March 5th, 2012

How to Make Perfect Popcorn

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How to Make Perfect Popcorn Groovy Green Livin

When we are searching for a healthy snack popcorn is often the answer. It’s a longstanding favorite in our home. Over the years I’ve tried every way imaginable to make it: in an air popper, in the microwave and on the stove top.  My love for microwave popcorn didn’t last long once I learned about the toxic chemicals that are released once the bag is heated.  The air popper worked well until we lost the top. I’m seriously baffled by this one.  Socks are lost daily, but the top of an air popper?

I wasn’t willing to give up my popcorn fix so I was forced to revert back to old fashioned popcorn on the stove top and it doesn’t disappoint. After several attempts and a few (hundred) burnt kernels I think I have it down pat.

Popcorn is one of those foods that should be cooked in an oil with a high smoke point. I’ve turned to my new favorite oil for the job: coconut oil.

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for: my secret recipe for the……..


Organic popcorn in bowl


  • ½ cup organic popcorn
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 4 quart or larger pot with lid
  • Seasoning of choice


  1. Place coconut oil in pot along with 2-3 popcorn kernels.
  2. Cover the pot and heat the oil and few kernels on medium heat.
  3. Once the few kernels have popped add the remainder of the popcorn and place the lid back on the pot.
  4. After the kernels have been added remove the pot from the heat for about 30 seconds (a trick I learned from Simply Recipes).  Then return the pot to the heat.
  5. Shake the pot gently every 30 seconds to prevent the kernels from sticking and burning.
  6. Turn the heat off when there are a few seconds between pops. If you are using an electric stove top, move the pot to a different burner.
  7. Add your favorite topping. My favorite toppings are nutritional yeast and coarse sea salt.

Popcorn is dairy, gluten and nut free (provided you don’t use peanut oil).

What are your favorite popcorn toppings?

Have you used a Whirley-Pop ?

[Photos used under creative commons from Andrew Rivitt, Aspaonline/Flickr]

Amazon link included in this post. If you order through the link it will place a few pennies in my pocket. Thanks!


Linked up with: The Greenbacks Gal, I Thought I Knew Mama







38 Responses to “How to Make Perfect Popcorn”

  1. Great idea! I have an old school popcorn machine, but if and when it dies this is a great alternative instead of buying a new one! I am not a fan of the microwave, so even doing it the brown bag way doesn’t seem appealing to me. 🙂 🙂

  2. I use a Whirley Pop. You spin the handle instead of shaking the pot. It’s lots of fun, and you don’t waste any kernels.

  3. I have been making it on the stove top for several years now because once I tried it that way I couldn’t eat it any other way (well, except for popcorn from the movie theater, and I definitely do not want to know what is in that).

    I have to listen very closely for those first few kernels to pop becuase I did burn it once and I do not want to repeat that incident!

  4. Mmmm! I love popcorn but won’t use a microwave. The “old fashioned” way works best for us. I’ve never tried it with coconut oil … bet it tastes great! 🙂

  5. I think I must make popcorn the lazy way. I put the kernels and oil in, set on medium, and remove when the popping slows. A few pieces on the bottom get a little toasty, but otherwise it works great! I’ve also made kettle corn on the stove (add the sugar at the beginning, shake every few seconds while popping). Tastier than microwaved popcorn any day.

  6. What type of old school popper do you have Stephanie? Does it go on the stove top? I’m not a fan of microwave popcorn either-in any type of bag!

  7. Hi Therese! What’s a Whirley Pop? I’m getting a popcorn popper education from this post!

  8. Hi Marsha, you definitely don’t want to know what’s in movie popcorn! That’s my problem too-I start to do other things and forget about the popcorn. There’s the reason for so many burnt kernels!

  9. I love your kettle corn idea Jennifer. My oldest so LOVES kettle corn. We’ll have to give it a try.

  10. Lori: you guys NEED one. Its really fun to use, and very easy. I add 3 teaspoons of olive oil and about 3/4 cup of popcorn. I heat it on medium/low and start twirling the handle once it begins popping. There are rarely unpopped kernals, and you can pour the popcorn out easily.

  11. I’m a purist with popcorn and do like just salt and butter on mine. I melt 1/2 butter and 1/2 coconut oil for a lighter topping. We’ve been making this similar recipe for years. I just use one of my largest pans on the stove top. I found the thicker more insulated bottoms are more forgiving with the heat. Thinner pans will heat quicker and are more likely to burn the kernals. Once you find a good pan from your kitchen that works, you’ll never eat popcorn any other way, a really wholesome treat! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  12. I gave up microwave popcorn a LONG time ago…but never tried making it on the stove until last week. I also used coconut oil and it was AMAZING! Microwave popcorn, eat your heart out!

  13. Oh I love popcorn and we pop ours on the stove this way. We have never tried it with coconut oil. That sounds wonderful!!

  14. Hi Susan, I never thought to put coconut oil on the top of the popcorn. I’ll have to give it a try. I think you’re right-any size pan (provided it’s large enough) will work. Enjoy your popcorn!

  15. Hi Elisabeth, I’m with you-stove top popcorn is way better than microwave! The coconut oil adds a whole new flare. Enjoy!

  16. OK-I’m convinced Therese. I’ll have to check it out. Maybe you can make me some??

  17. Coconut oil is delicious! Enjoy your popcorn.

  18. I make it on the stove all the time, too! I pop it in a little canola, but macadamia nut oil is also to die for. It tastes surprisingly like butter.

  19. Was watching Chronicle last night and they did a story on a local company called Quinn Popcorn. They are making organic microwave popcorn and they have created a special bag that does not emit all the chemicals etc when heated in the microwave. Check it out.

  20. thanks for the recipe…but I have to tell you that if your genetics dictate concern for artery blockage COCONUT OIL(and all tropical oils) are actually THE WORST for you. the American Heart Association and Pritikin say that “Coconut oil is 92% saturated, making it more saturated than butter, beef tallow, or even lard. Palm oil, though it contain less saturated fat (50%), is full of a type of saturated fat, palmitic acid, which appears to be most conducive to heart disease.” I Know…it’s always something, isn’t it!?

  21. Lori-I can bring the Whirley Pop up to Park City and we can give it a try.

    Jennifer-What is the best oil to use (I currently use olive)?
    Thanks for all the recipes everyone!

  22. Never thought to use macadamia nut oil Sarah. I’ll have to give it a try.

  23. Let me know what you think of the coconut oil Alicia. It has a different flavor-but it’s delicious!

  24. I’ll have to check them out Regina. I’ve also seen people use a plain brown paper bag in the microwave-no oil, just popcorn. It works.

  25. Hi Jen, Yes coconut oil is full of saturated fat. Here’s an interesting article in the New York Times about why the “fat” in coconut oil might not be as bad as we once thought.

    Let me know if this changes your mind about coconut oil!

  26. Therese-did you see my link to my article about different oils? Here it is again. Read through the comments to for other suggestions.

  27. I will have to take a picture and show you. Nope not stove top! 🙂 🙂

  28. OK Stephanie-need to see a photo!

  29. I am a HUGE fan of popcorn and we always make it with coconut oil in the Whirley Pop pot. It’s such a delicious, healthy snack!

    Thanks for linking up at the Green & Natural Mamas Bloghop! Pinning this to my new bloghop Pinterest board too 🙂

  30. I think I need a Whirley Pop Charise. So many people suggested them in the comments! Thanks for having your Green and Natural Mamas bloghop!

  31. Hi Lori! I’m finally catching up to nearly a whole month’s worth of your blog posts! Better late than never, I hope.

    Usually salt and pepper is enough, but sometimes I like adding some heat with chili powder! I’m addicted to spicy food, what can I say. 🙂

  32. My daughter gave me a Whirley Pop for Christmas. I had wanted the Stir Crazy popper but, rather than hurt my daughter’s feelings (she’s 18) by returning the Whirley Pop, I decided to read some reviews on it first. After reading all of the positive reviews on Amazon, I decided to give it a try and I am so happy that I did…I LOVE IT!! Part of the fun is that it’s interactive. I actually used it for the second time tonight. I use 1 tbsp. coconut oil and 1/2 cup of organic popcorn that I get out of the bulk bin at Whole Foods, sprinkle some sea salt on it once it’s poppped, and it is delicious. My husband, who is not a fan of coconut oil, loves it…the oil actually makes it taste kind of buttery. There are hardly any unpopped kernels when we get to the bottom of the bowl. I also want to try making it using olive oil and then sprinkling parmesan cheese on it after it’s popped. I highly recommend the Whirley Pop!!

  33. […] your popcorn the old fashioned way-in a pot with some salt and oil. Another solution is to invest in an air popper for a low-calorie, […]

  34. […] Topping: enjoy some freshly popped organic popcorn as a snack and toss with coconut oil as a topping instead of […]

  35. […] enjoy some freshly popped organic popcorn as a snack and toss with coconut oil as a topping (read more here) instead of […]

  36. Just found this recipe!! It’s so good! I made mine in my enamel covered cast iron dutch over and it was great! It also didn’t stick at all really. Only a couple burned kernels!

  37. […] crops were genetically modified back in 2011. I use my Whirley-Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper to make perfect popcorn. *Update: It was just pointed out to me that  popcorn comes from a different seed than corn on […]

  38. […] Perfect Popcorn (Groovy Green Livin) […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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