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Making popcorn at home-preferred method?

Made popcorn last night for the first time in ages on the stove with the oil in the pot method. Which way ido you all most prefer to make popcorn at home? Should I go out and get an air popper or an electric type that does it with the oil? I do not want to do it in the microwave anymore with all the hype that's come out about the artificial butter flavor. Thanks, Richie

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  1. I do it in a pot. Put it on the stove, heat. Add oil, then popcorn. Let it pop until you can count a couple of seconds between pops. On decadent days, heat up butter on the side and add seasonings (garlic, cayenne pepper, whatever), pour over, add parmesan cheese.

    1. Using a microwave doesn't necessarily imply using artificial butter. I don't remember where I read about the following method, but it works beautifully. Combine popcorn, oil and salt (I eyeball the ingredients, sorry) and dump into a paper lunch sack. Fold down the top and staple (yes, staple) twice. Microwave on high until the popping slows, open bag carefully to avoid steam burns.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Tatania

        I use that method, too (without salt), but I poke a couple holes in the bag to let the steam out while it pops. Then I salt it afterwards. I worry about dangerous chemicals in the bag, though. I'm thinking about the NordicWare microwave popper. But I worry about the plastic, lol.

        1. re: Tatania

          I saw an episode of Good Eats with a similar technique. And see Val's post below for pretty much exactly what I do (although I use 3 tablespoons popcorn per bag).

        2. Popcorn is by far my favorite salty snack. From reading posts on Chowhound, I've learned that you can put a few tablespoons in a paper bag and microwave for around 2 minutes (depending on your microwave)...it pops up beautifully and then add your melted butter and salt or whatever other flavorings you want. No oil or extra machinery (such as an air popper) are needed in order to pop it and I love that! Probably what IS needed is fresh popping corn. A little butter and a little salt are all that I need to be happy and hopefully, a little healthier.

          1. I like to use my wok to make popcorn. the bowl shape keeps the oil and corn at the point of the greatest heat.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Kelli2006

              Kelli, this sounds like a great idea. The big dome-shaped lid is also a plus for expanding kernels. Can't wait to try it, although I haven't made popcorn of any kind in about 20 years.

            2. I recently started doing it the Alton Brown way:

              Put about 3 tablespooons oil and 1/2 cup popcorn in a large stainless steel bowl. Add 1/2 tsp of popcorn salt (he suggests pulsing kosher salt in a food processor instead of buying it) to the popcorn now. Cover the bowl tightly with heavy duty foil and poke a few holes in top. With tongs, shake briskly on a stovetop until the popping slows down.

              Serve it in the bowl- less cleanup this way!

              I did also buy some heritage popcorn as he recommended and I do think it tastes a lot better. Here's my post: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/377970

              2 Replies
              1. re: Chris VR

                One thing re: DIY popcorn salt is that I've heard that pulsing salt in a food processor can scratch and cloud the bowl. I've never done it myself for that very reason, but maybe a clean coffee grinder would be a good alternative?

                1. re: Olivia

                  I used a mortar & pestle and it worked really well.

              2. I have the best air-popper in the world: a WearEver Popcorn Pumper. My dad gave it to me a very long time ago, and it produces lot and lots of reliable popcorn quickly. If you can find one of these, I'd go for it. Other brands, I am told, take forever and leave a lot of flopcorn in the bottom. And yes, there is a removable well in which you can melt butter as you pop the corn; I sometimes mix in a little Worcestershire sauce.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Marsha

                  Ditto...I love air popped popcorn with some melted butter.

                2. I make 'air popped' popcorn on the stove. Covered pot + popcorn + heat. Takes a little longer to get started but it pops just fine with no more 'old maids' than oil popped corn. Add salt and seasonings/butter after popping just like you'd usually do.

                  1. Whirley-Pop. It makes the best popcorn on the stove in the same time it takes to microwave.

                    You will never find an easier, better tasting way to make popcorn. Perfect every time, no unpopped kernels.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Fleur

                      I have had a Whirly Pop for years and just love it!

                      1. re: cooknKate

                        AGreed- Whirly Pop is the way to. GOt one a few years ago, and use it all the time.

                        1. re: macca

                          Yep -- Whirly Pop.

                          And Jolly Time white popcorn kernels.

                          And Reese butter-flavored salt.

                          And pop the poporn in olive oil.

                          1. re: divinemsk

                            Have never tried the Reese butter flavored salt, but it sounds like a great idea!

                        1. re: Fleur

                          Whirley Pop all the way! With some Brady Street Sprinkle from Penzey's.

                          Whirley Pop also makes fantastic kettle corn.

                          We really really love our Whirley Pop! :)

                          1. re: Fleur

                            Ditto Whirley-Pop. Tried many others. Low tech but ingenious.

                          2. What I do:

                            Large, heavy bottomed pot. A splatter guard rather then a lid --it lets out steam which makes for crisper popcorn. You'll need to wear oven mitts to grip the guard with the pot.

                            Start with a room temperature pot with extra virgin olive oil to coat. Put in popcorn (Orville's, usually). Heat on high until popping begins, shake occasionally until it pops in ernest, lower heat and shake vigorously until popping slows.

                            I put the popcorn in a paper bag, shake with salt and freshly melted butter, put in a bowl and eat.

                            1. I usually do it on the stove with some oil. Sometimes I also melt some sugar and/or chipolte powder in the bottom to make some spice sweet kettle corn.

                              It's really good.

                              1. Chop up two strips of bacon, fry in heavy fry pan until crispy, remove bits with slotted spoon. Add popcorn to bacon fat, cover and shake until no more popping is heard. Toss in bowl with bacon bits and salt to taste. Call cardiologist.

                                Beats the heck out of artificial butter flavor.

                                1. We don't make stovetop popcorn any more but I used to love to make it.

                                  Buy your kernels and put them in the freezer. If they are stale (you might notice a duller color) then sprinkle a couple of drops of water on them before freezing.

                                  Get a nice pot and put 3 tablespoons of oil in.

                                  Throw in 5 kernels and turn the heat high.

                                  When the 5 kernels have popped (count them! that is the fun of it) throw in 1/2 cup of kernels, lower the temp to medium, and stay next to them, hearing them pop.

                                  Shake the pot a couple of times during the process and when you think you might be close to finishing, turn the heat off and shake the pot a bit more.

                                  Perfect each time.

                                  1. Stainless pot, vegetable oil, shake it every so often, melt some butter, add some salt, and voila! Black Cat corn from Williams Sonoma is my favorite!

                                    1. sometimes I make it in the pot, but recently discovered Paul Newman's organic microwave popcorn. really quite good!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: bethd127

                                        when I pop it on the stove I have to use bacon grease, it gives such a good flavor,
                                        then add your butter not margarine and salt.....

                                      2. LOVE homemade popcorn. I make it in a pot on the stove, with canola oil. Top with butter and salt, or nutritional yeast and black pepper, or Penzey's Brady St. Cheese Sprinkle, or...

                                        I once heard someone swear by making popcorn in coconut oil... thoughts?

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: addiegirl

                                          Coconut oil is great! It will make you think you are at a movie theater 30 years ago! I very often pop my corn in duck fat, even better than bacon fat!!

                                        2. Air popped with Truffle Oil and Chipotle Salt. YUM

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: starlady

                                            nothing is better than bacon grease. nothing......

                                          2. I use an old air popper popular in the 80's, melt some Earth Balance margarine in a pot on the stove (no trans fat,100% vegan) pop the popcorn into a paperbag, then drizzle the margarine, shake on some iodized salt or garlic salt, and/or nutritional yeast (it has a slightly cheesy flavor and extra vitamin B since i am a vegetarian) - then give it all a good shaking together in the bag and pour into a bowl to enjoy! mmmm, i'm going to have some tonight.