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How To Make Amazing Homemade Popcorn In Your Microwave

microwave popcorn

Popcorn has always been one of my very favorite snacks, so much so that it’s become a part of our family lore! (All my kids know that it takes very little effort to convince me to go see a movie with them. All they have to do is mention movie theater popcorn!)

Related: The Surprising Benefits Of Popcorn

microwave popcorn

I’ve always just gotten the bags of microwaveable popcorn at the grocery store, until very recently. I was passing by the bulk section at the store when the bin of popcorn kernels called out to me. It suddenly struck me just how inexpensive popcorn kernels actually are! I decided right then that I would figure out how to make my own popcorn, preferably without having to buy a special piece of equipment.

I eventually uncovered the best way to make homemade popcorn in your microwave! Homemade popcorn is surprisingly simple to make, and it allows me the freedom to season my popcorn exactly how I want. Plus, I know I’m saving money while I’m at it! So today I’ll be sharing my popcorn discovery with you.

microwave popcorn

The Bowl Method

You’ll need:

  • Large microwave-safe bowl
  • Large microwave-safe plate
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Butter & salt (optional)
microwave popcorn


Pour 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels into your large bowl. Grab your plate and place it over the top of the bowl.

microwave popcorn

Transfer the bowl and plate to your microwave, and cook for 2 minutes and 45 seconds.

microwave popcorn

A couple of things I want to mention about this method…

  • The first time I tried this, I only managed to pop ONE kernel of popcorn. Turns out, the plate I chose didn’t sit snugly over the top of the bowl, so all the steam escaped the bowl before it could cook the kernels. I would recommend testing out a few combinations of your microwave-safe bowls and plates to make sure the plate forms a good seal over the bowl!
  • Another thing to know about this method is that it tends to leave a number of unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bowl. No matter – just hang on to them and use them again the next time you make popcorn. :-)
microwave popcorn

Popcorn Possibilities

Don’t get me wrong – I’m probably the biggest fan of butter-y popcorn you’ll ever encounter. But that’s not the only way I like to season it! Here are a few ideas for different ways to season your popcorn, if you’re looking to mix it up a little.

  • Chili powder and hot sauce
  • Onion powder and garlic salt
  • Butter, sugar, and cinnamon
microwave popcorn

Homemade Popcorn In A Microwave Recipe

Jill Nystul
Popcorn has always been one of my very favorite snacks, and this homemade popcorn recipe is surprisingly simple to make. Plus, it'll save you a ton of money!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 89 kcal


  • Large Microwave-Safe Bowl
  • Large Microwave-Safe Plate


  • 1/4 cup Popcorn Kernels
  • 2 tbsp Butter optional
  • 1 tsp Salt optional


  • Pour 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels into your large bowl. Grab your plate and place it over the top of the bowl.
    microwave popcorn
  • Transfer the bowl and plate to your microwave, and cook for 2 minutes and 45 seconds.
    microwave popcorn
  • If your plate does not create a tight seal with the bowl, you will likely have quite a few leftover kernels. Simply find a plate that fits better and try again!
    microwave popcorn


Calories: 89kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 1gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 632mgPotassium: 28mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 175IUIron: 1mg

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Food & Recipes

  • Another jem Jillee! Thank you. I like to spray my popcorn with butter flavored non stick spray and sprinkle dry ranch powder OR McCormick’s Meatloaf Mix.

  • You can also you a microwave casserole dish with a lid. I use my corning ware 1.25 and 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in my microwave for 3 minutes 45 seconds. When done I spray cooking spray and sea salt. For low-fat kettle corn sprinkle with 2 -4 packets of Splenda.

  • I wouldn’t use a paper bag to pop popcorn in the microwave oven because we tried it and it caught fire. We only put the popcorn in the bag nothing else and it was a clean bag. We also have tried it with a microwavable bowl and glass bowl too and they were fine.

  • I love popcorn as much as you do Jillee, so I’ll have to try the casserole trick one of your other followers mentioned!

    A little tip that I got from http://www.lehmans.com regarding pop corn: soak your popcorn kernels in enough water to cover them for 10 minutes. Drain well and pat dry. Pop as usual. You should have almost no “duds” or un-popped kernels.

    I’m guessing that the small amount of water that the kernels absorb while soaking, helps build up more internal steam, resulting in more of them being popped?

    All I know is that it works really well using the stove top method! Now I”ll have to see if it works with the microwave/casserole version as well!!

    Thanks for the always great ideas!

  • I have been making it in my microwave for years. I use a 2qt. casserole with a cover, works perfectly every time. I also learned years ago that if you use salt on the popcorn, you can take regular table salt and put it in the blender for a few seconds, and it’s more “powdery” like the salt they use in the movie theaters. The stuff in the bags is expensive, and it loaded with preservative chemicals.

    • Thanks Jillee! We always make our popcorn on the stove top, but you have to use so much oil; this sounds great.

      @Joanne G, that’s brilliant! I never thought of the blender method for salt, even though I do that with sugar! D’oh! Plus, I happen to have a 2 quart casserole with a cover that is just begging for this treatment…

    • Wow, 2 great hints in 1….I’ve tried so many bowls but never my Corning casseroles. Even though it is before 6:00 a.m.,, I had to try the casserole and lo and behold…perfect popcorn. Now to grind up some salt :}

  • I tried making microwaved popcorn in a paper bag and it caught fire so my self I would not try this method, however Glass bowls are safe and plastic made for microwaves are so I use this method for making popcorn.

  • I just love <3 Simply Pop popcorn but it is expensive, I have no microwave by choice is there any copycat recipe out there on the stove? Every time I try to make my own it is never good, it is tough plus lots of no-pop kernels.

  • Have you tried melted coconut oil instead of butter? I was skeptical at first, but I like it (almost!) as well as butter, and it is waaay healthier. We also use Parmesan cheese and nutritional yeast–very tasty. (When our children were little and we were visiting a relative and having popcorn, they asked our hosts if they had any yeast for the popcorn. We all got some interesting looks!)

    • “Waaay healthier” is quite a stretch. Coconut oil is actually a saturated fat and compared to butter has almost no edge, nutritionally. In fact the American Heart Association advises against it. While it has the benefit of raising “good” cholesterol, it raises unhealthy cholesterol levels as much as butter or any saturated fat. I know a lot of crunchy-types (I’m one of them) really want to believe in coconut oil, but to date, the facts don’t support its healthfulness. Extra-virgin olive oil imparts a lovely flavor to popcorn and the smoke-point is much higher than that of most oils.

  • Thank you so much! I just started a plant-based diet and we can have popcorn for a snack. The only thing we cannot have is oil and butter so this will be a way to cook it without the oil.

  • I purchased this at Amazon and absolutely love it. You can pop it with oil and seasonings, or just put popcorn in it and season afterwards. This replaces the microwavable bags I used to buy and it is I’m sure better for you.
    Another thing that is great about it is that it is collapsable, so it takes very little room! I highly recommend it!

    PowerLix Microwave Popcorn Popper, Collapsible Silicone Bowl, Hot Air Popcorn Maker, Healthy Machine No Oil Needed, BPA PVC Free With Lid AND Convenient Handles (Red)

  • As a child, growing up in the 60’s, Sunday evening we didn’t have dinner, Dad made us popcorn, and we could have as much as we wanted! We would eat our popcorn while watching “Wonderful World of Disney”. I still LOVE popcorn!

    • We did the same thing! Must be a Midwestern thing! We would glean popcorn fields in the fall & pick up ears the picker missed. A friend of my dads had an old hand crank corn sheller we used or before that we shelled by hand (painful)! We stored the shelled corn in a metal 5 gallon milk can. On Sunday night after football games were over we made popcorn. Only night if the week mom didn’t cook! Let vet that special time with dad!

    • That’s my favorite way…except that in addition to adding oil, I also add some bacon fat. (I save it each time I make some bacon and store it in the fridge. I don’t strain it or anything; I want the tiny little pieces of bacon in it to add flavor, and WOW is that popcorn gooooood!

    • I’ve made popcorn in a paper bag, in the micro before without it catching on fire after I read a tip on wetting the bag first (run a wet, but not dripping wet sponge across one side of the bag, fold the bag closed & lay it down w/the wet side up) then microwave the popcorn until you really don’t hear many kernels popping anymore. This way, the bag shouldn’t catch on fire. Especially, if you’re paying attention to the pops. (-:

  • Another healthy topping for freshly popped popcorn: Brewers yeast. Sounds not good, but surprisingly, it is VERY tasty! And it is very healthy alternative to butter etc.

  • I have used the paper bag method for years but I only use 1/4 cup of popcorn and that makes a lot for one person. I only microwave for 1minute and 40 seconds. Then you can add butter and salt. Be careful as you can burn popcorn easily in the microwave. As soon as it stops popping, turn it off.
    And yes, Store bought microwave popcorn is not healthy at all!

  • We have 2 favorite alternate flavors…#1 cheesy popcorn- clean any kernels out and then add a handful, or 2, of shredded cheese, put back in microwave for about 30 seconds to melt the cheese, yummy!! #2 taco popcorn! Spray popcorn with some melted butter or lime juice, or both! Then sprinkle taco seasoning over the popcorn! We did this one a lot when I was a kid, as we were pretty broke and this is cheap and delicious!! I should have said 3, as combining the first 2 is even better!! I’ve never tried popping the corn in a paper bag before, I’ll definitely be trying that one!!

  • I’d like to season my hot-air popped popcorn with something besides butter and salt. Any suggestions for something like chilli-lime or other savoury flavours?

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