There’s nothing like a big bowl of salty, buttery popcorn to dig into while you curl up on the couch and watch a movie, is there? I just love the smell, the taste, the texture, and the yummy buttery goodness! What I don’t love, however, is nasty chemicals leeching into my food, and if you’re making microwave popcorn at home, that’s exactly what you’re getting!
What’s In Microwave Popcorn?
There’s a chemical coating on microwave popcorn bags that breaks down when heated and turns into perfluorooctanoic (PFOA), a substance the FDA has identified as “a likely carcinogen.” And if that wasn’t enough to scare you off from eating microwave popcorn forever, that fake butter flavoring is also something to be weary of. Diacetyl, an FDA-approved chemical, is actually what’s responsible for that butter flavor and smell. It’s so toxic that scores of popcorn factory workers have developed what’s referred to as “popcorn lung” – a chronic and often fatal lung condition.
So what’s a popcorn lover to do? Well, like everything else here on Nature’s Nurture, we’re going to make our own, of course! Now before we go putting some popcorn kernels into a brown paper bag and throwing it into the microwave (which is totally possible), let’s just forget that the microwave exists. I do have a microwave and I do use it from time to time, but it’s something that we really try to keep to a bare minimum in our house (and will hopefully get rid of one day!). I really believe microwaves are a bad idea not only for our health, but also for the nutritional content of our food.
How to Make Stovetop Popcorn
Since I don’t have an air popper, and I’m in no need for an extra kitchen gadget taking up valuable space on my counters or cabinets, I just make popcorn on the stovetop – the old fashioned way. It’s really quite simple, doesn’t take much time at all, and if you’ve got kids at home, it’s a real treat to watch the little kernels pop, pop, pop – especially if your pots have glass lids! 🙂
Here’s the basic, simple “recipe” for making homemade popcorn on the stovetop. If you’re looking for different ways to season your popcorn (butter is just the beginning!), check the list at the end of this post for some yummy and tasty ideas!
All you need is some oil (I use expeller-pressed coconut oil from Tropical Traditions), popcorn, and salt. You could use whatever oil you have on hand, but I tend to stay away from vegetable oils since they become oxidized when exposed to heat. Coconut oil is very heat stable and the expeller-pressed variety has no coconut taste or smell.
Heat your oil in a large heavy-bottom pot/pan (I use stainless steel). Then add the popcorn and salt, stir around a bit, and cover the pan with a lid, leaving some space for steam to escape.
After a few minutes, you’ll hear the kernels start to pop! Give the pan a gentle shake a few times to move the kernels around so they don’t burn. Note: Don’t remove the cover like I did – that was just for a quick photo-op. Otherwise, you’ll literally have projectile popcorn all over the place!
Once the popping comes to a stop (or several seconds between pops), immediately remove the pan from the heat and remove the lid. Voila! You’ve just made popcorn!
Now dump the popcorn into a large bowl and season however you would like. You could drizzle with a few tablespoons of melted butter and add more salt to taste for a classic bowl of butter popcorn. Or you can get creative and try some of the yummy ideas in the list below! My favorite go-to seasoning is some olive oil and grated parmesan cheese!
How do you make your popcorn? What are your favorite toppings and seasoning ideas?
- 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil ( (or oil of choice))
- ½ cup popcorn kernels
- ½ teaspoon salt ( optional)
- Large heavy-bottom pan with a lid
- Optional toppings ( see list for ideas)
- Heat oil in pan on medium heat.
- Add popcorn and salt and stir around to coat all kernels.
- Cover pan with lid, leaving some space for steam to escape (otherwise, you’ll have soggy popcorn).
- Within a few minutes, you’ll start to hear the kernels pop. Give the pan a gentle shake back and forth a couple times to move kernels around (so they don’t burn).
- Once popping comes to a stop (several seconds between pops), immediately remove pan from heat.
- Remove lid, pour popcorn into a bowl, and season to taste! My go-to is melted ghee and sea salt, but check the recipe notes for more ideas!
Ideas for Popcorn Seasonings
Start with a bowl of freshly popped popcorn, drizzled wither in some melted butter or olive oil (or both!) and try some of the ideas below:
- Parmesan cheese
- Herbs like dill, basil, parsley, etc.
- Hot sauce (mixed with the butter first)
- Garlic sautéed in butter
- Salt and vinegar
- Lemon pepper
- Chili powder
- Cumin powder
For more ideas, including gourmet toppings like vanilla, caramel bake, cheese, and kettle corn, check out TipNut.com‘s awesome list!
I tried making popcorn in my favorite pot on stove but forgot to put oil first, how do I clean it? I’ve tried reheating & placing baking soda, vinegar, and salt & it’s still there (a little lighter though) I’ve tried this 3 times. I have done this a long time ago and can’t believe I did this time since I knew better! Today I tried SOS pad and gave up & tried comet cleaner. I tried oxi-cleaner and still it’s there. I left it to soak to contact you. Please help!
Oh no! I’ve found SOS pads to be a little too gentle for tough jobs like this one. Have you tried using a steel scrubber? Also, try scrubbing with just baking soda and salt – heat up the pot with some water in it, then dump the water, sprinkle the baking soda and salt, and try scrubbing that in with a steel scrubber. It might take a few applications and lots of elbow grease (and several breaks to rest), but it should eventually come out.
Yes I have a popcorn cart and I have been making it with coconut oil organic popcorn then salt and brewers yeast everyone luvs my popcorn
RE : Stovetop popcorn seasonings
My daughter’s creation is my absolute favorite. It may sound strange, but you only have to try it once to become a fan! Pop corn as directed in your recipe. While popping, lightly coat serving bowl with sesame oil. Turn finished popcorn into serving bowl in thirds, lightly seasoning each layer with tiny drizzles of sesame oil, freshly ground sea salt and pepper. Toss to mix.
We have made popcorn this way for years…Have you ever tried popping corn in a brown lunch bag in the microwave…no mess…just pour popcorn in a brown bag and pop for 2 min (or whatever your microwave settings are for popcorn) Play around with the amount of popcorn and times and see what works for you!!
It’s soooo easy and you don’t have the chemicals from the store-bought microwave popcorn and so much cheaper!!!
Ever try popping popcorn at a campfire?? It’s fun–just throw the kernels into the campfire and try to catch the popcorn as it pops out. We throw kernels along the outer ring of the fire to prevent anyone getting overzealous and burnt by reaching into the inner flames.
HOT SAUCE!!! That sounds so good!!! I make popcorn all the time (we have an air-popper, but I drizzle melted coconut oil over top). I definitely have to try it with hot sauce!!!
Ooh I love the idea of drizzling with even more coconut oil on top!!
Tracey @ Dont Mess with Mama
Great post! I’ve tried this before and honestly it’s my favorite version of cooking popcorn. The little bit of oil just coats the popcorn perfectly – better in my opinion that an air popper.
Saving this because I’ve been meaning to look into how to do pop corn the traditional way. They have “natural” versions of the pop corn, but I have heard a lot about the dangers of some of the ingredients added like you mentioned above.
Tamara @ Silent Springs
Awesome. I’m going to try it tonight. But– I have to know what plugin you use for the printable recipes!!!
Hey Tamara, I answered on the last post as well but guess you didn’t see it. I was using EasyRecipe plugin but it’s been buggy for a while. I just switched to a new one called Recipe Card and I love it! What do you think of the new look? 🙂
Kayle (The Cooking Actress)
It’s so easy to make popcorn! I love that you used coconut oil!
Made this…..so good !!!
Glad you liked it! 🙂
Wow, did not know that. We use an air popper in our home but I am definitely going to try out your seasoning recipe!
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Chrystal @ Happy Mothering
That’s exactly how we make our popcorn too! But we use our cast iron pots. I think we need to make some today!
This is great! We recently started making it on the stove instead of in the microwave, but I have yet to use any of my gazillion tubs of coconut oil. Great idea!
It’s really that simple? Why haven’t I tried this before? I have a great corn popper but its surface is covered in teflon so I haven’t used it for years. But haven’t had any popcorn, either. Thanks for sharing!