DIY Microwave Popcorn Recipe

This post about microwave popcorn on Debt Free 4 Ever is 100% correct about both the cost and benefits of making your own popcorn.

Let’s face it we all know that microwave popcorn is stupidly overpriced and contains crap we don’t really want to eat (artificial flavors and preservatives anyone?). We buy it and eat it anyway because, well, it’s so damn convenient.

Well, you can have your cake and eat it too. You can make your own with this microwave popcorn recipe. It’s simple.

What you need:

what you need to make diy microwave popcorn

Oil, microwave safe bowl, microwave plate cover, 1/2 cup measure, popcorn salt, popping corn, tablespoon

I use canola oil, but any vegetable oil will do. The bowl I use is a 4-qt glass bowl. You could use a 2 or 3 qt bowl if you don’t have one this size or if a 4-qt bowl is too big for your microwave.

measure oil into bowl

Measure oil into bowl.

Put 3 tablespoons of oil into the bowl.

Measure popping corn

Measure popping corn

Measure 1/2 cup of popping corn into the bowl.

spread popping corn evenly

Spread popping corn evenly.

Spread the popping corn evenly on the bottom of the bowl. If possible try to make a one kernel deep layer. I’ve found that this results in the lowest amount of unpopped kernels. If the shape of your bowl won’t really allow a one kernel deep layer, do the best you can.

cover the bowl and microwave

Cover the bowl with the "plate cover" and into the microwave

Cover the bowl with one of those vented “plate covers.” If you don’t have one of those, you can cover the bowl with plastic wrap and poke some holes in it. The cover has to accomplish two things: keep the popcorn in the bowl and let steam escape from the bowl while the corn is popping.

Now the next bit is going to vary depending on your microwave. I put mine in on high for 6 minutes. Through trial and error I found that with my microwave anything more than that and the popcorn will scorch even if it isn’t done popping. Usually mine is done in less than 6 minutes. The trick with popping corn in the microwave is to listen to it. The type of popcorn you buy and its age will also affect cooking time so you can’t just set an arbitrary time and expect to get a good result every time. Listen to the kernels popping. It’s done when it goes over 2 seconds between pops. Using this method I usually end up with fewer unpopped kernels than I used to see at the bottom of the microwave bags. The batch I made when I took the pictures for this post took about 4:30 – YMMV.

Here’s what it looked like when it was done.

all done

Popcorn's ready!

Sprinkle with popcorn salt. Add butter or any other flavorings you like and enjoy!

Here are a few things I learned while playing with this:

  • You can make smaller batches but I had little success making larger ones. With larger batches I’d get scorching before all the kernels finished popping.
  • Adding salt at the beginning did not give me a satisfactory result. I ended up with unsalted popcorn and a salted bowl bottom.
  • If you use a glass bowl like I do, it will get very hot. If you have a microwave safe plastic bowl that’s big enough, use that. If not, glass certainly works, just be careful. I highly recommend pot holders.

Overall, this popcorn is only slightly less convenient than grabbing a bag from the box, peeling the outer plastic off the bag, unfolding the bag and starting the microwave. I’m willing to give up that convenience when I consider that it costs a small fraction of what microwave popcorn costs.

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