Microwave Popcorn

Microwave Popcorn
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microwave popcorn
This is two batches of popcorn that we made. Yummy.

Are you dumb enough to buy that pre-packaged, microwave popcorn? Don’t worry, because we are, or perhaps were, that dumb, too. We really liked having bags that just went in the microwave, hit the on button, and, bing, in less than five minutes, popcorn. The thing we didn’t like was the expense — for the price of one box of microwave popcorn, you could buy a pound (or more) of popcorn kernels. Fortunately, we have the solution: cheap, wholesome, microwave popcorn. No mess and done in five minutes. What more do you want?

We found this in Party Popcorn: 75 Creative Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Snack, by Ashton Epps Swank, and were dubious. It said that you could just put popcorn kernels in a plain paper bag and pop them in the microwave. We’ve looked at the microwave popcorn bags and they seem to have some sort of coating on one side, presumably to help pop the corn. Plus, the fat and salt are right inside, too (along with some other ingredients with weird chemically-sounding names), also, presumably to help it all pop up.

But, we thought, “Hey, let’s try it. We have paper bags, we have popcorn, and, since  our microwave is 24 years old, we don’t have much to lose.” So, we did. And, it worked. Perfectly. Easily. No mess. Just fresh, hot, buttered (real butter — no chemically-sounding ingredients), and salted popcorn. In less than five minutes. It’s so easy, it’s almost not worth having the recipe, but we’ll do it anyway.

Microwave Popcorn

Yield: 3-4 cups

Microwave Popcorn


  • 1 brown paper bag
  • 3 Tbs popping corn
  • 1 tsp butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste

Abbreviated Instructions

Place popping corn in bag.

Fold top 1/2-inch of bag over three times to seal.

Microwave about 2-4 minutes, or until popping slows to 3 seconds between pops.

Open bag, add butter and salt, close bag and shake until butter melts and popcorn is salted.


Ingredient discussion:

You might as well go with the good stuff: real, unsalted butter, organic popcorn (our local food co-op has it for $1.69/pound, so why not?), and sea salt. If you use salted butter, adjust the amount of salt as needed.

Procedure in detail:

adding popcorn
Just put the popcorn into an ordinary brown paper bag. Yes, it will work.

Fill bag. Open the brown paper bag and stand up on end. Add three tablespoons of popping corn. Time required: 15 seconds.

folded bag
Fold the top of the bag over three times to keep the popcorn from escaping.

Fold bag. Fold the top 1/2-inch of the bag over three times to seal. Time required: 5 seconds.

Microwave. Place the bag on its side in the microwave and microwave for about 3 minutes (it may be longer or shorter depending on your microwave, so set it for 5 minutes and pay attention), until the popping slows and there are about 3 seconds between pops. Longer and you’ll burn the popcorn. Time elapsed: 195 seconds.

adding salt
Add the butter and salt, give it 30 seconds of shaking, and you’re done.

Season. Drop the pat of butter into the bag, add the salt — just eye up the amount — reclose, and shake for about 30 seconds. Time elapsed: 45 seconds.

leftover popcorn kernels
See, even from two batches of popcorn, very few unpopped kernels left over!

Serve. Dump the popcorn out into a large bowl and enjoy. Time elapsed: 5 seconds. Total time: 265 seconds or 4 minutes, 25 seconds.

This is just like commercial microwave popcorn, only better. You choose how much butter and salt to add. No chemicals. You can choose organic popcorn. Plus, the cleanup and time it takes is the same as with the commercial stuff. Then there’s the cost: paper bag: 2¢, popcorn (organic): 16¢, butter: 10¢, and salt: 2¢. Total: 30¢ per bag. Cheaper than even the store brand of microwave popcorn, and probably a lot better for you, too. Not only that, but, if you can remember three, three, three — that’s three tablespoons corn, fold three times, microwave about three minutes — you’ll never forget how to make your home-scratched microwave popcorn. That’s an easy five stars.

Worth the trouble?

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