How to Make Popcorn on the Stove

How to Cook Popcorn on the Stove

Contributor: Christine Pittman

Ciao, Microwave Popcorn Bags! (Ummm…ciao-goodbye, not ciao-hello). Once you get the hang of cooking popcorn on the stove, and once you taste the result, you’ll never go back.

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 1 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 minutes
  • Yield: 7 cups popcorn 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


  • ¼ cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 Tbsp. oil (coconut, peanut, grape seed or vegetable)
  • salt
  • melted butter (optional)


  1. Start with a big heavy-duty saucepan. You want it to be 5 quarts. That’s the typical size of a Dutch oven, if that’s easier for you to imagine. You want it to have a nice thick solid bottom too. This is because you want it to heat slowly at first, then stay evenly hot and retain that heat a bit. We really like this set of saucepans and the largest in the set is perfect for popping corn.
  2. Add ¼ cup popcorn kernels to the pot.
  3. And 1 tablespoon of oil. Use something with a high smoke point like coconut oil, peanut oil, grape seed oil or vegetable oil.
  4. Put on the lid and turn the burner on high.
  5. Give the pot a good shake every 30 seconds or so. When you hear the first pop, take the pot off the heat and hold it an inch or two above the heat source. This is so that any popped kernels don’t burn while the unpopped ones are finishing off.
  6. When the popping has slowed down (this doesn’t take long to happen), turn off the heat and carefully take off the lid. You do need to be careful because it’s steamy hot inside. And also, sometimes, one last kernel will decide to pop.
  7. Not really a step. Just showing you the popcorn. There it is.
  8. There was already oil used in the popping and so I find that you don’t need to add melted butter. But need and want are different things. If you want it, add it. And sprinkle on some salt. Shake the pot again and then transfer the popcorn to a bowl.