How to Make Perfect Popcorn On The Stove

Seriously, who doesn’t know how to make popcorn on the stove?

Well, as it turns out – a lot of people, including my poor sister. She often buys these bags of awful, artificially flavoured microwaveable popcorn.

Microwave popcorn is evil

There was a case in 2007 where a heavy consumer of microwaved popcorn was diagnosed with “popcorn lung” (an irreversible lung disease) after inhaling fumes from microwaved popcorn over time. He sued the popcorn company for failing to warn that “preparing microwave popcorn in a microwave oven as intended and smelling the buttery aroma could expose the consumer to an inhalation hazard and a risk of lung injury.”

He won the case in 2012 and was awarded millions of dollars in damages.

Scary huh!

The chemical that causes this lung injury is called diacetyl. It’s what gives microwaveable popcorn that intense buttery flavour. And while some popcorn brands have replaced diacetyl with another type of ‘flavouring’, the chemical is still considered safe by the United States’ FDA and, in Australia, no regulation has been established.

If you’re still buying microwaveable popcorn, maybe it’s time you try to make it yourself. It’s so easy and it costs just pennies to make.

After I showed my sister how to cook popcorn on the stove, she’s been making popcorn for my parents and herself almost every week; and the best thing is, she has now stopped buying microwaveable popcorn!

How to make perfect popcorn on the stove everytime

Fresh home-made popcorn is delicious and it is such an easy, quick, healthy and tasty snack that everyone can make.

If you can, get good quality organic popcorn (I got mine from The Source Bulkfoods. It really does make a difference. I find the organic popcorn more flavourful and ‘popped’ more evenly so you get very little un-popped kernel, if any. After been making popcorn for years I finally realised that a lot of my failures are the result of bad quality popping corns.

Here’s a recipe which you can follow. I generally don’t measure the ingredients. I just use enough oil to coat the base of the pan and then add just enough popcorn kernels to cover the base (depending on the size of the pan). The secret is to only have a single layer of kernels covering the pan’s base so they all get an equal amount of heat, otherwise you may risk having unpopped kernels mixed among the popcorn.

How to Make Perfect Popcorn On The Stove

Learn how to make perfect popcorn on the stove. This is favourite snack to make. It’s so quick to make, easy, and taste delicious!

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil (I also like to use coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup popping corn
  • 1/2 tbsp of finely ground salt (optional but recommended)
  • Other seasonings (my favourite is nutritional yeast for B12 boost)
  1. Add the oil in a heavy-based pan with a vented lid. Turn the heat up to medium-high (I use level 7 on my induction cooktop), add 3 corn kernels and cover.
  2. Once the kernels have popped add the remaining popcorn kernels and salt in an even layer. Cover.
  3. Remove from heat and count for 30 seconds. Don’t skip this part as it will bring all of the other kernels to the same temperature so they will pop at roughly the same time later, and you won’t have too many unpopped kernels, or burn your popcorn in an attempt to pop them all.
  4. Return the pan back to heat and wait for that popping sound (or if you have a clear lid, you can see the action happening).
  5. Once the kernels begin to pop rapidly, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth.
  6. Open the lid a tiny bit to allow excess steam to escape.
  7. When the popping slows to a few seconds between pops, turn off the heat. Wait a few extra seconds for the last few pops, then remove the lid and pour into a large bowl.

Tips: Use oil suitable for high temperature cooking such as canola or peanut oil. If you want to use olive oil for flavour – mix the oil with peanut or canola 1:1 so that the oil won’t burn.

I’d love to hear from you if you make this popcorn recipe. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x

2 replies
  1. Kathryn Calkins
    Kathryn Calkins says:

    Karen: I just bought an induction stove. I love cooking stovetop popcorn, but burned my first batch on the new stove. I thought one could not shake the pan when cooking on induction? Won’t it scratch the surface or interfere with the cooking?

  2. Keren
    Keren says:

    Hi Kathryn, I lift my pan a little and then shake, that way it won’t scratch the surface!
    Good arm workout too! Let me know how you go!

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