How Long To Microwave Popcorn

Popcorn is a healthy snack that you can enjoy at any time. However, it's frustrating when you can't get the timing right and end up with burnt popcorn. How do you make sure all the kernels pop and nothing gets burnt? How long should you microwave them? We have researched these questions to find out what it takes to perfectly microwave popcorn.

The microwave time generally depends on your microwave's wattage. The average pop time is around 2-4 minutes, but you can start with 2 minutes and 30 seconds to be on the safe side. A good rule of thumb is to turn it off once you notice 2-3 second intervals between pops since that's an indication that most kernels have popped.

There are many ways to enjoy your popcorn. From cooking to storage, to different flavors--there's a lot to explore. Keep reading below to learn more about these healthy, savory treats!

salted popcorn with cheddar cheese and parmesan in a bowl - How Long To Microwave Popcorn

How To Microwave Popcorn

A cropped shot of a young woman pouring microwave popcorn from the bag into a bowl

We're all familiar with store-bought popcorn. They may be just as easy to microwave, but you don't always want those plastic-wrapped popcorns.

How do you pop the kernels without the packaging? Here's how you can do it yourself.

  • Take out a brown paper bag enough to hold 1/4-cup of kernels.
  • If you want to pop more, make sure your microwave is big enough to store a grocery-store paper bag.
  • Place the kernels inside and fold the top opening.
  • Pop it in the microwave and set the timer between 2-4 minutes.
  • Once the popping comes at slow intervals, take out the paper bag--the popcorn must be done.
  • Place the popcorn in a large bowl and toss them in melted butter. Add other flavors if you prefer.

Some people like to toss unpopped kernels in oil to embed the flavor, but it can be messy and can tear the paper bag. You can toss them in oil or butter after since it won't make much of a difference.

Read: "10 Types Of Oil For Popcorn To Consider."

How To Cook Popcorn On a Stove

You can still enjoy your popcorn without a microwave. Stovetop popcorns are just as good as microwaved ones, although you may need to be more careful timing them.

Of course, your kernels also need to be high quality. Even if you follow all the tips, it won't matter if the kernels themselves can't pop.

  • Heat your coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Wait until all the solid oils are melted.
  • Test the heat by putting 3 kernels into the pan. Once you see they pop well, add the rest of the kernels.
  • Layer the kernels evenly.
  • Once evenly layered, cover them then remove them from heat.
  • Wait 30 seconds, then swiftly put them back on the stovetop.
  • You should hear all the kernels popping by this time. Slightly shake the pan to adjust the spaces between the popcorns.
  • Take them off the heat once you notice the popping getting slower.

After that, you can now flavor your popcorn. Try melting butter into the pan you just used, wait until it gets a little brown in color, then drizzle it over the popcorn. This will heighten the taste of your popcorn especially when you add other seasonings. Serve and enjoy!

How To Flavor your Popcorn

Salty popcorns taste good, but you're missing out if you ignore other flavors out there! Savory popcorn flavors can make snack time and movie marathons more engaging. Here are the flavors you need to try.

Ranch popcorn

Ranch Flavored White Cheese Popcorn on a White Background

Ranch-flavored popcorn bursts with a rich flavor that you wouldn't be able to resist.

  • Prepare 1/4-teaspoon of onion powder, 1/4-teaspoon of dried dill weed, a pinch of garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of vegetable oil.
  • Mix all the ingredients together.
  • Toss the seasonings with the popcorn.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Parmesan Popcorn

salted popcorn with cheddar cheese and parmesan in a bowl

Parmesan popcorn is a nice alternative to classic cheese popcorn. It is more savory, and you can make it from scratch to make it healthier.

Parmesan popcorn is best cooked over a stovetop.

  • Melt butter over medium heat and saute garlic for one minute.
  • In a separate deep pot, heat the vegetable oil. Once it is hot enough, add the kernels.
  • Cover the kernels. Take them out of the heat for 30 seconds, then put them back over the stove.
  • Wait until the popping slows, then take them out.
  • Toss the butter-garlic mixture into the popcorn then mix with parmesan and cayenne.
  • Make sure it evenly coats the popcorn. Serve and enjoy!

How do you store popcorn?

It is best to store popcorn while it is still plain so it won't get soggy over time. Put it in an airtight container so it remains crunchy for eating later. However, if your popcorn is already flavored, don't store it for too long since it can get soggy more quickly.

Popcorn usually lasts for one to two weeks, but it is best to consume it before that since the quality can deteriorate quickly.

Uncooked popcorn kernels can last for up to six months, but the more you put off cooking them the less they are likely to pop.

If it's too late to eat your popcorn as it is, you can mix it with other snacks.

Popcorn Recipes

You can integrate your popcorn into other dishes to make them more savory, and to add dimension to their flavor. Here are recipes you can try.

Popcorn In Granola Bars

granola on the table

Granola bars, by themselves, are already a delicious and versatile treat. Combine them with popcorn and they'll have a chewy consistency that you can't resist munching on!

  • Prepare 3 cups of crushed popcorn, 1-1/2 cup rolled oats, dried fruit, 1/2-cup peanut butter, 1/2-cup honey, 1/2-cup chopped almonds and craisins, 2 tablespoons coconut oil and cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.
  • In a bowl, combine the crushed popcorn, rolled oats, almonds, and dried fruit of your choosing.
  • Pour the coconut oil into a pan. Add in cinnamon, craisins, peanut butter, and honey. Drizzle a pinch of salt and stir over low heat.
  • Coat the dry ingredients with the peanut butter mixture and mix well.
  • Place them all in an 8x8 pan lined with parchment paper. Press the mixture until compact.
  • Pop the pan into the fridge for one hour.
  • Cut into your desired shape and serve.

Corn Soup With Popcorn

Pumpkin,corn soup with salty popcorn in a white ceramic bowl on a wooden background

If you're out of croutons, don't worry--you can use your leftover popcorn as an alternative! The popcorn will add a zest of flavor to the soup, making it more appetizing.

  • Make a corn stock by combining corn cobs, onion, and peppercorn in a boiling pot of water. Let it simmer for 1-2 hours.
  • In a medium pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic.
  • Throw in the corn, broth, and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Pour everything into a blender and mix until smooth.
  • Return the soup into the pot and garnish it with popcorn. Wait 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Popcorn Brownie

A plate of delicious homemade dark chocolate cake; topped with caramel popcorn and nuts, and strawberry popcorn and raspberry

If you want to make your brownies sweeter, sweetened popcorn is the ingenious way to go! This is a healthier alternative to chocolate and marshmallow, but equally tasty.

  • Prepare one bag of sweetened popcorn, 1/2-cup vegetable oil, 1-cup of sugar, two large-sized eggs, 1/4-teaspoon of baking powder, 1-cup of cocoa powder, 1/2-cup of color, and a pinch of salt.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Blend them together until it reaches an even consistency.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the baking powder, cocoa powder, salt, and flour.
  • Pour the sugar mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Scoop them out with a spoon and place them in a 9x9 pan lined with parchment paper. Garnish them with sweet popcorn.
  • Pop them into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. You can cool them in the fridge if you want to serve them cold.
  • Cut into your desired shape. Serve and enjoy!

How healthy is popcorn?

On its own, popcorn is high in fiber. It also has adequate protein, as well as vitamins and minerals. Air-popped popcorn or those popped on a stovetop is even healthier since you won't need too much oil to cook it.

However, most popcorn being sold today has high sodium content since it was tossed in rich, salty seasonings and butter.

Although still high in fiber and protein, the health benefits can be offset by the unhealthy toppings. To make them healthier, you'll need to practice moderation when adding flavors to popcorn.

Read: "Can You Put A Bag Of Popcorn In An Air Fryer?"

Final Thoughts

Popcorn is a versatile snack that can be integrated with other ingredients. However, it is best to be conscious about how we flavor it up for health reasons. Fortunately, healthy doesn't mean tasteless so you can always explore ingenious ways you can add more flavor to these snacks!


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