Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Aug 12, 2012 07:25 PM

Microwave popcorn fail

My husband prefers microwaved popcorn. I love him and I don't like microwaved popcorn.

I have been griping about the reduced sizes of things foodish for the same price as six months ago and he finally listened when he bought more MW popcorn and it incinerated in our microwave. We have a nice microwave with assorted automatic choices. The popcorn choices included 3.5oz and he worked out the time for the 3.25 package. Well, they've reduced the size again down to 2.95 oz and he's getting tired of wasting popcorn trying to determine the new time. (Wasting popcorn bothers him big time.)

I learned several years ago that just because something looks like the old one pound size, that doesn't mean it has kept the same size.

I just wanted to share this in case someone else is getting tired of the aroma of burned microwave popcorn in an airconditioned house with no outside-inside airflow.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I just do the "listen to when the popping starts to slow down" method. Haven't burnt MW Popcorn in years with that method. No matter what size or make.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      Yeah, this is the best way. When there are 2-3 seconds between pops, yank open the door and dump the popcorn instantly. No burned kernels and very few unpopped ones either. Your margin of error/window of opportunity is approximately six nanoseconds.

      If it never reaches that stage, set the next batch for longer. You cannot re-start a batch that ends too early. You will need to experiment with each new type as different Microwaves have different power outputs and will take different times. We use the OR from Costco and set the time for four minutes but usually pull after about 3:40.

      The automatic settings are rarely very accurate.

      1. re: Quine

        ^this. I have never relied on a timer for it.

      2. You can consider buying a microwave popcorn bowl. Instead of using the pre-packaged popcorn, you can use bulk popcorn instead, and make whatever quantity you'd like. From my experience bulk popocorn is cheaper, plus there are fewer synthetic ingredients.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Shirley

          A very good micrwave popper is the Presto PowerPop Microwave Multi-Popper. It does a great job of producing popcorn with very few "orphan" kernels.

          1. re: Virginian

            We had the microwave popcorn bowl when I was growing up. I didn't know every house didn't have them til I was ten or eleven... We also did bulk popcorn as well. Allows you to season as you like, though I know some people like the pre-seasoned...

            1. re: Emme

              God, yes. SOOO much better than any microwave bagged version. And there are quite a few places online (and probably in a store near you) that sell amazingly good might cost a little more, but so worth it.

              1. re: annagranfors

                We inherited a brand new microwave popcorn bowl when my son graduated from college and left all his apartment stuff in our garage.
                I don't know how to use it properly, though. We tried it last night and by the time some started turning black, there were lots of them unpopped. We used White Cat corn, just enough to fill about 3/4 of the bottom of the bowl one layer deep.
                There's a disk in the bottom, which I assume is a heat plate. Are you supposed to put any oil in it?
                I'd love to use it and get DH off the popcorn bags!

                1. re: jmcarthur8

                  Hmm...dunno about the disk; mine's a "Nordic Ware Corn Popper", with instrux as follows:

                  1) Place 1/3 to 1/2 cup popcorn into base (they just mean "bottom of bowl") of popper.

                  2) Add oil and salt, if desired. (You may also cook without oil.)

                  3) Put the lid on the popper, and place in microwave.

                  4) Cook on high heat for 3-5 minutes. Cooking times vary depending on microwave. Cooking is complete when the rate of popping slows down 1-2 seconds between popping. DO NOT OVERCOOK THE POPCORN OR BURNING WILL RESULT.

                  5) Remove popcorn from oven.

                  6) Add additional seasonings as desired.


                  I have an 1100 watt microwave, and found that following these instructions with temperature set to High resulted in some burned kernels, so I dropped it to 90% and the results were much better.

                  Hope this helps.

                  1. re: annagranfors

                    I have the Nordic Ware popper, and it does not work in my microwave unless I remove the turn table, which allows the bowl to set about 1/2 an inch lower.

                  2. re: jmcarthur8

                    If your popper is a Presto PowerPop it should have a black base that the clear bowl locks into bayonet style. The clear bowl accepts a cardboard like round disk into the bottom of the bowl. The disk must be used or the popcorn will burn to a crisp. Any oil is optional. The disks last for about four to six uses. If your inherited popper was unused, there should have been a small supply of the disks with it. One third of a cup of unpopped kernels is the most amount that should be used for one batch of popcorn.

                      1. re: Stephanie Wong

                        It's Miracle Ware by Progressive International. I'll check online now that I know the brand. I hadn't looked at the bottom myself, and DH's vision ain't so hot these days. He said it was unmarked when he looked.

            2. For my microwave, the popcorn setting is just a programmed time. For example, for the 3.5 oz setting, it's 3:40 minutes.

              However, when I do make microwave popcorn, I just program the time myself (manually) by taking the time on the package and knocking off 20 seconds.

              1. I use a glass microwave corn popper. I LOVE it! It makes amazing corn without plastic and without fako ingredients.


                2 Replies
                1. re: sandylc

                  Love the glass popper, haven't seen that before, sandylc. Does the butter melter distribute the butter evenly as promised?

                  1. re: grayelf

                    Yes, it distributes the butter better than drizzling it manually....

                2. I also do the listen thing, never walking away from the microwave.... one can do it in a brown paper lunch bag.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wyogal

                    Yes, a brown paper lunch bag is all you need...can't quite wrap my mind around buying a "thing" to make it in, but whatever! I just stand there and listen also.