How to Microwave Gourmet Popcorn in a Brown Paper Bag

Peeeeee-yew! I’m done with the stinky stench of microwave popcorn. Actually, I haven’t popped a single bag of that toxic smelling stuff in years since I hate the thought of being swindled by a stank bag of greasy kernels. That’s right people, I’m calling foul on microwave popcorn since it’s a reeking wallet rip off.

Doing the mathy math, microwave popcorn costs around $22.65 for 12 boxes with 3 packets per box (source Amazon) — that’s an eye-popping $3.53 per pound!

healthy snacks popcorn

Sure, you may think you’re paying all that delicious cash for a magic metal-lined bag that pops better kernels and cooks your corn more evenly. But think again. I can do the same popping magic trick with a cheapo plain brown paper bag. And at a tasty 50 cents per pound, plain popcorn kernels bought in bulk cost FAR less than that slimy packaged stuff.

Now let me pop the big question: have you ever recycled your leftover microwave popcorn bags? I cringe to think how much of this product graces our landfills, all in the name of snack food. But no fear, by switching your home movie snacking habit using this frugal trick, you can compost or recycle your used brown paper bags and create no waste. See How To Compost Without Raising a Stink for easy composting help.

Speaking of waist, do you know how many calories are contained in those popcorn flavor packets? What about the ingredients? Here’s the ingredient list from the Act II popcorn page on Amazon. Note: I couldn’t find this information on the company’s website.

Act II Popcorn Ingredients: Popcorn, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Annatto Color. Contains: Fish, Milk

Fish? Milk? In my popcorn? Um, no thanks. I’ll skip the hydrogenated oil, fish, and milk additives in my snacks by sticking to my frugalicious and homemade popcorn version. Here’s how to make Microwave Popcorn in a Brown Paper Bag:

Step One: Get a brown paper bag

This is ridiculously easy, internet people. Just head on over to your local grocery store and pickup a package of no name flat-bottomed brown paper lunch bags.

brown paper bag

I nabbed a package of 100 brown bags for around $2, on sale.

Step Two: Bag your popcorn

Add a 1/2 cup scoop of bulk popcorn kernels to your brown paper bag.

how to make popcorn

Fold the bag over twice. Don’t use staples to secure the bag — this might spark in your microwave.

popcorn recipe

This is so exciting. I’m popping with excitement.

Step Three: Pop in microwave

Stick the popcorn bag into your microwave. I set mine for 3 minutes on high.

microwave popcorn healthy snacks

gourmet popcorn recipe

Popping Tip: Stop the microwave when the popping slows to one to two pops per second. You don’t want to burn your tasty snack.

Step Four: Add gourmet topping

A pinch of salt with a dab of butter is the most popular way to eat popcorn.

gourmet popcorn

But why not get creative and try some sweet or savory flavors to mix up movie night?

Try these toppings for some gourmet popcorn fun:

  • Mexican: Add chili powder, hot sauce, and salt.
  • Kiss My Breath: Shake in onion powder and garlic powder — hold the kiss.
  • Cheese Please: Mix in Parmesan cheese with a little salt.
  • Sweet Tooth: A dash of cinnamon, a sprinkle of sugar, and a topper of honey. Now that’s money.
  • Classic: A shake of salt with a pat of butter.


Squawkfox: How do YOU make popcorn? Got a favorite gourmet popcorn topping to share?

Your two cents:

  1. beth July 27th, 2010

    try butter, salt and nutritional yeast. very high in vitamin b. tastes like powdered cheese. in a good way.

  2. Promod Sharma | @riscario July 27th, 2010

    What an interesting idea, Kerry.

    We use a microwave popcorn bowl instead. This works very well and uses no paper or oils. You can pop 1/4 to 1/3 cup at a time depending on the type of popcorn.

    We buy our kernels directly from an organic popcorn farm (see blog post Our favourite is Ruby Red. It’s dark red on the outside, snow white inside and delicious. It’s time to get more … but hard to rationalize that an eight hour round trip drive saves us money.

  3. Bronwyn July 27th, 2010

    Inexpensive seasoning packets also work great: spaghetti sauce mix, taco seasoning, etc. It doesn’t take much to add a some good flavor!

  4. Jason Hanley July 27th, 2010

    Please add a warning about not leaving the microwave unattended!

    People are always letting microwave popcorn burn, and the smoke stinks up a place forever! :P

  5. Anita July 27th, 2010

    I have never tried this, because I thought maybe the brown bag might burn! I am going to have to give it a test! I love popcorn!

  6. puerhan July 28th, 2010

    My 2c – I’d ditch the microwave along with the microwave popcorn. Go for *real food* by cooking it the traditional way in a pan on the hob. :-)

  7. Kristine July 28th, 2010

    I can’t believe how ridiculously easy that is.I will definitely try that out and maybe finally cure myself of my movie popcorn habit. I hate myself just a little every time I succumb to movie popcorn and spend more on it than I would on lunch.Thanks for the tip!

  8. beth July 28th, 2010

    I’ve been doing this for years. I’ve found that 1/2 cup overflows: 1/4 fills my regular lunch bag brimming. The fumes from the store micro bags is toxic, dangerous to your lungs.

  9. Ruth July 28th, 2010

    Thanks, Kerry. Once again, you posted a blog that was just
    what I needed. In the quest for something healthy for a light snack(this, by definition, rules out any packaged crap from the industrial food folks), I was thinking about air-popped popcorn. Unfortunately, I have no clue where my air-popper is. But no problem, you have given me the very information I needed to deal with a popcorn craving in a healthy way. Thanks, girlfriend!

  10. Brian Lang July 28th, 2010

    I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now. Very cheap and tasty. I use 1/4 cup of popcorn for one person and I melt about 1/8th of a cup of margarine to drizzle over it and then add some salt. I worked it out to about $0.25-0.30 per bag fully prepared.
    Note: Microwaves vary – you have to stand by it and wait or you WILL burn your popcorn. You’ll learn after a few uses how your microwave works. My microwave at home is an older model (not sure how many watts) that starts burning after about 2:10. My work one starts burning at 1:55. I’ve learned that I can set the microwave to that time and get the margarine ready for the microwave while the popcorn pops.

  11. Rachelle July 28th, 2010

    I prefer a saucepan with a little oil. Either way, I find the tastiest way to dress it is:

    - a few spritzes of extra-virgin olive oil from a pump sprayer
    - powdered salt (sticks better, just grind regular salt in coffee grinder)
    - nutritional yeast (my meat-eating hubby thinks this stuff is magic!)

  12. Doug L. July 28th, 2010

    Butter, Sugar and Cinnamon for me!

  13. marci357 July 28th, 2010

    After it cools, use one of those butter spray bottles,
    like I can’t believe it’s not butter spray…. Lots of flavor for very little calories… if you worry about that.

    Personally – I like it the old fashioned way – in a large lidded sauce pan in oil, then melted butter and salt on top!

    But…. that cinnamon sugar one sure sounds good!
    or some cheese powder :)

  14. Susie July 28th, 2010

    I line my paper bag with parchment paper, put in the popcorn and a small dab of margarine. The parchment stops it from leaking (the bag will still end up with some marg on it). Works great, the margarine disperses evenly throughout the popcorn. Then add salt or other seasonings.
    The parchment paper is very cheap at Costco and you don’t need much, just enough to line the bottom and up the sides a bit.

  15. Kerry July 28th, 2010

    Just got an email from Joan. She says, “Sometimes I spray the popcorn with “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” spray and THEN sprinkle the garlic powder, etc. This would be less calories than butter.”

  16. Perry July 29th, 2010

    Great idea. I like the control you have in making only what you want and adding only the flavors you want. Sadly for my hips, I like butter best.

  17. Sandra July 30th, 2010

    Curry powder is great too!

  18. Jill August 3rd, 2010

    I’ve done this for years now.
    AND, I don’t pay for bags. I re-use the paperbags I occasionally get bulk products in at my food co-op (when i forget a container and really need dry beans or something).
    One bag works for about 2 dozen popping events. So you can even buy the bulk popcorn in a paper bag, put in a jar when you get home and use the bag for popping. Closed system if you compost the bag when you’re done (the worms in my vermicomposter like the paper bags)

    I like it with some bragg’s liquid aminos and nutritional yeast or just fresh cracked pepper.

  19. Katie Mae August 5th, 2010

    I have use an air popper for the past few years, and I’m in the butter spray and sprinkle of salt camp. Faster and easier than melted butter, although probably not as healthy since it’s fake. For a treat, I add Parmesan and garlic salt. Mmm, popcorn is one of my favorite snacks! I think I’ll make some now…

  20. David August 6th, 2010

    I gave this a shot, and it worked as advertised.

    A few issues though. I bought cheap, store-brand kernels. The first try, about one-third of the kernels didn’t pop. If I leave the bag in longer, more kernels pop, but the ones that popped first burn.

    So, if you’re going to use this technique, don’t cheap-out on the kernels. If you want to buy cheap kernels, use an air popper: it’s practically impossible to burn the popcorn.

  21. Debbie V. August 7th, 2010

    I’m trying this tonight – thank you so much.
    I have a never-ending supply of brown paper lunch bags as my mom and dad (both 86 years old) get 2 of these every day with their Meals on Wheels. I was starting to get quite a collection.

  22. Fred August 7th, 2010

    For those of you having problems burning the popcorn in the microwave before all the kernels are popped…

    My Mom showed me this trick. I invert a saucer (like you’d set a coffee cup on) in the microwave and put the bag on top of it. I don’t know why this works but it does. It seems only certain microwave ovens burn prematurely – I’ve only ever had one that burned the kernels before they were all done and the inverted saucer fixed the problem.

  23. Cassandra August 7th, 2010

    Drizzling some tamari on popcorn is a great replacement for salt & butter. And it makes a fun sizzle :)

  24. Talley August 7th, 2010

    a fantastic tip.
    we love to top our paper-bag popcorn with a little truffle oil, olive oil, salt and pepper.

  25. Peter August 7th, 2010

    I gave it a try with white paper bags: that works for me, too!

  26. Harry August 7th, 2010

    For a Chesapeake Bay evening – try Old Bay seasoning – they even have a lower sodium version – and the spray butter if you like

  27. Marc August 7th, 2010

    This is a great suggestion! While I have an air popper this is actually easier than pulling it out and making a mess of a bowl.

  28. Clinton August 7th, 2010

    Just a tip… Our microwave is large and one of the more powerful ones and continually burned popcorn.

    To fix it, we stopped putting the popcorn in the center and put it on the side. I assume this more even distributed the microwave heating.

  29. Countervail August 7th, 2010

    I saw a poster on YouTube explain that with bagged popcorn, you get a better popped kernel ratio on older microwave when you preheat the microwave by running a glass of water in your microwave first. I never even knew that was such a thing to consider. So for the people having issues with scorched kernels you may try this. I’m going to try it with a glass pyrex bowl and some oil. Another tip in my set up was that you preheat the oil with a few kernels as testers and then put in your full amount when those pop.

    Happy popping!

  30. Stuart August 7th, 2010

    I do this all the time. I also use staples. It isn’t a problem. They don’t spark.

  31. Michelle@MixedMediaArt August 7th, 2010

    Now I’m really hungry! Thanks for the brown bag in microwave tip. We use a popcorn-popper, which is also very economical (use you’ve purchased the appliance)

  32. Amy August 8th, 2010

    Chocolate Popcorn! (I learned this from my ex, who had a sweet tooth.) Mix oil & sugar & coco powder in skillet. Add corn & pop!

  33. Paula August 8th, 2010

    The absolutely best way to pop corn is this method, the way my mother and grandmother did it:

    Take a large stockpot with a lid, something you’d make a chili for a crowd in. Pour enough plain vegetable oil over the bottom to coat, no more. Pour in enough corn kernels to cover the bottom. Shake to coat with oil. Put the lid on. Put the pot on a burner, turn the flame to medium high.

    Shake occasionally. Listen for the popping to slow, until you’re hearing only a few pops every now and then. Remove from the heat, carefully remove the lid. Pour into big bowls. Sprinkle with kosher salt if desire, add melted butter if desired. We usually don’t add butter because there is enough flavor from the popping oil. Enjoy!

  34. Brandon Cole August 8th, 2010

    Another great way to add some flavor to it is a little bacon grease and salt. It is quite good. I also love grated parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and some olive oil, maybe a little salt if the parmesan cheese is not salty enough.

  35. Danny August 8th, 2010

    I wish I had known about this in college! I first learned about this in one of Alton Brown’s books a couple months ago. He explains that it’s okay to use a couple staples (as long as they’re not right next to each other), because they have such a small size and mass, they’re actually smaller than the microwaves cooking the popcorn. You just need to make sure you have a turntable microwave, and that the staples don’t touch the sides of the nuke box. But hey, if you don’t have to use staples, I’m all for that too!

  36. Ian August 8th, 2010

    I’ll have to try the paper bag method.

    As far as adding after popping, I use powdered Parmesan, grind some Black Peppercorns, a healthy dash of Curry Powder and if needed (when not adding the Parmesan) the piece de resistance is the Salt from McDonald’s. Grab a few packets when you are there or passing by. It is incredibly fine salt, so it sprinkles beautifully for popcorn!

  37. Ken August 8th, 2010

    To keep the bag closed I fold the top and punch a couple of holes an inch or so apart and thread a tooth pic through them. Bigger cocktail type pics work best. I use a hand-held single hole paper punch since puncturing my finger with a knife!

  38. nancy August 8th, 2010

    when microwaves first came out there was no bags of microwave popcorn. this is how i first made popcorn in the microwave. way back in the 80′s. i still prefer the tate but i have a microwave popcron bowl now. i ad the butter and kernals together and pop. add salt and yummy.

  39. Brian August 8th, 2010

    I coat the kernels with Tabasco before cooking.

  40. Parris August 8th, 2010

    I make my popcorn on the stove, so as far as frugality goes, I save on the bags. My favourite topping is Cavender’s all purpose Greek seasoning. It’s a very fine seasoning that latches on to the popcorn without butter. But, I go for the sugar sometimes as well

  41. Richie August 8th, 2010

    Nice to see a solution to why all my kernels weren’t popping, when using the microwave bag method!

    Still like the oil in saucepan method. Don’t need butter, just a little salt. The olive oil does the rest!

  42. Sami August 8th, 2010

    That’s what I call “If you doing something, Do it Right! and that’s DONE IT” ;)

  43. Mi-lorCasualOutdoorFurniture August 9th, 2010

    Popcorn with olive oil is healthy too

  44. Betsy August 9th, 2010

    As an advocate for stove top popcorn and it’s deliciousness, this too sounds wonderful compared to the dreaded Act II. For more topping ideas consider:

    Buttermilk Ranch mix packets
    Mac n Cheese cheese powder packet (my family did this when we had O.D.’d on mac n cheese for the time and really just didn’t mind the noodles with other things)
    Don’t forget that a solid carmel popcorn trick is always an option. I prefer my Grandpa’s secret family recipe of course.

    …I think I might have to try the parmesan trick.

  45. momo August 9th, 2010

    Popcorn with curry powder & maple syrup — pure win.

  46. Christina August 9th, 2010

    Thanks! I’ll have to try this! We uaually make ours on the stove-top w/ a whirly pop. We’ve added old bay seasoning to after popping–awesome w/ beer! Sometimes we cook up fresh garlic and rosemary in olive oil and use that to whirly pop the popcorn.

  47. Diane August 9th, 2010

    How much is 1/2 a scoop? 2 tablespoons perhaps?

  48. Mike August 9th, 2010

    This way looks handy for some situations but I prefer using a sauce pan and coconut oil to get good flavor.

    When it’s done popping I put the stove on “Low” and drizzle butter while shaking the sauce pan back and forth to mix around the popcorn. This way I get a good amount of butter without soggy popcorn.

  49. Eustace August 9th, 2010


  50. JoeTaxpayer August 9th, 2010

    Looks like you missed one key step; Sneak this into the movie theater. I don’t know what I’m more excited about saving, the calories or the $5.

  51. BadOedipus August 9th, 2010

    One reason kernels don’t pop is because they don’t contain enough water to produce the steam required to get them to pop. My dad showed me a long time ago that if you soak your kernels in a bowl of water for a few minutes before you begin popping that you’ll get a much better pop corn to kernel ratio.

  52. Todd August 9th, 2010

    Did this years ago before microwave popcorn was in the stores. This was one of the first tricks we tried when we got a new microwave. Another cool thing to do is “roasting” marshmallows in the MW. They puff up nice. This is a rainy day treat when the campfire wont start.

  53. fourdot00 August 9th, 2010

    Yeah, so I kinda Effed this one up. I guess I left in there for too long and it started to burn, then it caught on fire in the microwave. Luckily I was standing right there and was able to grab the bag and throw it in the sink and put it out. It was going on about 2:30 when it caught. Be care guys =]

  54. Luis August 10th, 2010

    To get rid of the burnt stench of the microwave, just boil lemon.
    If you’re more patient, boil cinnamon.

  55. Scott August 10th, 2010

    Love your idea! I guess I’m a classic popcorn kind of guy. I do remember seeing a seasoning salt in the movie theater snack bar once. I think I paid $5.00 once for a large popcorn. Too bad I can’t bring my own microwave popcorn into the movies.

  56. Kerry August 11th, 2010

    @danielle OK, that sounds delicious. :)

  57. Gene August 11th, 2010

    I pop my popcorn in a pan and use a little oil and pour some Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning in the bottom and then add the popcorn and this way it is cooked in.
    This way makes the popcorn have a little zing to it!

  58. Ned Bush August 11th, 2010

    Worked pretty well for me, though I found that 1/2 cup was too much for my bag. For the paper lunch bags I have, a scant 1/4 cup worked better. I liked a mix of butter flavored popcorn salt and smoked paprika on top.

  59. Ralph August 11th, 2010

    Problem is…All the chemicals required to turn wood into pulp to make these bags…Brown bags like these are for utilitarian use and not meant for food cooking unless you enjoy a little mercury or heavy metal additives with your popcorn…And adding butter or margarine to the bags only helps to leach out the chemmies…Please visit a pulp mill sometime, I work at one, and you won’t want to blow your nose with a tissue…

  60. Ben August 11th, 2010

    I love my jiffy pop, the oil used for popping replaces any butter I would normally use so I just add salt. Also Microwave popcorn is dangerous and causes a disease known as popcorn lung. Just making the popcorn at an average rate won’t have you get it, but the people who work in the factories making it. Dunno how true that is, but it makes sense (mainly because EVERYTHING can cause cancer these days lol).

  61. jb in indiana August 12th, 2010

    I never liked that smug look on Orville Redenbacher’s face anyway!

    Great article thanks for the tip.

  62. Mamalyn August 12th, 2010

    We buy the popcorn kernels while still on the cob. We put one cob in a paper bag, fold the top of the bag a couple of times and set the microwave for 3 min. Most of the kernels pop off the cob but it also leaves a few so that we can put the cobs out for birds and squirrels.

    I have read that regular microwave popcorn has toxins in it-No thanks, I’ll this with squakfoxes’ or my way.

  63. Jennifer August 12th, 2010

    I had saved this in my reader and FINALLY got some paper bags.


    I liked reading through all the variations too. In the end, I made salt and freshly ground pepper popcorn tonight.

    Oh my, be still, my beating heart.

    Thanks for this. My husband has been antsy to get an air popper, and I kept insisting (at his scoffing) that “we can make in paper bags!” :) He had butter and salt tonight.

  64. wiz0floyd August 17th, 2010

    Just fyi, your popcorn has milk in it too. ;)

  65. Kimba August 17th, 2010

    Wonderfully old idea! We line the bag with parchment paper also, and add about 2 TBL of butter and about 3 TBL of finely ground pot for a great movie night! Thanks for the post!

  66. Airaloske August 17th, 2010

    @Kimba: finely ground pot? that sounds quite interesting, actually lol.

  67. Megan August 18th, 2010

    Maple Butter is so delicious on popcorn – and so easy to make – maple syrup, butter and brown sugar. mmmmmmm.

  68. HM August 18th, 2010

    Curry powder is awesome, mix with some olive oil and drizzle all over- more for spicy, less for savory.

  69. Phil E. Drifter August 18th, 2010

    Nice little trick, I may copy this page for some gourmet topping ideas but I have no problem buying 1 lb. bags of unpopped kernels and popping them myself on the oven range, in a pot with a little cooking oil, and of course a lid. The trick is to start everything at room temperature and let the kernels heat up WITH the oil, so when they finally burst they are big fluffy kernels. (I actually considered it sort of a psuedo-scientific experiment.) If you wait too long to add the scoop of kernels (I use those little plastic scoops that come with powdered iced tea mix) then while the exterior of the kernels gets hot enough to pop, the interior ‘meat’ of the kernel isn’t as hot and they ‘barely’ pop.

  70. Phil E. Drifter August 18th, 2010

    By the way, doing them on the stove (with the cheapest dry-kernels I could find, (something like 63ยข/lb, $1.59 for a bag) leaves next to no unpopped kernels.

  71. Derrick August 19th, 2010

    This is an incredible idea. I always thought you needed some sort of oil or fat in order for the kernels to pop! I have been pot on the stove guy for years because I didn’t want the crap in the microwave kind.

    For toppings, I use a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some salt. It’s similar to butter but has a slightly more interesting flavor and is way more healthy.

  72. TurboPunz August 19th, 2010

    I’m not sure exactly what microwave popcorn you were buying, or how you were cooking it, but it never smelled bad to me. It just smelled like popcorn.

    In any case, I’m defiantly going to try this

  73. Frank M August 19th, 2010

    A great variation on the old school pan method, a wok. the sloped sides help insure the unpopped kernels are in the heat. I like adding some cloves of garlic to mine and roast them at the same time the corn pops.

  74. Alena August 19th, 2010

    It is amazing I never thought to look at the ingredients on a bag of popcorn. Thanks for the great idea.

  75. Lauryn August 19th, 2010

    I love this and cant wait to try it, i like to incorporate my flavors with my theme’s. we always have dinner and movie night with company, so if I make a chicken enchilada casserole, we might have magaritas for a cocktail and then make spicy mexican popcorn with a taco seasoning packet or i’ve even put a touch of lime juice and salt on mine, yum. thanks for posting :D

  76. jo August 20th, 2010

    this is a real nifty idea , i use to do it lots.
    though I must add use your own microwave , i did it ages ago when baby stitting AND THE BAG CAUGHT FIRE IN THE MICROWAVE , recycling bags increases the chance this will happen so do not leave it even for a second

  77. Barbara August 20th, 2010

    Why do we call un-popped kernels orphans?
    Because they have no pops.

  78. Ryan August 21st, 2010

    @Barbara Funny!

    I like adding salt to my popcorn. The paper bag trick works very well. Thanks!

  79. Derrick August 21st, 2010

    Ok, so I tried this last night, and it was fantastic! The kernels popped perfectly. Nothing burned, and it tasted so much more light and fresh than the pan on the stove method. Thank you so much for this wonderfully easy idea!

  80. Barbara August 21st, 2010

    I have been living off (and on) popcorn for years. My big meal of the day is lunch, where I ensure the intake of at least 20g of protein plus veggies n fruit. Optimal would be to then skip dinner, but it feels so wrong even though I’m not particularly HUNGRY.
    I satisfy the cultural urge to have “dinner” with air-popped popcorn (made in a slope-sided microwave popping bowl w/lid that I ordered online)with about a TBS of old-school Kraft Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top. Yum. And about 250 calories for a whopping big bowl.
    If I’ve had a bad day I might add a couple tsp of melted butter for a few magical bites. Bliss.

    Another popcorn note: I broke the root (really!) of a front canine tooth last month on an “orphan” (see above) and in the process (still ongoing) of root canal and capping the endodontist said she once had a flight attendant who regularly ate air-popped and cracked the roots of FOURTEEN of her teeth — not all at once, of course, but sheesh! That makes for an expensive snack at $2,000 per tooth (including root canals) not to mention tear-inducing pain.

    I’ve vowed, now, to no longer chomp on the delicious, crunchy hardness of orphans. It’s hard (no pun intended) though — they’re the treat at the bottom of the bowl! :)

  81. JMarra August 22nd, 2010

    I have an air popper, but that heats up the house, so I might try this. It’s the smell of the burning oil in microwave popcorn that really stinks. Burning corn isn’t that bad.

    I use a little olive oil, some nutritional yeast powder, and Veg-It. The BEST. Furry kernels rule.

  82. Barbara August 22nd, 2010

    Goodness (and I mean that in more ways than one) … never heard of “nutritional yeast powder” but I just Googled it and it sounds yummy (and not a well known USA product). Interesting that Wikipedia entry sez it’s used by vegans as a Parmesan substitute. Hmmmm. Sounding a bit more yummy.

    Gotta go pop me some cornz! :)

  83. steve August 24th, 2010

    Why would you want dry popcorn from a microwave when you can have much tastier, fluffier popcorn on the stove top. Use a Whirley Pop (or similar pot) to get vastly superior results to any other method. Here’s the link for info; Now stop using a microwave to cook popcorn, microwaves aren’t good for much and popcorn is the last thing they’re good for, so stop using them.

  84. sunny August 24th, 2010

    season-all salt and sugar

  85. Rox August 24th, 2010

    I LOVE IT,screw the pop corn man this is awesome…..
    NO really this is great thanks for the idea…Rox

  86. Ducktoes August 26th, 2010

    This is delicious. And it is so low calorie and inexpensive.

  87. Katzilla August 26th, 2010

    Erm, the milk in your popcorn is from the butter :

  88. Jeremiah August 26th, 2010

    Greasy paper cannot be recycled, and will ruin an entire batch of recycling if it does indeed get in the mix. Just so you know.

  89. Barbara August 29th, 2010

    Growl n sputtah. Popcorn popped in a bag is greasy ONLY if one adds grease to it in the form of butter or oil. One could use the same bag several times. If one MUST butter, do it in a bowl. (do you really want butter spots on your jammies?)

    … and “whirly pop” or Jiffy Pop as we call it in the States, is chock-full of salt and oils (or faux butter).

    … and popping corn at stovetop in a pot or pan requires oil.

    I’m ALWAYS looking for ways to get a tasty nosh that’s guilt free, and microwave poppin’ rules over those big “air poppers” that spit out tasteless packing materials.

    There, I’m done. :)
    … and OTC popping corn reeks od and drips with chemicals and all sorts of nasties to coat your arteries.

  90. Allison K September 1st, 2010

    This method worked GREAT! I had to lower the amount very slightly so as not to burst the bag like it did the first batch I did … but it turned out great!

  91. Sara September 2nd, 2010

    I always just use a large pot on the stove with some canola oil and the bulk kernels. After the popcorn is done, I melt some butter and honey together in the pot and either toss the popcorn in the mixture or drizzle it on top. Delicious!

  92. erm September 2nd, 2010

    This was a lame and overly wordy situation. I only read it because I thought I was going to learn something. I’m going to dislike on my stumbleupon toolbar, which brought me here in the first place. Do you think you’re clever?

    BTW, bacon popcorn is awesome, and you can’t make it in a paper bag. But I’m not going to share that with you.

    Also, you’re female and about 25. Amirite?

  93. Andrew September 3rd, 2010

    This is great stuff. I never knew about this technique.

    My way of avoiding all the chemicals and all that was to just by the kernels, use a little olive oil, and pop on the stove. They usually come out really tasty, well cooked, and chemical free!

  94. Brian K September 4th, 2010

    Love your idea for the paper bag popcorn / microwave thing. Mine burst into flames at juuuuust past 3 minutes and 30 seconds. To be fair though, there were a number of iffy variables at play in my own effort.

    For starters, I used this weird coloured corn from an ancient jar our young daughter gave us I can’t even remember when, with no name or markings now that I look at it to indicate even its country of origin. For all I know this could be Cuba’s first stab at making popping corn, and they had to smuggle it out disguised as aquarium gravel.

    Ditto that I went with a paper Starbucks gift bag as a means to much greater capacity, since I was excited and imagined I would want lots. I believe it was right at the location where the little rope loop handles attached to the paper part that the first flames shot up.

    Luckily I was standing there, watching the turntable go round and round, and was able to snatch it out of there pretty quick and tried to blow it out as I worked my way across the kitchen, but it would puff out and then re-ignite like those annoying trick birthday candles some clown sneaks onto your cake now and then. I swung open the kitchen door to the deck and tossed the whole works out over the railing down onto our back yard. That really got it going and it started crackling loudly, and still popping now and then.

    It’s summer, and as a coincidence for some reason our British neighbours next door are sleeping outside in a tent. I had to wonder if they thought maybe I was trying to get into the spirit of things with them, starting a crackling little campfire in the middle of my sunburnt lawn. That might have felt awkward for them in there, tucked away in their bags trying to sleep, all the while while wondering if it’s might be a custom of good manners instead to rise and sing traditional songs with us in response to the overture.

    So then as I was watching it all burn conspicuously bright and noisy out there in the dark of my otherwise quiet neighbourhood, wondering vaguely about the dire possibilities an unattended kitchen fire might have presented, I drifted into a brief but intense reflection on my very own mortality, it’s fragility, and the purpose of this Life in the first place.

    So now I’m sitting in the dark in my living room, laptop balanced, eating a nice big bowl of Cranberry Almond Crunch with some banana instead. It’s really good, and kind of comforting.

    Anyway good idea though, thanks; and maybe I’ll try that again sometime!


  95. Kolenya September 6th, 2010

    Taco seasoning and chili powder. But of course lots of butter so the toppings stick. But srsly, I won’t even eat popcorn without taco seasoning. You have to try it.

  96. Miranda September 11th, 2010

    For a college student (who loves popcorn!) this is such an amazing, cheaper alternative to the store bought kind!

    I like using Emerils steak salt, and shredded sharp cheddar cheese in my popcorn concoctions. Melted cheese covered kernels never tasted so gooood.

  97. Mehgan September 12th, 2010

    So I read this last week and decided to buy paper bags and kernals when I went to the store tonight. I was so excited to try this, since I always eat a bag of popcorn before bed and don’t like all of the salt and butter that they add to it (yes, I like mine plain with just a glass of juice by my bed!).

    Well, I tried it tonight without checking back to the instructions. I put a whole cup of kernels in the bag!

    Yeah, whoops.

    It exploded in the microwave. As of right now, I have a ton of kernels in my microwave and on my kitchen floor, but I have a nice bowl of popcorn to write this with :)

  98. Kerry September 12th, 2010

    @Mehgan Oops! Half a cup of kernels is plenty. ;) Love your enthusiasm!

  99. tvet September 14th, 2010

    My friend does this and I was intriqued. I use a microwave safe bowl with little to no butter or oil. Microwave popcorn bags are now falling under scrutiny because of the chemicals that the steam carries with it. Anyway, I was shocked then when I read in Real Simple magazine that brown paper bags should never be used in the microwave. Shocked! Did more research. Never occurred to me to think about what chemicals they use in the production of these bags and that they are not “food safe” for heating! I loved this idea. But did feel the need to share.

    Brown paper bags for cooking

    Here’s what the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says about this practice:

    “Do not use brown paper bags from grocery or other stores for cooking. They are not sanitary, may cause a fire, and can emit toxic fumes. Intense heat may cause a bag to ignite, causing a fire in the oven… . The ink, glue, and recycled materials in paper bags can emit toxic fumes when they are exposed to heat. Instead, use purchased oven cooking bags.”

    USDA also advises, “These bags may not necessarily be sanitary, particularly since they may be stored under a variety of conditions.”

  100. Lori-Anne October 2nd, 2010

    Great. I just came on to report that I finally got my paper bags and was going to indulge in some home made microwaved popcorn. And then I read the comment from tvet and am not so sure… *sigh*

  101. Saver Queen October 5th, 2010

    Ever since I saw Alton Brown do this on his show, I was hooked! But now that I just read the above commentator’s notes about toxicity, I’m questioning it.

    A few things I wanted to add:

    1. You CAN staple the bag – but just two staples, not more (a trick from Alton) – two staples will not cause sparks.

    2. An alternative to the microwave method is just to buy a popcorn popper at a thrift store (where they abound, and often sell for $5 or less). Although the paper bags can be recycled, using a popper creates no waste at all. Based on the above questions around the health/safety of using paper bags, maybe this is a better option anyway.

  102. Liam November 4th, 2010

    Nice – didn’t realize you could microwave your own (of course I can never microwave the stuff anyway)

    We actually use an air popper for ours – makes terrific popcorn and we just use the something-mart house brand air popper (works the best of all we tried and it’s cheap.

    We also use the butter-flavoured canola oil spray to “butter” it – again, the Wal-mart house brand works well and tastes good (Presidents Choice from Loblaws tastes pretty good too, but it’s generally pricier)

  103. danielle November 27th, 2010

    Peanut butter popcorn!
    its a peanut butter caramel for popcorn.

    in saucepan on med/high heat: equal parts karo syrup, peanut butter, and brown sugar. stir constantly until caramel is a smooth even texture immediately pour over popcorn and mix until it evenly coats popcorn. WARNING the caramel gets very hot!

    I like a lot on my popcorn so for every 1/2 cup kernels I pop I use 1/2 cup of each ingredient you can use 1/3 or 1/4 cup per 1/2 cup kernels.

    its delicious! there’s probably a way to make it healthier but I like it just the way it is.

  104. dania December 8th, 2010

    I love this idea and will definitely try it. I’m always looking for new healthy ways cook and make all sorts of goodies. I post them on my site for moms to see. Would love to put your link on my blog, this is a great idea and so easy to make.

  105. Matt December 21st, 2010

    This is the coolest thing ever! When I was a kid doctor put me on a diet. I had to eat air popped popcorn as a result. This seems similar in that there’s no oil?

    I’m going to have to give it a try now… Honestly, I really enjoy your blog. It’s probably my favorite blog of all time :) Fantastically written and very enjoyable to read articles.


  106. Marian January 4th, 2011

    Great! An earlier comment mentioned using nutritional yeast (which really tastes yummy cheezy) instead of parmesan for a healthier treat. I say switch our the butter too and try olive oil or even truffle oil. For salt, I also use sea salt.

  107. Janet January 10th, 2011

    Love this! But you can also throw the kernels and olive oil on the stove in a pan … that way you can “reduce” sans the brown bag instead of recycling.

  108. Flea February 19th, 2011

    I have a stove top popper that I ADORE. Half oil, half butter, pour in and pop. Add salt while pouring into the bowl! The popcorn is always perfect and delicious.

  109. Stephanie May 13th, 2011

    Thank you! I had no idea it was this easy!

  110. mona May 22nd, 2011

    Please people google margarine! It is not good for you AT ALL! Always use butter!

  111. undone June 10th, 2011

    any one remember the microwavable caramel corn? but i am gonna to try Danielle’s peanut butter version!
    as far as toxins in the bags i am sure they are far less than the prepackaged ones.

  112. Patty June 10th, 2011

    I use Eden Organics popping corn and add organic butter and himalayan sea salt.

  113. Janet June 10th, 2011

    Followed the instructions but my popcorn burned :(

  114. Gerard June 12th, 2011

    I went with stovetop instead of the bag and microwave method, but I tried some of the tips in the comments (soaking the corn for a couple of minutes, then drying it; coating the corn lightly with oil in the pan BEFORE heating it; adding cinnamon to my usual sugar/salt topping) and my popcorn turned out great! Thank you, random anonymous internet people!

  115. Kristen June 17th, 2011

    Instead of using a paper bag, I actually make my popcorn on the stove! I put some oil in the bottom of a pan and then dump the kernels in once it’s heated. I shake the pan to keep things from burning and in no time I have popcorn!

    I don’t think I can ever go back to that microwave popcorn stuff.

  116. Moe June 18th, 2011

    It helps grinding salt to a dust. So it sticks better to the kernels without using excessive amounts of butter, and can be more evenly distributed.

  117. This is a great way to make popcorn. My popcorn maker broke down which was my husband before we got married – he was so disappointed. I told him let’s try it my way and grabbed a coffee paper bag from the cupboard and “voila” we had popcorn. There is no way we are replacing the popcorn maker now! Great money saving tip.

  118. queenbeeallergyfree July 7th, 2011

    Great tip. What’s unbelievable though is how spotless your microwave is. Did you clean it before you took the pic!?

  119. Nadroj July 7th, 2011

    tvet’s quote from the USDA is about actual brown SHOPPING bags, not brown lunch bags made for carrying your lunch. It’s fine people. This is an awesome trick.

  120. bryce July 8th, 2011

    lowerys seasoned salt!

  121. Nonya Bidness July 11th, 2011

    You’re buying microwave popcorn the wrong way if you’re paying the $3.53 per pound figure being used in the original post. Why on earth would you buy it in 3-serving increments unless you lived in a paper bag in the middle of a lake?

    A 3+ pound box of 24 popcorn packets at a national big-box store is under $5

  122. susan July 13th, 2011

    I can’t wait to try this I have wasted a small fortune on popcorn thank you for sharing :)

  123. LizP July 19th, 2011

    This is the most exciting thin I have ever read! Seriously I am so ridiculously happy about this. You have changed my life. I can’t wait to make this tomorrow.

  124. BirchLeaf Designs August 15th, 2011

    Yum! Is there any reason one cannot pop popcorn in a glass bowl with a glass lid? It eliminates the brown paper bag factor…

  125. Stephanie August 15th, 2011

    Just found your website via pinterest. Love this recipe! My kids love making it. Just posted it to my blog, Thanks for sharing!

  126. Tecia September 2nd, 2011

    My husband loves kettle corn. Pop as usual then sprinkle equal parts salt & sugar. Add a drizzle of butter if you like but definitely not required.

  127. Sandra September 6th, 2011

    As a true diehard micro popcorn fan, your tips is coming at the perfect time. I have been abstaining from Micro popcorn upon learning that microwave popcorn bag’s lining contains PFOA, and I am waaaay too lazy to make it the ol fashioned way– so this is perfect!!

  128. TwitchOSX September 9th, 2011

    I buy mine in the bag with all the goods. Besides.. I love all that fake buttery goodness in microwave popcorn!

  129. Will Tingle September 9th, 2011

    Know what’s greener than using a brown bag? Stick ‘em in a microwave safe glass bowl, cover with a microwave safe plate; we’ve been doing that for years, and the bowl and plate are reusable!

  130. Martin Johnson September 10th, 2011

    I usually just use the big (non-stick) wok-style frying pan (with lid ofcourse) with a thin layer of corn oil, or sunflower oil. Will try the coconut oil somebody mentioned!

    I tried the paper bag method just now and it works! I always thought the kernels would be too dry to microwave, without the grease that store-bought “microwave popcorn” is covered in.

    I do find them to have less taste this way, they’re a bit “dry”. I guess that’s why ppl are melting butter over them, but that seems by comparison a lot of a hassle to get right!
    So I think i’ll be back to my stovetop wok-pan method with the popping oil for flavors..

    By the way: “butter spray” sounds practical, but I’ve never seen it. Doesn’t seem to be on the market over here in continental Europe…

  131. Keli September 12th, 2011

    Rachelle: I use the same recipe, but have never tried powdered salt or pump spray olive oil. I will for sure buy a pump sprayer for my olive oil and grind my salt. The nutritional yeast flakes are such a hit at my house as well. I use this recipe on Friday nights for our youth Bible study and the kids love it! Thanks for the extra tips. What a blessing:-). Also, I really am enjoying this site!

  132. Joy B September 12th, 2011

    The additives in the microwave mixes often contribute to some nasty headaches. I’ve been using the brown bag method for a while now -works great! Microwave a cup of water before you start – don’t know why, but it really does work at making the popcorn pop better.

  133. Buff September 13th, 2011

    Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning. It will change your popcorn life forever!

  134. missuswife September 16th, 2011

    Thanks for the info, I can’t wait to try your microwave popcorn method. I usually make mine on the stove, in a sauce pan using 1/2 cup kernels and 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. I put salt and nutritional yeast on it, and sometimes mild chili powder.

  135. Shana September 16th, 2011

    Love this idea! Great for college students who aren’t allowed hot plates in dorm rooms. Cheaper and way healthier than the pre-packaged stuff. For my large brood at home, we do the oil and pot on the stove method, but this is great for my daughter who is not as comfortable with the stove yet. She is a pro at microwave popcorn.

  136. Mamaof2 September 20th, 2011

    I cannot stand store bought microwave popcorn. I pop mine on the stove with canola oil and a large tablespoon of butter, then lightly salt after it is done popping. Everyone asks me to make it when they come over. Every time we are at my in-laws and all of us “kids” are home, I make three batches and it is gone!!!!

  137. RikFin September 21st, 2011

    After reading all of the great ideas in these comments, I arrived at my own hybrid of this awesome idea.

    1.) Soak one-fourth of a cup of popcorn kernels (I use white popcorn) in water for about 10 minutes before draining and putting in the paper bag. This prevents burnt kernels.
    2.) Staple the bag shut using 2 staples near the edges of the sack. I have tried this in 3 different microwaves so far, and none of them have caused sparking.
    3.) Cook until popcorn has about 10 seconds between pops.
    4.) Dump popcorn into a large bowl.
    5.) Spray a coat on the top layer of popcorn with EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) Non Stick Cooking Spray. This gives the seasoning something to stick to and has 0 calories and 0 fat calories.
    6.) Apply Desired Popcorn Seasoning (I used Kernel Season’s Popcorn Seasoning – Butter) to top layer. If you decide to do something more in-line with using EVOO, Molly McButter makes a natural, no MSG, no fat, butter flavored seasoning.
    7.) Shake popcorn bowl to get a new layer of popcorn on the top and repeat steps 5, 6 and 7 until popcorn is seasoned to desired level. I did 3 applications of oil and seasoning and felt it was seasoned to my taste.

    What a great idea. I keep the simple and inexpensive supplies at work as well as at home. Thanks You.

  138. Kelly September 29th, 2011

    Soooo awesome. I love snacking and its soo expensive but this costs almost nothing. Wow.

  139. mommahen October 10th, 2011

    Are you kidding me?! That easy? All these years I’ve been doing it the old fashioned way: shaking a giant cast iron skillet back and forth across my burner for like 10 minutes! Although, the old fashioned way gave me some defined arms. haha!!

  140. Ann Marie Lessner November 3rd, 2011

    I just tried this and it works great!! Thanks for posting this

  141. Mark R November 4th, 2011

    This is a nice idea in theory, but the article is negligent to suggest just plain old lunch bags. Lunch bags are not meant to be heated. Depending on the bag, the glue or the paper itself can emit toxic fumes when exposed to heat. You are better off spending a little extra money for a microwave-safe popper or use oven bags.

    Shame on the author.

  142. Nancy November 10th, 2011

    I’ve used both the brown lunch bags in a m/w and an air popper. Both work well but we now use mostly the air popper as it means less to recycle.

    A great topping I tried one night, and still use often is the following: melted butter with grated or ground nutmeg, garlic powder & a little cayenne powder. Tastes great! Adding salt is optional – the butter has enought for us.

    Experiment with different herbs & spices you might use when cooking – mix them up & you might just discover your new favorite flavor! If you don’t cook, think of tastes you enjoy with food you eat.

    Who’d think there would be so many ppl posting thoughts about popcorn? LOL

    Thanks to you all for your ideas and thoughts. And a special thanks to Kerry for your site with so many fine ideas – I really enjoy it.

  143. Lynn November 14th, 2011

    Try Everglades seasoning… it’s a little unusual but it is great on popcorn!

  144. Jen November 20th, 2011

    Did 1/3 cup this evening with the popcorn I got from natural food store. Put coconut oil and nutritional yeast on for flavor. Hubby loves it!

  145. Anna November 27th, 2011

    Tried it and LOVED it. Worked perfectly! Our favorite seasoning is chili lime.

  146. Sue December 5th, 2011

    Great suggestion – not just for economy, but also to avoid allergens in the microwave popcorn! My son is allergic to dairy and soy but loves popcorn with a passion, so this is a must-try for us! Thanks!

  147. Donna December 6th, 2011

    Any suggestions on how to make it kettlecorn?

  148. Pat December 7th, 2011

    Try McKay’s chicken seasoning, nutritional yeast and a dash of cayenne or curry. Mmmmmm!

  149. arlene December 7th, 2011

    i pop in peanut oil or olive oil, in 2 or 3q. pan, cover bottom w/popcorn and cayene pepper. cook on high, till starts popping, then i just lift the pan up a bit, keeps popping, lift the lid up
    bit, dump a bit out, keeps popping and all kernnels get popped.
    then smother it in powdered romano or asiago cheese……yum!
    (it’s the old fashion way, except w/stainless steel good grade pan)
    takes only a few minutes, about 3-5. doesn’t burn, and u don’t have
    to use a big kettle. and fyi, kettle corn in sweet, so sugar is

  150. newg December 8th, 2011

    just tried this for the first time and was impressed.( I usually pop in a pan on top of the stove with olive or canola oil.) I used a lunch bag, 1/4 cup corn and no oil. Just folded the top twice – no staples. Just in case, I did the water in the micro first and put it on an inverted saucer – it came out perfect. My micro is underpowered, so took 2 min 30 sec. I gave it a spritz of spray evoo and sprinkled with some finely crushed basil and very little salt – yum. As far as the toxicity of the lunch bags – I doubt that it is any more harmful than the microwave “safe” plastic poppers. All plastics release toxins when heated – some more that others.

  151. Tinker December 10th, 2011

    I add a few light drizzles of Orville Rednebacker popcorn oil to the completed bag and a pinch of salt. Shake it all up and there you have it. I’ve discovered that 1/4 cup kernals makes just the right amount for one serving.

  152. Gabe December 13th, 2011

    This is such a great idea! I just tried it out– but be careful! The problem I encountered was sealing the bag TOO much. I folded it over about four times, and the popcorn ended up expanding and needing more room, so the bottom of the bag ripped open and it went all over my microwave! Still, a great idea, and one I NEVER would have thought of.

    I’m a college student– so popcorn is a staple when you’re pulling an all nighter and starving. This is SO economical. I love it. My friends can’t believe it!

  153. Kimberly December 14th, 2011

    I really really wanna try this! Tho, Im very curious about the nutritional yeast??? Where can I find it and what exactly does it taste like??? Do you just sprinkle it on the popcorn???

  154. Lauren December 19th, 2011

    I would suggest using less than the suggested 1/2 cup. The bottom of the bag tore in the middle of popping so we were left with a LOT of unpopped kernels. But it’s a great idea and turned out SUPER tasty! I used my purple kernels from Amish country!

  155. The Ms Fish December 22nd, 2011

    EPIC Failure, I had a major blowout in the microwave, then while waiting for the popping to slow the middle somehow burned and filled my kitchen with smoke. And to top it off I had company witness the disaster. I will try this again, but with 1/4 cup…but I need to go get more popcorn.

  156. Tommy December 22nd, 2011

    i cook popcorn in a sauce pan which creates no waste at all. this article is obviously a conspiracy by BIG PAPER manufacturers to get you to buy more paper bags…

  157. Jessy December 24th, 2011

    For those who are wary of paper bags (or just don’t have one handy) you can do the same thing with a microwave safe (glass or ceramic) bowl and a microwave safe plate that is just a little larger than the top of the bowl. Put the popcorn in the bowl (oil/butter optional) put the plate on top of the bowl like a lid and microwave til the popping slows. Works great! Just be careful taking it out because both the bowl and plate will be HOT!

    I love olive oil and black pepper on my popcorn.


  158. Gloria O December 25th, 2011

    Nutritional Yeast flakes are usually available at any good health-food store. I use cinnamon/Truvia “sugar” & Himalayan Salt to make my “Kettle” popcorn. Yum!!!!

  159. Eric December 31st, 2011

    Salt butter and brewers yeast is very tasty. Mmmmmmm

  160. Niki December 31st, 2011

    Since corn is mostly genetically modified in North America, I make sure to buy organic popcorn to make sure I’m not eating GMO. I can get it in bulk food section of my grocery store and its really cheap.

  161. nancy quaglia January 3rd, 2012

    NUTRITIONAL YEAST!!! I agree. It is so fabulous that I occasionally crave it. It is also effective in repelling fleas on your pets when you consistently add a heaping teaspoon to their moist food once per day.
    I’ve always made popcorn on the stove too, but would do this method in school where I teach.

  162. lori January 9th, 2012

    try melting coconut oil and drizzling it over the popcorn. yumo

  163. Lisa January 9th, 2012

    This works perfectly, and is saving us so much money. I only use 1/4 of a cup, as it makes more than enough of one of my favorite low carb snacks.

  164. popcornface January 10th, 2012

    I prefer the stove-top method. It’s more fun than using the microwave and I think the popcorn taste better.

  165. Rebecca January 12th, 2012

    add m&m’s! YUM-O!

  166. Rochelle January 14th, 2012

    Not so hip friendly…
    Melt butter, spoonful of honey and a couple of spoons of sugar in a pan….caramelise it and then toss in the cooked popcorn….

    Decadent! (Of course you dirty a saucepan)

  167. Wendy January 15th, 2012

    Why the heck didnt I think of doing this before! Just made some now for me and the kids, and it was amazing. Thank you!

  168. jonnie515 January 21st, 2012

    I use a Viking Microwave popper. It airpops in the microwave and is available in the microwave aisle at Target. It’s not quite as frugal as using a paper bag but they last for YEARS….

  169. Bill January 21st, 2012

    Old Bay, Old Bay and Parmesan cheese, Butter and salt, Taco Seasoning, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Salt, Mix in dried fruit (diced), French Fry Seasoning.

  170. Merle Ann January 22nd, 2012

    Yummy popcorn…If you want a really tasty sweet dessert try the melted butter then coat the popcorn with Honey…a bit messy to do, but soooo good…:O) Hugs

  171. Molly January 23rd, 2012

    I used this in a science fair report on popcorn kernels. (which brand of popcon leaves the least amount of kernels when cooked for the time dirrected) and this help me prove the point that with homemade popcorn, you can put the leftover kernels back in the bag, and re pop them. thank you for sharing.

  172. Sue January 26th, 2012

    Just tried it for the first time. Our bag busted open on the bottom, so next try will be less kernels. Now if we could only decide for the seasoning ;o). Great idea thanks!

  173. Jennifer Raven February 3rd, 2012

    Mrs Dash is fantastic on popcorn……

  174. JLew February 4th, 2012

    Bacon Salt!!

  175. Kathy - San Antonio February 5th, 2012

    My favorite method is to just cover the bottom with roasted peanut oil and popcorn kernels, add salt and chunks of butter. Heat over medium heat until done popping – usually no orphans and all the popcorn ends up nicely covered with a very light coating of butter and salt. But I do add salt at the end.

  176. Anneke February 8th, 2012

    I tried with a plain white bag and it started to burn….the microwave is ruined. I live in Italy and could not get brown bags. So please be careful

  177. Kathie February 13th, 2012

    We use 1/3 cup kernels store bought popcorn and before popping shake in hot sauce and a bit of sugar. Can’t reuse the bags after this but it tastes yummy.

  178. rascal February 14th, 2012

    No-one’s mentioned sprinkling Adobo seasoning? It’s incredibly good on popcorn. Truly amazingly good.

    I make my own spice mixes, cheaper, can adjust salt levels (down to zero if wanted), leave out allergens, and no fillers or preservatives. My version of Adobo is basically (all ground or powdered) black pepper, smoked paprika, sweet paprika, onion, oregano, cumin, garlic, chili (or ancho) pepper, cayenne, turmeric and as much or little salt as you want. (It’s also fantastic on roasted vegetables, root vegetables, pork, and chicken.)

    I use an air-popper I’ve had for years, drizzle a teaspoon or so of olive or safflower or grapeseed oil on the bottom, add a few thin, thin slices of butter (about a teaspoon total) and shake the bowl as the kernels fill it up, then finish by sprinkling on the Adobo seasoning. Delicious!

  179. Bekah February 15th, 2012

    I love popcorn with butter, salt, and chocolate syrup. I know it might sound gross but its the perfect combo of sweet and salty. Yum!!

  180. Katie February 17th, 2012

    I like to melt some peanutbutter, butter, and jelly and drizzle it over the popcorn. It sounds wierd but it is amazing!

  181. Pamela February 18th, 2012

    Thank you! Enjoying this tip right now. I purchased the large brown lunch bags and the size is working perfectly for 1/2 C. I love knowing what’s in my popcorn and not having those toxic fumes floating around my home.

  182. Diane February 19th, 2012

    We use 1/4 cup per brown bag, and add a tsp. of brown sugar, and a tsp. of coconut oil yummmmy!

  183. Christina February 20th, 2012

    Very happy to see how well it worked! 1/4 cup would work better! I love popcorn and hate the act 2 popcorn and hate getting out the air popper every time I want popcorn (That is like everyday)

  184. haverwench February 22nd, 2012

    I use Jessy’s method, but I invert a plastic colander over top of the bowl. (I tried it with a plate, but it kept wobbling loose and letting the kernels escape.)

  185. Diane February 22nd, 2012

    I use oil in a pan pop it like the package says and then I love to put salt, garlic powder and sprinkle on grated Parmesan cheese

  186. Deborah February 23rd, 2012

    butter + basil infused olive oil + crushed or powdered garlic + shredded Parmesan cheese + salt to taste = Pesto Popcorn!!! Amazing!!

  187. Portia February 24th, 2012

    Olive oil, salt, garlic powder and nutritional yeast or just the first two. Old bay is always good too. I never thought about popping in the microwave on my own. I always use the stovetop method. I assumed that the microwave was part of the reason for the not so great flavor.

  188. Maggs February 24th, 2012

    I’m with Portia… olive oil, sea salt, and nutritional yeast. I put it all in then shake. Then pop. It sooo good.

  189. MaryLynn P February 26th, 2012

    Thanks Kerry, for the popcorn tip and the healthy eating e-book. And to Brian K, thank you for the entertaining read about your experience. I hope you’re a professional writer, if you’re not, you should be…very funny!

  190. n8 March 3rd, 2012

    furikake and rice crackers with a little butter. hawaiian style :)

  191. court March 7th, 2012

    This worked well. I set my microwave for 3 minutes & ended up stopping the time at around 2:30 because I was afraid I might burn the kernels. I have some leftovers kernels but that happens even when I would buy the toxic grocery store popcorn. Cinnamon + sugar + honey = awesomeness! Great tip, thanks!

  192. Em March 8th, 2012

    A microwave popcorn bowl works wonders and is a lot less wasteful than using a paper bag each time you want popcorn.

  193. jen March 10th, 2012

    Hey, you’re in Canada! I notice the No Name brand bags… No Name’s the way to go. :)

  194. Ed F March 13th, 2012

    The first time I tried the paper bag method I walked away from it and came back to find the bag on fire inside my micro! PeeeeeYouuuu! It was crappy popcorn and never popped so it got so hot it caught fire. I went out and bought a bottle of a Orville and it worked fine.

  195. Robyn Bodanis March 17th, 2012

    Hi guys,
    how many servings does half a cup make?
    a serving for one person or more?
    if it makes 1 serving, then thats great for an individual just to eat it out bag haha (:

  196. Robyn Bodanis March 17th, 2012

    Hi guys,
    how many servings does half a cup make?
    a serving for one person or more?
    if it makes 1 serving, then thats great for an individual just to eat it out bag haha (:
    whoops sorry posting it again… forgot to click the little button that says to email me with the answer haha

  197. kendra cabin March 19th, 2012

    wow that is absolutely brilliant!! I always wanted to pop gourmet popcorn but thought I would have to get one of those stovetop popcorn cookers (which take a long time) so this is right up my alley!! Thanks! :)

  198. Phay P. March 22nd, 2012

    Tried this with Bacon Salt – w2hich is actually low sodium and ICBINB Spray. YUM!!

  199. Luellyn March 23rd, 2012

    I heat my tea, or hot water in the micro first, then pop the corn and most all the kernels pop (even with the cheepie brand, but not as much).
    And use the inverted saucer or small bowl under the popcorn bag.

    Although my most favorite is to use my grandfather’s old crank popper on the stove burner with hot chilli oil!

  200. Susan March 23rd, 2012

    I have a hot air popper that I use for healthy popcorn. Hate the noise, the heat. Have brown paper bags on the list, and if this works as good as you say then I’m throwing my popper away. A diabetic thank you to you.

  201. Ann-Marie March 26th, 2012

    We use our Whirley Pop and put a little hot sauce in with the oil. Then, instead of regular salt, we use garlic salt. Talk about TASTY!

  202. val March 31st, 2012

    Just a caution, I tried this and after only 30 seconds in the microwave the bag caught on fire! Luckily I caught it right away.

  203. Tonita April 1st, 2012

    everyone keeps mentioning how they prefer stove top popcorn and I do too but I live in an apartment. I haven’t had a gas range in well over a decade and anyone with an electric range can tell you that you cannot pop popcorn on an electric range, unless you like tough chewy hard popcorn. It’s disgusting. As a huge fan of popcorn who regularly eats the microwaveable stuff I am definitely giving this a try. While I love reading all the variations and combinations of flavors to sprinkle on after the corn is popped, it is particularly irksome to read all the comments about “why don’t you just pop it on the stove top?” or “it’s better on the stove in a pan with a lid and some oil”. If the recipe isn’t for you, then don’t make it. Sheesh. Part of the appeal of this recipe is that you can omit the oil used in the microwave popcorn bags (AND in stove top preparation)…anyhow…will be getting some brown paper bags during my next trip to the grocery store!!!

  204. Anthony April 2nd, 2012

    Great idea. And we already have the brown paper bags in the house for the kid’s lunch. Thanks!

  205. J Devon M April 7th, 2012

    VERY interesting. Maybe I ought to actually act out and try this. I wondered about all the crap in bought microwaveable popcorn, like “Reddenbudders”. Worse still, I wondered if the prepackaged microwave popcorn was actually necessary or what.

    Now if only I can secure a whole lotta recipes of spices and whatnots to put on this popcorn……

  206. cece April 9th, 2012

    Try Italian style: Olive oil, salt, rosemary and oregano.

  207. Duke April 14th, 2012

    This is exactly how I have been preparing popcorn for almost
    3 years now on a tip from our daughter-in-law.

  208. Tambria Moore April 15th, 2012

    Brown paper bags are toxic.

  209. April 21st, 2012

    Brilliant! I mix up melted natural butter, mixed powdered seaweed and seasalt, then drizzle it on.

    It would be a great way to take a low-cal snack to work too, since most lunchrooms have microwaves. :-)

  210. Sunshine April 23rd, 2012

    I’ve known for some time that packaged store bought microwave popcorn contains alot of chemicals. I like to pop my own kernals and melt some real butter to pour over the top. Another good topping is freshly grated cheese. Just layer up some freshly grated cheese of your choice over the freshly popped popcorn (I like cheddar)and enjoy!

  211. Love this! I added a smidge of olive oil to mine.

  212. Carol May 4th, 2012

    Love this and have been doing it for a while. Once made the mistake of burning it and BOY did I smell up our kitchen. REMEDY: Sprinkle coffee in a skillet and “burn” it for a little bit (stirring). VOILA!

  213. haverwench May 7th, 2012

    I used to make mine in a microwave popper (no bags to throw away), but after two poppers in a row developed cracks, I decided to try a regular Pyrex bowl. I just invert a colander over the top (a plastic one, of course, not a metal one) to keep the kernels from escaping. The “popcorn” setting on my microwave isn’t very accurate–I either get a ton of orphans or else it burns–but with a little trial and error, I found that four minutes for a quarter cup of kernels is just about right. Drizzle on some olive oil, sprinkle on some salt–delish. And it costs literally pennies a bowl.

  214. Wendy May 8th, 2012

    Why don’t you need to use oil?

  215. Cinda May 9th, 2012

    Awesome – forgot about this way of making microwave popcorn. I haven’t bought the packaged variety in years since I have a Theater Time II hand-crank stove-top popper.

    I’ll give it a try and use my favorite topping – dry minced garlic and a sprinkle of asiago cheese.

  216. Amy May 9th, 2012

    The first time I tried this, I had a big black ball of burned popcorn even with stopping the cooking before the time ended. The second time, I put a tiny drop of oil in a bowl and coated 1/3 cup of kernels with it and also punched 4 small holes in the bag. Turned out perfect with almost every kernel popping. Added “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” spray and salt. Great snack.

  217. Nana May 20th, 2012

    I use Lee Valley Tool’s staple-free stapler to close the bag.

    I discovered the trick of boiling a few tablespoons of water in a glass before starting the first bag (and then along side the first bag) after noticing that the second bagful was always better popped than the first (I make two bagsful each time I make it).

    I use the same bag for five or six uses. Cutting 8-10 small slashes in the bag before hand makes for crisper popcorn. As does getting a bit of salt on toute suite.

    What the top of the stove people don’t realize is how many of us do not like scrubbing pots!

  218. Ron May 24th, 2012

    try a slight amount of Ramen Noodle seasoning packet, and a little margarine or butter. A small amount flavors best. Mmm shrimp popcorn! :)

  219. Janelle Ramberger May 27th, 2012

    I use my Wildtree all natural popcorn seasonings. There is a spicy cheddar, simply sweet, and white cheddar popcorn seasoning. They are addictive. The simply sweet reminds me of kettle corn.

  220. Tami May 30th, 2012

    I did this once and left in too long the bag caught on fire, flames and all.

  221. Kitten June 2nd, 2012

    Use a Whirley stovetop popper!! Every kernel pops! Put some brag spray on it or a little lemon pepper and seasoning salt….I have never owned a microwave they are so bad for you and your diet choices…

  222. Emilie June 2nd, 2012

    I did this tonight and it turned out yummy!! Thank you so much!

  223. Angela June 9th, 2012

    Totally made this tonight! My husband and son are loving it right now…served with a touch of butter spray, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. So very happy about this new way of popping! Thank you!

  224. I’m super late to this party! I love popcorn too and I can do you one better. I have an air popper ($10). No need to buy paper bags. I air pop and its delicious. I actually buy popcorn seasoning though for like $2 to season. There’s jalapeno, nacho cheese and more available. But of course my favorite is just plain butter and salt. It’s the best snack.

  225. Ron June 15th, 2012

    LOL… I use Ramen noodle flavor-packets… but be careful, because a very little goes a long way! I like shrimp-flavored popcorn!

  226. Kim June 20th, 2012

    @Wendy: You don’t need oil because the microwave heats the water inside the kernel. When the water turns to steam the kernel pops.
    I learned the paper bag trick from a friend a few months ago and I love it! Faster and cleaner than stove top and the kids can help. But after reading the comments I think I’ll try the microwave-safe bowl and lid method…

  227. Ivana June 20th, 2012

    I have tried this many times before and I have some many kernals left over. What am I doing wrong?

  228. SavingMentor June 21st, 2012

    Can’t believe I didn’t know this. I’m going to have to try this ASAP as I have popcorn kernels in my cupboard but no popcorn machine!

    Someone also mentioned popping it on the stove in oil. I’m going to try that too if the bag thing doesn’t work well for me.

  229. Marly June 22nd, 2012

    Just tried this tonight and used only 1/4 c corn in the lunch bag. I just had to put in my two cents worth regarding the bags not being food safe. Think about it folks, they are called LUNCH bags – hence food is INTENDED to be put in them! I’m so logical sometimes I surprise myself! LOL

  230. Erin June 23rd, 2012

    I make mine on the stove top with a little virgin unrefined coconut oil to pop in – yay for belly-fat busting MUFAs! Then give it a liberal sprinkle of white cheddar powder and salt, and a bit of butter for the right flavor, and I’m in heaven. Best salty/crunchy snack for you, and it packs a ton of fiber, too!

  231. Denise June 28th, 2012

    I’ve been making mine on the stove in a large pot in a quarter cup olive oil sprinkled with sea salt since Christmas. Yum.

  232. Shea June 29th, 2012

    queenbeeallergyfree – that’s the FIRST thing I thought too, wow, what a clean microwave. How is that possible!? This should be a post about super clean microwaves…

  233. TulipGirlAG July 3rd, 2012

    I remember my grandmother doing this in the early 80s…


    Fire hazard. Speaking from experience.

  234. arizonagirl July 7th, 2012

    ….great idea…just a litle note: we always called the kernels that didn’t pop “old maids”–anybody else heard that expression? Thanks for the post…

  235. buffrainey July 12th, 2012

    I like to use coconut oil to pop popcorn in on the stove and then put a little salt on – wonderful. Think I’ll try the paper bag method next time! No cleanup then.

  236. Heather July 13th, 2012

    This is great, thank you. Microwave popcorn bags are toxic to humans and deadly for animals. We stopped using them once we found out. The smaller the animal, the worse it is for them.

  237. Lee July 14th, 2012

    Nordicware makes a microwave bowl that you just put the kernals in and put the lid on top and pop. I used to do the brown bag way ubtil I found this bowl. I got mine at Target. You will love it!

  238. Doni July 14th, 2012

    This is great! Just made three bags for my family. We used 1/4 cup of Orville Redenbacher’s. Cooked for two minutes. All three bags came out perfectly! Thanks for posting.

  239. Cindy July 24th, 2012

    Thank you so much! I would have never thought to try and it is so perfect! I even scored some brown lunch bags on sale, love back to school!!

  240. neohkl July 30th, 2012

    I gpt a lot of un-popped kernels, and at the same time some were blackened on the inside. I estimate a third un-popped, a third burnt inside(but white and looking good on the exterior) and the rest perfect.

    Any tip to avoid this? Nobody mentioned this problem. Nobody got this problem?

  241. David July 31st, 2012

    I’ve got the same problem as neohkl. Lots of unpopped kernels at the bottom. I use 1/3 cup at 2-1/2 minutes in microwave.

  242. Monica August 1st, 2012

    That looks like a great way of doing popcorn. Only problem is I’m in Denmark where they don’t sell paper lunch bags like that. And i can’t seem to get any online store to send them to me from the US. Bummer!

  243. Kelli August 1st, 2012

    Last night I took one of the packets from the macaroni and cheese box, added a little milk and butter to it to make a yummy sauce, and poured it on my popcorn. It was a little soggy in places, but SOOOOOOOOO DELICIOUS!!!!!! I’ve tried putting finely grated cheddar on it in the past but it never melts enough, so this was perfect.

  244. Mary August 10th, 2012

    I will use up my OR mini single serving popcorn bags of Lime and Salt and once gone, will try the glass bowl method. I have an electric stove (yuk – I was raised with a gas stove and miss it) so won’t try popping there.

    I can’t wait to try the peanut butter carmel recipe and many others. Thanks for sharing!

  245. Alice August 19th, 2012

    Hello from sweden!

    I’ve never found such bags here… probably because there nobody who use them!

    Kids get their meal for free in school, and adults either use plastic containers or eat out!

    Do you think any paperbag will do? Or a mikrowave-safe plastic container (instead of a glass bowl)?

    Thanks for this great blog!

  246. Vera August 19th, 2012

    Yes, Alice any paper bag will work, I’ve used white bags. I like to make my popcorn lo cal after it’s popped I spray it with Crisco butter spray then sprinkle Molly McButter or my favorite Ranch flavored popcorn seasoning sold in store next to popcorn. At SAM’ club they sell popcorn in 25 lb bags and it comes to only $1.76 per 5 lbs. We divide it up with relatives who also love popcorn.

  247. Mary August 23rd, 2012

    All I can say is WOW and Thankyou. Saw this tip on Rachael Ray. And my friend posted you website. I still use my air popper when I am making a big batch. This will be a quick easy way to just make a quick snack her me.

  248. AnonyBliss August 26th, 2012

    I know I’m a freak but come fair time I love gyros with extra tsaziki (my spelling is absurd) so I tried to make my popcorn to match a bit
    I have this amazing Greek seasoning, and a tiny bit of lemon juice in some melted butter. it is entirely the most delicious treat.

  249. Angie August 29th, 2012

    This is my favorite way to make popcorn. I get the hull-less popcorn and it doesn’t stick in my teeth and gums as much. Most often I use a butter spray and whichever Mrs Dash seasoning sounds good to me at the time. Love it!

  250. Nancy August 30th, 2012

    What a wonderful idea !! Since I quit smoking popcorn has been my go to snack… My hot air popper just broke and I like this idea. By the way I like mine with a little drizzle of EVOO and italian seasonings

  251. Jamie August 31st, 2012

    I like kettle corn. How do you make that?

  252. Chrystal McKay September 4th, 2012

    This is the COOLEST THING EVER!!! I have been wanting popcorn for the past few days! I am SO using this method!

  253. Diane Sanderson September 9th, 2012

    When visiting our son and family in North Carolina (from Central New York) we went to the Raleigh Farmers Market. I found some Amish Lady Finger popcorn and bought one container. It was the best popcorn I have had in many years. Reminded of me when I was a kid and my grandmother made us the best popcorn. She really knew how to pop it in an old large aluminum pan with a lid that didn’t quite fit (lets the steam out). She had equal success with a gas stove or electric. I could never replicate her method or quality. Finally I bought an air popper. It worked fine with the storebought larger kernels but threw the tiny Lady Finger kernels all over the kitchen and me. That pacage of popcorn didn’t last long as I loved it so much. This summer we went back to visit our son and I bought 3 packages of Lady Finger popcorn. Much to my disappointment it was not as good as what I bought last fall. My husband reminded me that what I bought last fall was from a fresh crop. What I bought this summer was from that same crop only months older. I found a recipe to refresh the kernels and will try again this time in the miccrowave paper bag method. I have great confidence that this will work. Will try it out Tuesday.

  254. Jen September 13th, 2012

    What a fantastic idea! I liked it so much I posted the link to your site from my Facebook page called Bakerette. Everyone has a microwave so it takes up less space so you don’t have to invest in an air popper. Thanks for the tip!

  255. Lauren September 16th, 2012

    I tried cooking popcorn a while back wrapped in foil over a fire. That did not go over well, as it just turned black and caught on fire… lol. Will try your microwave method next.

  256. Shannon September 18th, 2012

    I loathe microwave & movie theater popcorn! Its the fastest way to gut rot as far as I’m concerned. We bought an air popper because I didn’t want to stand over the hot stove again aftet dinner is done. I love this idea – its even simpler! Thank you for sharing :)

  257. Alice September 20th, 2012

    I just want to say something…

    It’s buttered popcorn. I would be chocked if buttered popcorn didn’t contain butter and so would I be if that butter didn’t contain milk.

    The fish is still fishy though… ;)

  258. Emily September 23rd, 2012

    Alice – not all of it is actually “butter” – you have to be careful, some labels just say “butter flavor” which is pretty much guaranteed to not be butter. The ingredient list above did not leave me convinced this product has anything but butter flavor.

    Also, another reason to ditch Act II and Orville, the lining of many microwave popcorn bags is made with BPA (bisphenol A) which volatilizes when heated, sending this lovely stuff straight into your popcorn. Mmm…

  259. Maureen October 2nd, 2012

    I have done this for quite some time. Do you really hate those kernels that don’t pop? Well I just shake them to the bottom of the bag, scoop out the popped kernels, then put the rest back in the microwave to continue popping. With this method I can under-pop to avoid burning, and every kernel pops. Try that with your microwave popcorn!

  260. Belinda October 9th, 2012

    All I need now is paper bags. I like to use Cheddar Shake made by Cabot of Vermont.I bought it at The Big E, a New England fair. It’s hard to find in stores, but Cabot may sell it on their website.

  261. anne October 11th, 2012

    perfect! I’m done buying those supermarket-stuff. I’m addicted to popcorn and this is perfect for me, I can recycle paperbags from groceries and takeouts!

  262. Kim October 14th, 2012

    Love it! I use a tsp of Frank’s hot sauce, 1 TBS of melted butter, and some Ranch powder. Ta-Dah! Buffalo Popcorn.

  263. John October 20th, 2012

    Good try but I am always left with about 1/3 of kernels left un popped so went out and bought a popper on sale and on 1st attempt it popped all but 1 kernel. Like your site though…

  264. Sugaraddict October 21st, 2012

    My father always used to enjoy making popcorn on the stove with a 2 handled pot. Just put some melted butter/ oil in along with your kernels and move it quickly on the burner until its done. You can then salt or season it as you like. This way also its maybe not as dry as the air popped kind. Also kind of feels like you are at the movies!

  265. Erin November 5th, 2012

    Pour melted butter and salt into the brown paper bag, shake well/fast, then immediately pour the popcorn out into a serving bowl. This way popcorn is perfectly flavored and excess/uneven butter will simply stick to the bag. Top with Nutritional Yeast for a healthy, full flavor- much better for you than cheese and includes a power-dose of your Vitamin Bs.

  266. courtney November 13th, 2012

    for a healthier option.. I use olive oil instead of butter with a pinch of sea salt!! can hardly tast the difference

  267. Jeanne W. November 18th, 2012

    Great post. My husband makes popcorn on the stove with a large pot. Put some veggie oil and salt in the bottom, instantly lightly salted after popping is done. Yum, the best, and we use a GINORMOUS steel bowl from Ikea to serve it up. Clean up is a dream, and we don’t waste more paper!

  268. Alice November 20th, 2012

    I stole some bags from the pick-yourself candy section of the local store (wich would be equivalent with walmart), and went up making my own popcorn and oh lala, that was awesome.

    Candybags are a lot smaller though, so I took ~1/4 of a cup and it still were too much (but none of the popcorns went unpopped…)!

    Thank you squawkfox! I will never buy bagged popcorn again!

  269. Donna November 22nd, 2012

    Brilliant! I was hoping to make a popcorn garland for our christmas tree but without an airpopper I didnt know how I was going to pull it off. Yay! Popcorn with no oil!!!! :D

  270. Deb November 27th, 2012

    I was using a hot air popper and the kernels and popped corn would be bouncing all over the kitchen…tried this and I was so excited, my daughter looked at me and said eww mom your so weird…no more mess to clean up thanks to this fantastic idea. Thank you!!!!

  271. Kelley November 28th, 2012

    My favorite way to eat popcorn right now is to melt some coconut oil to pour over it then sprinkle some vanilla protein powder!!

  272. Don November 30th, 2012

    If you like popcorn the old fashioned way, you can use large pot, and with experimentation determine the stove setting that will allow you to put the pot on with a lid – slightly ajar – and just let it sit there and pop with no shaking. We’d put it on the stove with the popcorn in the pan cold.

    Fifty years ago when I was in high school we’d congregate at a friends house, watch TV, talk, and eat popcorn we’d popped – after the experimentation – in an iron skillet with some oil and a large shopping bag attached to the pan with wooden clothespins.

    Having determined the amount of oil and popcorn plus the stove setting, we could pop an entire shopping bag full, and the bags were somewhat bigger back then. We’d go through two bags and a lot of Koolaid and pop in an evening.

  273. Hannah December 6th, 2012

    This is a great method, but instead of all that butter I use a Coconut Oil butter mixture, about 1:1, and salt. Coconut oil is how all the older theatres used to pop their popcorn and it tastes so much better.

  274. DebMK December 8th, 2012

    Olive Oil & Sea Salt YUM!!!

  275. Jo December 20th, 2012

    BRIAN K — I fear my popcorn-making experience can never match up to yours. Thanks for sharing your hilarious britches-wetting rendition!

  276. Bedrock January 2nd, 2013

    If you put premixed seasoning and I can’t believe it’s not butter chemical goo on you popcorn you may have less calories than butter, but you might as well just buy the jolly time. Gross it should actually be called “I can’t believe we get people to eat this.”

  277. MollyLiz January 13th, 2013

    I tried the sweet tooth recipe, taste like elephant ears from the fair! Absolutely delicious!

  278. Lizette January 14th, 2013

    Another tip for making healthy popcorn and eco friendly (saving trees) and money saving is to punch holes in an empty plastic container (ex. yogurt or dip container) pour the kernels in the container, put the top on and put in the microwave and there you have it. =)

  279. Jan January 22nd, 2013

    What a great idea for Christmas. Just print on the printer or transfer by any means you like, the directions with a special message to the recipient and add it to their special Christmas package.

  280. Dita January 27th, 2013

    Great ideas, I would advise others to read what is in the “fat tree” cooking sprays. Silicone is bad enough but many other very questionable ingredients. Threw them all away!

  281. Greg T. February 3rd, 2013

    Hey there! A really neat idea for a children’s birthday party is to pop some popcorn in a bag for each child, as described above, and then seal the bag up with a piece of clear sticky tape. Write each child’s name on the bag with a permanent marker, and then allow them to decorate their own bag with stickers and markers! I’ve found that pencil crayons aren’t good for this craft because it’s too easy to poke through the side of the bag. Ditto for wax crayons, as you have to press too hard. At the end of the party each child takes home their very own self-decorated party bag! Voila!

  282. Nicole February 9th, 2013

    I have always wanted to try this, but upon buying my new microwave it actually came with a waning that says “Do no use a brown paper bag to make popcorn!”

    I wonder why?

  283. Cherish Bloom February 27th, 2013

    I have two questions.

    1. name some ideas on how to close a paper bag so kernels don’t fly out. I did hear that there are cheap plastic paper clips that would work, but I want to hear other ideas first.

    2. Is there a bag that can be used, cleaned and reused? I like adding a small amount of oil in the bag and that makes the bag one-use only.

  284. Faith March 11th, 2013

    I love this popcorn and a little butter,little sea salt and cayenne pepper is great.

  285. Nanny March 12th, 2013

    Popcorn kernels which have dried out will not pop properly. It’s the moisture inside that turns to steam when the kernels are heated, which causes the popcorn to “explode.” Popcorn needs to be stored at a certain level of moisture. If you are having trouble with kernels that burn and don’t pop, or if you suspect or know your popcorn is a tad on the old side, try keeping it in a lidded jar (such as a canning jar) with just a LITTLE water (say, half a teaspoon or less). Put on the lid and give it a good shake and then store it in the fridge. This works much better than soaking the kernels just before popping!

  286. Loveforlivinglife March 15th, 2013

    That’s a great idea! I can’t believe I never thought of that before. It will be perfect when I want a quick popcorn fix all for myself! Thanks!

  287. JOANNA March 16th, 2013


  288. David March 18th, 2013

    mix the butter, some salt, and sriracha sauce.. then spray on the popcorn.. delicious

  289. Moi March 19th, 2013

    Well I just tried this. and it works.

    BUT here’s a TIP: always store your Popcorn Kernels in the FREEEEEEZER! Pops better. and they are fresher

    -put kernals in bag (NO OIL)
    -set on high for 3 minutes and TA DAAAAAA!!

  290. Theresa March 20th, 2013

    I do the hot air popcorn but will try this for sure! My fav. topping of late – a bit of coconut oil melted with some cayenne pepper and salt. Zippy & delish!

  291. Alvin Leer March 31st, 2013

    Great article. Remember to buy non-GMO popcorn (organic) which you can get from Wholefoods and other health stores. All popcorn found in regular stores comtain GMO which can mess with your reproductive system and cause other nasty health conditions. Also, note that microwave ovens damage most of the nutrients in food :)

  292. Dana Bookman April 6th, 2013

    I tried doing this, but it never came out right. I Tried cooking it for the suggested time, but only half of the kernels popped. Then, when I tried cooking it for and extra 30 seconds, it burned the entire thing! What am I doing wrong?

  293. Angela April 23rd, 2013

    LMAO….for anyone opting for this meathod because store bought microwave popcorn is costly and full of chemicals…and then melting margarine on it LMAO…what the heck do you think margerine is made of???

    OMG that was the best laugh I have had in a long time :) :)

  294. Stephanie April 23rd, 2013

    Add coconut oil to the popcorn! That’s what movie theatre’s add to their to make it smell good.

  295. This worked perfect! Thanks for the recipe :)

  296. Anne May 6th, 2013

    I am shocked! I never thought this would work but it is perfect!!! My microwave did it in 1 1/2 minutes and 1/2 a cup was TOO MUCH. It blew out the bottom of the bag. Otherwise, the popcorn is absolutely PERFECT!!! (Did I say that already?) Thanks for the recipe/directions.

  297. Cindy June 13th, 2013

    A sprinkle of Powdered ranch dressing, yumm.

  298. Stevie S. Ballinger June 21st, 2013

    Pinned This Forever Ago! finally Trying Tonight!!!!!!

  299. Rose June 24th, 2013

    I use the Presto Powerpop that uses the powercups. The reason I use this is because I like using olive oil or coconut oil and salt. You put the oil in first and I put in 1/4 tsp of salt and then 1/3 cup of popcorn. You can also not add anything and just pop and it’s just like air popped. I no longer use the cheap Walmart brand popcorn (lol) and stepped up and have been using Orville Redenbacher (for a few dollars more) and using a better brand does make a difference! Not just Orville but use brands more expensive than Walmart (c’mon).
    Lastly, instead of depending on my ears to listen to the popping rhythm, I downloaded an app called Perfect Pop. It was created primarily for Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn, but it works great for detecting the popcorn pops and helps avoid burning the popcorn.

  300. Gale July 1st, 2013

    My hubby always ate the microwave popcorn, but I used either my air popper and then the crazy popper. He didn’t want to wait for my popcorn … But he paid the ultimate price .. He developed esophageal cancer and died on me.

    The only difference in our diets were the popcorn, diet soda drinks and crappy chocolate bars.

  301. Goddesque July 26th, 2013

    I use a white paper lunch bag, lay it on its side in the microwave, and I use the tip of a steak knife to poke a few holes in the side of the bag once it’s all folded up. This lets steam escape and makes the popcorn much more crispy. Do buy high-quality popcorn for this (like Orville Redenbacher kernels) because a jar still lasts forever, and the fresh kernels pop so fast! A 1/2 cup of Orville’s in a paper bag pops in 2:10 in my microwave.

  302. Jess Garcia July 30th, 2013

    My mom taught me to use the pan instead of the microwave and my favorite thing to do when I have a sweet tooth is add coconut oil, some agave nectar or honey, cayenne pepper, himalayan pink salt (so much more subtle than regular table salt) , and cinnamon! Seriously, I highly recommend it. It is my go-to snack food to make when I have a lot of guests over.

  303. Ron Smyth August 7th, 2013

    I hope millions of people follow your advice! But how about the old fashioned way? I use a regular pot with a lid, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, turn the stove on high, and pop away! Shaking the pot while holding the lid in place makes it feel like you’re actually cooking! And of course after you dump the popcorn into a bowl (or better, separate bowls for everyone) you just let the pot cool down for a minute and it will melt the butter for you at no extra charge. But if you just drizzle olive oil on it along with the salt, you won’t notice the difference. The same applies to corn on the cob. Try it! BTW Gale, you’re hilarious. I’ll bet your late husband got a lot of laughs with you! It’s nice that you can have a sense of humour after losing him.

  304. paul October 11th, 2013

    You mean after all these years…it us/people this long to try and use just regular paper bag. I guess we were all afraid the bag would go up in flames.

    In the 80′s my grandmother used to just do it on a big pot on the stove. Not really that bib fan of pop corn bought a few boxes of microwave corn when came on sale at 1/2 price. but stopped buying even when it was on sale

    …the ingredients are really nasty….PLUS POSSIBLE CARCINOGENIC COATED BAGS…I later read about

  305. Bec November 12th, 2013

    melt some coconut oil and drizzle it on the popcorn with a pinch of salt – tastes like tropical popcorn heaven!

  306. Linda January 18th, 2014

    After popping spray with olive oil or canola oil, sprinkle with a little salt and parmesan cheese. I purchased a large plastic popcorn popper with a vented lid almost 20 years ago and have enjoyed the better taste and savings over bagged popcorn all these years.

  307. Wendy M February 25th, 2014

    Here’s a quick tip for everyone, you can buy cheap popcorn kernels and get great results if you store the unpopped kernels in the freezer!

  308. Chanel March 18th, 2014

    Franks red hot then ranch seasoning on top! Yum!!

  309. Tiffany April 6th, 2014

    Just made homemade fiddle faddle. Pop popcorn as directed place in a large bowl. Put a hand full of peanuts on top (I used honey roasted). In a pot melt one stick of butter and add 1 cup of light brown sugar. Keep on medium low heat. And stir until all sugar is melted. Add to popcorn peanut mixture and stir with rubber spatula Bcareful

  310. Mary June 21st, 2014

    I am struggling with this. Only half the popcorn pop in my bag.
    What am I doing wrong?

  311. Angela Greco July 25th, 2014

    My favorite toppings are Nutella, and peanut butter!!! I put a spoonful of nutella and another spoonful of peanut butter on a plate and nuke for only a few seconds until they both become smoother and more liquify. then dip the popcorn in either separately or together. Soooo yummy. I also like to make my popcorn like I make nachos. Cut up avocado and add salsa and some cheese. The salsa makes the popcorn a little mushy but i kinda like it that way Its really good too.

  312. Mark Braun October 4th, 2014

    We do this, too!

    Look for different popcorns at farmers markets and organics shows, too.

  313. Mary corbett October 22nd, 2014

    use dental floss and at least 3-4 day old popcorn for stringing for Christmas. Works the best. Fresh popcorn is too brittle and the dentalfloss strings nicely.Can also put cranberries between the popcorn. ( Just a tip from someone who has done this before)

  314. Eric Joanis November 1st, 2014

    Four years later, this is still a useful reference. Today, the kid wants his popcorn in the microwave instead of in a pan, so thanks, old friend, for keeping this classic online!

  315. Tanya November 25th, 2014

    You say you don’t want milk in your popcorn but then you add butter???

  316. Sarah January 19th, 2015

    I was sitting at the pharmacy waiting for my refill and read their healthy eating magazine. In back of it was how to make healthy popcorn in a brown paper bag. Well I tried it and its great! I put in alittle less than a half cup and fold it 3 times like the magazine said. I leave it in for 1:55 min. and it comes out not burnt. I can’t put salt or butter on it because of high BP and cholesterol. So I eat it plain or you can put garlic powder on it or cinnamin. Parmesean cheese is DELICIOUS on it but that is filled with salt and fat. What I like is that it doesn’t crumble in your hand like air popping machines do to the popcorn. Even plain from the bag it tastes good. Healthiest way to eat it. It it with salt or butter and I guarentee you that you will end up with high BP and cholesterol in your 50′s or 60′s!

  317. MarkBraun January 28th, 2015

    MANY years ago, I learned how to also cook bacon and eggs in a brown paper bag on both a car’s manifold and on a backyard grill, the bag absorbing the fat and allowing the egs to fry before the bag burned on a grill. Brown paper bags are excellent in that, they’re not something that will pollute once discarded.

    Regarding the bag o’popcorn, I regularly test food stuff for a couple of publications (and Amazon Vine). There is a popcorn salts and/or oil that theaters use, Kernel Season’s, that is a bit safer to use and buttery-tasting jut like a theater’s.

    I agree, butter is unbeatable, but in the morning when I do a glucose test, I don’t want to risk high numbers over old habits. What your tastebuds crave are the oils on the popcorn; start searching for an alternative.

    Glad so many of us know this brown bag cooking thing!

  318. Mike February 6th, 2015

    For all of you who have set fire to your popcorn in the microwave, if you’re cooking it much longer than 2 minutes, you’re asking for trouble. When I saw some people writing it caught fire after 3:30 minutes, I was astounded. You can bring a quart of soup from room temperature to a full boil in 3 minutes. When you can say ‘one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand’ between the popping noises, PRESS STOP!!! Your popcorn is done!

  319. Carol February 7th, 2015

    I tried this 1/2 cup was too much for my powerful microwave and ended up popping a hole in bottom of bag making popped carnival and kernels all over the inside of my microwave I immediately stopped it still has enough popped corn to enjoy going to use 1/4 cup next time and less time popcorn was good

  320. Allan Day May 26th, 2015

    If you want to secure the bag closed in your microwave try plastic paper clips. :))

  321. Andy Kuiper July 17th, 2015

    I could write a very authoritative article on how to consistently burn microwave popcorn – that’s for sure lol
    *I’m not giving up ;-)

  322. John Eider October 26th, 2015

    Great idea, can’t wait to try it, but the hysterical comments freaking out over microwave popcorn was really over the top and made you look like a nut.

  323. MadJayhawk December 25th, 2015

    I have used the ultimate corn popper – the Whirly Popper for years but will give this idea a try.

    From long experience: do not go cheap on popcorn kernels. I use Orville Redenbacher.

    My father-in-law planted some Orville Redenbacher once, harvested it, and gave each one of his kids 5-10 lbs of the best popcorn we ever had. We froze it and use a little at a time. Good stuff.

  324. beansoupers December 27th, 2015

    The hard part is finding the brown paper bags if you want a bigger one than the lunch size. They are nearly impossible to get anymore. I usually make Puppy Chow at Christmas time, but the big brown paper bag is a very important part of that recipe because it helps to soak up any excess oils from the peanut butter, etc. I only use REAL peanut butter from the HFS (it’s just peanuts, ground up to a fine paste/butter, nothing else added).

    Any suggestions where one might find big brown paper bags? Maybe online somewhere, in bulk?

  325. beansoupers December 27th, 2015

    As a matter of fact, my Mom used to have a recipe for making caramel corn in a brown paper bag in the microwave and it was delicious. That was back when microwaves were a lot bigger than they are now, at least a lot bigger than the one I have.

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