Delicious, crisp, popcorn perfection! Stovetop popcorn is easier than you may think and will give you a bounty of this favorite treat. In addition to being super easy and cost-efficient to make, stovetop popcorn is so tasty and easily made with just a couple of ingredients! When making it on the stovetop (vs. a bag of popcorn in the microwave), you also have the ability to adjust portion size and season however you like!
Is popcorn healthy?
Popcorn, especially when popped on the stovetop, can absolutely be a healthy snack! Popcorn is rich in fiber and low in fat, so if that’s something you’re targeting, it’s a great snack for you!
Is stovetop popcorn healthier than microwave and movie theater popcorn?
Stovetop popcorn is definitely healthier than microwave and movie theater popcorn. For a basic popcorn, you just need two ingredients (the popcorn kernels and oil/ghee), making for a super clean snack. Microwave and movie theater popcorn are usually made with artificial ingredients and flavors for taste and color and use lower quality oils.
|Stovetop Popcorn||Microwave Popcorn|
|Made with olive oil, ghee, coconut oil, or avocado oil||Made with palm oil|
|Popped on the stove in a sturdy pan with a lid||Popped in a bag in the microwave|
|Flavored with whatever seasoning you have on hand at home||Flavored with artificial ingredients and “natural” flavors|
The ingredients for the perfect stovetop popcorn are simple! All you need are:
- Olive Oil/Ghee – 2 tablespoons of olive oil or ghee heated in the bottom of a pot will get your kernels to popped perfection.
- Popcorn Kernels – into the olive oil or ghee, you’ll add a ½ cup of popcorn kernels to make your tasty snack!
There is not much by way of modification for the popcorn kernels, but you can certainly change up the flavor profile of your popcorn. Here are some ideas:
- Use a different fat: use coconut oil or avocado oil in place of the olive oil or ghee. You’ll just want a fat that has a high smoke point.
- Use a different type of popcorn kernel: instead of the traditional yellow popcorn kernel, try white, red, or blue popcorn kernels.
- Add seasoning: sprinkle seasoning (or even parmesan cheese) over your popped popcorn for a more flavorful treat!
Popcorn Topping Suggestions
There are SO many fun toppings you can add to your popcorn! Here are some ideas:
- Add seasoning: sprinkle with your favorite spices (cayenne pepper, chili flakes, and garlic salt are some favorites).
- Drizzle melted butter: melt butter and toss your popped popcorn in the butter for the ultimate buttery popcorn! Get really creative and add garlic and herbs to your butter before tossing it with your popcorn.
- Top with cheese: use a microplane and grate parmesan or asiago on top of your finished popcorn. Nutritional yeast is also great for a non-dairy cheesy flavor!
- Make it sweet: dust your hot popcorn with some cinnamon and coconut sugar for a sweet treat.
How to Make Popcorn on the Stove
To make your stovetop popcorn, you just have to follow a few simple steps!
- Melt the fat – melt two tablespoons of ghee (or warm two tablespoons of olive oil) in a pot with a matching lid over high heat on the stove.
- Add a few kernels, test the oil, then add the rest – once the ghee or oil is hot, add 2-3 popcorn kernels to the pot (this will help you gauge the temperature and let you know whether the ghee/oil is hot enough). Once the kernels pop, add the rest of the popcorn, put the lid on the pot, and remove the pot from the heat for 30 seconds.
- Pop – put the pot back on the heat and once the kernels start popping, give the pot a gentle shake. Then listen!
- Remove the pot from heat – once the popping slows to one pop every 3 seconds, remove the pot from the heat.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of oil should I use?
Since you’re cooking popcorn on the stove at a high temperature, you’ll want to use an oil with a fairly high smoke point (350℉ or above). I personally prefer to use minimally processed oil, such as coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado oil. Ghee (one of the options in this recipe) also makes for a tasty popcorn. Bacon fat or pork lard would make for a really decadent popcorn!
What kind of pan should I use?
You can use pretty much any type of pan to make stovetop popcorn, just make sure it is large enough to allow for the increase in volume once the popcorn starts popping! You’ll also want to make sure the pan has a tightly fitting lid and isn’t too heavy for you to gently shake to distribute the kernels while they’re popping.
Do I put the oil on the pan before cooking, or on top of the popcorn after?
The oil heads into the pan before cooking your popcorn. Preheating the oil in the pan is what cooks the popcorn and gives the kernels and even coating of fat. If you want your popcorn to have an even richer taste, feel free to add melted ghee or butter over the bowl of finished popcorn before diving in.
Do I need to shake the pan the whole time?
You don’t need to shake the pan the whole time. You’ll shake it once when the kernels start popping, but that’s in.
What is the difference between stovetop and air-popped popcorn?
Air-popped popcorn is made using hot air and no added fat (oil/ghee), while stovetop popcorn uses a small amount of fat (usually only 1-2 tablespoons) and is heated on the stove. While both make for a tasty, healthy snack, I think that stovetop popcorn is much more flavorful and fulfilling since it has the added healthy fat content.
More Favorite Snack Recipes
- Chili Lime Plantain Chips
- Spiced Seed Chips
- Spicy Roasted Cashews
- Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Dates
- Salted Chocolate Freezer Bark
Perfect Stovetop Popcorn Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
- ½ cup popcorn kernels
- Melt two tablespoons of ghee (or warm two tablespoons of olive oil) in a pot with a matching lid over high heat on the stove.
- Once the ghee or oil is hot, add 2-3 popcorn kernels to the pot (this will help you gauge the temperature and let you know that the ghee/oil is hot enough). Once the kernels pop, add the rest of the popcorn, put the lid on the pot, and remove the pot from the heat for 30 seconds.
- Put the pot back on the heat and once the kernels start popping, give the pot a gentle shake. Then listen!
- Once the popping slows to one pop every 3 seconds, remove the pot from the heat.