Perfect Popcorn

Make sure the inside of the pot is completely dry before heating the oil in it, or else the oil will sputter.

  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 2 quarts, enough for 2 people


  • 3 Tbsp coconut or peanut oil
  • 1/3 cup of high quality popcorn kernels
  • 1 Tbsp or more (to taste) of butter (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Special equipment:


1 Heat the oil: Heat the oil in a 3-quart thick-bottomed saucepan on medium high heat. If you are using coconut oil, allow all of the solid oil to melt.

2 Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil. Wait for the popcorn kernels to pop.

heat oil and add 3 to 4 popcorn kernels to the pot

3 When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer.

Wait for the popcorn kernels to pop when the popcorn kernels pop, add the rest of the kernels in an even layer

4 Cover the pot, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. (Count out loud! It's fun to do with kids.)

This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.

5 Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner.

Tip: As the popcorn pops, try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper).

6 Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.

once the popcorn stops popping, remove the pot from heat Immediately empty popped popcorn into a serving bowl

With this technique, nearly all of the kernels pop, and nothing burns.

7 Melt butter in the empty hot pan: If you are adding butter, you can easily melt it by placing the butter in the now empty, but hot pan.

melt butter for drizzling over popcorn

Tip: if you let the butter get just a little bit brown, it will add an even more intense, buttery flavor to the butter and to your popcorn.

Just drizzle the melted butter over the popcorn and toss to distribute.

8 Sprinkle the popcorn with salt to taste.

Fun toppings for the popcorn - Spanish smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, cayenne powder, chili pepper, curry powder, cumin, grated Parmesan cheese.

Click on the comments you'd like to print with your recipe. Grayed out comments will not print.


  • Jessica

    Absolutely love this recipe and have shared with all my friends! I make it all the time and accidentally finish it by myself most of the time… lol. I make it with avocado oil and add browned butter and nutritional yeast… YUM.


  • Priscilla

    Perfect popcorn!!! I didn’t know it was possible to get this much popcorn cooking on the stove :)


  • Joy

    Yes. But please ma if I want to add sugar for taste how do I do it?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Joy! I’d melt a few teaspoons of sugar into some butter and toss that with the popcorn, or sprinkle with sugar after tossing with butter (as you would with salt). Enjoy!

  • Zaneta

    BEST POPCORN EVER!!! I made this according to the directions in the recipe except…i did not use a thick pan cuz i didn’t have one! I just held the pan above the burner an inch or so. That said…it came out beautifully! Practically all kernels popped! I also used popcorn that was grown this season in a field in Oregon! WOW!! The great popcorn along with this great recipe…it’s the BOMB!!! (As my Grandkids would say!)


  • Keith

    Are seeds which have been popped still viable for planting please?

  • Marvin

    Marvelous …………………………!

  • Bob C.

    It made great popcorn and only had 4 unzipped kernels, never had so few un-popped kernels EVER! And no burned kernels, I’m impressed.

  • Kim

    Wow absolutely the very best ! And very easy to make


  • Lisa Raye

    Great and easy to follow recipe! Never made popcorn before and it came out perfect, no burnt kernels at all. Thank you so much!


  • Sholanda

    I only have medium grade kernels. Can I still use this recipe?

  • Jelena

    It was my first time making popcorn and everyone loved it!


  • Helena Biddle

    I used grapeseed oil instead bc my husband isn’t a fan of coconut oil. He ate it without butter! He loves extra butter on his popcorn so I was pleasantly surprised! I’m definitely trying this again with coconut oil!


  • Mira

    After we popped a bag of microwaveable popcorn the kids wanted more. We happened to have kernels so found this recipe and the family enjoyed this batch more than the bagged popcorn! This is how we make popcorn now on Friday nights!


  • Lapopa

    1st time making pop corn. I’m so glad I stumbled on your recipe. The popcorn was amazing.

  • Janie L

    I’ve cooked many of your recipes and this one doesn’t disappoint. All kernels popped and no fire alarm went off so I would say that was a success. Even took your note of counting out loud with the kiddo. He loved that he was a part of the “cooking” process. One thing I have to say is that I will definitely use peanut or cocunut oil as you recommmended. Vegetable oil is all I had on hand and it gave a odd after taste but still tasty overall. Not a kernel left!


  • Linda

    Thankyou so much ! Few unpopped kernels and pot hasn’t burnt and smoke alarm hasn’t gone off ! So happy !


  • Karen

    Brilliant. The coconut oil tastes yummy..


  • Silvio6

    Perfect recipe, kids loooooved it !! I had many compliments !


  • Kitty

    It came out perfect! No need a popcorn maker for sure. And best part-it was super simple!


  • Free

    Mind. Blown.

  • Jan

    Can you add butter at the beginning with the oil?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jan, you can add clarified butter or ghee, but if you add regular butter, the milk solids in it may burn. I wouldn’t recommend it.

  • Jonathan

    Thank you sho much for this! I have avoided making popcorn from scratch for so long! Thought I’d make some for my kids and I found this page. Worked like a dream. The best part was that the kernels really DIDN’T burn and the was only 1 left in the bottom. Never realized until today that I was putting too many kernels in.


  • Jeff

    I walked in the House from the garage, and was hit with the stench of burnt popcorn, my brother failed miserably, and his wife mad at him
    I found your recipe, made the best popcorn ever and saved the day, he’s out of the doghouse
    I’ll show him step by step
    There is never a reason to burn popcorn


  • Chanelle

    A fabulous, easy method, it turned out perfect and, like others have said, better than movie popcorn! Thank you for a great recipe!


  • Monica

    Just perfect. This is the second time I’ve used this method. I’ll never buy microwave popcorn again!


  • C

    Perfect instructions!

  • Ty

    Thank you! I have been using this for about six months now and it’s impossible to screw up. Perfect popcorn every time – and guest are always amazed at how crisp and perfect it is.


  • Mel

    Thanks. A lot more oil than I used to use but it works! I love using coconut oil. Smells nice in the kitchen.


  • Duane

    Yep! First time i ever tried making popcorn and it was… perfect!
    Every single kernal popped and not one burned!
    Thank you, the kids loved it.
    (P.s. i used “cooking” coconut oil then butter afterwards)


  • Carlyn

    no kernel left behind! they were amazing. the butter browned, but didn’t affect the taste. I added garlic powder and Himalayan sea salt. YUM!

  • Beth

    Worked perfectly with no kernels left at the end, ever since I discovered how easy stovetop popcorn is, I haven’t bought microwave popcorn since. Stovetop is way tastier and has a better yield.


  • Irene

    Indeed perfect and simple! Thanks for sharing!

  • David

    This worked absolutely perfectly. I had maybe 5 kernels unpopped. I used popcorn oil which is mostly soybean oil with butter flavor.


  • Tracee

    Best method ever… thank you and I love Za’atar (a middle eastern spice blend) for sprinkling on top! So good!!!

  • Diana

    I’m happily eating perfect popcorn!


  • Pam

    Thank you!


  • Brandi

    This worked like a charm! Thanks!!


  • Keba

    My popcorn is tender! Thank you!


  • Amanda

    I make popcorn ALL THE TIME, and it has never turned out as perfectly as this recipe! Thanks! :)


  • Lyn

    Love this!!!! Better than movie popcorn. It is the first time that I’ve ever let the popcorn sit 30 secs before start popping it that is such perfect idea for stovetop popcorn


  • Ingrid

    Amazing recipe! Perfect popcorn. Thanks.

  • Mark.L

    Awesome, tried it out , worked perfect first time. Thank you !!!


  • Jen

    Best popcorn ever! Didn’t need to add butter at all, just abit of salt.


  • Mark

    Best thing since sliced bread! Perfect everytime.


  • Pedro Martinez

    I had been struggling with half-popped popcorn for a long time. Your recipe solved the problem… thanks a lot!


  • Jodie

    Worked perfectly!!


  • Blackmagic

    Wow this worked perfectly!! I used coconut oil. I think chilli powder, siracha or tabasco would go well, maybe coupled with parmesan. I’ll have to try.


  • Janet

    I love to put some chocolate on my popcorn!
    Yummy yummy!!!!!

  • Letitia

    Oh my gosh. Amazing!!! Thank you

  • Alicia

    Every kernel popped! Loved it. Thanks


  • Cassie

    It was so amazing!!! Super yummy we will definitely make this again


  • Will


    An additional important consideration when popping corn is that the kernels be tender, not tough.

    The reason for waiting the 30 seconds is NOT to have the corn pop all at once.

    Instead, delaying the popping gives the endo sperm inside the hull of the popcorn a chance to get superheated, well above the boiling point of water. That supercooks the endosperm in steam. When the popcorn hull finally fails and the kernel explodes, you have a tender popcorn kernel as the result.

    Pop the corn too fast and it wont be as tender.


  • Juli

    Add cinnamon sugar and marshmallows mmmmmmm popcorn dessert

  • Ben

    Delicious, easy, and quick! Used olive oil as that’s all we had. Came out great, the family loved it. Thank you


  • Brooklyn Mortelll

    It was amazing. Thank you.


  • Marilou. Hou

    I’ve been craving popcorn for the past hour & I’m gonna go make this mouth-watering Perfect Popcorn right now.
    Thanks in advance for the who-would-have-known simple recipe.

  • Sarah

    IT was perfect thank you. Also used half a cup


  • Jummy

    Just made this, it’s great


  • Nisha

    This is the holy grail to the perfect pop corn. Omg I can’t believe this just happened….


  • Ayca

    It’s a game changer! Thank you for sharing this great method! No more buying grocery store popcorn with unknown additives. My son is so happy with the result :) Exactly not even one kernel is burnt…


  • Ralph

    It’s amazing. I use 1/2 cup of popcorn, and it works as well as 1/3 cup. The popcorn is always perfect.


  • Rachel

    I make stove top popcorn all the time but have never taken it off the stove for 30 seconds. I think this helped a great deal in how to texture of the popcorn turned out. I used olive oil and it was awesome! I will keep making it this way from now on. Thanks for that extra tip.


  • Sandi

    All popped and no burnt kernels! The coconut oil gives it a delicious slightly sweet flavor.


  • Judy

    Thanks!!! Came out perfect!!!
    Looks like almost all of it popped!!!


  • Candace

    Wow! This turned out perfectly on the very first try! All 4 of my kiddos said almost unanimously, “who needs movie theater popcorn?!” Thank you so much for this recipe! Only way we’ll be enjoying it from now on.


  • Olamide

    Wow my popcorn was perfect

  • Priscilla

    Worked perfectly!! This is the only way I’ll make my popcorn from now on. Thank you.


  • JossMan

    This recipe is absolutely spot on, best popcorn I’ve ever had, at home or otherwise.
    This truly does make perfect popcorn!


  • Michelle Forte

    I’m so glad I found this recipe. I just made the best stovetop popcorn from this!!!!!


  • Doug Manifold

    Will this process guarantee that the popcorn will NOT have husks Attached? I hate husks in my teeth.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Doug! Emma here, managing editor. Unfortunately, husks are part of the deal with homemade popcorn! You might look for popping corn at the farmers market this summer and ask if they have a variety with softer husks. That’s probably your best bet!

  • Elizabeth

    I am so not a comments girl but after burning for five parts of popcorn this recipe transported me back to the best part of my childhood I had somehow forgotten how to make popcorn on the stove where you put in a cup of kernels and wait until they pop. That step made the difference. We weren’t rocking the coconut oil back then, it was Crisco all the way, but now that I’m healthier and a tad bit wealthier coconut oil is amazing! Thank you so much.


  • Zia

    I just made the absolute BEST pot of popcorn, ever!!! Popcorn at home was always good (always stovetop), but I couldn’t ever figure out how to get it perfectly crispy until now. I’m so thankful that you shared this.


  • Karah Fuhs

    Just used your recipe and this is the best popcorn we have ever made at home!


  • Mairi P

    I actually had to look up how to make popcorn in a pan as it has been years since I’ve made any. I followed the instructions faithfully and every kernel popped and none got burned. Best of all, the popcorn tasted great. Thank you.

  • Isabel K

    Sometimes the internet gives you a treasure of a recipe that is just perfect and this one is it! Followed the instructions and indeed barely any unpopped kernels! Love it, a keeper!!


  • jen


  • Matt K

    Every kernel popped, Thank you for sharing you mother’s perfect method!


  • Rachel M

    This method worked really well!


  • Carolyn Baker


  • cawilson

    I always pop my popcorn in a pan. My pan is an old pressure cooker without a sealing ring that I use only to pop corn. I did use microwave popcorn for a while but I am back to stove top now. My biggest problem is finding really good popping corn at a lower price. The gourmet popcorn pops well but I think it is overpriced. I have been buying a store brand that I thought popped pretty well, but the last two bags were disappointing, so now I am looking for a replacement. This article on how to pop good popcorn was a good one and should help anyone to pop good popcorn, assuming you can find it.

  • Dave

    I have failed with my popcorn for many many years! Now i just made the best pop corn ever. This works if you follow every detail in the directions.Thank You


  • Rosy

    I just tried out this recipe and it came out perfectly. I used butter and milk for my toppings., it’s so irresistible. Thanks to Simply Recipes


  • OSR

    This is the best technique that I’ve come across to date! Popcorn is one of my favorite foods. It’s something that I’ve been trying to perfect since I was a kid. I use coconut oil and butter to cook the kernels in, and sea salt and powdered butter for flavor. I also do this in a pressure cooker with the lid unlocked, just laying on top.

    Thanks for the great tip!


  • Camilla

    I LOVE this recipe. It has been my favorite recipe to make when I have a snack craving for a year and a half! I liked it so much I shared it with a number of friends and then just today, shared it with our family and friends on by blog. I linked your website so that they can read all your great tips and see the original recipe.
    Thank you for a delicious snack recipe that I feel good about making!


  • Neil

    Absolutely perfect popcorn!

  • Manish

    Simple yet fantastic recipe. Tried it yesterday and it worked like a charm. Hardly any wasted corn. All of them popped. :)


  • Margaux

    I used this recipe and did the 1-2-3 method. I leave the pot on the heat and count 1-2-3 and then lift it off and shake it for the count of 1-2-3 and I kept doing this until everything is popped. Works every time. I like coconut oil the best. Least oily and has zero taste.


  • Natasha

    This is a lot like I make popcorn, however, I think it’s pretty important to quickly clarify the butter. Otherwise, the milk solids make the popcorn wet.

  • Martina

    Well i did everything exactly and it burn thanks for the idea though


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Martina, oh that’s so frustrating when that happens! Sounds like either your pan didn’t have a thick enough bottom, or your heat was too high, or both.

  • Emily

    Absolutely 5*


  • Susie

    I’ve been making stovetop popcorn for over 40 years. I can see your tips would definitely work. I appreciate you explaining why each tip works. Thanks for that!

  • Monica

    I really liked this popcorn! I couldn’t find the lid for my microwave popper and I’d already told my son I was making him popcorn, so your recipe saved my afternoon!


  • Pam

    The holy grail!!! My kids and I are forever grateful….


  • Sheeda

    This was awesome. Thank you so much. I used coconut oil and it worked out perfectly, there wasn’t a single kernel left. My little guy loved counting and watching the kernels pop. This is now a staple :-)


  • emilee

    I just started making popcorn on the stove top a few months ago. My mom did it this way when we were kids but after microwave popcorn came out in the 80s she went to that and that is always how I made it too. Thanks for these tips, I think this will help. I am going to make a big batch today and add pretzels, Valentine M&Ms and drizzle with white chocolate. I did some at Christmas, it was a big hit. My sister does homemade kettle corn I think I am going to do that. Thanks for the post!

  • Ali

    Thank you for this recipe! I have used others for stovetop popcorn and it never turned out like this! It was perfect — fluffy, crispy and no burnt kernels. My kids said I nailed it this time! Thank you so much!


  • Terye

    Never done home made pop corn.,will never buy it again. Taste is second to none and kids love it. Thank you so muck for sharing your method. X


  • Elise

    Thank you so much for sharing your mum’s recipe!! Perfect popcorn indeed! :)


  • mac

    Best technique ever.
    But why the repost? This was published in 2015 or something, and it just “popped” again in my feed.


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Mac, I’m so glad you like the technique! I originally posted it in 2005. Every so often I update a recipe and bring it forward from the archives just to remind people that it’s there.

  • tink0

    I had this as a child. Mom made it in a pressure cooker pot (there were 3 of us kids and we all loved popcorn.) I just couldn’t remember how much oil she used. I think it was less than what this recipe calls for though. She always used less of whatever (sugar, oil, salt etc) than called for if she could get away with it.

  • Kristy

    This is the BEST and most DELICIOUS popcorn I’ve ever tasted! My daughter is ecstatic, thank you for sharing!


  • Sarah

    I NEVER post messages – I have just made the best popcorn ever!! (I thought I was pretty good before!!) This is an amazingly simple and perfect result recipe – my kids will be happy when they come home from school today!! Am sharing this far and wide!


  • Kelly K

    Okay… my popcorn is legendary within my family and friends. I would have NEVER thought I’d find a superior popcorn. I decided to try this, because I wanted to make an oil-based popcorn and holy cow, THE BEST I’VE EVER TASTED.


  • Carly

    We make this recipe every time we make popcorn, and it always turns out great! Nothing is burnt and all (or almost all) of the kernels are popped. We top with melted butter and nutritional yeast! A family favorite!


  • Karina

    This totally did the trick, I didnt have one kernel left! yummiiii

  • Samantha


    So I tried this recipe using hardened coconut oil, where we had to melt it first. The oil caught on fire as I tried the test popcorn, and burnt my hand. That stuff is toxic – I thought I was struggling to breathe earlier. Be careful with the stuff.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Samantha, you always have to be careful when cooking on high heat! Sounds like you had the heat on too high. Either that or your pan isn’t a thick bottomed pan and has thin spots letting more concentrated heat in.

  • virginia

    love it. so good. thank you so very much!!!!!

  • Holly

    Is this doable on a glass top stove? I worry it will scratch my stovetop!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Holly, if you are concerned about scratching your glass top stovetop, rather than gently shaking the pot on the stovetop, I would lift it up a half inch and shake it, then set it back down on the burner, then repeat after a few seconds.

  • Geri

    I make kettle corn all the time. Sprinkle the sugar on the kernels (not the test kernels) right after you put them in. I use a little under two tablespoons but have been thinking of decreasing it more.

  • Robin R-C

    My Christmas gift from my Pook…aka Husband, short for Pookie…he can’t stand that name! ; ) …are the makings for homemade movie popcorn. Today the Flavcor salt and popcorn arrived, but I couldn’t wait for the oil and whirly pop…I am now sitting here with darkened, burnt popcorn with the most amazing salt flavor EVER!! I obviously looked up popcorn popping as soon as I sat down, and SO HAPPY to have found your Mom’s method!! Thank you so much for sharing!! I can’t wait to make the perfect batch of homemade movie popcorn once all my items arrive!! You’re fabulous!! Happy New Year!!

  • Pam

    A thousand thank yous to you and your mother. What a great technique! All of the kernels popped and that’s a first for me.
    Every kernel popped! Yum yum yum.

  • Stephanie

    I hadn’t made popcorn in years and felt silly looking it up on the web but I’m glad I did. this technique is indeed perfect. My 5 year old was over the moon to follow the different steps and where he hates corn was delighted to discover that he loves it when it becomes popcorn!


    I have a somewhat weird question. Because of the oil, does it come out of the pan “oily”? I’m asking because I want to pop some to string for Christmas and just need basic, non-buttered (oily), non-salted popcorn.

  • Ruth Taplin

    Seriously…the best popcorn recipe ever! Perfect popped corn every time.

  • Zfj

    Thanks! The outcome was perfect popped popcorn! I used sunflower oil and salt. All of them popped evenly,I always made popcorn and wondered why few seeds wud remain unpopped and burn.
    Thanks again!!!!

  • Kuaiba

    I tried it and it turned out to be perfect. It was my first time. Please can I use sugar for this method also instead of salt? And please how and when should I add the sugar

  • Alan

    I use this recipe years ago and it worked perfectly. Glad I was able to find it again only wondering, I swear the last time I made this it called for grapeseed oil and now coconut oil. Am I losing my mind or was recipe updated?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Alan, I did update the recipe. I’m using coconut oil now for making popcorn. It’s a lot better for you than grapeseed oil and ideal for making popcorn.

  • Sandeep David Rao

    Hi there!
    I have a QUESTION.

    Im a complete novice at making popcorn – so apologies in advance if this seems like a terrible question!

    Can we use butter instead of the oil in the beginning? My reason being – ive seen butter added at the end doesnt usually get distributed evenly and sometimes even a lump is stuck to 1 of the popped kernels.

    Regards from India

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Sandeep! Butter has a tendency to brown and burn when used as the cooking medium here, though I suspect that ghee would work just fine if you have that. Enjoy!

      • Sandeep David Rao

        Thanks Emma! Will try it out :)

        • Elina

          Hi! I use ghee instead of coconut oil and it is perfectly fine. The taste is buttery and nothing burns. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Karen

      As for the butter problem after it’s popped, melt your butter on low heat first, let it get completely liquified. Then pour it around the edges of the bowl you have your popped popcorn in and give it all a good toss and mix. I like the butter distribution that the around the edge method gives.


    Omg! Best Popcorn Ever! Thanks for the recipe ☺ It popped exactly as you said it would without burning. I used coconut oil and a small amount of Himalayan salt before popping the kernels. Amazing!

  • Missy B.

    Best popcorn recipe ever!! I have been making popcorn on the stove for a while now but I would always end up with a bunch of kernels that didn’t pop. I tried this last night and it popped all of the kernels! Thank you!

  • Gendy

    Thank you, you just saved my night ^_^

  • tammy

    can you use extra virgin oil oil or canola/vegetable oil?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Tammy, yes, you can use extra virgin olive oil or canola oil.

    • Jay

      Real extra virgin olive oil, like you’d use on a salad, has a lower smoke point–and a distinct flavour that you’re paying extra for. I wouldn’t use it for popcorn (though you could drizzle some on afterwards instead of butter :)) For popping, peanut or Canola are much better choices IMO.

      • Elise Bauer

        Hi Jay, there is a common misconception that extra virgin olive oil cannot be used for high temperature cooking. It can, and it should. It may have a lower smoke point than these other oils, but its flash point is similar. And extra virgin olive oil has so anti-oxidant rich, that it actually holds up much better to heat, retaining its healthful properties and not producing unhealthy transfats, than canola oil.

        • Jay

          Interesting Elise–thanks for the comment. I’ll stick with peanut oil, though that too produces trace transfats, according to the Harvard School of Public Health (link below). I’m still not sure if extra virgin olive oil would hold up to +400F used for popping corn, but I’m willing to try it :)

          • Rebecca

            I used one tablespoon each of coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and butter, and it worked. I wasn’t sure if the butter would make it burn, so I shook it slightly above the heat instead of leaving it on the burner the whole time. It turned out great, didn’t burn, a few kernels at the bottom were the color of a light brown butter, but none tasted burnt and the pan was clean.

  • Vicki

    I found a way to make the popcorn even more delicious! Use just 2 tablespoons of peanut oil. Just before you move the pan back on the burner, toss in 1-2 tablespoons butter. Add the salt at this point too. I used 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt. pops!

  • Brandon Cota

    Elise Bauer=popcorn hero!! Perfection. Thank you SO much for sharing this recipe. I see no need to microwave popcorn ever again.

  • Brook

    We’ve recently moved and still do not have a microwave in the house. We do however, have plenty of popcorn, lol. I have got to say that this recipe is simply amazing. It made the best popcorn that I have ever eaten! It was perfectly crisp, airy, unburnt, and ALL of the kernels popped! Thank you for this irreplaceable recipe! Five stars all the way! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Julie

    Avid popcorn popper of many years– was looking for a recipe using a saucepan instead of the enormous, heavy wok my dad taught me to use to save myself an arm ache. It came out perfectly, not a single unpopped or scorched corn! I’ve found my new favorite method :)

  • Aleishia

    This recipe is legit!!! Popcorn comes out perfect every time!!!

  • Razzie

    Wow! After failing my first trial doing popcorn for our 2 year old, I found your amazing precise recipe. Kuddos, Thanks so much for sharing these precious tips. Greetings from Germany

  • Jordan

    I’m 14 and did not know how to make popcorn and I tried your recipe and it was perfect thank you.

  • Len belzil

    Wow! I have tried all my life to,make the,perfect popcorn often with mixed results. Jus tried your recipe and it came out just perfect! I used a premium brand of popcorn and it was well worth it.. thanks again!

  • Maximillian Suthra

    You are my popcorn hero. Those 30 seconds make a heaven of a difference. Thank you!!!!!

  • Rayna

    My popcorn was PERFECT!! Had to make second batch because someone looked at it so hard and wanted some that I dropped the bowl!! Lol!! Definitely will do this every time I have popcorn.

  • Leslie

    Followed directions exactly. Perfect popcorn recipe. Thank you. It tasted so good.


    I can’t believe I got it right! All the kernals popped and no scorched pieces! Light, fluffy and tasted great. Thank you!

  • meredith pace

    Thank you for this!
    I have never figured out how to make the perfect popcorn…until now!
    This is a perfect no fail recipe. On my first try I had glorious results and not a single burnt or unpopped kernel.
    It’s easy enough for my older kids to do on their own, and quick enough for Spur of the moment movie nights.

  • Olivia

    Worked really well? It is definitely PERFECT!

  • Suki

    This is amazing popcorn!!! I only looked up recipes to remind myself of what I (thought I) already new — I never expected to find a new technique! Not only is this the driest, fluffiest, crispiest popcorn I’ve ever had in my life, but there were hardly any unpopped kernels! The coconut oil makes the kitchen smell great. Everyone loves it!!

  • Ryan Moran

    Perfect popcorn! My 4 year old daughter loved it!

  • Josephie

    My first time ever I made perfect popcorn.
    My little loved it.
    Thank you!!

  • Amy

    I’ve never made popcorn on my own at home. I have always popped up from a bag. I tried this tonight with my son and every kernel popped. I had not one burnt piece. I was very skeptical but It worked! Thank you for the great directions!

  • G

    I doubled the recipe, used a very large Cajun boiling pot and bacon grease, and this worked perfectly. I only had one unpopped kernel! I did have to move the kernels pretty consistently once they started popping. I didn’t at first, and a few were a bit scorched (but still edible!). I swirled the pot around rather than shaking.

  • Marisa

    Wonderful recipe. Worked perfectly. Thanks and love from Pakistan!

  • Nikki

    Always been nervous about making popcorn the ‘old-fashioned’ way. After reading how the microwave popcorn is bad for you thought I’d give it a go and found your method first. The good reviews stopped me looking further. Followed instructions to a T with the exception of oil. I only had olive oil but it still worked terrifically! Thanks

  • Mandy

    Thank you! Followed your recipe to the letter (I also used a glass lid from a casserole dish on top of the saucepan so kids could watch all the action). Put a smile on all of our dials – my saucepan is spotless and the popcorn is delicious! :)

  • Angela

    Wow, worked perfectly for me. In just a few minutes I’m enjoying self made popcorns. Goodbye shelved popcorns. Thank you for this procedure.

  • Jayne

    That worked perfectly for me, better than my previous burnt attempts. Thank you!

  • M.A.

    Tasted great and almost all of them popped. Thanks!

  • Victoria TeBeest

    I did this method step by step 4 times… BUT I did soak my kernels in the fridge (in water) over night Wondering if this is what’s not making it work. BUT my mother did it this way and it turned out like the orvil reddenbacher each time, perfect. Mine: sucks. We had our hearts set on peanut carmel corn but looks like we’ll have to make peanut brittle instead. waa. Still, it’s pretty sad when I can’t even make simple popcorn. v

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Victoria, soaking popcorn kernels (and then letting them dry completely) is a method that is helpful for popcorn kernels that a bit old. I haven’t tried it with this method. Why don’t you try making the popcorn without soaking the kernels first and see if it works for you?

  • Amanda

    OK, I seem to be the only person who struggled with this method: some of the popcorn burned, and many kernels did not pop. Does that mean I had the heat too high???

    • Elise Bauer

      Perhaps, or perhaps your pan doesn’t have a thick enough bottom. It helps to work with a thick-bottomed pan.

  • Jo Wastell

    So enjoy the step by step instructions. I usually make a much larger batch than recommended because everyone snacks as they walk through the kitchen and I would have nothing left for caramel popcorn.

  • Marsha Howard

    Thank you, love being able to make popcorn on stovetop with great ingredients and no special equipment. Popcorn the way it’s meant to be.

  • Mike L.

    Worked to perfection , popcorn was gorgeous, many thanks for the advice.

  • Juan Charles

    Simply the best popcorn I’ve made in my life. Once or twice I had achieved something similar, but it was random with not control at all. Thank you very much and best regards from Monterrey, Mexico.

  • Erica

    I’ve never made popcorn on the stove before, and this worked perfectly, especially using the coconut oil. Thanks!

  • Rujula

    it worked wonderfully and thank you for such a nice content

  • Ozlem

    This recipe worked fantastically. I have added truffle salt right when I put all the kernels in.

  • Roddy

    This recipe/method saved me some money … why? … because I was in the market for a hot air popper. Now I do not need one this recipe makes the perfect popcorn.

  • Vanessa

    Im really good at ruining recipes I find on Pinterest, so I was skeptical about this one turing out as amazing as the comments claim. However, I was totally shocked that it really did turn out that amazing!! Not a single kernel unpopped or burnt, and the popcorn tasted way better than anything store bought. I just used coconut oil and about 1 tsp salt. Fantastic!!!!!

  • Derrick

    I’m just here to say what everyone else already has. Amazing! So delicious

  • Guaca Mole

    This was my first time ever making stovetop popcorn and it worked flawlessly. Thanks!

  • Sonia

    Wow wow wow so easy!!!!! Mine were previously burning but now in first attempt perfect popcorns thank you

  • Bohaf Mib

    Just wow.
    Perfect on the first try, no unpopped kernels.
    This is a wonderful stove top technique. I’d recommend it.

  • Lesley

    Brilliant. Thank you.

  • Herbert

    Thank! You!
    I burnt a few loads and my pan with the recipes I found earlier, but with your recipe came the joyous sounds of perfectly popping kernels and I could present buttery smooth popcorn to my little girls. Joy for everyone!

  • Joy olaguera

    Thank you so much! Your recipe is amazing. Every kernel popped perfectly & not a single one burned. Now we can enjoy a healthy snack.

  • Beth

    This. Is. Perfect.
    I’m never making stove top popcorn any other way again.

  • Laura A Macdonald

    This popcorn recipie is a game changer. I have three kids, one is autistic and very picky. She loves loves loves your popcorn recipe. I followed it to a T, and I can say that we have found our favorite family snack. Bless you (and your mom) for this amazing, easy recipie.

  • Jan

    I’ve Been trying to pop corn on the stove for a while, always ending up with barely edible popcorn that was a combo of chewy popcorn and hard I popped kennels. This worked great! Thank you so much!

  • Karen Robins

    This is the greatest popcorn ever. Quote from my daughter: “I never knew what I was missing, but now my life is complete.”

  • Nikita Mahipal

    Hey your recipe did wonders for me …
    I just have one little problem.. if i add salt and red pepper while cooking it burns and make the whole thing black .. and if i add it after its done the salt and pepper doesnt mix well .. any suggestions ?

    • Taylah

      I put the seasonings on top of the popcorn in a bowl and placed a chopping board over the top of the bowl and shook well, this evenly distributed my seasonings!

  • Chelle

    We love popcorn. We often use the brown paper bag in the microwave method and we also have a crank stove top popcorn maker. We had an air popper growing up but I didn’t like all the parts and didn’t need another appliance! Tried this method and I’m impressed! Sure I have a pot to clean up (unlike bag method), but it makes more and literally every kernel is popped! And it’s yummy and super fast and fool-proof! Awesome!!

  • Bob

    Soy sauce works well on popcorn. It can be mixed in with butter or used all by itself. Obviously you don’t need to salt it. Using good quality corn kernels is also highly recommended, and keep them sealed tightly so they don’t loose their moisture. That’s what makes them “pop”. I have added a slightly wetted piece of paper towel into the container when stored. Mixed results, but at time it seems to have revived older corn. Thanks!

  • ralph wahlstrom

    It’s our new never-fail method; however, I use 2 T’s of oil and 1/2 cup of popcorn. It seems to work just as well. Also, we put brewer’s yeast, a lttle cheese powder, and salt on the popcorn.

  • LindsayLou

    Quote my husband after I made this tonight. “I think this is the best popcorn I’ve ever had!” I made it with coconut oil and it is amazing. Not one is burnt and every single one popped. Thank you!!

    • Elise Bauer

      Great LindsayLou, I’m so glad the method worked well for you!

  • Phyllis

    Made tonight with coconut oil so yummy. Perfect !!! Every kernel poppef

  • Tash


  • Ceneca Cummings

    OMG!!! I have never in my 36 years been able to cook stove top popcorn until today when I found this recipe!!! I’m so excited!!! It was perfect…crispy and crunchy with all kernels popped!!! A new style on an old favorite!!!

  • Mila

    Perfect from the first time! Great recipe! Thank you! :)

  • Garry

    My mom showed me this also. I eat a huge bowl every night. My Triglycerides went sky high because of the butter. I tried drizzling 2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in place of butter. It actually tastes better salted like it had butter on it after it was done..

  • Tara

    I made the popcorn and it turned out amazing, but the question is is if you’re going to add the salt to the oil in the pan…….how much salt do you add!?!?

  • Jen

    Mine was chewy! All kernels popped and otherwise great. I kept lid ajar… any ideas?

  • Henry b

    Thank you for sharing popcorn came out perfect. I am a big popcorn eater. Very nice

  • K

    Thank you for sharing! Followed to a t and it worked perfectly. First time making popcorn :-) added Cayenne pepper, yum! X

  • Joseph

    This recipe worked flawlessly, even though i put in too much popcorn kernels and have to dump the popped kernals out twice during popping! No burnt kernels, no unpopped kernels. Perfect test drive: 10/10

  • TJ's Mama

    My young son just recently discovered popcorn. We received an inexpensive air popper at Christmas. But the popcorn turned out chewy. We thought it was the kernels. So we bought brand at a reputable store. Still chewy, yucky popcorn. I tried this recipe and proud to report….yummy popcorn. Whole family enjoyed the crisp, and tasty popcorn. I can now throw out the air popper! Thank you, Elise!

  • Danielle Carter

    I just found this recipe while craving popcorn. It came out perfectly! So fast and easy!

  • NC

    Thanks for the recipe it worked perfectly both times. Everything popped and it was super easy.

  • Alefiya B

    It worked ! Yaaaaaayyyyy

  • Jesse

    Just wanted to say you made my girlfriend and I’s night. We used avocado oil because that is what we had and it worked just fine. We had a bag of red bulk popcorn from winco and we both agree it is the best popcorn we have ever had, way better than any microwave or even movie popcorn. It was so quick and easy, I don’t even think it took 5 mins.

  • Vesela Simeonova

    I am mind blown. First time attempt and not one burnt or unpopped. Made them with sesame oil. Oh my I’m typing with one hand LOL. God bless you and your mom and whoever wrote the recipe on her package. I can’t believe there still exist people on this planet who buy packaged popcorn. It took about a couple of min for the popping to finish. I mean, this is a revolution.
    Next times (there will be many times!) I will try turmeric, cumin, curry, chili. And I bet savory will be epic on popcorn. It’s my most favorite herb ever.

  • Katie Snider

    Truffle salt is amazing on popcorn

  • Michelle Gibson

    Used bacon fat for the oil and some chopped rosemary. Quite tasty. Thanks for the recipe! It started popping even before I put it back on the heat, but still no burning or unpopped kernels

  • Stephanie

    My favourite popcorn topping is warmed golden syrup. Delicious and sticky.

  • Mrs. McCoy

    Wow! This went quicker than I thought! This the first time I made homemade popcorn. Not the first time cooking popcorn on the oven though. It was WAY faster and better popped than the foil poppers or even the electric poppers. All kernels popped! I always burn my microwave popcorn because not all the kernels pop.

  • praff

    I added salt but the salt got stuck on side of pan and the popcorn was not as salty as I wanted. Waht is secret?

    • Trisha

      Before adding salt drizzle olive oil over the popcorn. Then toss or mix it around and add salt with whatever additional seasoning you may choose. I absolutely love this method of popping popcorn. Before this I was so intimidated by homemade popcorn. My husband has made homemade popcorn for years which I loved. But now that I have started making popcorn there there’s no stopping me :-)! Again great method. Now my husband enjoys the outcome but not so much the method. I think I make it more complicated than it has to be (possibly). Sorry I included my review in my response to your post.

  • Anthony

    Brilliant method. Just tried this with half a teaspoon of Spanish smoked paprika added to the oil. Wow. Would go very well with a cold beer, sadly don’t have one handy:(
    Worth a try.

  • Pam Seron

    This really works!!!! The best popcorn I’ve ever done!!!! Thank you so much!!

  • S. Muick

    I have never made the popcorn…the husband always did (in the dedicated, burned pan). After 31 years I left the husband but needed popcorn to create my much-loved caramel corn. A google search lead me to this recipe and I must confess to using corn oil (it’s what I had)…not one burnt kernel nor one unpopped kernel out of the 6 quarts I made!! I am thrilled!


    Please, I have three questions to ask…

    1) If we are to make use of sugar, are we also to add it immediately we heart the oil? won’t it get burnt and turn brown in color???

    2) What quantity of sugar and oil will be ok for 5 cups of the corn???

    3) What happens if the heat is greatly increased???

    I’ll be glad to receive replies from as many as possible

  • Megan

    I am a popcorn junkie.. and this is better than movie theater corn! I was a little nervous to make it this way but oh my, I will never buy microwave popcorn again! Thank you for sharing!

  • Brett M

    Skeptical about this (and any) recipe because you always think you have to add or take away something to make it right…but this was perfect. Too perfect, but I say that because I like the half popped kernels which there weren’t any of. Everything popped and it truly tasted a million times better than microwave. Follow this recipe and you will get exactly what you are looking for.

  • Elmar Harald Tammisto

    Although I used rapeseed oil in lieu of what you recommended (as that was all I had on hand at that time), I followed the rest of your instructions to a “T” and it all turned out perfectly! Every kernel had popped, nothing was burned and the butter/salt distribution was perfect. It was all so quick and simple. The total time from start to finish was only 8 minutes. Thank you very much!

  • Simply Mom

    This popcorn recipe really works!!! I’ve just discovered you website and I’m so impressed. It is exactly what I need. I am a simple cook with a family of simple eaters – meaning none of us like foo foo, fancy food. Thanks so much, Elise and all the contributors to this site!

  • ChuckM

    I already knew how to make perfect popcorn (this way) but was killing some time and thought I’d do a search on the latest and greatest. I discovered this technique sometime back in the 70’s when my high school baseball team was selling popcorn as a fund-raiser. Whatever that product was mentioned this “rest phase” of popping and I’ve used it ever since.
    Actually, the variation I’ve used differs slightly in the following ways:

    Heat the oil (I use peanut for it’s high smoke point) , butter and salt all at once over medium flame (electric works too). This results in totally non-oily popcorn yet still buttery and salty.

    Add the popcorn and wait until the first pop then immediately remove from heat for one minute. If popping over electric, turn it to high now.

    After one minute turn the flame to high and replace the pot and get ready…

    Once it restarts popping, it’s so vigorous that little shaking is needed. But you’ll want to be mindful that popped corn can lift unpopped off the heating surface of the pot, so some mild shaking toward the end is good to do. You’ll know when it’s tapered off to the last couple kernels and to quickly get it into a big bowl. It’s good to get it off the heat a bit early as the last few kernels will probably pop without it.

    Thanks for keeping the blog post alive Elise!

  • Natalie

    Just tried it with coconut oil. It came out perfect! I wanted to test it out myself before making it for my family. It was so easy, even the first time cooking it on the stove!

  • Yao Tsahey

    Seriously am enjoying some popcorn now. Thanks Simply Recipes.

  • Rebecca

    so great! this was my first time making popcorn on the stove and it turned out PERFECT!! Thank you for the great recipe and tips!! So much better than airpopped or microwaved!!

  • Roger Gietzen

    I used olive oil and a “normal bottomed” saucepan. After the corn started popping vigorously, I turned down the heat (gas stove) to low. The recipe came out perfectly! Thanks.

  • Ray

    Seriously awesome. Thanks to you and your mother. This is the winner.

  • Rushmi Soma

    OMG. Thank you so so much. I am constantly burning my popcorn and getting very tiny pops. This is by far the best I have ever made. Yeah!

  • Holly

    Amazing! Worked like a charm on the first try and I’ve never tried stovetop popcorn before.

  • Shweta

    This method is excellent
    I totally burnt my first batch. But when I followed this they came out perfect. Thanks

  • Kathy

    Wow! I’ve been making stovetop popcorn for many years and this is the best way ever! So glad I googled “best homemade popcorn” tonight. I had no burned or unpopped kernels at all for the first time. I added a little butter, truffle sea salt and tiny pinch of parmesan cheese just for fun. So good – thanks!


  • Kelly

    Thank you I usually do microwave popcorn but my mother in law does only this kind and it’s my favorite. The only thing I did differently was add a touch of pepper like she does. The last time I went to make my son and nephews popcorn, it was a disaster so thank you for this-it came out perfect!!

  • Gabby

    Hi, when I make my popcorn it is quite a terrifying experience as as soon as the oil gets hot (not hot enough to pop the kernals), oil starts to jump out of the pot. I have to immediately put all my kernals in at this point and then wait for them to all pop to avoid getting myself burnt. I use canola oil. Is there a way to stop this from happening?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Gabby, the only reason I can think of the oil jumping is that there is some moisture in the pot. Whenever you heat up oil you have to make sure that the inside of the pot you are using is completely DRY. Not even a drop of water. Any water in the pot will cause the oil to sputter.

      • mary

        was wondering that myself, had the same problem

  • Henne Hall

    So much easier and cost effective–do yourselves a favor–order truffle (white ) salt from Amazon and sprinkle that over your popcorn–perhaps a little grated parm. cheese–WHOA !! The BEST !!!

  • KG

    Thank you very much! I am going to have non-barbequed popcorn! I love you!

  • Maria Laamang

    Awesome recipe…my very first time to make popcorn from scratch, used coconut oil and sprinkled salt in the pot. Just tweeted a picture #simplyrecipes. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Andrea Thomas

    Perfect!! I have never been brave enough to try homemade popcorn before, this method was easy & worked perfectly thank you.

  • Karen

    This is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. I must admit I used a third of the quantity of oil but the method worked perfectly.

  • Judith long

    Best popcorn, easy and no old maids(kernels unpopped) used coconut oil and doubled recipe.

  • Ruthy

    Thanks a lot, pls. Can it work with ordinary cooking pot?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Ruthy, I’m not sure what you mean by an ordinary cooking pot. All of my cooking pots have thick bottoms, it helps with heat distribution. It can also help prevent hot spots which might ignite the oil.

  • DtG

    I use coconut oil – which is a healthy high heat oil and ghee – which also allows for high heat. I have it on high heat and when the kernels have popped I turn off the heat, add the 1/3 cup kernels (leave on the same burner) and turn on the timer. When the 30 seconds are up I turn the heat back to high. Cooks very fast – don’t need to shake and when the kernels stop popping turn off the stove. They all pop After placing in a bowl I put some butter in the pot to melt and poor over the popcorn. Mix it up and add salt. Delicious.. It’s the only way to make it. Actually with all the extra oil it seems to raise my blood sugar less than you would expect – but monitor how much you eat. Keeps me from eating other really bad crunchy snacks. Can’t do it all the time but when I can’t resist this is my go to “bad” snack.

  • Tiffany

    Yummy!! The hubby and I are having a in-house date night with a movie and this popcorn. I can’t wait to try it! Bagged popcorn had always made me feel sick after eating it so I’m glad I came across this recipe. Thank you! :)

  • Lily

    Um, yeah, don’t multitask while making this. I failed to hear the first few kernels pop and when I opened the lid the peanut oil burst into flame… I had to google “how to put out a grease fire,” which I would recommend to everybody making this or not. Do not put water on it! Turn off heat, do not move the pot, and place a medal lid or cookie sheet over the flame to cut off oxygen or if small throw some baking soda on it. This was my mistake and I hope to try this recipe again soon!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Lily, yikes! Thanks for sharing the very important information about grease fires. Never never ever put out a grease fire with water.

  • Anna

    Thank you for a foolproof, perfect recipe! I had never made stovetop popcorn until coming across your recipe about a year ago. It is now the only way we eat popcorn in our house! The microwave stuff is no comparison. Our favorite oil to use is peanut oil — the popcorn doesn’t even need butter. Yum! Thanks again.

  • oanne

    what is best w hite or yellow kernel? I have good results with yellow,but I heard white is best.Thank you

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Oanne, I honestly don’t know.

    • John F.

      Best is subjective – best for cooking or nutrition? Yellow yields bigger popped kernels, and in my experience, more of a corn flavor. My father got me hooked on white popcorn for the fact that its hull breaks more substantially when popped, lending to less issues with hulls getting stuck in between teeth.

      And thanks for the 30 second tip – it works great with electric stir poppers too!

      • SC

        Best is subjective. We like the smaller heirloom varieties best. The ones we’ve tried are pretty hulless once popped as the hulls seem to “disintegrate” to almost nothing. They supposedly have more fiber and protein, as far as popcorn goes – How much is really in popcorn in the first place? We’ve tried Tiny But Mighty popcorn – it’s white. Whole Foods had it or you can order directly online. I had a sample of a “rose” variety at a farmer’s market, and I purchased a red popcorn in bulk through a friend’s wholesale account. Both were the most delicious popcorn I’ve ever tasted, just plain! BTW – all were organic. You can’t pop in hot air popper because they are smaller and lighter, they mostly blew out.

  • R

    Amazing recipe! Thank you HEAPS!

    I have made popcorn going by this recipe twice now and it has worked out perfectly each time. The first time I melted butter and put seasoning salt on it. Delicious! The second time I used seasoning salt with cracked pepper and nutritional yeast. Really, really good.

    Thank you!

  • Hannah

    Worked brilliantly! I made too much though, how long can you keep it for?

    • Elise Bauer

      Good question Hannah, I’ve always eaten the entire batch at one go, so don’t know what to tell you!

    • JR

      You can NEVER EVER make too much!

  • Kiran

    This is such a foolproof method of popping corn. Came out perfect down to the last kernel! Thank you for sharing. This technique is one for the keeps…forever :)

  • beth nicholson

    Perfect and so easy. Thank you

  • JF

    I had a 10 year old bag of popcorn in my cabinet, and tried this recipe thinking it probably wouldn’t pop, To my surprise the popcorn was great and there were only 2 unpopped kernels.

  • Luis Castillo

    Worked like a charm!!!

  • Abel

    It’s unbelievable, there really wasn’t one burnt one and not one unpopped one either. Thanks for sharing this tip.

  • jane hineline

    We’ve always used this method. I got called out to Boy Scout Camp one summer to teach the boys how to make popcorn this way. One thing is we use Seasoned Salt to season with rather than just plain salt and a touch of garlic salt as well. If you can get your hands on brown paper bags from the grocery store they make good holders to accommodate the width of the popcorn pan. Always use a heavy pan to make this in as well. A good one is a pressure cooker pan if you can find a lit to fit or a cast iron (skillet like) stock pot.

  • Janet Max

    I tried a twist that helps more steam escape – use a splatter screen (the kind of thing you put over a pan with bacon or whatever frying) in stead of a lid. You have to hold it down, which is not a big deal for such a short time. I’m glad I stumbled on this again – I’m downsizing right now, and it looks like my dedicated popcorn popper is something I can shed!

  • Zahra

    Made one pan of popcorn using the instructions on my packet and half of the kernels stuck to the bottom the other half burnt! So I found this recipe on google and it worked perfectly first time and only 2 kernels unpopped! It really does taste like fresh, hot, tasty cinema popcorn! I also used coconut oil but you can’t taste the coconut flavour which is good! Thank you!!!

  • DrDeb

    Perfect recipe. I question how much heat you need. On my gas stove, after the 30 second rest period, letting it cook on a low flame takes longer but results in all popped kernels being light brown not burnt. Healthier by far. Less carcinogens. I only used coconut oil. It doesn’t burn like PUFA veg. oil.

  • Cheryl Nelson

    Awesome recipe! Popped beautifully! Tried it with parmesan cheese! The best ever! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Sarina

    Amazing! I’ve only ever “made” microwave packet popcorn before, & even managed to burn that.
    This method is so much better.
    I used olive oil because I had nothing else & it worked out just fine.

  • fwb

    excellent, worked perfectly.

  • mlt2120

    This recipe is amazing — ALL of my kernels popped and NONE were burned. That has literally never happened to me.

  • Rob

    My air popper that my Mom had given me from when my brothers and I were growing up just breathed its last. I needed some corn and found this website. I haven’t had home oil popped corn since the early 80’s. This recipe works and is super easy, just make sure you have a lid!

  • Tam

    Yummy and easy recipe and it actually works! I barely had any unpopped kernels. I have followed other recipes in the past and this one is without a doubt the best. I like the step by step instructions and explanations. This will be my go to recipe. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Diana

    best popcorn EVER!!!

  • Eileen

    This is the best popcorn ever! This is my first attempt at homemade popcorn and there is no need to try anything else! Thank you for sharing!

  • Shirley Grazier

    I’m over 50 years old and I have never known how to pop perfect popcorn! Now I do!!! Thank you so much!

  • Hugh

    Perfect. First time. Simple, clear instructions with great results. I can highly recommend using this recipe. Thank you.

  • Sucharita Bose

    Tried making the popcorn right now. It has come out amazing. Thanks a lot. And keep posting

  • Yeva

    Thank you so so so much because I literally tried it 2 times and I burnt it all but using your recipe, it turned out perfectly!

  • Daniela

    I made about 11 batches for a project and this recipe made the process flawless. I will never buy microwaveable popcorn again. Thanks for sharing!

  • Janet

    Thank you, thank you! Making this brought back memories of Dad popping us popcorn in the 1950’s using a metal popper with a swirly metal piece in the lid that he would turn to keep the popcorn moving.

    I wanted to get away from chemical laden microwave popcorn that doesn’t taste very good. I bought some organic popcorn and had no idea how to cook it in a pot on the stove. This worked wonderfully!! Yummy!

  • Lily

    Thank you! Great recipe, easy instructions. Turned out great! Much appreciated.


  • Stacey

    I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and love popcorn. This way I can eat it again.

    • Rob

      Hi… I don’t know what this comment is supposed to mean. I’m a type I diabetic and popcorn, regardless of how you make it, still has carbohydrates and therefore matters for blood sugar. If you think cooking it this way makes it okay to eat without accounting for its carbs, you’re incorrect. If you account for the carbs (roughly 5g carbs per 1c popped popcorn) then you should be fine! Please don’t think popping it differently will change the carb content; if that was your thought you should ask for an appointment with a nutritionist when you have your next diabetes appointment because s/he likely has some information you could use to plan your food better.

  • Christina

    OH MY GOODNESS! This technique is PERFECT!! This is the first time we’ve had awesome results!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! (Can you tell I’m excited??)

  • Ann R.

    Wow! What a life saver. I live in a small Greek village, where most of the packaged stuff has the usual, shall I say Americanized, version, with lots of fat and even sugar. I’m vegetarian & wanted mine clean and clear–perfect was far from my expectations. I didn’t know WHAT to do with this little bag of corn kernels that carried no instructions, even in Greek. I found your recipe online, and it’s as though magic has arrived in my kitchen. I’m delighted and grateful!! I used Sesame oil, as that’s all I had besides Olive oil, and it seemed to do the trick; if I can find Grapeseed oil, I might try that next time. I can’t believe how easy this is and how sensational is the snowy popcorn in my bowl. A million thanks!


  • Jo

    Thank you for this great, idiot-proof recipe! I love popcorn but ever since we got a new stove I haven’t been able to stop my popcorn burning slightly. Problem solved.

  • Jennifer

    My husband is a chef but I could burn water. I’m terrible in the kitchen but this recipe makes it possible for me to enjoy my favorite snack!

  • Lita

    Scrumptious! Practically popped every kernel. Clear directions & great results. Thank you.

  • Marinella

    Perfect recipe!! Every kernel popped! Best method i have used yet! more burned popcorn and no more boring movie nights

  • jimbobadger

    Funny, but I have used your site for years for countless delicious recipes.
    My favorites are bean/ham soup and guinness stew. And now Popcorn!
    Delicious! And, so much better than the microwave. Any of your readers
    have suggestions for the corn? Ie: gourmet, etc.

  • Linda Berch

    My popcorn burned when using this method. I left it on medium high after returning it to the burner. My Mom would just shake it on about medium and wait until it slowed.

  • Roraigh

    i found that the popcorn would start popping as soon as i put them in after the cernal test, id take it off strait away as instructed, (my mom doesn’t put it back on)

  • Lensman

    Absolutely perfect! I just made a batch of popcorn, every kernel popped, nothing burnt. Thank you so much for a simple, but great recipe. I will never have to buy microwave popcorn again. Many restaurants here in Ecuador serve popcorn as an accompaniment to soup…now I can too, with very little effort.

  • the dreamcatcher

    Tasty! Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

  • Mariepeth Thomason

    Thank you for posting this easy and fool proof method of making popcorn. I found this recipe yesterday and I have already made it 9 times. My family and I are ADDICTED to the popcorn with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

  • Stephanie

    I lover love LOVE this recipe! Worked perfectly the first time! No more microwave bags for me!

  • Sarah

    Works perfectly! All kernels were popped to perfection. Thank you for this great recipe!

  • Lucy

    Thanks! Finally I can stop buying popped or microwave popcorn.

  • Milla

    Thanks you saved my movie night!! Burnt microwave popcorn….then burnt cornels in the pan, you were my last shot efore i ran put to the store!! Worked and what a treat! 10/10 for ease of the simplistic instructions and 10/10 taste!

  • Ery

    Hi, great recipe. Do you per chance have a recipe for sweet and salty popcorn. Or would u recommend just adding sugar to the salt?

    • Elise Bauer

      We have a great recipe for Caramel Corn.

      • Sally

        Do you have a recipe for kettle corn?

        • Elise Bauer

          Hi Sally, I have a recipe for caramel corn, it’s great!

          • Sally

            I don’t remember/know if I’m the” Sally” who asked about kettle corn, but I’ve made kettle corn using this recipe. The only change I made was that when I added the popcorn kernels to the pan, I also added 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar and a big pinch of salt.

  • sam

    Fantastic. i’d run out of conventional oil so was looking for an alternative. Saw mention of coconut oil and remembered I had a jar at back of cupboard. Just tried it – fantastic result. Bowl of scrummy popcorn.

  • AD

    This recipe turned out perfect! My son (who said he didn’t even want popcorn) wanted the whole bowl! I put salt in the oil, but also added more with 2 tbs of melted butter. I used a glass top stove and turned it off before the popping stopped. Thank you! No more microwave for me! Do you know what the nutritional information per serving is?

  • Janice G

    My family and tried to follow this simple recipe and it ended horribly! Instead of getting to enjoy a nice family movie night, we had to deal with the fire department and the fire the popcorn started. My daughter and I did everything according to the directions and there was still a fire! I don’t recommend this recipe for people who want to keep their houses!

  • Joy

    For the people with glass top stoves: I also have a glass top stove. The recipe worked great. No problems. My stove is about fourteen years old. I mention this because technology continually improves appliances. The only thing I did differently is that when the kernels were mostly popped, I turned off the heat and kept the pan over the heating element gently shaking the pan until all were popped. Electric stove tops continue to be hot after turned off taking awhile to cool down so you can turn off the burner and keep cooking. I used to have a gas top which is instant hot and cools down fast. With electric, I often turn the burner off as food approaches being done. This keeps food from burning.

  • Nancy Maranto

    I’m so happy that I happened upon your method of making the most Delicious popcorn EVER. Like many of the other comments, I used coconut oil (with a pinch of sea salt added). I love the idea of adding salt to the oil; no trouble getting the salt to stick to the popcorn, AND the salt was so evenly distributed. Wonderful! I love this recipe and I’m forever grateful to you for sharing it! This is only the second comment I’ve ever written. It’s hard to believe how good this popcorn is, and everyone who likes popcorn should know your method. THANKS!

  • Jamie Sankey

    Will this work on an electric glass top stove? Have never had success making popcorn on it before. Thank you!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jamie, it should work. The most important thing is to use a thick-bottomed pan so you have more even distribution of heat. You don’t have to shake the pan that much with this method which is a good thing with the glass top stove.



  • Nicole in Tucson

    I have never been able to successfully make stove top popcorn until now.
    Thank you!

  • Lenora

    Perfect popcorn. I sent to my teen grandchildren.

  • Ruth

    My goodness the last time I tried making popcorns I ended up with a disaster only half of the kernels popped I was soo dissapointed. Thank you for this movie time life saver!!

  • Kathryn

    Thank you so much for sharing this! Worked perfectly! Now I can stop burning my popcorn kernels!

  • Steph

    I tried this tonight and doubled the recipe… but kept it off the heat for the 30 seconds and used a bigger pot. It came out perfect! So happy not to have the hard kernels at the bottom. Thanks!

  • Tammy

    I am never buy microwave popcorn again this recipe was so delicious popcorn was so fluffy and soft when I added better it was better than the movies. My family loves it I love it and this is will be a new tradition for us!!

  • Ann

    I trieds tris and ended up with a perfect, evenly popped, completely unburnt popcorn on the first try! With and amazing number of 2 old maids per batch! thank you so much))

  • Angela A.

    Just wanted to express my deep appreciation for this recipe. I have gone too many nights with burnt popcorn and eating chewy hard kernels. Seriously, I rarely write comments but the joy of seeing white fluffy popcorn and ZERO kernels actually brought such a feeling of gratitude that I have decided that I will come out of hiding to express my gratitude to everyone who brings me this much happiness.

    • iola cave

      I also have never commented before….. But thank you so much for this…. It’s been so long since I’ve had popcorn… I love it !!!

  • Do

    So.. We tried your grandma’s recipe…

    (i think I should really stop cooking…)

    • Elise Bauer

      What the heck?

    • lee margaret

      Could it be the pan you used? I think you are supposed to use a “heavy-bottomed” pan… Elise’s recipe worked great for us–and we are terrible at cooking!!

  • summy

    Can I used butter instead of coconut oil or peanut oil? Do I have to soak the kernel in water before putting it in the pan.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Summy, butter will burn and if you soak the kernels in water they will splatter like crazy in the oil, so don’t do it.

  • ash

    this was perfect. not one burnt kernel. will definitely be using this again.

  • Alisa

    I just used this recipe – with coconut oil- to make popcorn on the stove for the first time ever and it came out perfectly. Microwave popcorn packets would always give me headaches so I wanted to try something new. I prefer it much more this way and my boyfriend even enjoyed it as I didn’t have to add a lot of butter.

  • Carol

    So glad I found this recipe. I used coconut oil, added salt &a few drops of Tabasco to the kernels. Emptied the popped corn into a bowl & melted the butter in the same pot. Best homemade popcorn ever! Thank you so much!

  • B

    Best method yet, and easy as ever. Got perfect popcorn on my first try!

  • Mike

    Try adding some sliced jalapeño peppers to the oil. It makes the popcorn spicy, and you get some crispy fried pepper slices as a bonus.

  • David

    Wow, I’m surprised. Not a single burnt or un-popped kernel!

  • Ed/CT

    I just did this popcorn was perfect and crispy absolutely perfect .I am all set for the premiere of NCIS tonight .

  • Demon Lee

    Actually, if you want a really nice flavour popcorn, mix up some dark soy sauce with a copy of table spoons of sugar and heat slowly, as it starts to thicken add the corn in the quantity required – you get almost a BBQ flavoured Popcorn great for eating on its own, or instead of Crackers with a Chinese or even with a BBQ…!

    I should also add that popcorn is extremely healthy as it is a source of whole grain on its own without adding Salt/Butter or other ingredients and as Kids love making and eating it, it will fill them up between meals and a healthy alternative to other snacks…!

  • Celeste

    Looking for healthy way to eat popcorn. Tried your recipe PERFECT. Every single kernel popped n it tastes wonderful. Thank you.

  • Pamela

    Best. Popcorn. Ever.

    I followed your recipe exactly, using all coconut oil. My husband said it was the best popcorn he’d ever had.

    Absolutely amazing what a difference the 30-second respite from the heat made!

  • Denise RANKIN

    O! M! G! Best and easiest popcorn recipe EVER. So very fast and simple and every single kernel popped. Thank you. Very happy young customers watching their movie and enjoying perfectly popped pop corn :-)

  • Jamie

    Best homemade popcorn! I had already measured my oil and corn so I stuck with that (1/4 c corn kernels and 2 Tbls coconut oil) after reading your method and the tip about adding the salt to the oil I went with it. I added about half a tablespoon of sea salt to the oil. The popcorn was done perfectly and had a perfect salt distribution. So glad I found your site and can’t believe I had not tried to make popcorn from scratch sooner!

  • Bob Lyons

    I just did this for the first time. And it came out exactly as you said. Every kernel popped and none of them burned. Thank You!… :D

  • Nat

    IT WORKS! :D :D
    I really count upto 30.
    I smear the seeds with the oil from the spoon to make it greasy. Now salt and other flavors stick easily (yeah! even my masala :P ) and spread evenly throughout. I’m loving it

  • Jennifer

    I love popcorn!!! Glad to find more popcorn addicts. I had been using microwave popcorn but always loved stove top popcorn-will be going back to this method. Thanks for the hints and that we can use coconut oil. Trying to be healthy. I love to put garlic salt on my popcorn. Another delicious alternative, throw some candy corn in-delicious!

  • Dawn

    So delicious!! I used olive oil in a wok (loosely covered with aluminum foil), adding salt and cardamom to the oil. No burnt or unpopped pieces!
    Next time, I’m trying ground ginger and cinnamon; the combo ends up tasting like kettle corn. :)

  • Alejandra

    Than you for posting this recipe. The popcorn cooks perfectly and deliciously and I used a bag of kernels that I bought at Walmart . Great and simple recipe!

  • Abraham Wesley

    I tried to make popcorn using corn seeds. it did not happen. I dont know which type of corn seeds are to be used. please help me .

    • Elise Bauer

      Hello Abraham, you need to buy popcorn seeds, not any old corn seed.

  • diogo


  • Tash

    Just tried this method, Worked Beautifully!!! So simple and so fast!!

  • Jim Reamer

    I used to have a tool in which I placed a stick of butter. Then plugged it in and the butter would melt. Then i could squirt the butter on popcorn. Sound familar to anyone?

  • Nick

    I burned myself, but otherwise it was really good! Tip: Make sure the lid opening is away from you so excess oil doesnt splatter

  • Sid Ush

    Yep. It’s true. every single kernal popped. Brilliant.
    As I took the pan off the heat for the 30 seconds and added the corn kernals to heat, I checked the temperature with an infrared thermometer. It read 130 degrees (Celsius).
    Thanks for this excellent tip.

  • Ash

    Looks like this is an old website post…Just googled it, and just tried it works!!!!! I used coconut oil, 3 kernals till they popped, added the rest in at high temp, and BOOM chinese firecrackers going off….
    Not 1 burn pop corn.
    Thanks so much for sharing!
    Ash from Australia

  • Sandi B.

    I just made this following the instructions. I used ghee instead of oil and there are only 3 unpopped kernels in the bowl!!
    Not a single burned piece either!

  • Rebeca

    Hi, this recipe was awesome! I loved it! One of the toppings I used was tapatio hot sauce. It’s good.

  • Reine

    Thank you very much for this recipe! It truly helped me!
    My addition: I really enjoy sweet popcorn and, to achieve that, I simply add 2 tbsp of sugar in the pot along with the 1/3 cup of kernels.The sugar is distributed evenly and they taste great! You can adjust the amount according to your personal taste. In my opinion, 2 tbsp (not heaping) are perfect for this recipe!

  • lisa

    Tried this technique last night and it worked like a charm!!! Thank you so much for sharing! Added some coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, sea salt as a topping and voila – a sweet treat that was enjoyed by the whole family!

  • Judith Adamo

    Thank you for such an easy and perfect recipe. It was a pleasure!

  • Audrey

    Ugh I completely messed this up! I know HOW can you mess up popcorn, esp. with such good directions.. but after the 3 popped I took my camera out (I had to use this recipe with pictures for a project) the kernels started popping as soon as I took the lid off! Long story short I burned my eye/lid

  • Jon

    I just attempted making stove-top popcorn for the first time in my life at 22 following your recipe. It turned out great! Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  • Laura

    Perfect! Been a low-carber for some time now and felt like cheating for the first time. Since coconut oil and butter have contributed to me losing 10 of my goal of 30lbs, , this was perfect. I may gain a few pounds from eating this entire bowl of carbs all to myself, but it may be worth it. I purposely sought after a stove top method instead of my air popper so I could use a lot of fat and this was a gem of a find. Thank you!

  • Barbara Trollman

    I love these directions. I modified by using 2 TBs of coconut oil and 1 TB of organic ghee (Clarified butter) to cook the kernels in, which gives the popcorn a wonderful, genuine butter flavor. I also used 1/2 cup of high-quality popcorn kernels, because I wanted my popcorn to be less greasy.
    I use a salt grinder set to grind very finely, with Himalayan salt. This is the best popcorn I’ve ever had. :) Thank you!

  • Vivien Tan

    I’m totally with Brick on this; it’s also my first time commenting on an online recipe but I simply had to show my appreciation. I pulled out a bag of raw popcorn I had bought recently on a whim and was just wondering how to pop corn on a stove. Never made it from scratch before. How lucky for me this recipe popped up *grin* in my search. I used coconut oil and salt and topped it off with chilli powder and grated parmesan. Perfection indeed!

  • Brick

    This is the first time I’ve ever actually commented on any online recipe, but I just had to… Last night was the first time I ever made popcorn on the stovetop and I did it following these steps and it was fantastic. Never trying it any other way!

  • em

    This certainly takes me back to my childhood! Unfortunately, my house has a glass top stove. Any suggestions?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Em, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with a glass top stove, just don’t shake the pan as much.

    • Melanie

      My husband and I make this recipe regularly on our glass top stove, and we just move the pan back and forth a bit, like Elise said. I can vouch that it works just fine, as I am eating some right now. :)

  • James

    I am going to try this method, i have just finished a bowl of popcorn with many burnt ones. the thought came to me that the next time I have a roast I will use the fat off that to cook the popcorn.

  • tess

    do you think ghee would work for the cooking oil?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Tess, yes, I think ghee would not only work well, but be delicious too!

  • Nana

    I don’t think the Whirly popper can be beaten for old fashioned popcorn. I love mine and have bought them as gifts for my grown kids. The bacon grease option is good too. When we were kids growing up in the fifties that is all we used. I don’t even recall having vegetable oil. It was lard for baking and bacon grease for frying and I am still here.

  • Katie

    WOW who knew there would be so many comments on a Popcorn thread!

    I love homemade popcorn and when I make it for my daughter and her friends they all rave about it! :D

    My favorite flavor is to add chili oil to the butter… it is spicy and oh so delicious.

  • Kristina C.

    I am a popcorn junkie – I’ve been making in on the stovetop pretty much weekly for over thirty years! My popcorn always comes out great! Elise, I’m going to give your method a try (taking the pot off of the stove for 30 seconds!)
    I use Smart Balance oil (blend of canola, soy and olive oils). I only pop Orville WHITE (soooo crunchy!) I top with best quality olive oil, salt and pepper! Addictive!

  • pavithra

    I’m popcorn lover…it’s really amazing….all are popped not one kernel is unpopped..this is the easiest method for doing popcorn…thanks for sharing this recipe…

  • Rena

    We make popcorn using this method at least once a week. I recently started using a combination of canola oil and coconut oil. I put Lowry’s Season Salt on after I dump the popcorn in the bowl. This is the easiest and most successful method of popping corn I’ve ever used.

  • Hemlu

    This was the first result on Google search. So glad I checked it out – it turned out perfect. My son was one happy kid. Thank you Elise.


  • Carole M.

    Made this tonight and it turned out perfect! Just like you said! Oddly, the kids didn’t like it. But I don’ t know it it was the oil pop corn or the butter. Will definitely try again. I love how fast a batch pops!

  • Cindy

    Hey…it actually worked!! Thanks!

  • Barbara Lee

    Hi Elise, LOVE this recipe and all the comments and all your site!!. Here’s a wrinkle I didn’t see in any of the other comments. My Amish neighbors make the popcorn and set aside. Then in the iron skillet they popped in, they pour sorghum molasses and heat until thin (because its thick to start with). They they throw in a couple tablespoons of baking soda. It bubbles and froths. They pour this over the popcorn and toss. Mind you they make about a 5 gallon bucket of popcorn because it’s going to go fast and most families are 11 people and up. They toss this to coat and then throw in back in the oven and toast for a few minutes. This is like caramelized popcorn only lots better. Much much better. Then they post someone around the popcorn bowl for crowd control. A real yummer!

  • ANNE {Anne's Scribbles and Doodles}

    I totally agree with this recipe! My mom loves freshly made popcorn that we only make them from scratch all the time ever since I was a kid. She told me that most people would get a popcorn maker or use their microwaves instead of this trick you’re sharing about. I’m glad that a lot of people still do this.

  • MKJ

    Hi Elise,
    Seeing your popcorn recipe today left me elated, because this is how I basically have made it all of my adult life, and dejected, because I could no longer take secret self pride that ‘Darn, NOBODY makes popcorn as well as I do’!
    I should have known that you did!
    The main difference, and I do use coconut oil, is that instead of holding the pan off the heat for the count of 30, I swirl the hot oil/popcorn over the heat to mimic the roasting popcorn smells from vendors of my childhood making hot nuts and popcorn. I do this for a couple of minutes for the corn kernels to turn a golden color. Then when the pan is set back onto the heat, the corn pops until they are all popped.
    I also release the steam by raising the lid frequently but will try the metal colander, as one suggested. I also add salt to the hot oil but will try some of the many terrific seasoning suggestions you all have made. Trish’s cumin-ginger-cinnamon combo may be the first one. And browned butter! And chopsticks! But tonight’s popcorn will be done with your 30 second hold technique; you have never let me down before! Thanks, Elise and Everyone!

  • Larry Hill

    I like this idea. It works! Just for your information, Trader Joes has organic popping corn. Most corn is GMO, and organic corn is hard to find.


  • Holly

    We recently moved and did not bring a microwave with us. My 21 year old son didn’t think it was possible to make popcorn without one and was grieving. He now loves popcorn made the “old fashioned” way. I had kind of forgotten how to make it and this post helps me a lot. Thank you Elise and mom.

  • Tim Donahue

    I use Bittman’s recipe for microwave popcorn. You use a paper lunch bag, popcorn, your own choice of fat, and salt.

    Works brilliantly, is cheap, and healthy.

  • Michelle

    This is how my mom always made popcorn. I can’t tell you how many friends I have converted after showing them this method. And now my own children enjoy it as well!

  • Emily @ Life on Food

    This is exactly how my mom makes popcorn too. Perfect every time.

  • Bronwyn

    This is the recipe that first brought me to the Simply Recipes site several years ago. Ahhh :)
    It’s the only way I do popcorn now. Especially useful when using popcorn in science lessons at school!

  • JodyC

    I grew up with this style of popcorn too and have never done it any other way. One nifty pot I’ve been using for years and years is the Presto Deep Fryer (take the basket out). You can buy them at W–mart for about $15 or so. I use the same method as you, except taking it off the heat, and make perfect popcorn every time. Our kids grew up using the Presto and this method, and now each of them has one of their own pots. One of our sons gave a demonstration speech on making popcorn in college. The kids were in awe! Funny!

  • Chrys

    One of our favorite toppings is Bragg liquid aminos. It comes in a spray bottle, perfect for even distribution. It tastes like soy sauce.

  • Charmin

    So how much salt does everyone add to the oil? I’d like to try that method, but since we always just shake away after it has been buttered I have no idea how much we use.

  • Angelique

    My fiance browns the butter. It adds SO much flavor. I mean it’s night and day between regular melted butter and browned butter.

  • Lynn

    My grandfather made popcorn like this, but he used a brown paper bag for the lid and popped it in an old pressure cooker pan. He always swore that was the secret.

  • Nathalie

    Thanks this worked perfectly for us after having so many failed… We will definitely keep doing our pop corn that way as for now :) We use olive oil btw.

  • Kate

    I just wanted to say that this recipe was PERFECT! Your directions were all right on. I am a first time pop corn maker (28 years of doing it in a bag) and I will never go back! Thank you for sharing this!

  • Kyla

    Thank you for the much needed confidence! Years ago we unwillingly lived with the burnt stink of popcorn, not just in the kitchen but, throughout the house. That permeated smell is so foul it put us off the stuff entirely, that is, until now. I have a serious aversion to the microwaved cancerous nastiness , as well as the TOXIC -cell overstimulating- monosodium glutamate (MSG). Three Tablespoons of salted butter was a lovely treat and each piece was well coated. Myself, I threw on a smash of oregano that sticks quite nicely with butter, my sister takes hers with a bit of yeast or wasabi… She taught us to eat popcorn with chopsticks, as to keep from getting greasy. Thanks again.

    • Elise Bauer

      What a great idea to eat popcorn with chopsticks! Not only will it keep your fingers from getting buttery it will slow down your eating so you can enjoy the popcorn longer.

  • Bonitart

    Wow. Read all these and no mention of msg. Yes, msg. Try it just once, you will not die but you will think you went to heaven.

    It is all you need instead of salt and other spices for a simple unmatched popcorn pleasure.

  • Crunchy Cake

    Why oh why didn’t I see this earlier? No more sucky popcorn for us! I just made some for our popcorn bar for our NYE party. It’s perfect. Thank you for sharing.


  • Paula

    Just delicious, did not burn, thanks :)

  • Rachel

    Thank you so much! I have made popcorn on the stove-top nearly every night for years and those unpopped kernals were the bane of my existance! They drove me crazy. I love your blog and so many of your recipes – no idea how I missed this one for so long but I’m glad I finally did stumble across it because it works incredibly well! I use 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil, 3 tablespoons popcorn, and then afterward I top with salt & freshly shredded parm cheese. Yum!

  • Janet

    This recipe is so easy and all the kernels popped without burning. Very happy! Thank you for sharing and those posting more tips and variations!

  • David Bowman

    Hi Elise,
    I love popcorn and have adapted the way my parents made it in the 1960’s. Instead of oil, I now use Butter Flavored Crisco to have the butter flavor without the cholesterol. I also use a newspaper folded across the pad instead of a lid which lets some steam escape. When finished, take the newspaper off the pan and see the extra grease in the steam ring. Hope you try it.

  • Landrey

    This was unbelievable. I just stumbled upon your website and this recipe is gold! I just used a regular pan with a glass lid (for the fun of it), I used a tablespoon of coconut oil, sprinkled with sugar and butter after. Using this method I had only 1 un-popped kernel! This was my first time using the stovetop method. I was planning to buy a whirly pop, but no need! This is amazing, I can’t wait to experiment with all the flavors in the comments…so happy right now!

  • Meghan

    Thanks for the post! I followed your instructions exactly and voila! Perfectly popped popcorn! I did as suggested, keeping lid slightly open to let out steam. I used 2tbspn of olive oil, put salt in pan, on induction stovetop on 7, and it came out great! Thanks again!

  • Jackie

    You mentioned using high quality popcorn kernels in your recipe. Can you recommend a brand or brands?

    • Elise Bauer

      I’m hesitant to endorse a particular brand but the last time I checked I think Newman’s Own had a good one.

  • Carla Barbera

    We sprinkle grated parmesan on our popcorn! I can’t eat popcorn without it now!

  • Trish Russo

    Thanks for kick starting my adventure into making my own popcorn! Your recipe is perfect! I played with 3 seasoning combos:
    1) smoked paprika and chili powder
    2) grated parmesan, garlic powder, red chili flakes, oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, & rosemary
    3) cumin, ginger, cinnamon, – wish I had some coriander but I was out!

  • Cameron

    This process worked flawlessly!
    I feel so cocky now. Finally I don’t have to get irritated about it. hehe

  • Sherry Copeland

    Dear Elise, This is the first recipe that I made from your web site. We wanted to make “real” popcorn and it had been so long, that I had forgotten the amounts. I googled popcorn in 2008 and your site came up! I can’t believe I lived without it so long! This really is “Perfect Popcorn”! I love all your recipes,

  • Jane

    Thanks for this! I just tried it tonight and it came out perfectly! Didn’t burn and every single kernel was popped! I used coconut oil and it tastes like the old fashioned popcorn!

  • Francisca

    Hi Asiya, I also have a ceramic stovetop and I just lift the pan like Elise says, no problem. I am new at making popcorn but mine is becoming crispier and crispier, really delicious! Thanks for the tips especially the bit about keeping the pan a bit open, that has made all the difference! I made several kinds of popcorn including with parmesan and chilli and mapple syrup, ground spice and cinnamon.

  • Asiya @ Chocolate & Chillies

    Is it necessary to shake the pan? I have a ceramic stovetop and can’t shake a pan on top.


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Asiya, shaking the pan helps. You could lift it off the ceramic stove top by an inch or two, shake it, and put it gently back down.

  • Againstthegran

    I’ve always made popcorn on the stove, just the way my mother taught me, except when I worked in an office and the microwave was the option. Then I used the brown paper bag method (I won’t touch commercial microwave popcorn). I use organic popcorn to avoid GMO corn & pesticide residue, and I use a big heavy All-Clad saucepan. I find very few unpopped kernels (anyone else call these “Old Maids” when they were kids?).

    In recent years I’ve avoided vegetable/seed oils. I now pop popcorn in a mixture of ghee (clarified butter) and coconut oil, enough to cover the bottom of the pan. They add great flavor to the popcorn, and the stable fatty acids hold up to higher temps much better than vegetable oils.

  • Gennarose

    This is amazing!!! It worked perfectly the first time, and every time since! I eat popcorn probably more than I should now. It’s nearly faster than the microwave version, and definitely tastier (not to mention healthier). Thanks!

  • Anitha

    I never tried popcorn on stove and tried it first time ever following your recipe. Wow… it turned out so good. I counted unpopped kernels and only 1 is left… I am so happy to have found out this recipe. Thanks so much. But my 6 year old son will definitely be disappointed. He asked me to prepare popcorn for 2 reasons… one to have popcorn ofcourse and the other reason is to play with unpopped popcorn… He would sure be disappointed when I say there are none unpopped kernels… :)

  • nancy

    Thank you u saved my pop corn night!!

  • Sarah

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe. Cooked my popcorn perfectly. I added salt to oil to distribute… Great worked perfectly! The only downside to this recipe that I had.. was BUTTER… I love movie buttered popcorn and I melted the butter and added to popcorn BIG MISTAKE.. It made my popcorn soggy and greasy.. YUCK! I Tossed it. Will try a different approach tomorrow.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sarah, oh, it only takes a little bit of melted butter to flavor the popcorn. Sounds like you added too much!

  • Ignatz

    I have never made popcorn before in my life, and I just did according to these instruction, and it was PERFECT. I doubt I’ll ever buy bag popcorn or Jiffy Pop again.

  • Chuck Warriner

    I like really healthy popcorn (cough! cough!), so I use bacon grease in the pan!! The flavor is amazing, and I guess my favorite because that’s the way my mother always made it. But last time I made popcorn, I tried your technique and found that it worked much better than just putting the kernels in the oil and shaking the pan over the heat. And, with bacon grease, you don’t need butter, nor nearly as much salt.

  • Larry

    How disconnected are Americans from their kitchen that Microwave popcorn ever took a market hold in the first place?! Elise, thank you for bringing the stovetop method to the forefront again.

    I will echo a couple of things from the previous comments…I also keep the lid slightly vented so that the kernels don’t become chewy and damp. I’ve also been known to use both flavored oils and butter as part of the fat before the kernels start popping (rosemary and parmesan is a GREAT combination, as Cecelia mentioned above). I will have to try putting the salt in from the beginning tho…I like that idea!

  • Cecelia

    I, too, thought this was absolutely perfect. Now, granted, I didn’t use ‘high quality’ popcorn kernels, and I used canola oil (it was all I had on hand), but it was still great. I’ve also done popcorn with some rosemary-infused oil and parmesan …. mmmmmm…

  • Nicole

    Wowwww! Only one didn’t pop! What a great tip. Thank you!

  • Debbie Kate

    yummy yummy yummy!!! I love popcorn, but was getting tired of all the leftover kernels from my ancient air popper and don’t want my son (who also loves popcorn) growing up thinking that popcorn can only be made in the microwave. So I did a Google search and found this recipe for stovetop popcorn… and I am SO happy that I did. The “count to thirty” trick really makes sure that almost all of the kernels get popped. The popcorn was easy and delicious and was a good project for me to do with my son. I never comment on recipes that I try online, but this was so good, I just had to

  • chloe

    Ripper recipe. Lets just say I have no regrets in counting out aloud by myself with the way this turned out!

  • kate

    Thank you! I’ve been making my popcorn this way for years–mostly. I wondered if I could improve upon my technique, and I found your recipe. Thanks for two really helpful tweaks to my method: taking the pot off the burner for 30 seconds after dropping in the corn, and cracking the lid to let out steam. GREAT results.

  • Sara Lee

    It was worth it.

  • Juice

    Tip: Use Agave Nectar for sweetness to taste.

  • Kate

    This sounds delicious. I don’t have a microwave, and in any case, microwave popcorn isn’t avaliable here in Belgium. We do find the old-fasioned kind, but sometimes it’s hard to get it all popped. Thanks for posting this recipe!

  • S. Mikayla

    Omigosh my friend and I got together tonight to watch a movie and I found your recipe. It was PERFECTION with Olive Oil and a light honey mustard spray dressing. I don’t have a microwave, so I usually just have popcorn at the movies or with my boyfriend at his place (with the microwave). This recipe is divine. Stovetop popcorn is just so…FUN! Thanks!

  • kate

    Thank you so much for letting me know about this method. I was a big, big fan of microwave popcorn – and if was only after seeing a bag of popping corn in the supermarket that I thought… hmmm.. that’s a lot cheaper than my microwave stuff – but I thought you needed a popcorn maker to use it. Thanks to you it’s just me and my saucepan from now on.

  • Doug

    If you love cheese popcorn, you can often find excellent quality powdered cheese (I prefer white cheese, but you can get standard orange too) in the bulk bin food area of your local health store.

    I second the nomination of Orville Reddenbacher.
    Conversely, it’s been my experience that Jolly Time is anything but…lots of “old maids” (unpopped kernels) at the end.

  • Claude Funston

    If you love cheese popcorn, you know that problem is that half of the parmesan cheese ends up on the bottom of the bowl. If you need to have that classic “cheese-corn” taste try this. Buy a Kraft Mac and Cheese — the cheap one in the box with the yellow cheese powder. Save the macaroni for another time and sprinkle the cheese powder on your popcorn. Decadent but delicious. Kids will love it.

    Also, use Orville Reddenbacher’s popcorn. Pops to the size of a small walnut!

  • Claude Funston

    One trick: I use a wide wire collander or kitchen sieve as the lid. It lets far more steam come out and results in drier popcorn. I use a deep pasta pot so no oil splatters out. Indeed, after the popping starts in earnest, the popped kernals keep the unpopped ones down so you don’t need a lid at all. Steam is the enemy of good popcorn.

    Great idea! ~Elise

  • Ann

    I have been craving good popcorn lately and decided to give this recipe a try since you haven’t let me down yet. I loved it! So did my family. God, I will never make microwave popcorn again. Next time I’ll try some of the special toppings. Thanks, and thanks to your mom!

  • Charmaine

    This is a terrific recipe. Thank you for sharing your (and your mother’s) popcorn cooking “secret”!

  • Rebekah

    Pracitcally every Sunday night of my teenage years, my mom would declare “popcorn night” because she didn’t want to cook! So, one of my favorite toppings was to put crushed garlic in the melted butter and spread that over the popcorn. Then, shred cheddar cheese all over. mmmmm… brings back memories! Thanks for the new tip, though, next batch of popcorn, I will try it.

  • Yasmine

    Oh my god, this is amazing, I just tried it now and it’s PERFECT! they all popped, not one unpopped kernel left! and no burns.

    Hats off:)

  • Gwen

    To those concerned about genetically altered corn…popcorn does not fall into this category – one reason why I make it my whole grain staple.

  • VL


    I am newbie and never know how to prepare pop corns at home though I love it very much. I intend to try out your recipe, however, I need your advice on some of my doubts:-

    From your recipe, you said that “If you are adding butter, you can easily melt it by placing the butter in the now empty, but hot pan.” – Do you mean I put those pop corn into the melted butter and mix them while the pan is hot and the fire is off?

    Salt to taste. – When do I add in the salt? Do I sprinkle them over the butter-coated pop corns?

    Thanks so much for your advice.

    After you have removed the popped corn to a separate bowl, you can put some butter in the pan to melt it, then pour the butter out over the popcorn. Sprinkle salt on the butter coated popcorn. ~Elise

  • Star

    Fun for kids: Place OLD blanket on floor, and put the electric fry pan in the middle. Watch the kids go CRAZY as the popcorn flys ALL over!

  • Brittney

    I like to sprinkle lawrey’s garlic salt on it in place of regular salt. I still use butter too. It is to die for….mmmmmm…. Thank you for the tips!

  • JDR

    Thank you SO much for posting these tips – I recently lost my air popper, so I decided to make popcorn “old school” style on the stovetop. I just burned through two pots (and nearly set my kitchen on fire) before I thought to look on the internet – thank goodness yours was the first site to come up on the search!

  • mel

    I made this recipe, adding salt, butter, and brown sugar – it was amazing! Thanks so much! So easy, and just like you said, no kernels at the end!

  • bob

    Wow – this is a great recipe. I used very old kernels and thinking it would be awful and was prepared to toss it out – but it really was perfect. So simple. I had never heard of the 30 second pause but it really seems essential. Like the recipe says – all kernels will pop, none will burn.

  • Diana

    Do you have to use oil to make popcorn on the stove? Can you use cooking spray instead to get low calorie popcorn?

    Hi Diana, I know some people who don’t use any oil and they manage to pop the popcorn. This particular method however, requires the use of oil. ~Elise

  • Sherry H.

    Just got ready to make a batch of Spicy Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn and realized that I had never made popcorn on a stove-top. So I used the Food Blog Search tool and this recipe popped up (so to speak). Anyway, the popcorn turned out perfectly and then I did this (for each 1/2 cup of unpopped popcorn):

    Mix together: 3 tbsp. melted butter, 1 tsp. Asian hot chile oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

    In a separate bowl mix: 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 cinnamon (I used Vietnamese Spicy Cinnamon from Penzy’s)

    Drizzle butter mixture over the hot popcorn, toss, then sprinkle the sugar mixture over that and toss well. The sweet/salty/hot combo is addictive.

    Thanks for the great popcorn making instructions.

  • Maggie

    Just another vote for your recipe! I added salt, butter, and white sugar and it was fantastic. Can’t wait to experiment with the garlic oil, curry powder, and more! And it’s true, watching it pop through a glass lid is witnessing a little culinary miracle!

  • Sarah

    I’m eating one of the best bowls of stove top popcorn I’ve ever made, thanks to you. Great recipe; taking it off for that 30 seconds seems to be key. No burns and crispy (took the suggestion and used a strainer lid with holes on to of the pot).

    And thanks to whomever suggested salt in the oil– I thought getting salt to stick to popcorn was one of life’s big mysteries!

  • Cynthia

    I’m not too good with recipes, and others I tried, I seemed to always burn a good bit of the popcorn. Not totally burned, but just enough that it tasted slightly of charcoal and crumbled when you ate it. I was very pleased to find your recipe with its concise directions that were easy to follow. One question though, how do you calculate 1 spoonful of butter from a bar? ^^;;;

    Usually sticks of butter are wrapped in wax paper with lines delineating tablespoon amounts if you cut the stick along the line. They think of everything those butter people. ~Elise

  • Anna

    I’m a popcorn fanatic and have converted my office mates by having a “popcorn jar” on the desk (rather than a candy or cookie jar). I use a Presto Microwave Popper and it’s a charm. I use it everyday. Quick, easy, and makes *great* popcorn (with minimal unpopped kernals as long as the cardboard concentrator cup is relatively new). You can use it dry or with oil and it turns out great both way. I have found that each method of popping (microwave popper versus stovetop versus lunchbag) produces slightly different popcorn, but that just means more variety, right?!? With the discovery that microwave bagged popcorn may lead to “popcorn lung” I’m glad there are alternatives to making our favorite snack.

  • Annie

    Thanks Elise! I was googling for homemade popcorn. I found your site and knew you would have a trustworthy recipe. Can’t wait to try it on movie night!

  • Sally

    I felt like a snack & made some burnt, horrible unpopped popcorn, threw that away & googled “perfect popcorn” & came across your recipe.

    … & the results? Perfect as advised. Thank you. I used olive oil, as that was all I had (not a high temperature oil, I know – but it worked fine, added the salt (direct from the sea from a village near me!) in the oil, threw in some cayenne pepper as it popped. Mmmm I’m still munching the bowl, but was so thrilled with the results that I had to post a comment immediately!

  • katy

    Made this your way last night — excellent! I used olive oil, and sprinkled nutritional yeast and smoked paprika on the popped kernels. I’ll never buy those silly bags again. :-)

  • deb

    I appreciate the ideas about how to infuse real garlic into the oil & will try them.
    The thing I love is Wizard’s Hot Stuff/Piquante Sauce sprinkled over the popped corn. Great flavor for this dish, it’s more complex than tabasco, rich with a touch of fruit in addition to some heat. Then I add nutritional yeast which sticks to the corn much better with the sauce there if you’re not using extra butter on top.
    Also I use some or even all ghee (made with sweet butter) so the popping temperature is not a problem. Ghee can be used in any of the (not air) poppers mentioned.

  • Pamela

    I followed these directions exactly and yes, just like all the others, it came out perfectly!

    I bought one of those big tins that has the 3 flavors of popcorn you normally see around the holidays…once all that popcorn was gone, I started popping mine on the stove (which I have never done, but wanted a more healthy alternative to that microwave stuff!). I can make 2 batches, fill up my popcorn tin and it resides by the couch ready for snacking at any time.

    There are lots of recipes and hints for preparing popcorn this way and I always seem to mess it up somehow! But, this was fool-proof. No unpopped kernels and it was just light and crunchy.

    I also, use a splatter guard rather than a lid but you might want to wear an apron as the oil does kinda splatter just a bit!

    Toppings for me? Butter flavored cooking spray, parmesan cheese (the kind you would sprinkle on your pizza)and garlic salt. But I want to try the brewer’s yeast. Happy popping!

  • Raevynne

    This is the best way to enjoy popcorn. I just tried it out and I counted ONLY ONE KERNEL that was unpopped. Not only that but it took only 3 minutes to make!

  • Rachelle

    Love this recipe. I found that adding the butter to the hot oil in the pan (right before adding the popcorn) not only infuses every popped kernel with rich, buttery flavor, but also avoids making the kernels soggy.

    Another one of my favorite ways to flavor popcorn is with lots of freshly ground black pepper and parmesan cheese. Yumm!!

  • isabella

    We here love popcorn but just today, 2 months after you posted the recipe, we were able to try it. Please, tell you mom: perfect recipe, not even a single kernel left!!!

    Thanks. =)

  • Joe

    Just made some, and it was excellent! We have a pot with a glass top, and it was really cool watching the kernels pop ( every single one did, unlike the mess that usually results from microwave popcorn ).

  • Seattle Mom

    I had never heard of microwaving the popcorn in paper lunch bags with oil and salt, so I had to try it. Delicious! A lot of the oil was soaked into the bag, so then I tried using an old microwave popper instead – simply a large plastic bowl with a vented lid and 4 little depressions in the bottom to put the oil in. It worked perfectly, too! I’m sure any large plastic bowl with a lid resting askew would work.
    We taste-tested using olive oil, bacon fat, and butter, and the bacon fat was a clear winner, followed closely by the butter. (Popped right in the butter and salt only, no oil added. Next time I make bacon, I’ll save more of the crumbly bits for popcorn popping) I needed only 1 – 2 tsps fat/oil/butter per 1/3 cup popcorn.

    I love stovetop popped corn, but the smell of the cooking oil permeating the house is sometimes too much for me. The microwave made popcorn that tasted just like the stovetop, but without the overpowering cooking oil smell. It didn’t taste at all like air-popped. And by cooking it directly in the butter, instead of adding it after cooking, it saves a LOT of calories with the same buttery taste.

    I have learned so much from this site! You people have the best ideas!

  • Sassysmom

    Does it make a difference with the kind of pan you use, ie aluminum, cast iron, stainless steel? Thanks and can’t wait to try your method as I’ve decided to quit microwave popcorn(I eat a bag a day).

  • David

    Thank you thank you thank you for this recipe.
    I have been using it for about two weeks now and have had perfect popcorn every time!

    We used to use the microwave bags but I always felt uneasy about how healthy they were.

    Mixing the salt with the oil prior to popping is fantastic too.

    Thanks again from all the family.
    (The kids love it!!!)

  • Popcorn Fan

    So, I stay away from this site for a week, and look what I find! Popcorn! I was raised on home popped (oil, pan, etc) corn, and carry on the tradition myself.

    I’m surprised it hasn’t been mentioned yet, but one of my tricks for great corn is to throw a few cloves of whole garlic and a handful of dried chiles into the oil. I cook this over low/medium heat for 5 – 10 mins (don’t let the garlic burn!!), and then remove the garlic cloves. Raise the heat to high, and follow the recipe Elise has here.

    You get an AMAZING amount of flavor by simply pre-flavoring the oil. (my philosophy on any pan-frying / deep-frying task)

    Another trick I have always done is having a grocery bag as the repository for the popped corn, and I will always pop more than my medium size saucepan will hold. Just wait until the corn starts pushing the lid off, dump 3/4 into the bag, and return to the heat – shaking constantly.

    Gonna go and pop myself a batch right now!

  • Chelle

    Mmmm, popcorn. Love stovetop popcorn. My aunt Marsha used to make the best marshmallow popcorn when I was a kid. Just think about making rice krispie treats(a tad of melted butter and jumbo marshmallows) but substitute popcorn. As I get older it’s a tad sweet for my taste but just a little marshmallow goes a long way. Too much can be a sticky mess. But for kids you can roll them into very large popcorn balls. (hint use wax paper)
    Savory popcorn sounds delish as well. Olive oil and garlic will be next on my list to try.

  • Myrtille

    Thanks for your tip! I did the removal thing and they came out perfect like yours.
    Here in France people prefer their popcorn sweet with caramel coating or just sugar.

  • Ellen

    This really was perfect – very few “old maids” at the end. I reduced the oil (canola) to 2 tablespoons and it worked just as well and was a little less greasy at the end. We’re eating all kinds of popcorn now! Thanks!

  • The Flower Lady

    This is my first time to your site. I really enjoyed reading every comment on your method of popping corn. I think it is a very good foolproof one. We buy popcorn by the 50 lb bag. We eat popcorn almost every evening. I used to use a heavy aluminum pan, until I found out that aluminum is bad for you. Now I have a heavy cast iron flat bottomed dutch oven with a cast iron lid, (I think it is a 3 Qt capacity)and only use it for popcorn. (never wash it) I have experimented with types of oil and our family likes the flavor of peanut oil the best, and olive oil second. I cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of oil and add 1/3 cup of corn and put it on the high flame burner and leave it till it stops popping. No shaking. It fills the pan up to the top and doesn’t burn nor leave what we always called “old maids”. I have found that if I use the hot pan and make a second batch it doesn’t pop as well, so I will try your method of taking it off the heat for 30 seconds and see if that works better on the second time around. I also like parmesan cheese and garlic powder on it, and sometimes add some blue cheese to the butter. I want to try the garlic clove in the oil suggestion. Sometimes I chop up green onion tops and add that to my bowl. Now I’m hungry for some popcorn. Here is a tip on garlic bulbs…I buy them in bulk and put them in the freezer whole and just pluck off a clove when I need one-they keep well and peel easily, no spoiling before I get a chance to use them up. Thanks TFL

  • charleen

    I have almost always popped popcorn as you suggested, my dad used to do it like that for all 7 of us used to be exciting waiting for the 1st pop,taking it off the heat then adding all the kernnels and back on,it was music to our ears.The only thing i do different is right after its all popped i put it into a large paper grocerie bag,add salt and butter,close it just at the top and shake it for a minute or two,everything is mixed up ,and every kernnel is evenly coated with butter and salt, you can add anything from garlic powder to chili powder, or what ever your fancy.mmm, now i have to go make some

  • Malou

    Air-popped popcorn sure does bring back great childhood memories. If you wish to try a different kind of kick try mixing the cooked popcorn with some wasabi powder. :) It gives you a different kind of heat compared to Tabasco/hot sauce.

  • Linda in the Evergreen State

    HI Elise,

    I forgot to say Popcorn makes a great dipper for cheese sauce! Tom I almost agree about “what a microwave oven is good for” with the exceptions of making cheese sauce which is quite popular at my house and melting chocolate or making froth for an easy latte.
    Coffee is a food group where I live.


  • Natalie

    Fabulous to find other popcorn addicts. I take my corn VERY seriously. ORGANIC popcorn tastes waaay better than regular as popping corn has the highest amount of pesticides of any crop!

    I use an old aluminum pot with 3 TBL flavored olive oil (garlic) and 1/2 C. popcorn for 2 people, 2 TBL. oil 1/4 C. pop corn for 1 person.

    Olive oil won’t smoke if you dump all the corn in at once and use med-med hi heat. I shake when the popping begins and let steam out as I’m shaking.

    But it’s my topping that really makes my popcorn a hit. Red Star Nutritional Yeast (NOT brewer’s yeast), little spray bottle of olive oil, Celtic sea salt, garlic powder and cumin. I mix the spices together while the corn is popping. Spray the hot popcorn w/ oil and pour on the mix. OMG delish!

  • Holly

    If you like kettle corn, cook as Elise says and then add Maltesers or another chocolate covered candy to the pan once popped and removed from the heat. Wonderful chocolatey goodness!

  • missb

    Popcorn! The fifth food group! This is just how my Mom and I always made it. We used to use the TV Time pre-measured packets (oily goop on one side, salted kernels on the other) until it was discontinued and we discovered Orville Redenbacher which I still believe is the very best packaged popcorn available!

    I rediscovered stove popping (air poppers? Are you people nuts? Do you eat styrofoam peanuts, too?) just a couple of months go after finding Pop Secret “homestyle” microwave popcorn — a darn close match, flavor-wise– and realized what I had been missing: that faint stovey oil flavor. it’s essential.

    I pop corn just as you have described with one exception, I never remove the pan from the heat. However, I think that will solve my problem of duds when I pop in my cheap pans at home! Our new house (we’re living in both currently) has the good All-Clad pots my Mom gave me, which make PERFECT popcorn every time. My NYC Circulon pots do not compare. I can’t wait to try your method.

    Share 1/3 cup popcorn? Oh, no way, Jose. That’s all for me. When I pop for two it’s 2/3 all the way! And, of course, butter, salt and nutritional yeast! So good!

  • GG Mora

    Hey, kids, try this at home: use duck fat or some good porky home-rendered lard to pop your popcorn in. No worse than butter in terms of fat intake (if you worry about that kind of thing) and delicious in ways you can’t imagine.

  • tom

    I use a similar recipe, except I use 1/2 cup of popcorn to 3 tablespoons of oil…and I use one tablespoon of sesame oil (spicy) to two tablespoons of corn oil…gives it a nice kick.

    Also, I don’t take it off the fire for 30 seconds, and I get no duds at all, either.

  • Wen

    This is a great post, everyone loves popcorn. For those that eat the microwave stuff at work (I ate it almost every a.m. for breakfast)a coffee filter makes a perfect bowl and holds the whole bag or half if you are kind enough to share. Its cheap and no bowl to clean up. :)

  • coreyjo

    Popcorn is the best! I’ve been making it sort of it the way you describe for years now – I think I read about it in a children’s book about popcorn by Tomie De Paola. Recently, though, a friend told me to try putting all the popcorn and the oil in together at the beginning and setting the heat to low so it simmers for a bit. Once the first pop is heard, turn it to med-hi and shake until it’s done. Works like a charm.

  • Tom

    The only thing the microwave is good for is boiling water and melting your plastic food containers. Stovetop is the way to go.

  • Kevin at TasteTV

    Using the word “perfect” is like a bullseye for some people, but this does look like a good recipe

  • Magnus

    Try adding m&ms to popcorn…mighty tasty, especially after the chocolate melts inside the shell.

  • MarcusAnimal

    I place a paper towel over the popping pan which absorbs some of the oil and makes for a less oily feast. Also, I keep the lid slightly ajar for the steam to escape, and the paper towel keeps the popcorn from popping out of the pan.

  • Anonymous

    I like to add some sugar to the oil right before I add my popcorn, it makes the popcorn like that found at carnivals and whatnot. But I recomend using a pan that you do not care too much about as the sugar can carmalize on the bottom. That is why I have a special pan for popping corn ;)

  • amy

    My mom used a heavy aluminum pan, just for popping corn (4 quart?) She kept the popcorn in a glass jar in the regfrigerator with a balled up damp paper towel added. She never washed the pan. I’ve inherited the pan, still unwashed. Also the method used, which is the same except for the 30 second wait, and we’ve always lifted the lid once in a while to vent.

  • Cora

    I’m delurking, a must when I saw this post about popcorn! We always had stovetop from my great-grandfather’s crank style. It’s a much simpler style than the Whirlypop and the most amazing way to make popcorn. I’m sure the style pre-dates WWII, but if you can find one it’s the only way I make popcorn. I find the blades in the older versions thinner than the Whirlypop, which chewed up my popped kernels. Check thrift stores and e-bay and you can get one for a song. I’m so thrilled others make stovetop. For years my friends thought my family was weird until they ate the stuff. Converts one and all.

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi KarenR – We use a thick-bottomed stainless steel 3-qt pan. Thick-bottom pans moderate the heat and probably do help with preventing burnt kernels.

  • Debbie

    We used to make popcorn this way when I was a kid. It tastes a lot better than microwaved popcorn. You’ve inspired me to try popcorn this way again. Thanks, Elise.

  • Dave Grainer

    I too use anne’s technique of adding salt or flavorings in a large paper bag. It also absorbs some of the oil. I use very fine salt from my blender (fin sel). It seems to coat the popcorn more evenly than table salt and I use less. [I also recommend using the blender for sugar. It dissolves more rapidly in beverages and creams with butter easier.]

  • Julie

    If you like garlic, try adding fresh crushed garlic to the butter when you melt it.

  • Melody Elliott-Koontz

    I have thrown ground flax seeds and garlic powder on my popcorn. Your post brings back lovely memories. My mom always made popcorn on the stove. She used her pressure cooker pan to pop in in..because it was heavy-bottomed (like me) and the corn wouldn’t burn. She also left the lid “cracked” to allow venting as the corn popped. I loved hearing her shake the pan on the stove.

    Great post..and great ideas.

  • KarenR

    What kind of pan is best? I’ve tried a similar recipe in the past (didn’t take it off the heat in the middle) and found it burned the bottom of the pan. Heavy bottomed? Aluminum okay?

  • anne

    Popcorn is my absolute favorite snack! A trick I picked up from my grandfather is to put the freshly popped corn in a paper bag, like the kind you get from a grocery store. You can add the salt or butter after it’s popped and easily coat the popcorn by shaking the bag. You get a few pieces soaked in butter, but we always fight over those anyway!

  • Helen

    I was never really a big fan of home popped popcorn – always found it a bit plain. I just used to buy pre popped toffee stuff from Blockbuster. Then I moved somewhere I couldnt by prepopped stuff and had to start popping my own. My favourite topping has to be homemade caramel sauce, amde with butter and brown sugar – just leave it to cool for a bit before pouring it over your popcorn, and be ready with the napkins (its sticky!)

  • judy

    If you like to make sure your popped corn is light and crunchy, try this: I read that if you add a few teaspoons of water to your corn a few hours before you cook it and shake it around to coat it evenly it actually freshens it so that it has enough moisture to pop better. I live in Arizona and it is so dry here. This tip really works!

  • Mel

    Adding about a quarter cup of sugar before you return the pan to heat should give a pretty good batch of kettle corn.
    I haven’t made it in forever, but I believe that’s what my mom used to do. So easy and so much better than the microwaveable ‘kettle corn’.

  • AG

    I too use a wok to pop corn.
    A couple of teaspoons of sugar at the end makes it kettle corn.
    Unfortunately the darling woman I married over thirty years ago now has an allergy to corn so I have to pop mine when she’s not around.


  • elizabeth

    I agree with Ginger–I always have my popcorn with butter, salt, and Brewer’s (nutritional) yeast! Ever since I was introduced to popcorn-eating this way in college, I haven’t gone back. :)

  • Susan from Food Blogga

    I’m with your mom; I love making popcorn the old-fashioned way. Though I’ve never counted to
    30, I do test the oil with a few kernels. I’ll be counting next time though, since it sounds like she has it down to a science. Plus, any excuse to eat more popcorn is ok by me.

  • joy

    I’ve been making stovetop popcorn for years. I use a crank style popper. WhirleyPop is one brand. The pan is very thin so it heats very quickly and pops almost every kernel. As an added bonus, since there is a stir paddle in the bottom of the pan, it is great to make kettle corn. Just add 1 tablespoon granulated sugar to the pan with the oil and stir like crazy.

  • Leslie

    I love butter on my popcorn, but when you pour melted butter on popcorn, the popcorn gets soggy. I like to melt a couple of tablespoons of butter with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and pour it over popcorn. It coats the popcorn without soaking it. And it’s yummy.

  • Ginger

    Since no one has mentioned it yet, nutritional yeast on popcorn is great! It gives it a nice cheesy taste and most health food stores carry in in the bulk section. I am a popcorn addict and have always used the stove top – it takes no longer than a microwave.
    For all of you with those air poppers you hate, they can easily be converted to coffee roasters. Just add a 1/2 cup or so of green coffee beans (can find at, turn it on, (do this outside as the coffee shells float all over) and let it roast. Makes a delish cup of java.
    I am going to make some curry popcorn right now….or maybe sweet paprika…

  • Linda in the Evergreen State

    The most popluar method of popping popcorn in my home is using our Westbend Air PopperyII. We also have a microwave popcorn popper. We have used the packaged microwave popcorn as well. Easy, easy clean up with an air popcorn popper. . I learned to use a extra large bowl with my air popper to keep the popped kernels in the bowl instead of flying out all over the countertop.
    I melt the butter in the microwave. Seasonings can be added to the butter in the microwave or toss the popcorn with the melted butter in the bowl then sprinkle the seasons. Which is my choice because I do not like too salty or seasoned popcorn.
    Popcorn should not be stale no matter which way you pop it. I made the mistake while trying to pop enough popcorn for 15 kids. Which makes me wonder about the microwave packets, how long has the popcorn been sitting in oil in those packets?
    Linda in Washington State

  • Erin

    I’ve always been a stovetop popcorn kind of girl too. There’s no other way, as far as I’m concerned. I’m definitely going to try adding salt before the corn is popped.

    I just wanted to suggest my favorite popcorn topping: Spanish smoked paprika. I sprinkle it on with butter, salt, and parmesan.

  • marshall

    Yay! This is EXACTLY the way my mom popped popcorn for my sister and me growing up. We still request it from her this way when we’re all together and (when I don’t use my Whirleypop for speed’s sake) that’s how I pop it as well. You are right. It is The. Perfect. Popcorn.

    I have to guess that you’re close to my age so I’m wondering if it’s a little trick our mom’s picked up in the 70’s? Perhaps from that JiffyPop package.

  • Glitterati

    Elise, how perfect! Not having spent my formative years in North America, I pretty much assumed that microwave popcorn was the only way to get nice buttery popcorn. (But I HATE the smell it leaves, so I never make it) My roommate had an air popper, but it was a bit messy and the flavouring never stuck that well. Must try this on a movie night, thanks for the post! (And thanks to all the great commenters for your flavouring suggestions!)

  • Bill

    I do it this way, too. I usually add an unpeeled clove of garlic to the oil.

  • Lena

    I use the microwave method too, just put 1/3 c of popcorn, salt, and 1T oil (optional) in a brown paper sandwich bag. crimp the edge shut by folding twice, and staple it once. (I initially doubted the safety of putting a metal staple in the microwave, but I’ve never had a problem with this, maybe because it’s just one). I’ve never tried scotch tape though.

    Anyway, microwave the popcorn for about 2.5 minutes or until done. You can add extra salt, and melted butter at the end. Or put seasoning like cayenne or chili powder in with the kernals before you microwave. Plus you avoid all the bad chemicals that come in store-bought microwave popcorn bags.

    • a

      If the paper bags aren’t food safe/cooking safe, the paper content and glue might contain nasty stuff you don’t really want on your food.

  • JohnR

    Another option for those who dislike hot air poppers is the Stir Crazy from West Bend. I had this growing up, and I swear it makes some of the best popcorn I’ve ever had. Also, watching the popcorn popping and making all sorts of noise is fun for kids (and adults).

    • Marjorie

      Yes, I do like the Stir Crazy, but I liked my old one better; my new one as the center thing that turns loose and you have to clean it….tastes much better than microwave and it stores for a long time in Tupperware….I use olive oil in mine.

  • Dave

    Try using bacon fat sometime instead of oil- it’s delicious!

    • Coraniaid

      I do this! It’s Amazing and I don’t need to add as much salt.

  • Lance Robinson

    I love those “Whirley-Pop” air poppers, they’re great.

  • Denise

    I too have used this method and it works great. If you don’t want to have to heat up your stove in the summer you can make your own healthy microwave popcorn. Use a brown lunch bag, 1/3 cup of kernels . Roll over the top of the bag and tape closed with scotch tape. Then just use the popcorn setting on your microwave.

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Emily – We’ve made popcorn this way both on a gas and an electric burner.

  • Aimee

    I am a total popcorn addict! In our house, its a “whole family” sort of treat–my husband and I sit on the couch, and our three dogs jump to catch pieces we throw to them. The measuring of the popcorn kernels is generally watched very solemnly by all three dogs before the excitement ensues.

    I look forward to making it this way–more popped kernels = more popcorn love to share!

  • emily

    Does it matter if you’re using an elecric burner vs. a gas burner? I have an electric stove now, but I’ll be moving soon and will have a gas burner. Any adjustments necessary?

  • Samir

    I like to add pepper as well. I bet seasoning salt would be really good as well. My mother likes to make popcorn in a pressure cooker, again, no burnt kernels. One other thing I do is instead of melting butter, I’ll use the “I can’t believe it’s not butter” spray. You can also use butter flavored cooking spray. A healthier alternative. Can’t beat olive oil though…

    • Francisca

      All those butter substitutes are not healthy at all. Maybe that was not known yet in 2007 but in 2014 no one can say they weren’t warned!

    • Marjorie

      I use an old pressure cooker too; can’t beat it as it’s real heavy; much better quality than the new ones.

  • Rebecca

    Angel Elf-

    I use a hot air popper at school, and one of the tricks I learned is to hold a linen dish cloth over the bowl and infront of the chute. It directs the popcorn down, as well as the hot air, and it doesn’t heat up near your hands. Then, when the popcorn’s done, you can cover it with the towel, and it’ll keep the popcorn warm while you melt the butter.

  • Jess

    Funny you should mention this, but I made popcorn on Saturday using almost this method. I also added a mix of curry, salt, pepper, and cumin to the pan just as the popcorn started popping in earnest. It’s a modified version of a Two Hot Tamale’s popcorn recipe.

  • C

    Isreal, if you’re going to make more, I suggest using a bigger pan. The single-layer of kernels is important; it prevents creating a kitchen-full of popcorn!

    So good. We used to make this and dump it into a paper bag after – add salt (and chili powder!) and shake it up before serving. Delicious.

  • Susan

    I lovelovelove popcorn and have had popcorn prepared this way more times than I can count! I’m 1 of 63 people in the world who does not have a m’wave but no need, this recipe never fails and is perfect. Sur la Table carries jars of high quality corn that are the yummiest I’ve found for making popcorn by this method. This is great sprinkled with chunky sea salt or with Brady Street Cheese topping from Penzy’s!

    • Sally

      Wow, 3 of the 63 people who don’t own microwaves all in one spot! I had a microwave but gave it to my daughter when she moved away from home. I found I used it more to hide food from the cat than for anything else. (The cat went with her, too.)

      I made kettle corn this way, too. When I add the popcorn to the pan I add 3 tablespoons sugar and a pinch of salt and shake the pan while counting off the 30 seconds. I just keep the pan moving and it turns out great.

  • StaceyS

    I never make a batch of popcorn without a few dashes of Tabasco…It just really gives the popcorn a fresh flavor without over powering it.

  • Deb Schiff

    Wow. This recipe totally brought me back to my childhood in my father’s house. He’d always take out the big white enabled pot and make popcorn the “old-fashioned” way, shaking the pot until the kernels had all popped into crunchy yumminess. Thanks, as usual, for your wonderful posts. Yours is one of my favorite blogs, Elise.

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Erin and Adam – I’ll have to try adding the salt in the pan the next time I make popcorn. Thanks for the suggestion. I can totally see how it would work.

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Dena – Actually studies now show that coconut oil has, unlike previously thought, many health benefits. Check it out in Google. That said, we use grapeseed oil.

  • Adam Nelson

    Since salt doesn’t burn at stove temperatures, I add the salt along with the kernels. It seems to coat the popped corn more evenly, and sticks nicely, since the oil is already there.

    I haven’t tried the remove-from-heat method, but I’ve been making popcorn on the stove for almost a year now, and it always turns out well.

    • Janet K.

      Angel, you might just have gotten a bad model. I used a hot air popper for years and never had that problem.

  • Rex

    I modified some tips from Alton Brown and I make my popcorn in a stir fry pan. The curved bowl shape theoretically brings the kernels up after they’re popped and farther away from the heat. I also cover it with my grease splatter guard, it keeps all the popcorn in but lets all of the steam escape. I tend to use corn oil to pop it, and add a little sugar and popcorn salt to the pre-popped popcorn.

    I’m definitely going to try this pre-heating method and some tobasco sauce.

  • Amy

    I was debating whether or not I should get one of those air poppers but after reading this I know I don’t need to. This looks fantastic! Thanks Elise!

  • Erin

    Great post! Hopefully it will urge / inspire more people to toss out those nasty microwave packets. I’m a total popcorn addict, but like Tracy I like to use olive oil and I also add salt directly to the pan prior to popping the kernels. The flavor is amazing and I never need to add butter.

  • pablopabla

    I didn’t know that you need oil to pop the corn. Back in school days, my friends and I popped some corn in a wok (covered, of course) but without oil and it turned out okay. After popping, we placed them in a big pot, place some butter, cover the lid and shaked it a couple of times. Tastes great! It was for a food and fun fair and we sold about 80 packets in all! :)

  • Leslie

    I’m a big fan of the hot air popper as well. It was a big family tradition growing up to have air-popped popcorn on Sunday afternoons. Recently I found the exact model of popper my parents received as a pre-wedding gift (my grandmother thought they were going to elope and bought them a gift just in case), and that lasted over 20 years. It’s a Presto PopCornNow, and it is fabulous. The key is not putting too many kernels in at a time. And don’t use the butter melting thing — it’s just a pain.

  • dena

    Coconut oil? Healthy? um, yeah, sure …

    • Francisca

      Hello Dena, yes, coconut oil is very healthy so is palm oil! The advice to avoid saturated fats is old now! It has been on TV, newspapers, magazines, etc, at least here in the UK! Don’t believe all you are told because much of it are lies!

    • tunie

      Raw saturated fat is fine, it’s cooked/processed saturated fat that we want to avoid. That’s where the confusion lies. When that info was released in the 60’s, no one (other than hippies), least of all the Dept. of Health, realized just how damaging processed oils were. Now we know.

  • Don

    Want to change the flavor a bit? Before the corn pops add a few dashes of Tabasco (to taste). You might be quite pleased.

  • pam

    If you really like old-fashioned tasting theater popcorn, try making it with coconut oil. It is fabulous as well as very nutritious! Coconut has amazing health benefits, which you can discover by researching it online.

    • Francisca

      I will try the coconut oil as I have it at home, Pam. I had no idea that it could be used for the popcorn…. actually I also use it for my skin when I sunbathe instead of the awful sun creams.

      • adam

        yes! i just did the coconut oil and it turned out marvelous, as i have removed all other cooking oils from my kitchen ;) the batch only had a couple unpopped….since i just made a ‘personal batch’ i only used about 1/4 cup of kernels lol…..and 2 tbsp of coconut oil. but came out great

  • Dave

    Just after adding the popcorn, I add a pat of butter to the pan. It gives a delicious butter taste to all the kernels.

  • Riian

    I use a similar meathod with olive oil with great results! All it needs is a little salt at the end…no butter necessary. It’s addictive watch out!
    Only changes are that I keep the lid slightly askew to allow steam to escape to prevent chewy kernels, and I keep the pan on the heat the whole time. Just have to watch it, once it slows down popping you remove it from the heat.
    Haven’t had a burned batch yet!

  • Tracy

    Man, this worked like a charm. Did I ever mention how much your site rocks? Thank you!

  • Angel Elf

    I recently purchased a hot air popper made by Toastmaster, model 6202, thinking that it would be more convenient and healthy way to enjoy my favorite snack. What a mistake. This thing throws hot unpopped kernels out of the chute and all over my kitchen. I have to run this thing tilted backwards just to keep most of the kernels in the machine and direct the popped corn into the bowl by moving the machine back and forth like a machine gun. One time the popcorn got jammed at the bottom of the popper and the corn started to smoke, I’m talking Mount St. Helens here. If I had not been in the room I’m sure the thing would have caught fire. I am going back to the old fashioned way. Thanks Elise for the tip.

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Israel, I would double the ingredients, but not the time that the pot is removed from the heat.

  • israel


    I am a popcorn addict and tried this recipe and it was PERFECT. Only downside is that I resent having to share the batch. Is there a version that would double the popcorn? (not sure whether I can simply double the ingredients and time the pot is removed from heat)

    • MFB

      israel – The kernels must be only one layer deep – every kernel must rest on the bottom of the pot. And the pot must be big/deep enough to hold all the kernels AFTER they have popped. So, use a bigger pot and more kernels and/or make a second batch. I’d follow the timing given in the recipe.
      (When a few kids were over to watch a movie, I would often use a 5 or 6 quart pot, eyeball measure the oil, add enough kernels for just under one full layer – and also make a second batch :-) )