Can You Cook Microwave Popcorn on the Stove?

Microwave popcorn is the perfect snack you can make yourself for a movie night, after a tiring workout session, or whenever you need something quick to eat. But what if you don’t have a microwave to make the popcorn? Can you cook the popcorn on the stove instead?

You can cook microwave popcorn on the stove. While it has extra steps for you to follow, you can get perfectly popped buttery popcorn using a pot and an adequately heated stovetop.

It’s effortless to take a traditional microwave popcorn and pop it up on the stove, so don’t be afraid to get started if you don’t have access to a microwave! Keep reading to learn more.

How to Cook Microwave Popcorn on the Stove

Preparing microwave popcorn on the stove is easy. You’ll need a pot big enough for the amount of popcorn you’re preparing, a stove, and your choice of seasoning!

Follow the steps below to start making one:

Put the Popcorn in a Large Pot

Get a large pot, similar to the type of pot you would make pasta in. Most people make mistakes by placing the popcorn into too small of a pot, forgetting that the kernels expand whenever they pop. When you pour the kernels in, you should have about half a pot of empty air remaining.

Let the Popcorn Cook on the Stove

Cover the pot up and turn the burner on to medium heat. Then, you need to pour in a tablespoon (14.79 ml) of oil into the popcorn if you only have dry kernels before pouring in the kernels. Most popcorn kernels have butter and oil on them, so make sure to scrape out all the extra butter that you can from the sides of the bag.

Pay Attention to the Popcorn’s Popping Sound

You should be able to hear the kernels popping like you would whenever you place the bag into the microwave. The cadence of the kernels will slow down as more and more kernels are popped, and you can shake the pot to turn over any kernels that might be unpopped.

Once the popping has slowed down, then you can take the popcorn off the burner and pour it into a bowl.

Add More Flavor to the Popcorn

If you have dry kernels or just want extra butter, you can stir in butter to the popped popcorn as well. The extra butter will melt, and then you can have a perfect snack for yourself! If you don’t like extra butter, you can easily add chocolate, caramel, or salt to the popped popcorn, and it will taste just how you like it!

What if You Burn Your Popcorn?

No one likes the smell of burned popcorn, and while it’s pretty easy to avoid in the microwave by hitting the correct settings, it can be much harder to judge if your popcorn is burned on the stove.

For most stoves, medium-high heat on your burner can be enough to cause the kernels to pop. Some kernels won’t pop, no matter how much they’re heated, just like in the microwave.

Remove your popcorn from the heat if you do burn it. You’ll know your popcorn is burned if you smell a strong burnt odor. Pour the popcorn into a bowl and look over it. Chances are, not every single kernel has burned, and you can salvage it.

Still, figure out what caused your popcorn to burn, and then learn from it. After a few missteps, you’ll be able to make a perfect pot of popcorn without any burning!

Customize Your Stovetop Popcorn Using Different Ingredients

Stovetop popcorn might be seen as a second choice if you don’t have access to a microwave, but it can be your first choice if you like having customized popcorn dishes. You can easily prepare a custom dish using stovetop popcorn if you like making cheesy popcorn, spicy popcorn, or popcorn with other foods.

Plus, rather than putting your items on top of the kernels, you can mix the ingredients inside of the raw kernels to intensify the flavor.

For a sweet mix, along with any extra oil or butter, you can place sugar and cinnamon into the pot before you start popping. If you want to go savory, using olive oil and garlic powder can also help. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it with your flavors, and you’ll get the perfect mix.

Of course, you can also wait to put things like caramel drizzles and chocolate sauce on top of the freshly popped popcorn. Or you can make trail mix items by mixing in dried fruit, pretzel sticks, and pieces of candy. The sky’s the limit with stovetop popcorn, and you’ll never run out of flavors!

Is Stovetop Popcorn Better Than Microwave Popcorn?

What if you have a microwave? Should you stick to using microwave popcorn bags or tear them open and pour them onto the pot? Is there even any difference between the different ways to make popcorn? Well, that’s a matter of opinion.

Stovetop popcorn is better than microwave popcorn because it gives you far fewer unpopped kernels than the microwave does. That said, consider cooking your popcorn on the stove if you want to get the most out of every single kernel.

Cooking popcorn on the stove might take a bit longer, but you’ll be getting more popped kernels per bag!

Additionally, the popcorn done at the movie theaters (which is arguably much better quality than anything you can make at home) is popped in a popper, very similar to a stovetop.

Do You Need a Popcorn Popper or Just a Pot?

You don’t need a popcorn popper for your popcorn, but it’s very nice to have. If you start getting into the world of popcorn on the stovetop, you’ll eventually discover the world of stovetop popcorn poppers. These machines hold several more kernels, allowing you to make more popcorn at once.

In a pinch, or if you’re traveling, then a pot will do just fine to have you make your stovetop popcorn. So the popcorn popper is a great accessory but not a necessity. However, if you are making popcorn for a large crowd or have regular movie nights, then invest in a popcorn popper to make even more!

Final Thoughts

It’s very easy to make microwave popcorn on the stovetop, and whether you have a microwave and choose not to use it, or you need to make it on the stovetop out of necessity, you just need to follow the steps. You’ll get perfect popcorn every single time.

Just make sure to use the right sized pot, and keep your nose ready to identify if the popcorn is starting to burn. Once you have a good bowl full, you can customize your popcorn to your heart’s content and get the perfect snack for your next movie night!