Close up of popped corn (popcorn) in a clay bowl on top of a table sprinkled with popcorn.

Stovetop Popcorn

It was a dark and stormy night. The wind howled, the rain pelted the roof and the family huddled under blankets in front of the latest Netflix series…and happily passed around the tub of homemade popcorn. They just barely took notice of the storm outside as they savored the crunchy, salty popcorn and revelled in the wonderful aroma. 

When done right, there are few snacks that are better – or easier to make – than homemade popcorn. 

I grew up making popcorn at home all the time. All we needed was some popcorn kernels, some oil and a pot on the stove. It “pops” up in many of my happy memories.

When I was growing up, popcorn was the snack of choice for many summer nights when my sister and I could stay up late and play cribbage together. Cribbage is a card game that uses a standard 52-card deck and a wooden peg board to track points (in case you haven’t heard of it). Everyone in my family played cribbage, it was like a rite of passage to learn to play. My sister is a few years older and beat me every time, but I didn’t care. We always had a fun time.

Now, the memories have spread to my daughter, now six. I love that she gets excited about making popcorn. Our “popcorn” pot that has a see-through lid, so she sits on the counter and waits in eager anticipation for the first kernels to pop!

Also, in recent years, I learned that popcorn is an asset on plane rides. Once I get my daughter settled into her seat, I pull out a small container of popcorn. It gives her something to focus on and since she eats it one-by-one, it lasts long enough to help pass the time until we get up in the air.

I realize microwave popcorn is easy to make, but it’s also easy to burn and has some undesirable elements. Besides skipping some chemicals, you may not want (see The Secret Ingredient in Your Microwave Popcorn: PFAS Chemicals and Microwave Popcorn Causes Cancer-Fact or Fiction?) you are also skipping a lot of extra processing and packaging.

What I love about popcorn is that all I need is popping corn, oil and salt. And of course, you can season it many other ways besides salt. There is butter, of course, parmesan cheese (finely grated), garlic salt or garlic powder, or maybe some cayenne pepper sprinkled on it for a kick? You are only limited by your imagination! 

When we made popcorn, we always used a minimum of oil – just enough to cover the layer of popcorn in the pan. In doing a little popcorn research, I found there is a better way! Jessica Koslow, chef and owner of Sqirl in Los Angeles, recommends using ⅓ of a cup of popcorn and ½ cup of oil. It’s a lot more oil than I am used to using, but it works! The popcorn turns out light, fluffy and crisp. Just what you want!

Whether it’s a dark and stormy or a late summer night, this is the perfect snack without a lot of junk!

Ever wanted to see popcorn popping in super, slow motion? Me too! Check this out! (Used with permission.)

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Tools needed for this recipe:

  • Medium-sized (3-4 qt) pot with a tight-fitting lid
  • Large bowl

Stovetop Popcorn

A super simple, healthy snack is at your fingertips and just 15 minutes away.

  • Author: Laurie Kerr
  • Prep Time: 3
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 13
  • Yield: About 10 cups 1x



1/3 cup popping corn

1/2 cup vegetable oil



  1. Combine oil and popcorn in pot with tight-fitting lid.
  2. Heat over high heat.
  3. Once popped corn has filled pot 3/4 of the way, shake the pot gently to loosen any kernels on bottom. (It also helps to get an idea of how many kernels are left.)
  4. Once the pot has filled up and the popping of kernels has slowed down, turn off heat and allow popping to stop. 
  5. Pour into bowl (or bowls) and season to your preference.


  • Serving Size: 2 cups

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