How to Make Stovetop Popcorn Perfectly Every Time
When you know how to make popcorn on the stove simply from popcorn kernels and oil, you’ll always choose stovetop popcorn over bagged microwave popcorn. It’ll take a little bit longer, but the stovetop method eliminates the need for food additives and puts you in charge. Start popping to create popcorn recipes—classic buttered or truly gourmet popcorn loaded with seasoning and toppings.
Maybe all you know is the convenience of microwave popcorn. It certainly has its time and place, but the classic stovetop popcorn method allows for complete customization and requires minimal ingredients and tools. All you need to make homemade stovetop popcorn is popcorn kernels, oil, and a saucepan with a lid.
Stovetop Popcorn Step 1: Preheat the Oil
To get your oil ready to add the popcorn kernels:
- In a 4- to 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
- Add 2 to 3 popcorn kernels to the oil.
- When the test kernels pop, you're ready to add the rest of your kernels.
Tip: Use an oil that can withstand high temperatures without smoking or breaking down, such as canola oil or peanut oil. Do not use olive oil or butter.
Stovetop Popcorn Step 2: Add Popcorn Kernels
When the test kernels indicate the oil is ready, add the rest of your popcorn kernels all at once. Give the pan a shake so all the kernels get coated with oil.
Stovetop Popcorn Step 3: Cook and Serve
Once you've added all your popcorn kernels and coated in oil:
- Cover the pan and cook over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally and partially lifting the lid to let steam escape.
- When the popping slows, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the popcorn to a serving bowl. Add salt and butter, seasoning blends, and/or candy toppers to your popcorn as desired.