Introduction: Microwave Popcorn: Home Made, Cheap and Easy

Picture of Microwave Popcorn: Home Made, Cheap and Easy

Go to the supermarket and look at the boxes of microwave popping corn. $1.99 to $3.00 a box and the odds are you won't find one seasoned to your individual taste. You just have to settle for what they offer.


Not anymore, my friends. I am here to liberate your palates form the work-a-day microwave popcorn. Today, you will learn that which they don't want you to know. You will learn how simple and cheap it is to make your own popping corn. Lets get started.

First you will need the following ingredients:

1/4 cup of popping corn (generally $0.99 for a pound bag. This is enough to make at least 50 bags of microwave corn)
1 Teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
To taste - popcorn salt (it has finer granules than table salt with the same taste)

And the following tools:

A stapler
A teaspoon
A measuring cup
A brown paper bag
A microwave

Step 1: First...

Picture of First...

Open the bag and pour the popping corn in. Carefully add your seasonings and salt. Shake gently. Now add the teaspoon of olive oil.

Step 2: Things Are Really Popping Now!

Picture of Things Are Really Popping Now!

Fold the bag over once and staple twice. Contrary to popular belief, the staples will not spark in the microwave. Gently shake the contents to mix and press out the air. Set on it's back in the microwave and cook until the pops get about 3 to 5 seconds apart.

Step 3: Relax and Savor

Picture of Relax and Savor

Open the bag with great care as steam will be escaping and you can get scalded. Pour into a bowl, serve and enjoy the taste and the knowledge that this heaping bag of microwave popcorn cost less than $0.10!


MattC121 (author)2016-04-16

you could seal the bag with tooth pics instead of staples

HollyC1 (author)2014-08-18



LucienP4 (author)HollyC12016-04-12

Caps lock key maybe?


freenstruct (author)2015-11-11

Don't try plastic even if it's a microwavable bowl.
I guess because it gets too hot before the corn pops but, anyway, i ended up with popcorn on a molten bowl.

nav_lexy (author)2010-08-22

I logged in to give you 5 stars. So does butter work instead of the olive oil? I would give it a try but no paper bags...

GraceA2 (author)nav_lexy2015-04-26

I used about a tablespoon of butter in the bag- worked just fine.

Hoopajoo (author)nav_lexy2010-08-23

Thank you for your kind comments. Sometimes I use butter, but find it works better if you use it after it has popped.

GraceA2 (author)2015-04-26

I popped a tablespoon of butter into the bag- even better!

lmturmenne. (author)2015-02-18

Another link about brown bag microwave popcorn says to cook for 2 minutes. Here's the link to that "how-to" >>

laumas (author)2015-02-11

If I read your instructions correctly I need to lay the Brown Bag flat not standing up. Am I correct?

arcticgypsy (author)2014-12-19

The older microwaves are the ones that will spark a staple. As a child I put a stick of margarine (had a foil type wrapper) in the microwave to soften. Within seconds the wrapper burst into flames. Most microwaves from the last 15 years, or so, do not have that problem.

cyenobite (author)2007-02-09

Mmmmm - popcorn.
I had seen this post some time ago, and put it in the back of my head. At my last trip to the grocery store I needed to pick up some more popcorn (I usually buy Smart Balance). So this time I bought the bag of kernels, with the intent on trying this. So tonight I tried it... this may have been the best popcorn I've ever had! Simple, fast, and knowing I saved a ton of money made it taste all that much better. I modified it slightly by melting some butter to pour over top, it was a bit too dry for me with just the light Olive Oil. (I know, not that healthy, but boy did it taste good.) Thanks for posting Hoopajoo. PS> I used the staples (with the reverse) and no sparks.

cyenobite (author)cyenobite2007-02-16

Thought I'd post this follow up... I tried this project using a tuperware container in the hopes that I would not have to waste a paper bag each time. Well, it was obvious, the kernels actually melted into the plastic! And it messed up the plastic of the container. So, if anyone else was thinking of doing this... dont! :) I would like to try this same experiment with a large glass bowl though.

Limadito (author)cyenobite2007-03-10

May be using a microwave-specific plastic bowl?

Hoopajoo (author)Limadito2007-03-26

Hmmm, I'm not sure that would work either. If you want to try it, I'd go with a Pyrex bowl. It seems that the kernels get too hot for any kind of plastic, microwavable or not.

mkslocomb (author)Hoopajoo2014-10-07

if you really want a glass option (and a uni-tasker), simply search for something like "glass microwave popcorn popper" to find one made by Catamount out of lab-grade glass. (I find links tend to disappear.)

santy22 (author)2011-07-15

Any chance i can use a microvave-able bowl instead of the bag?

HollyC1 (author)santy222014-08-18

PRobs not hey look i fixed them!!

Hoopajoo (author)santy222013-12-21

You can do that if you like. I've tried it and noticed it took much, much longer for the corn to pop.

skinbuckle (author)santy222012-02-13

the only problem I've found is covering the bowl - you don't want soft plastic wrap heated on your food.

td80 (author)2012-03-16

Just wondering if you can use the white paper bags?
I have a bunch of them....
As much as hubby likes to sit and eat popcorn, this should make him happy. I'll let him eat to his heart's content!

Hoopajoo (author)td802013-12-21

I don't see why they wouldn't work. The only difference should be that the paper is bleached where the ones I use aren't. Give it a whirl and let us know how it turns out.

jimisham (author)2012-02-23

Are those regular lunch bags being used in the instructions?

Hoopajoo (author)jimisham2013-12-21

Yes, they're just plain old regular lunch bags you can buy 50 for $1.

LOLRECONLOL (author)2013-05-01

Made this today - burned it. :( the part that wasn't burned was good!

Roxyskeeper (author)2012-10-11

Ok - love that this is coming around AGAIN! I was born in the 50's - when my Gramp bought the 1st microwave I had ever seen home - the first thing we made was POP-CORN! My grandmother was 'pissed that Gramps spent so much on a pop-corn maker! LOL.At the time there wasn't a huge micro-cookbook. We laughed when Mirco-popcorn was 1st out thinking NO ONE would buy such an expensive item! So happy you are all learning how to do this! :)

sunshiine (author)2012-02-18

What an awesome Instructable! Thanks for sharing your hard work! Have a splendorous day!

Javin007 (author)2011-06-25

Best EVAR. Just tried this tonight, and I'm amazed at the results, though I did two bags and found that it works better if you mix the oil with the kernels before putting them in the bag. (I assume the more even coating helps them pop better.) I found that I had LESS unpopped popcorn than with the expensive microwaved popcorn, and the prep time was only slightly longer than the process of opening the purchased popcorn box, and unwrapping it from the plastic. Finally, the end result is COMPLETELY preservative free and somehow seems "lighter" than the microwaved popcorn.

I used the "fold over" method, and when the bags get too full, a corner opens to allow them to vent but it doesn't change the rate of popping at all.

Summary:  There's simply no reason what-so-ever to buy microwavable popcorn.  Seriously.  Wish I could give more than 5 stars.  Stuff like this is what this site's all about. 

skinbuckle (author)Javin0072012-02-13

I fold the bag too - no staples. I personally find the taste is better when oil or butter the corn after popping. There's a few more kernals in the bottom of the bowl but I just repop them. Let me know what you think.

Azayles (author)2010-08-22

Is the olive oil necessary for this? I want to make small batches of pop corn for my hamster.

Hoopajoo (author)Azayles2010-08-22

Only if you want to salt it. If you want to make it plain, you can skip it.

Azayles (author)Hoopajoo2010-08-22

In that case, excellent :-D I just need to find somewhere now that sells the plain kernels. Thank you for the quick reply!

Capt Fritz (author)Azayles2010-08-22

any grocery store has some with the other popcorn bags. I got mine at walmart. I'd suggest getting the very basic kernel bags. I've seen colored and other stuff out there, but your hampster might end up with epilepsy with multicolored corn!

Azayles (author)Capt Fritz2010-08-22

It's ok, hamsters have very poor eyesight anyway. It's actually a defence mechanism against the garishly coloured hamster cages that seem to be the staple of small pet stores.

skinbuckle (author)Azayles2012-02-13

I bought a bag for $.99 at Trader Joes. It's organic, non-gmo and I didn't have to support a big box store.

emcbride (author)Azayles2011-07-24

I have been putting corn in a paper bag with NOTHING else and putting it in the microwave for over a year. listening to the popping and pull it out the instant 4 seconds go by without a pop. WHEN DONE EATING COLLECT THE UNPOPED KERNALS AND DO IT AGAIN! EMIL T

skinbuckle (author)emcbride2012-02-13


Azayles (author)emcbride2011-07-25

Over a year? Wouldn't it be burnt by then? :P
I managed to get some plain popping corn from Sainsbury's in the end. I really didn't know I could get it that easy lol. Millie loves it!

skinbuckle (author)Azayles2012-02-13

I make a version of this - I don't use any oil or salt or anything in the bag. Just plain corn, brown paper bag, hit the popcorn button. Then personally I pour melted butter and salt on it, but I've found if you're going to add fat, do it after it pops, there's much more flavor.

Here's the kicker - when you're done and there's left over kernals - pop them in the same old bag you just used. They don't take as long so listen after a minute or so for the delay in pops.

piccolo1979 (author)2010-10-01

Found & tried this instructable a few months ago & have not bought a single box of microwave popcorn since. So far my favorite flavor that I've attempted used lemon pepper seasoning. Mmmmmm! :)

Hoopajoo (author)piccolo19792010-11-24

Glad you liked it. Thanks for the idea on the lemon pepper seasoning. I've used IGA Seasoning salt and even Montreal Steak Seasoning, both were yummy to the max! Your imagination is the limit with this method where it comes to seasoning. My niece loves to put powdered cocoa on it.

goicoechea (author)Hoopajoo2011-05-22

What is Montreal Steak Seasoning? Can you buy that is supermarkets in Montreal? I live in Montreal...

Toxictom (author)goicoechea2012-01-05

Costco has it.

huddlehouseninja (author)2010-08-23

You are a genius! I just did this. The popcorn is yummy! I used some butter flavored popcorn oil and waited patiently by the microwave (armed with bacon soda to extinguish any crazy fires). Popcorn perfection! Thanks!

Can you get butter-flavored popcorn oil at the grocery or do you have to go to a specialty store?

P.S. It's BAKING soda. I wouldn't recommend throwing anything made of bacon on a fire!

Genius? Nah, I'm just plain ol' Hoopajoo. But thanks very much for the kind words and thoughts. I honestly appreciate it and am happy that you like it.

dtshumaker (author)2011-08-24

My coworker knows I eat a bag of popped corn a day so she sent me an article about the carcinogens from the teflon-like lining in most commercial popcorn, etc. Nothing like Debbie Downer information, right? But then she sent me the link to this page, and WOW! Great idea! Can't leave well-enough alone, though, so I needed to come up with a way to take it to work. Packaging the ingredients in the paper bag ahead of time would leave an oily mess in my lunch bag BUT here's my solution. ... I'll try mixing all the ingredients (measured appropriately with the whole bag of popcorn) in a large mixing bowl, then measure out a 1/4 c. of it per snack-size zip-lock bag, stirring the mixing bowl often to keep the kernels coated. I can store all the snack bags in a gallon zip-lock bag. When I pack my lunch, I can toss in a snack bag of the ingredients with a brown bag, then pour the ingredients into the bag right before nuking!

qfe0 (author)2011-05-08

WARNING this can start a FIRE. I'd recommend doing this without the staple, find another way to secure the bag.

One of times we tried this there was oil on the spot where the staple was, and the bag caught fire in the microwave, we were fortunate that we had a fire extinguisher at hand. It could have been a real disaster.

marabiego (author)qfe02011-08-19

fold over bag twice and secure with a piece of masking tape instead of stapling it.
no fire worries.

Hoopajoo (author)qfe02011-05-09

Sorry you had such bad results. I've commented earlier that if you are nervous about using a staple, just fold the top of the bag down about an inch, then fold again and press the folds.

What do you think made the bag catch fire? In all the times I've done this, the staple never sparks or even gets warm.

About This Instructable




Bio: USAF - Spec. Communications, Telemetry & Data Networking, Microwave Networks, Aeronautics Interests: Metal working, Electronics and Botany (especially wild edible plants, "Feed the world with weeds") More »
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