How to Make Your Own Popcorn


Addictive, fluffy, and crunchy, popcorn is, dare I say it...? The perfect snack.

We already know that it makes for great movie noshing. But popcorn can also be one of the healthiest snacks you can make, with three cups of air-popped popcorn coming in at around 90 calories. And humble popcorn can easily satisfy cravings for salty, sweet, and crunchy foods all at once. (See also: 6 Healthy Snacks That Won't Break the Bank)

Of course, we also know that some of the more popular forms of popcorn — the movie theater fare and microwave-at-home bags — and not very healthy. Heck, there's even a lung disease nicknamed "popcorn lung" that employees at microwave popcorn factories have developed.

Thankfully, healthy popcorn is both easy and inexpensive to make at home. Here are a few methods you can try.

On the Stovetop

This is how I usually make popcorn. I add 3 tbsp of olive or vegetable oil to a large pot and start to heat it over medium-high heat. Then I add a 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels and cover. As soon as it starts to pop, I put on oven mitts and shake the pot, still over the heat. The kernels will begin popping rapidly. When the popping slows down, remove the pot from the heat. Don't wait until you don't hear any kernels popping; there's a good chance that keeping it on the heat that long will burn the kernels on the bottom.

Remove the lid. Be careful — there might be a lot of steam.

If you'd like to make kettle corn, follow the same basic steps, but add 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/4 cup sugar at the beginning. Feel free to experiment with more or less sugar and oil to taste.

In the Microwave

You don't need Mr. Redenbacher all up in your business in order to make microwave popcorn. Simply take a brown paper lunch bag, add 1/4 cup of kernels, fold the top of the bag down a few times, and microwave it until the popping stops. You can add oil or butter to the bag before popping, or simply add it after.

Other Methods

If you really love popcorn and plan to make it regularly, there are some tools you can buy specifically for popping it, including hot air poppers, the stovetop Whirley-Pop, microwave bowls, and old-fashioned/theater-style popcorn poppers. If you're seriously considering getting one of those last ones, though, you might also want to reconsider just how much popcorn you're eating.

And of course, once the popcorn is popped, you can top it with whatever you want (in fact, some of these alternative pizza sauces might be quite excellent). If you know of any other particularly delicious topping combinations, please share them in the comments!

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Guest's picture

Stovetop popcorn is a favorite snack at our house! We make it with coconut oil which gives it a rich flavor that's healthy too!

Guest's picture

Nutritional yeast and a little salt for flavor on air-popped popcorn. Very little calories and pretty cheap.

Guest's picture

I like mine sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.