Microwave Popcorn

Let’s make some homemade microwave popcorn! This recipe is incredibly quick and easy, with just a few ingredients (though really, you only need one!). Plus, it’s much healthier than store-bought packs.

Microwave popcorn in a glass bowl on a table.

Warm, fresh popcorn is one of my favorite “go-to” healthy snacks. It’s light, low-calorie, and satisfies those crunchy, salty cravings. You can whip it up in a pot on the stove, but it’s even easier (like ridiculously easy) in the microwave.

The best part of homemade microwave popcorn is knowing you don’t have any funky additives, as you would with store-bought microwave popcorn. It’s just natural, freshly popped kernels. And with a pinch of salt and drizzle of butter, I guarantee this will be the only way you make popcorn in the future!

Ingredients for microwave popcorn on a table

Microwave Popcorn – Just a Few Ingredients!

Technically, you only need corn kernels to make popcorn. But with a little oil, salt, and butter, it makes it taste 10x better.

  • Popcorn Kernels: Any variety will work here, but I highly recommend organic popcorn as corn is one of the most prolific GMO and sprayed crops.
  • Oil: Both olive or avocado oil work for this recipe. And yes, you can even make it without oil…read more below!
  • Salt and Butter: These ingredients are of course optional, but boy do they turn a simple bowl of popcorn into an extra tasty one! Bonus – I’ve got a few more creative flavor ideas down below.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

3 Ways to Make Microwave Popcorn

Most recipes call for using a paper bag to make microwave popcorn. But I’ve tested two other ways that create perfectly popped results every time. For all of these methods, I mix the kernels with just a tiny amount of oil first. Here are your options:

Making microwave popcorn in a paper bag

In a Paper Bag

Add the popcorn kernels to a paper bag and fold over the the top twice. Microwave for about 2 to 4 minutes, stopping when you hear a few seconds between pops. Then, remove the bag from the oven.

Making microwave popcorn in a silicone bag.

In a Stasher Bag

Add the popcorn kernels to a large upright Stasher Bag and close the bag. Microwave for about 2 to 4 minutes, stopping when you hear a few seconds between pops. Then, remove the bag from the oven.

Making microwave popcorn in a glass bowl.

In a Glass Bowl

Add the popcorn kernels to a medium to large glass bowl (make sure it’s tempered glass) and place a ceramic dinner plate on top of the bowl to act as a lid. Microwave for 3 to 5 minutes, then stop when you hear a few seconds between pops.

Carefully remove the bowl from the oven (it will be hot), remove the plate, and let the bowl cool to the touch before diving in.

Do You Have to Use Oil?

No, you don’t. You can make microwave popcorn without any additional oil. But I’ll be honest, I think it tastes better and pops better with just a smidge of oil. I typically use 1/2 teaspoon of oil per 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels.

Add Some Fun Flavors To Your Popcorn

Butter and salt is my go-to seasoning, but the world is your oyster when it comes to flavoring up a bowl of popcorn!

  • Make it sweet: Add a dash of cinnamon and sugar, or drizzle it with a bit of honey and butter.
  • Bump up the savoriness: Can’t beat a garlic parmesan combo! Just add a sprinkle of garlic powder and parmesan cheese.
  • Give it a spiced kick: Along with salt and butter, add a pinch of cayenne powder or chili powder for a bold, spiced flavor
  • Add a hint of spicy tang: For my chili lime lovers, add a dash of chili powder with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
A bag with microwaved popcorn in it

Ways To Store Microwave Popcorn

Microwave popcorn is undoubtedly best when it’s fresh. But if you happened to pop a bit too much, you can store it an air-tight container or sealable bag. It will keep for 1-2 weeks. But here’s a few extra tips to make sure your popcorn stays fresh.

  • Let the popcorn cool completely before storing away. Otherwise it will become soggy since you’re trapping in moisture from the heat.
  • Don’t add any butter, salt, or flavorings as it can make the popcorn a bit softer. Store it plain, then add any toppings before serving again!

More Healthy Snack Ideas

Got a craving for the munchies? Here are a few more nibbles that will satisfy your hunger.

If you make this microwave popcorn, let me know how it turned out! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

A big glass bowl of popcorn next to a napkin.

Microwave Popcorn – 3 Easy Ways!

4.93 from 13 votes
Prep Time: 1 min
Cook Time: 4 mins
Total Time: 5 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
Homemade microwave popcorn is a healthy snack that's quick and easy. You can make it in a paper bag, Stasher Bag or glass bowl!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup popcorn kernels
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil or avocado oil, while oil isn't required, I do recommend it
  • Optional: salt and butter

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, mix the popcorn kernels with the oil, so that they all have a light coating of oil.
    Bowl of popcorn kernels.

In A Bag

  • If microwaving the popcorn in a paper bag: add the popcorn kernels to a paper bag and fold over the the top twice. Microwave for 2 to 4 minutes (depending on the wattage of your microwave), stopping when you hear a few seconds between pops. Remove the bag from the oven (it will be hot), and pour the popcorn into a bowl.
    Microwave popcorn in a paper bag.

In A Stasher Bag

  • If microwaving the popcorn in a Stasher bag: add the popcorn kernels to a large upright Stasher Bag and close the bag. Microwave for 2 to 4 minutes (depending on the wattage of your microwave), stopping when you hear a few seconds between pops. Remove the bag from the oven (it will be hot), and pour the popcorn into a bowl.
    Microwave popcorn in a stasher bag

In A Glass Bowl

  • If microwaving the popcorn in a glass bowl: add the popcorn kernels to a medium to large glass bowl and place a ceramic dinner plate on top of the bowl to act as a lid. Microwave for 3 to 5 minutes (depending on the wattage of your microwave), stopping when you hear a few seconds between pops. Remove the bowl from the oven (it will be very hot), remove the plate, and let the bowl cool to the touch before enjoying.
    Microwave popcorn in a bowl
  • Optional: you can sprinkle kosher salt and drizzle butter on top of the popcorn before serving.

Lisa’s Tips

  • If you opt to use a Stasher Bag, it really is best to use a large, upright bag versus a sandwich bag. The latter is just not big enough for all the popcorn once it pops.
  • If using a glass bowl, make sure it’s tempered glass, which will prevent breaking or shattering.

Nutrition

Calories: 41kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 28mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Calcium: 1mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: How To Make Popcorn, Microwave Popcorn, Popcorn
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57 comments on “Microwave Popcorn”

  1. do i add the butter into the paper bag before popping it or do i add butter after it’s done?

  2. Can you use a ceramic bowl or does it have to be glass?

  3. Do not use glass bowl to make popcorn in microwave!  My large favorite bowl got so hot it completely cracked and broke while cooking the popcorn for 2 minutes!

  4. Thank you, exactly what I needed to know!5 stars

  5. WARNING!!!

    First let me say that I am so glad I found this post. I am now able to enjoy fresh, delicious popcorn in a matter of minutes using your easy instructions. I am using the glass bowl method with non-GMO kernels and olive oil and it works like a charm!

    However, I would greatly discourage the use of paper bags for cooking. According to the FDA, the ink, glue, and recycled materials in brown paper bags may emit toxic fumes when the bag is heated. And there goes your “healthy” snack!

    I really hate to spoil the party, but I just thought this was important enough to share. It is a shame that something as commonplace and innocent-looking as a paper bag can be harmful, but, unfortunately, that is the state of our world these days.5 stars

  6. I was looking to buy a microwave popcorn popper. I Googled and found your recipe. I made it with the glass bowl.. I topped it with it with a butter and salt and shook it with the lid on and it is yummy!! Thank you!!5 stars

  7. Hi Lisa, I have been popping corn throughout January as part of my diet, but can I check your calorie values?

    You say 82g Popcorn has 41calories,
    however according to the USDA 40 grams of popcorn kernels contains 120 calories,
    and according to Holland and Barret 100g contains 375calories

    This explains why my low calorie dient not going as well as I hoped!4 stars

    • Hi Geoff – the nutrition information is per serving. And for this recipe there’s 8 servings. If you ate the whole bag, that would be 328 calories. Hope that helps!

  8. Can’t recommend the glass bowl, mine was just shot by a corn home astray.

    Otherwise, great recipe!

  9. Hi. I can’t wait to try this but where do you source your paper bags from? I wouldn’t know where to look or what size is needed. Thanks

  10. Yum! I love this! I used the glass bowl method. But, does it matter what type of oil i use?

    Selah.

  11. This is my preferred method of making popcorn Also a great topping is the dry ranch dressing.
    I add extra dry dill weed. OMG so good. Also try butter kosher salt and pepper. Yummy!

  12. Could you please let me know how much is a portion? Thank you

  13. Hi Lisa, I remember trying the glass bowl version down and the glass broke. Do you know if this is likely to happen?

  14. I sprinkle nutritional yeast on my popcorn for incredible flavor and a touch of protein.

  15. I LOVE IT5 stars

  16. Is there anyway to make this without a microwave? Would it work in a pan on the hob for example?

    • Yes, you can make it on the stovetop as well. I will be making another recipe for that in the future :)

  17. Just made the paper bag version. Delicious! Question: Am I the only one who’s really bothered by all the unpopped kernels? The only thing worse is burnt popped kernels! Sigh.5 stars

  18. Could you add any flavourings before you cook instead of after please?

  19. What!?! Oh my goodness, I love you. You have saved our popcorn journey.  We usually do the stove top but lately my pot got all wonky (i think?) and its been burning every time! This is amazing! Thank you for all your great ideas :) 

  20. A great snack that is so easy tp make. We like a few dashes of cayenne with fresh lime juice and Bragg Liquid Aminos. Delicious!5 stars

  21. Hi Lisa-

    Wondering what variation you like—bag, Stasher or glass bowl? I always make mine on the stove. This is easier. Thanks for this recipe.

    Michelle

  22. Hi Lisa!  Is the entire recipe 41 cal  for one person?

    • I’ve divided this recipe into about 8 servings, and the nutritional information will always be per serving.

  23. This was such a quick and easy snack that is way better than any store bought version I have tried! Can’t wait to make this again tonight for movie night!5 stars

  24. We love popcorn here especially my daughter and hubby! I can’t wait to try these ways. Excited to show my daughter this recipe!5 stars

  25. I love making popcorn at home and agree it’s much healthier than bought. Like the suggestions for ways to flavor it, too.5 stars

  26. I had no idea you could make popcorn like this in the microwave! I always thought you needed a popcorn maker. My kids will be so excited because I won’t buy them pre-bagged popcorn because I’ve heard so many negative things about them, but this we can do!5 stars

  27. I would have never thought to make popcorn like this at home! Such a great idea! 5 stars

  28. Simple solutions to healthier versions is why we follow your work.  Great example today!5 stars

  29. Wow, this is great! Never knew you could pop the kernels like this, can’t wait to try it!

  30. Hello downshiftology i know this is of. The subject but can you do a vegan paleo victoria sponge cake. as on a strict food life style because of my eczema. Thank 

    PS- gonna make one of your chocolate. Chia  seed  chocolate pudding for my brother ( as i cant have it ) cause hes been really excited about it 

    Thanks God Bless 🙏🏼😄

Downshiftology