How To Make Popcorn

Everyone should know how to make popcorn! If you are looking for the perfect snack - delicious, yet low in calories, high in fiber, and containing no sugar, salt or fat - then popcorn is your answer!

Perhaps you think that popcorn has to be slathered in butter and salt. Not so!

Popcorn can be prepared in an infinite number of ways. It's one of the few snack foods that can be enjoyed as either a sweet or a savory treat. Read on to learn how to make popcorn that is healthy and delicious!

How Does Popcorn Pop?

  • Each kernel contains a small drop of water surrounded by a circle of soft starch.
  • As the kernel is heated, the water turns to steam.
  • The kernel's shell is not water-permeable, so the steam cannot escape.
  • Pressure builds up until the kernel finally explodes.
  • The soft starch becomes inflated and bursts.

How To Make Popcorn

There are several methods for making popcorn. Each method has its advantages.

  • Stovetop Popcorn Poppers

    Wondering how to make popcorn that is perfect every time? This is my method of choice! We have the Whirley-Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper, and it is fantastic! It uses very little oil, it makes popcorn very quickly, it's easy to clean, and (most importantly) it makes delicious, fluffy popcorn. More than that - every kernel pops! It's even rather fun to use. You turn a crank that stirs the popcorn. We love this method!

  • Electric Popcorn Poppers

    These gadgets are easy to use. Just put in some oil, add the popcorn kernels, and turn on the machine. In about 5 minutes, you'll have fluffy popped corn. Some models come with built-in butter wells so that the butter melts while the corn pops. On some models, the plastic cover can be used as a serving bowl - so you have one less thing to wash!

    I haven't used an electric popcorn popper, so I can't give a first-hand report, but these get excellent user reviews.

  • Hot Air Popcorn Poppers

    Wondering how to make popcorn that is tough, chewy and tasteless? Use a hot air popper. I've used a number of hot air popcorn poppers over the years, and as you might guess, I'm not a fan at all. They are noisy, they are slower than the Whirley-Pop, and they make inferior popcorn. Blah.

  • Campfire Popcorn Poppers

    We had one of these when I was growing up. Eating popcorn around the campfire was part of our family camping traditions. These take a bit of work and effort, and the popcorn isn't perfect (there will probably be some burned kernels and lots of unpopped ones) - but hey - that's part of the tradition! Besides, everything tastes good when you are camping!

  • Microwave Popcorn Poppers

    I haven't tried these either, but there are many enthusiastic reviews of these too. They have the advantage of not needing any oil. Just put the corn kernels in the popper and microwave for a few minutes.

  • Microwave Popcorn

    Although it's one of the easiest popcorn options, I recommend that you stay away from microwave popcorn. Not only is it high in salt, high in fat, and bursting with artificial ingredients, but one of the chemicals in the mix has been found to be highly toxic. Apparently that chemical has now been removed from many brands of microwave popcorn - but really, why bother using a potentially toxic product when real popcorn is so easy to make, tastes so much better, and is unarguably better for you?

    Did you know?

  • There is no such thing as “hull-less” popcorn. All popcorn needs a hull in order to pop. Some varieties of popcorn have been bred so the hull shatters upon popping, making it appear to be hull-less.

  • Popcorn should be stored in an airtight container so that its water droplet doesn't dry out.

  • You should not feed popcorn to toddlers or preschoolers. It can be a choking hazard.

  • Children love to make popcorn! Teach your kids how to make popcorn (with your supervision) and you may find that you get to enjoy this tasty snack more often!

    Now that you know how to make popcorn, you need some Popcorn Recipes!

    My favorite:

    Pop a batch of popcorn.
    Put it in a large bowl.
    Squirt tamari (or soy sauce) over the popcorn.
    Sprinkle with nutritional yeast.

    Here are some popcorn recipes from my readers:

    I like to sprinkle parmesan cheese on my popcorn!


    Mix unsalted popcorn with pretzels and dried cranberries. It becomes a delicious trail mix!

    New York

    Drizzling a little honey or maple syrup over popcorn is a nice healthy alternative to "caramel corn".


    Dip a handful of popped popcorn kernels in a plate of mustard (the liquid version, not the powder). Depending on your taste you can dip your kernels heavily or lightly. Either way it gives the popcorn some healthy "tang" without all the salt.


    I love to spray a few light coats of cooking spray and after each coat, I sprinkle some White Cheddar Popcorn Seasoning on it. After each time, I mix it around - DELICIOUS!


    I love popcorn with raisins mixed in -- it's a perfect combination!


    I have a friend that eats popcorn mixed with M&Ms...Okay, that's probably not that healthy, but it does taste great!


    I love to melt unsalted fat free butter with pepper and lots of parmesan and pour it over popcorn. It's great!


    I melt peanut butter and drizzle it on popcorn. Sometimes I melt some chocolate chips in with the peanut butter too. Yummy in zee tummy!

    North Carolina

    I make mine with extra virgin coconut oil and sprinkle with
    Spike veg-all seasoning. My father-in-law says it is the best he's ever had.


    This isn't that healthy, but my mom used to pop unsalted pocorn and then sprinkle it with powdered Jell-O (any flavor) and stir to mix. It gives the popcorn that "caramel corn" effect, only brighter.

    Chef Vince

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