Tasty Popcorn, No Microwave Needed

Fridays are great movie nights, and movies mean popcorn. Did you know that before microwaves, people used to cook popcorn on the stove?  It’s true!  (Half joking here, Doug had no idea the first time I told him about stovetop popcorn.)

So for all of us who grew up watching popcorn pop in the microwave, I thought it would be fun to make a little home movie about how to make popcorn on the stove. It’s less than three minutes, and you can joke about my Texan accent if you want.  (If this doesn’t show up in your RSS Reader, click through to view it on Small Notebook.)

Personally, I love to grate fresh parmesan cheese over hot popcorn. How about you?

What’s your favorite popcorn topping?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. love it!
    less packaging to waste and it’s more fun!

    The other nite we made little apple turnovers instead of buying the usual grocery store version.

    The best part was the time we spent together in the kitchen. The more time I get to spend with my little one the better we both are!

    tabbyintexas’s last blog post..3 Oct 08

    • my mother used to make popcorn like that, and we ahd such fun. i will definately revist that. popcorn that’a bought in packages are so expensive, and this is just right. i have’nt heard about the coconut oil though, my mom used to use butter. i will look in walmart to see if i can find some. the poping games will begin once i find it. :)

  2. This was great.
    We make popcorn on the stove all the time… we don’t own a microwave. :)
    I LOVED hearing your little one in the background, so cute! :) All done! :)
    Have a great day!

    Chas’s last blog post..Wow…

  3. I’m with you – fresh parm on fresh popcorn is delicious!

  4. I love stovetop popcorn. It tastes much better than the microwave kind. Have you tried it with garlic? It’s really good!

    I recently tried maple sugar but it didn’t really taste that great to me.

  5. Aww, I grew up on stove-popped popcorn :) I made some myself for the first time while up at the cabin this summer and it turned out great.

    Amy F’s last blog post..Bad Day

  6. We always made popcorn on the stove as a kid! We even had a popcorn pot!

    If any of you have a glass top stove don’t shake your pot on it – it may scratch.

    Oh… Rachel.. don’t forget to turn off your stove! hehe

    Now I’m hungry :)

    Dana @ Letters to Elijah’s last blog post..October Challenge: Reduce Soda

  7. Great video! That is the only kind of popcorn I make anymore. I unplugged and stored my microwave 3 months ago, and you would be amazed how much less junk that I eat.

    Oh, and Olive Oil is my favorite for making popcorn…..

  8. I hate to admit it but I haven’t made popcorn on the stove in years. Last time I did grocery shopping our youngest noticed the Jiffy Pop popcorn that you do on the stovetop. She had no idea how it worked so I bought it. I think I’ll make that tonight as our snack.

    I loved the Texas accent and your little girl in the background!

    Nancy’s last blog post..Signs of Fall

  9. smallnotebook says:

    Cathy do you just mince the garlic, or are your talking about garlic powder or garlic salt?

    Does anyone know how to make a sweet topping, like kettle corn?

  10. I love parm cheese too! And my bro in law makes the best kettle corn… I’ll try to remember to ask him how he does it and steal his secret for you.

    Also, I love the ranch powder. My hubby likes spicy so he does chili powder and whatever other spices his hands touch! :) we LOVE popcorn!

    Amy’s last blog post..friday’s favorite

  11. Oh thank you so much! It was fun to hear you and the little one! I’ve never made it on the stove, but I love my air popper since it doesn’t need oil. Never tried parm cheese on my popcorn, but I adore grated parm so will have to try that out. I just like a bit of butter and salt.

  12. Oh how I miss making popcorn on the stove. And now that I think about it, my kids have never had it. So I’m on my way to the store to get some. The kids are going to think that I’m crazy.

  13. We love stovetop popcorn! Olive oil and salt are our favorite toppings. Thanks for the great video. I discovered a great website for delicious popcorn recipes. You can find it here:


  14. This is how we made popcorn growing up (back when microwaves were more of a novelty – wow, this is making me feel a bit old!) and I agree, I love making it this way when I feel like something special on top like cheese and cumin (maybe just me?). I also always make my corn this way when I’m making carmel corn or popcorn balls.


    Steph @ Problem Solvin Mom’s last blog post..Friday Funnies – Quirky Much?

  15. I just saw your question about kettle corn – I haven’t tried this, but I would suggest making a simple syrup and pouring it over the corn before it pops to make sure it distributes well…now that you have me thinking about it, I may have to try it this weekend! ;) If I do, I’ll be sure to report back.

    Steph @ Problem Solvin Mom’s last blog post..Friday Funnies – Quirky Much?

  16. Grated cheese (jack or mozz) and oregano – it’s really tasty.

  17. For what ever reason, when I hit the play button on your video I get a message saying “This Video no longer exists” :(

    I would love to watch it, I’ve never made (or seen made) stove top popcorn!

    Katie’s last blog post..To soy or not to soy…

  18. This is how we make popcorn at home, too! I just cringe at the bagged microwave kind! yuck!

    I think stove top tastes better and I love it with real butter and salt. I saw a comment where someone uses Ranch powder, that looks delicious!

    Mmmmm…think I’ll make some tonight!

    : )

    Love your blog!

    Melanie’s last blog post..I am inspired!

  19. smallnotebook says:

    Katie, I’m still able to watch it. Is anyone else having trouble?

  20. I just watched it and it worked fine. It didn’t play in my reader but it did on this website.

    Anyways, thank you. That was great to watch. Now I want to cook popcorn with coconut oil and see how it tastes. Also, hearing your little one in the background was too cute!

    Suzanne’s last blog post..Focus Challenge – Month 7

  21. I vote that Rachel makes more movies.

  22. smallnotebook says:

    Thanks Holly, it was fun to make! I’m glad you all are enjoying watching it.

  23. I never make microwave popcorn. It’s too salty and I don’t like the fake butter – yuck! Not to mention the waste of the packaging and extra unpopped kernals.

    I’ve always made my popcorn on the stove. Lately I’ve been using different herbs and spices on it. I really like dill or a combination of oregano and basil on my popcorn. Especailly if the basil is fresh from my herb garden.

    Condo Blues’s last blog post..Save Some Bucks – How to Seal Heating Ducts!

  24. Jill Whitney says:

    This is the sweetest video, with two of the sweet voices narrating.

    I saw that you asked about making a sweet variety of stove top popcorn, and that someone mentioned making a simple syrup–I’ve never tried that method. However, when we make sweet popcorn we follow all the steps you showed in the video and instead of placing the lid on the popcorn watch the kernels carefully. They will change color slightly, turning sort of opaque. I always wait until one kernel pops, then quickly sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of white sugar over the popcorn–swirl around in the pan and wait–replacing the lid after you swirl (I continually shake the pan as it pops, I guess because my mom did it that way) I would maybe use a larger pot to make the popcorn, the sugar might distribute better with more surface area.

    I hope this works for you. I am so glad I’ve found your site!

  25. smallnotebook says:

    Thanks for the ideas for sweet popcorn Steph and Jill!

  26. I make popcorn for a snack almost every afternoon. I invested in an air popper, which I love. I don’t like microwave popcorn – too salty and who knows what chemicals are involved!

    I top my popcorn with olive oil (one tsp) and salt – delicious and healthy!

    Vintage Mommy’s last blog post..Adoption Book Review: The Day We Met You

  27. Jill Whitney says:

    Oh, I forgot something. We always add a few shakes of salt to the sweet popcorn right after its through popping–it gives it a lttle better flavor.

  28. God's Dancing Child says:

    I LOVE parmesan cheese on stovetop popcorn, with a bit of rosemary. Makes me drool just thinking of it.

    I also like making kettle corn, which is really, really easy to make. Just as the above poster(s) mentioned. Afterwards, we add a bit of salt and it’s astounding!

    Sometimes I like to add a few chocolate chips to my bowl while it’s still really hot. It doesn’t cover every inch of the popcorn, but it’s so yummy.

  29. For whatever reason, I abhor microwaved popcorn. We have a hot air popper that I just love. And it makes it an event for the kids. We melt our own butter and sprinkle liberally with salt. Good old-fashioned popcorn.

    We also bought red and white striped tall popcorn containers for each of us one year. It makes it MUCH more fun!

  30. Hi! Thanks for your comment in our blog!
    I’m writing this one down, I think this could make a perfect snack now that we’re watching our budget… We could buy kernels in bulk…

  31. We used to always make popcorn on the stove top, and we used bacon grease. Back than you didn’t buy oils. We had a blue enamel pan that had a stir knob on top to keep the kernals from burning before they popped. Great memories, great video.

  32. LOL! I blogged about this way to make popcorn…I HATE MICROWAVE popcorn!

    This is the ONLY way to make it…stove-top! :)

    Sleepy Cat Hollow’s last blog post..My Favorite Barn just outside of Loyalton, California

  33. Well, I LOVE popcorn. And personally I really don’t like the microwave popcorn. Love it popped in oil over the stove!!! Good old buttered popcorn! then caramel. I love the kettle corn. Sometimes I will make that by putting sugar in the oil when I pop! Hmmmm!!!

    Marcia “HDMac”‘s last blog post..Gone with the Wind

  34. When we make stove-top popcorn, we usually mix up a little bowl with sugar (especially maple sugar granules), a bit of salt, and some kind of spice mix. There’s a local spice store that sells great mixes, but anything that appeals to you would probably be good. A little cayenne or paprika for some kick plus the dash of salt makes the sweetness all the better. We usually add it right at the end, when the popcorn has finished popping, but the pan is still hot. Shake shake shake and eat. Delish!

  35. I have to dig out our popcorn popper and make a batch. I have been looking for some inexpensive, healthy snacks lately. I will be making some tonight after Miss Baby goes to bed!

    Di’s last blog post..Pay It Forward

  36. I love fresh popcorn, cooked on the stove of course! I eat it with soy sauce and parmesan cheese. Delish!

    Drats! Now I’m hungry…

    Naomi’s last blog post..Bathing on Wall Street

  37. I have heard about this, always thought that it was so much work, as oppose to the microwave way. But now that you mention how we can make different flavours, well I got to try it at least once. Enjoy Kweezel.

  38. We always make it like this too. My new fave is making stovetop Kettle Corn. I’m planning a post on that soon!

    Thanks for reminding us that we don’t need all the chemicals and packaging from microwave popcorn. It’s also much cheaper to do it yourself.

    Now, I just need to find a good, organic popcorn…

    Half Assed Kitchen’s last blog post..I’m dreaming of a Monte Cristo

  39. This is absolutely my favorite! I didn’t look at the video (I’m at work), but I love, love, love stove-top popcorn! It isn’t uncommon for me to have popcorn for dinner once a week.

    I first had stove-top popcorn at my grandmothers house (she always used an old aluminum lid and a pressure cooker). My grandma called it “old-crappy popcorn” but she would always make it for me when I spent the night. When I moved into my first apartment she gave me the popcorn bowl she always used and bought me a pressure cooker (sans lid) at an estate sale. I have a glass lid I use for it and I never buy microwave popcorn anymore.

    I’ll have to try the parmesan cheese thing, I always just sprinkle it with McCormick’s popcorn seasoning salt (has to be that brand for me) :)

  40. Thanks for the video. I’m from NC so I didn’t notice your accent at all. =)

  41. I’m sponsoring an initiative at Kitchen Stewardship this month called “Mind the Microwave in May”, challenging readers to consider other options for microwave use (stovetop popcorn, of course, being one of them). Please hop over and check it out (click on the picture in the sidebar to go to the invite post). You are cordially invited to participate (even though May is nearly over). If this fits with your site’s mission, I’d love to have you sign on and post about it for your readers. Simplify life, sans microwave.

    Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship´s last blog post..How to Purchase, Store and Cook with Onions and Garlic

  42. I always just make microwave popcorn, but decided to make some stovetop to go for a healthier option…so I foudn this video, and I made it, and the popcorn came out wonderfully! Thank you!!

    As far as toppings, I like to throw a handful of pimento olives into the bowl! it adds a nice salty flavor without having to add additional salt, and some of the brine gets on the popcorn as well, making it incredibly yummy!!!! It’s a perfect way to have salty popcorn without heaping on mounds of salt from the shaker!

  43. Justin Lepitzki says:

    Great video!!! Thanks! I have some popcorn, but unfortunately don’t have access to a microwave. Problem solved!!! Cheers :)

  44. Thanks for sharing this. I have put a link back to this post in “My 5 links for the week.”

    Meeks´s last post…My 5 links for the week

  45. thanks a bunch! my microwave broke down a week ago and I didn’t know what to do with the popcorn we had in the cabinet.

    I’ll be sure to try it with coconut oil sometime also!

  46. Okay, I know this is a really old post, but you know you can make “real” popcorn in the microwave with a lot less mess and heat? Just put about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of uncooked popcorn into a paper lunch sack with about 1/4 tsp of olive oil. Fold it over, STAPLE it (YES!! You CAN put a metal staple into the microwave, I swear!) and shake it up. Throw it in the ‘nuker for 2 minutes or so on high, until you hear it start to slow down poppin (like you do with the store kind).
    It comes out tasting just like stovetop popcorn and is pretty healthy b/c of the small amount of oil needed!
    I learned this a few years ago and try to tell as many people as I can about it!

  47. I tried to make popcorn using sunflower oil but popcorn does not pop well. You really gave an idea about the coconu oil, I am going to try that tomrrow :)


    • Sometimes if the popcorn does not pop it is because it is not fresh, see if you need new popcorn.