Easy Stovetop Popcorn




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I love popcorn!

But microwave popcorn has its serious limitations:

1) tastes definitively like microwaved popcorn
2) always too much or too little popcorn (depending on size of bag and mood)
3) it ain't cheap
4) my boyfriend doesn't have a microwave!!!!

What's a girl to do??
Oh yeah.
The stove! I have one oh those!

I'd like to say I remember this from my childhood and it brings back warm fuzzies of ski lodges and family game nights. But no, we had an air popper - a cumbersome, mono-utility device, that while awesome, I refuse to spend money on just to try and find more space in my tiny apartment kitchen to store.

But hey, I've got a stove. And a pot! How can I take these simple things and use them to make my favorite snack? With oil and salt I already have, and a bag of popcorn (they sell it by the kernels now!) I can buy for about $1 and get 6 servings from! Six of those big-bag-size servings that I still can't finish.

I wonder why I don't just pop less corn?

This instructable will show you a simple way to save money, control portion size and additives, and generate free entertainment!

Step 1: Supplies

Pot or pan with handle and lid

Popcorn kernels


Salt or other seasonings to taste

Step 2: Heat the Stove

Turn the heat on to high.

If you are using a gas stove, you can do this after you've added oil to the pan. I prefer to do it first on an electric stove to give it time to heat up.

Step 3: Add the Oil

Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan.

If you are making a little popcorn, just barely cover the bottom.
The more popcorn, the more oil.

Step 4: Add Salt (opt.)

I like to do this before I add the popcorn because I like to imagine the salt granules reaching every kernel this way.

I doubt that's how it happens, but it seems more fair to the kernels than just dumping it on post-pop, and all the best for whoever's on top.

Step 5: Pour in Popcorn Kernels

Once the oil is so hot it's almost smoking, pour in the popcorn kernels.

Step 6: Kernels in Oil

Should look something like this!

Step 7: Shake That Thang

Shake to evenly distribute oil, heat, and kernels.

Not too vigorously at this point, or they might come flying out of the pan.

Step 8: Cover the Pan

Cover the pan.

Continue to shake the pan occasionally.

Watch for condensation to gather.

Step 9: Release Steam

Do this a lot!

Lift the lid a little to release the steam that's building up in the pan.
Otherwise you will get chewy popcorn.

At some point, the kernels will have popped high enough that some will try to escape during this step. It means you're almost done!

Step 10: Listen for Popping to Stop

When your you notice the popping has slowed down, it's time to take it off the heat.

Release more steam and check out your gorgeous kernels!

Step 11: Turn Off the Stove!

Don't forget this part!

Your popcorn will continue to pop a bit even after the heat source has been removed. This is good, because then you know you're not going to burn it.

Step 12: Enjoy!

Pour into your favorite popcorn bowl and enjoy!

I highly recommend dressing your kernels with a scant drop of truffle oil.  Yum.

All of that delicious popcorn for less than 16 cents!!!

Now settle in with a free episode or movie from hulu.com or one of the major network's websites (or a dvd from the library if you had the foresight to go get one) and think about the $32 you just saved by not going out!

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    44 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Try different kinds of popcorn. The big stores just carry white or yellow. Way too generic! Go for variety! Here in Northern New York we have an Amish store. Holy Cow!!! You need to try their corn varieties. Ladyfinger is my favorite. Kernals about half the size of standard, light fluffy bits of awesome!! Try some other varieties at Crown Jewel .com amazing. The Blue Sapphire is fantastic!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Some old timers like my grandparents had a "special" pot that they used ONLY for pop corn and NEVER washed! Wiped out only. IT "seasons" like a cast iron. pan. The more aged it got the less oil you needed--obviously you still need opil of some sort though!!! And then they added pre-melted butter and "pop corn salt" which is a finer salt than "table salt" and gets in the "nooks and crannies" better.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Ok so I have cooked popcorn this way for years and find out that you can use butter insted of oil ( tastes better for me), all corn should reach bottom and be half submerged in oil-butter, cook on medium heat, all corn will never pop unless you want to burn them, so when you smell a light smoke its done, add salt or whatever you want and enjoy.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    LOL! I made this then my dad came in and he was like "why are you making popcorn on the stove?" and I was like "Because I heard it taste better than microwave popcorn" then he said " we have a air popcorn maker downstairs".

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    haha.. thats so funny , because its exactly what happened to me while visiting my Mom and Dad. Me and My Mom have a Fierce popcorn addiction .. Fierce ,I say .

    During a google session finding out about the cons of microwaves, i decided to start popping healthier corn for us in a pot on the stove top. Me and my Mom were all proud till Pops comes in and says "..you know ,we have the air popper ..right ?" .(Dad ,of course ,does not have the popcorn fetish gene)
    Its like as old as me , and lo and behold,da ting still worked ! LoL !!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Just tried it out...this is incredible! My popcorn cravings are at bay.
    One question though, do you find that oil kind of pops out of the lid when you let steam out of is this a sign that I've put in too much oil?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    For the longest time, I've craved for popcorn but coudn't bring myself to buy microwave ones...at last! POPCORN!!!


    this was really easy to make, and these are lovely!!!

    took me less than 10 mins

    lasted even less


    10 years ago on Introduction

    The best instructables are the ones that are most obvious. I think it's like a great invention, sort of "Hey, why didn't I think of that?" Done this for years. I would suggest using less oil, perhaps 1/2 of what you used. Other than that, keep popping! I like jessyratfink's idea of paprika, gonna try it.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    The thing isn't 'why didn't I think of that' because many times you have. It's 'why didn't I do something with the idea first'. That's the million dollar (sometimes literally) question.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You can also use coconut oil which works well.  For some really buttery flavour without having to add butter, you can use ghee (clarified butter).


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is how I, too, make my popcorn. You should try adding a tablespoon of coconut oil when you are adding the olive oil next time you make some; it makes it taste just like the movie theater's!