Learn how to make perfectly popped Stove Top Popcorn with this easy recipe. Make this fluffy crispy crunchy snack in under 10 minutes!
I think there was a time where people made popcorn on the stove all the time. Then, came jiffy pop in foil pan, then came air poppers, and the microwave popcorn came along and just convinced everyone that popcorn was difficult.
But you know what? It’s super easy and quick.
Popcorn is a healthy whole grain snack! Especially if it isn’t doused with movie theater butter.
And, popcorn is a cheap snack. Budget friendly items are key right now! And popcorn fits into just about any budget. Plus, bonus points for the fact that it pops up into a big serving!
My husband has been working on this recipe and technique for a few years now. In fact, it started with a recipe I used to have on the blog for kettle corn. I’ll be reworking that recipe one day with new pictures, but for now, you can enjoy another of our favorites, Caramel Corn.
We appreciate your support
This post may contain affiliate links. Life Currents participates in different affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information see here.
Please let me know if you have any questions about this recipe. I read all the comments myself and I try to help as soon as I can. I have readers from all levels of comfort and experience in the kitchen on my site, and I’ve tried to answer some of your questions already in the post. But if I’ve missed anything, please feel free to leave a comment and ask. The comments can be easily found using the orange circle on the lower left, then Join the discussion!
Tailgating Snacks Month
Today’s snack is the final recipe for this year’s tailgating snacks of 2022! Next week I’ll bring you a round-up of all the goodies I shared!
Is there a better snack for watching the game than popcorn? You can throw it at the TV if you’re team isn’t doing well, and it keeps you full. Plus, it’s just fun to munch on!
Besides being a great tailgating snack, popcorn is a classic movie night snack. So, grab your popcorn, turn on Disney +, and have a great family night.
Yes! Popcorn can be a healthy snack!
It’s an intact whole grain, which means that the bran, the germ, and the endosperm are all intact within the kernel.
Popcorn is high in fiber, and a good source of vitamin C, B3, and manganese
And it’s a low-calorie snack. At least it is if you follow this delicious recipe and don’t go overboard with butter or salt. And, for gosh sakes, skip the packaged microwave popcorn!
Does stove top popcorn taste better?
Oh, you betcha it tastes better!
Just follow along with our tips and recipe, and you’ll have a satisfying snack. And one that you can feel good about while you munch away.
How do I pop popcorn on the stove top?
You’ll never go back to microwave popcorn after you make this recipe, I promise. No more burnt kernels or horrible burned smell in your kitchen. And just 3 ingredients for the best popcorn!
Be sure to scroll down to the printable recipe card for full ingredient amounts and all the instructions in one place!
I’m sharing all of our popcorn making tips so you too can how to make perfect popcorn on the stove at home. All you need are popcorn kernels, a good pot with a lid, oil, and salt.
Let’s start with the ingredients, especially since there are so few. Popcorn, oil, and salt:
What kind of Popcorn is best?
For the popcorn kernels themselves, we’re an Orville house.
I highly recommend that you get Orville Redenbacher (and no, they aren’t paying me to say this). We have tested all the brands we can get our hands on, and Orville wins every time. Lighter, fluffier, crunchier, and more of it pops up every time. No grannies left in the pot. Which means there’s more to snack on each time. And the bowl just looks fuller each time.
If you can find it, I have a slight preference for the white popcorn over the yellow popcorn. It’s slightly crispier and with a cleaner flavor. But it’s just an ever so slight difference. If all you can find is yellow, go for that.
What kind of oil should I use?
You want an oil with a high smoke point. The oil gets pretty hot, and you don’t want it to smoke.
There are lots of oils that will fit this description.
I use grapeseed oil for most of my cooking. It has a high smoke point, and a clean flavor.
Coconut oil, especially unrefined (virgin) coconut oil is a great choice, with a high smoke point and good flavor.
Canola oil is a popular option. I typically avoid it due to the fact that it usually contains GMOs.
Avocado oil and safflower oil are other good neutral options.
Yes, you can make popcorn with olive oil, as long as you cook it over medium heat.
Kosher salt is my pick here. The big crystals add a nice crunch, and the flavor is clean and good. Be careful of table salt, as it can have an off metallic flavor.
Let’s start popping
Grab a large deep heavy bottomed pot with lid. Stainless steel pots are a good choice. Avoid a heavy Dutch oven or cast iron pot because it will take a long time to heat up.
Make sure the inside of the pot is completely dry before heating the oil in it, or else the oil will sputter.
Put popcorn in the cold pot. Tilt pot so all the popcorn piles up on one side.
Pour oil directly on the popcorn. Tilt the pot in all directions to coat all the cold popcorn kernels with the oil. Tip: if popcorn kernels go skipping across the bottom of the pot when you tilt it, they are not covered in oil yet. When all the kernels slide slowly across the bottom of the pot, they are ready to cook. Make sure all the kernels are in a single layer on the bottom of the pot. Cover pot with lid.
Turn on heat to medium-high.
Don’t turn up the heat up too high; it’s too easy to burn oil at higher temperatures.
Wait until you hear 1st pop. Then turn heat to medium. Do not walk away.
You can tip the lid a little bit while the popcorn is popping to let the steam out so that the popcorn doesn’t lose its crispness. This is optional, especially if the lid has a steam escape vent.
Wait for the popping to slow. Remove from heat.
Don’t I need to shake the pan the whole time?
Nope! I used to make this mistake too. No need to shake, all you’re doing is allowing the pan to cool down off the burner. Just leave the pan on the heat & allow the magic to happen.
Add salt and serve it up
Add salt. Cover and shake to distribute salt.
Divide into bowls. We split the batch of popcorn into two. Technically this amount makes 4 servings, but we like lots of popcorn!
Taste the popcorn for salt. Everyone likes their own level of salt. I think it’s perfect this way. My husband adds another ¼ teaspoon of salt to his half.
If you want buttered popcorn, add the melted butter after you’ve popped the kernels.
But why not just pop the popcorn in the butter in the first place, and get a nice buttery flavor with a single step?
Butter burns in the temperature required to pop popcorn, so using it as a substitute for oil will result in a burned snack.
Let’s keep in touch
If you like seeing my recipes subscribe via email in the upper right.
Or, connect with me on your favorite social media channel for recipes, photos, & much more:
Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter!
And find my shop on Amazon for recommendations on cool tools
If you try this recipe,
please come back & leave a comment below letting us know how it goes.
Share a picture & tag @lifecurrents on Instagram.
Or you can upload a “tried it” photo (I would love to see)
via the pin.
Stove Top Popcorn
- ½ cup popcorn
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Using a large pot with lid, put the popcorn in the cold pot. Tilt pot so all the popcorn piles up on one side. Pour oil directly on the popcorn.
- Tilt the pot in all directions to coat all the cold popcorn kernels with the oil. Tip: if popcorn kernels go skipping across the bottom of the pot when you tilt it, they are not covered in oil yet. When all the kernels slide slowly across the bottom of the pot, they are ready to cook. Make sure all the kernels are in a single layer on the bottom of the pot.
- Cover pot with lid. Turn on heat to medium-high. Wait until you hear 1st pop. Then turn heat to medium. Do not walk away.
- Wait for popping to slow. Remove from heat.
- Add salt. Cover the pan and shake to distribute salt.
- Divide into bowls. Taste for salt, adding more as desired.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.
Join my mailing list to receive the latest recipes FREE to your inbox!
We love making popcorn at our house! This stovetop popcorn is so easy and doesn’t require that noisy air popper. Love it!
Thanks for the tips! I love making popcorn on the stovetop, but I was always one of those shakers — your way is much better.
So easy to make on the stovetop! It’s our new favorite way 🙂
I used my Dutch oven and followed the recipe exactly, and it turned out perfect. Thank you!
I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to find your recipe. It is absolutely perfect for our movie nights and it gets made regularly in our home.
Thanks for all your tips on oil, I used Avocado oil this time, but am toying with coconut oil for a tropical hint!
Growing up this was the only way we made popcorn! It is so much better this way!