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Delicious Homemade Stove Popped Popcorn

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Popcorn Popped on the Stove

Fresh stove popped popcorn

Fresh stove popped popcorn

Cooking Popcorn on the Stove

When I was a kid, my family made stove popped popcorn. It's easy to make, delicious and can be used for caramel corn balls, popcorn garland, or enjoying with a movie.

To start with, you'll need the following for stove popped popcorn.

  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cups
  • Large pot and lid

Before you start cooking on the stove, be very careful that you don't burn up your pot or scorch your corn. If you screw up popcorn, it's really hard to clean the pot after. The best way to avoid this is by using plenty of oil in the bottom of the pot.

Step by step popcorn recipe

Fresh popcorn kernels

Fresh popcorn kernels

Stove Popped Popcorn Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 3 tablespoons butter, optional


  1. Take 2 1/2 tablespoons of cooking oil and place it in the pot. Let it spread out so that it's covering the entire bottom of the pot. If your pot is big, add more cooking oil. Using too little oil is one of the biggest mistakes people make when cooking popcorn. They think it will be less greasy. The oil is needed to pop the corn and if you don't have enough, it will burn your pot up.
  2. The next step is to turn your stove on a medium heat and place the pot on the stove. Open the lid to the pot and drop three kernels of corn into the oil. Listen for those kernels to pop.
  3. Once the initial kernels pop, pour in 1/2 cup of kernels, and crack the lid slightly so some of the steam can escape. The kernels should begin to pop within a few minutes. I recommend holding the pot and shaking it from time to time. I call this the popcorn popping shuffle. Shaking the pot helps by getting the kernels back to the bottom of the pot as the corn pops.
  4. The popcorn will pop slowly at first, then it speeds up, then it starts to die down. As it dies down, this is when you need to have a little feel. When I hear about one kernel popping every second in a half, pull it from the stove and let it cool. You'll most likely hear a few more pieces pop.
  5. When the popcorn is pulled from the stove, place 3 tablespoons of butter into the microwave in a cup and melt the butter. Once it's melted, open the pot, salt it, pour the butter on top while stirring the popcorn over with a large spoon. It's ready to serve. The popcorn will pop slowly at firs

Step 1: Add Oil to the Pot

add cooking oil to pot

add cooking oil to pot

Cooking Oil Prevents the Pot from Burning Up

Heat from the stove can burn a pot up. Our tests show that not putting in enough oil is the number one reason pots burn while cooking. The oil helps to dissipate the heat, otherwise the heat from the stove will damage the pot.

For cooking popcorn, we recommend using canola oil, but coconut, sunflower, and vegetable oil are fine to use, they just provide a slightly different flavor, especially coconut oil.

1/2 cup of popcorn

1/2 cup of popcorn

1/2 Cup of Corn Kernels will Produce Four Servings of Popcorn

One half cup of corn kernels will pop to feed four medium sized servings of popcorn. Perfect for the family of four!

corn kernels in pot

corn kernels in pot

Add a Few Kernels to the Pot to Pop Before Adding the Rest

One of the tips to cooking popcorn on the stove is how to know when the oil is hot. Start by adding a few kernels to the pot. Once the first kernels pop, it's time to add the rest of the corn kernels to the pot.

pot with lid slightly open

pot with lid slightly open

Keep a Small Air Gap While the Korn Pops

By cracking the lid on the pot steam can escape, but it will still keep the corn from popping out of the pot. Be careful to just crack the lid a little like shown in the photo. Letting the steam release will prevent the popcorn from getting soggy while it's popping. The moisture from the oil provides the steam.

butter in bowl

butter in bowl

Optionally, Add Butter

Butter is a great flavor to add to popcorn, especially the real thing. Three tablespoons of butter will be plenty to heavily coat 1/2 cup of popped kernels. Place the butter in the microwave to melt for about thirty seconds. Then, pour it over the popcorn and stir.

Shaking salt on popcorn

Shaking salt on popcorn

Salt to Taste

Delicious stove popped popcorn is completed with the final step of adding a little salt. 1/4 teaspoon is plenty, but add it to taste. Enjoy!

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Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on March 28, 2011:

i know how to burn popcorn on a stove...thank you for telling the brighter side of the story.

WGCreates on March 26, 2011:

We've been on a popcorn kick lately. I usually use our air popper, but I've been wanting to try it on the stove. Now that I know the steps, I'll have to give it a try. :)

katrinasui on March 13, 2011:

Nice Hub! The pics are wonderful.

Skellie from Adelaide on March 12, 2011:

Great hub, i will have to try out your technique. I burnt my popcorn so many times, i gave up! Then out came the microwave popcorn lol, i know - not very healthy but sure is yummy :D

Butter is beautiful with popcorn but for a really yummy, unhealthy version. Smother them with pure icing sugar and dig in! You will love it. Can't have it all the time like that but is a nice treat. :)

Cheers Skellie

Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on March 10, 2011:

When we go camping we bring the Jiffy Pop, you can make it over a camping stove, and the kids LOVE it! You have to shake it a lot though and bring an oven mit or a kitchen hand towel because the handle gets really hot.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on March 10, 2011:

This is a lost art but so much fun. I still love the pop pop Jiffy Pop too. Great method for popcorn the old fashioned way.

Julie2 from New York City on March 09, 2011:

I ran out of the microwave popcorn and had a bottle of kernels. After reading this I made myself a batch and it came out really good. I have a miniature popcorn movie theater machine and do not like using it. Thanks for giving me an easy fix. LOL

Barbara Badder from USA on March 09, 2011:

I haven't made popcorn on the stove for years and years. It was nice remembering.

sincerely25 from United States on March 09, 2011:

I love using the popcorn maker machine to see the kernels "splatter across the floor." Great hub!

manjubose5 on March 09, 2011:

The Tips seems to be very useful. I like popcorn but cannot make with perfect flavor. Your detailed way of preparation is really admirable. Thanks Paul for sharing your art of cooking.

Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on March 09, 2011:

Yes, I admit it, I burned the pot! I don't think I was shaking the pot enough. Shaking the pot often really helps to not burn the bottom of your pan when cooking the popcorn. Even when cooking the three kernels, it's important to shake the pan. The best thing about cooking popcorn is doing it with kids. They love to watch the popcorn through the small opening, but be careful they don't get burned by the steam!! Has anyone tried different toppings? We were talking about making caramel popcorn. yumm!

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 09, 2011:

This is fantastic Paul, and corn popping this way is a lost art! I kow of oonly one freiend here in Ohio that does it. I can smell and hear it popping as I read your Hub. Rated Up, several others, and bookmarked.


Nancy's Niche on March 09, 2011:

Great advice and I "use" to pop it just like this before I became so lazy... Enjoyable article thanks for sharing your thoughts on this age old tradition... :o)

grillrepair from florida on March 09, 2011:

I was in college and was considering microwave popcorn for movie night with a girl. remember 100 years ago microwave food was pretty gross. I remembered mom and dad making popcorn on the stove (remember the foil thing that grew like a basketball?) when i was a kid and i bought a glass jar full of kernels. I went back to the apt and set a quart pot to heating with oil and i covered the pot. i overheated the oil and when i pulled the lid off oxygen rushed in, set a flame and the flame reached up and lit the ceiling on fire.

i've used the microwave ever since.

Gigi Thibodeau on March 09, 2011:

There are few things better than the smell of perfectly-cooked popcorn, and few things worse than the smell of burnt popcorn. Okay, so there are many things worse than the smell of burnt popcorn, but it is pretty awful and then, as you say, there's that terrible cleanup job! I think the key to this stovetop method is waiting for the oil to be just the right temperature before adding the rest of the kernels. Thanks for this hub. It actually made me crave popcorn and a movie! I know what I'll be making tonight! on March 09, 2011:

Now I see where your question came from regarding the burned pot! LOL!

Yes, this method makes great tasting popcorn. Try using coconut oil. It has a high temperature tolerance as well as adding an interesting flavor with the butter.

Thanks for reminder of the best way to make pop corn.

Earth Angel on March 09, 2011:

Dearest Paul,

Yes, popcorn cooked your way sure tastes better! Ms. Forever-on-a-diet here sticks to the air-popper!

Blessings to you, Robin and the girls! EarthAngel!

mikeq107 on March 09, 2011:

Hi paul :0)

Boy I have become American now I use a popper..but for Years in Ireland and even here (USA) I used your method and It does taste better...Guess the land of the free made me Lazy LOL!!!

Great Hub !!

Mike :0)

gredmondson on March 08, 2011:

Perfect! And, you are right about the oil being necessary; it helps to transfer the heat to the kernel. And, oil makes things like popcorn taste better. You could not pop corn in melted butter because the smoking point is too low.

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