This stovetop popcorn is ready in less than 15 minutes and can easily be made in bulk and stored for later. This page has all of the answers for how to make popcorn.
Alex and I are popcorn fanatics. My favorite way to end an evening is with a bowl of popcorn and an episode of whatever TV show we are currently into on Netflix. Okay, and maybe a locally brewed beer as well. While I have a not-so-secret love for microwave popcorn, we’ve recently gotten into making it the old-fashioned way. We started out with the do-it-yourself microwave popcorn technique, but we were less than impressed. Stovetop popcorn is the way to go for us – sometimes it’s better to just go back to the way things used to be. This stovetop popcorn recipe uses no chemicals and less salt than the store-bought stuff, but tastes so much better.
We have a dedicated saucepan for the job, so we don’t have to worry about trying to keep it too clean. We’ve found one with little drain holes in the lid that works perfectly for letting the steam out (which is crucial for making fluffy popcorn). We prefer the flavor of yellow popcorn, but we are excited to try some of the more unique varieties found at our farmers market.
How to make popcorn
Making stovetop popcorn is surprisingly easy, and it’s done in less than 15 minutes. To start, you’ll need to heat a few tablespoons of vegetable or coconut oil in a tall pot. Add a few popcorn kernels to the oil; you’ll know the oil is hot enough to cook the rest of the popcorn once those few kernels pop. Add in the rest of the popcorn kernels and the popcorn salt (you can use kosher salt as well, but popcorn salt really is the best. We make our own by grinding down some kosher salt in a mortar and pestle until it is light and powdery).
Give the pot a little shake to evenly distribute the oil, and then wait for the magic to happen! It’ll likely take a few minutes for the kernels to begin popping, but once they do make sure to stay by the stove. If the lid on your pot doesn’t have ventilation holes, tilt the lid to allow the steam to escape. If you trap the steam in the pot, your stovetop popcorn will be soft and sad-tasting. Once the popping slows to a stop, remove the popcorn from the heat, add toppings of your choice, and dig in!
What’s the best oil for popcorn?
When making stovetop popcorn, it’s important to use an oil with a fairly high smoke point. For this homemade popcorn recipe, we typically use canola or vegetable oil, since both have high smoke points. But for a more authentic movie theatre popcorn flavor, you should use coconut oil. You only need 2 tablespoons of oil per half cup of popcorn kernels, so this popcorn won’t taste greasy!
Our favorite popcorn toppings
- Olive oil and kosher salt: A drizzle of good olive oil goes a long way on this stovetop popcorn. Add a sprinkle of kosher salt if desired, and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper for a savory snack.
- Butter and cinnamon: Melted butter is a classic popcorn topping, but a dash of cinnamon takes it to the next level. Add less butter than you think you’ll need, because it’s easy to add too much!
- Toasted coconut flakes & dark chocolate: While not the healthiest option, a drizzle of dark chocolate and a handful of coconut flakes is arguably one of the best ways to enjoy this stovetop popcorn. Add the chocolate just before serving the popcorn so it’s still melted when you dig in.
- Nutritional yeast: This cheesy vegan topping makes for delightful savory popcorn. You can use regular shredded cheese as well, but nutritional yeast is easier to sprinkle over popcorn.
How to store popcorn
Stovetop popcorn is best enjoyed fresh, as leftovers go stale quite quickly. To store your homemade popcorn, seal it in a baggie or an air-tight container and pop it into the freezer. I know it sounds a little strange, but frozen popcorn stays fresh for a long time. And because popcorn never fully freezes, you don’t have to worry about thawing it out. I like to make a big batch of popcorn and store the unseasoned, unbuttered popcorn in the freezer for when a snack craving hits. I usually let the popcorn sit on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes before eating it, but I’ve eaten it straight from the freezer before and it’s also great that way.
Looking for more healthy snack recipes?
Outside of this stovetop popcorn, here are a few more of our favorite healthy snack recipes:
- Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt Dots
- Superfood Pecan Energy Bars
- Herb Butter Popcorn
- Honey Sesame Almonds
- Spiced Crispy Chickpeas
- Easy Mango Salsa & Homemade Tortilla Chips
Looking for more healthy corn recipes?
- Black Bean and Corn Salsa Fresca
- Spicy Tahini Corn on the Cob
- Roasted Poblano and Corn Pizzas
- Homemade Corn Tortillas
- Grilled Mexican Corn with Mayo
This recipe is…
Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free.Print
Want to know how to make popcorn on the stove? This stovetop popcorn recipe is ready in less than 15 minutes and can easily be made in bulk and stored for later. Perfect for snacking!
- 1/2 cup yellow popcorn kernels
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon popcorn salt (or crushed kosher salt)
- 3 quart saucepan
- Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 3 popcorn kernels to the saucepan. Cover and heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Add a few shakes (around 1/8 teaspoon) popcorn salt to 1/2 cup popcorn kernels. The oil is ready when the 3 kernels in the pan pop. At this time, add the rest of the kernels with the salt, and cover again. Shake the pan to spread the kernels in a single layer.
- Let the popcorn pop for a few minutes, shaking the pan frequently. If steam starts to build up, lift the lid a bit to release it. As soon as the popping slows down, take the saucepan off of the heat and wait for all popping to finish. Enjoy!
Keywords: stovetop popcorn, popcorn, easy, simple, how to, snack
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.