot so you don’t have to shake the pan and prevent form having burnt popcorns. It has air-hole vents on the lid so steam escapes while popping so the popcorn will not get soggy from trapped steam. The pot is made of aluminum so it conduct heat evenly. The instructions also say on electric stove to preheat the burner before placing the pot on the burner. I highly recommend the Whirley-Pop Popcorn Popper. It is the ultimate way to popping popcorn and have consistent fluffy and crispy theater-type popcorn every time.

  14. Screamin Mama – Glad to hear it!! I’m telling you, this method never lets me down!

    Megan – I agree… stove top is much much yummier than microwave. It just has a deeper flavor, right?!

  15. Stove top popcorn. I have never had a hot air popper and being part of the slow food movement never really fussied the microwave bags. I have a 4 year old son and this is all we ever snack on. I would if he asked buy him a bag of chips but he always asks for popcorn. I have clear-glass topped pots and so it’s rather exciting to see the popcorn explode from a 4 year olds perspective.

    I didn’t think it was anything special until I hired a baby-sitter and she couldn’t believe you could make popcorn on the stove. She had never seen loose popcorn. I though to myself…stove top popcorn..a lost art?

    I kept her as a sitter as I go on several business trips out of town and I am a single parent. Upon return I have found a succession of scortched pots and discarded popcorn but eventually she mastered the ‘art’ and is quite proud of herself that she knows something that her friends don’t.

    I will always make popcorn this way. It attracts the neighborhood kids like a magnet and you can make bowl after bowl for pennies on the pound.

    Here’s to economical smiles that are worth millions!


  16. re: peanut oil . ..

    can you substitute another oil ? and if so, WHAT?

    i have children with severe peanut allergies. we also have gluten, soy, and fish/shellfish allergies amongst the family members, so if you could recommend an oil that would work and not cause allergic reaction, I’d appreciate it.

    we love popcorn from movie theatre poppers and would love to have something closer to that at home – as the hot air popper works ok, but it’s just not as good. ..

    thanks for your reply to this comment! :)

    and also, thanks for doing this how-to videos! because of you, i now know how to wield a knife properly in the kitchen – and after 17 years of marriage, it was time to learn! So thanks for what you’re doing.

  17. We didn’t have microwave popcorn when I was growing up (heck, we didn’t even have microwaves) so everyone knew how to pop corn in their largest pot on the stove top. Or, we used Jiffy pop in it’s convenient little aluminum thingy.
    Anyway, microwave popcorn is on the top 10 list of foods that Drs and Nutritionists won’t eat. The inner plastic leaches out bpa’s into the popcorn which is really yucky.
    Did you know that you can pop millet (almost any grain, really) just like popcorn on the stove without oil? I just found out about this but I have some organic millet and I’m going to give it a shot.
    Btw…loving your blog and vids

  18. Perfect!

    Thank you so much for the great instructions! I always burn the popcorn when I try. My daughter gets frustrated and says, “You know, burnt popcorn is the saddest smell in the world, mom…”

    Makes me sad, so I will definitely give this method a try- thank you!


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