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Stovetop Popcorn Recipe - How to Pop Popcorn on the Stove


Plain stovetop popped heirloom popcorn
© 2010 Miri Rotkovitz

With the advent of the microwave, it seems old-fashioned stovetop popcorn popping has become a lost art. Potential health risks and the enviromental waste of microwave popcorn aside, old-fashioned popcorn just plain tastes superior. It's easy and lots of fun to make too. Best of all, popping your own corn means you can experiment with all of the fantastic heirloom popcorn varieties now available. Eat it plain, drizzle with olive oil or butter, or dress it up with  spices — the possibilities are endless!

Tip: Use a neutral oil with a relatively high smoke point, such as refined canola oil or grapeseed oil.

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 7 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed or refined canola oil
  • 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels


Add the oil and popcorn kernels to a heavy 3- to 4-quart saucepan with a lid. Shake the pan to coat the kernels with oil. The kernels should cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer. 

Cover the pan and place it over medium high heat, shaking the pan occasionally untiil you begin to hear popping.

When the corn begins to pop, lift it slightly from the heat and shake the pan continually, holding the lid in place, until the popping begins to slow, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Leave the lid on for 1 minute — some kernels will continue to pop. When the popping stops, pour the popcorn into a large bowl.

Enjoy plain, or season as desired with olive oil, butter, salt, or spices.

Popcorn Recipes:

Parmesan Garlic Popcorn

Moroccan-Spiced Popcorn with Ras El Hanout

Related Reading:

Heirloom Popcorn Glossary & Buying Guide

Cook Environmentally Friendly Popcorn in Your Microwave

Microwave Popcorn May Be Hazardous to Your Health

Health Risk from Butter-Flavored Popcorn?

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