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How To Cook Popcorn Without A Microwave

By Edited Jan 12, 2014 1 1
Credit: Wikicommons

No Microwave, No Problem

It's Saturday night and you just moved into your new apartment. Your friends come over and bring some popcorn and movies. As the opening credits roll on the screen, you decide it's time for some salty buttery goodness. It's right then that you realize that you don't even have a microwave! 

Have no fear, because your days of microwave dependency are over. Cooking popcorn without a microwave is a lot easier then people think. Some people even think you need the special Jiffypop packages in order to cook it on the stove, but this just not true! With just a few common household items you can have delicious hot popcorn in just a few minutes.

Not only does stovetop popcorn taste better than microwave popcorn, it is better for you too. Once you try it, you will never want to cook popcorn in the microwave again.

If you want the best method for cooking popcorn without a microwave, I've included a section on air poppers as well.

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Cooking Popcorn On A Stove

Required Materials

  1. The first and most important thing you need for this is a stovetop. Gas or electric both work equally well.
  2. You need a bag of popcorn, any type at all will do.
  3. You will need a medium sized pot to put the kernels in. If you only want a little popcorn,use a smaller pot. If you want a ton of popcorn, use a large pot. Make sure you have a lid that fits the pot tightly. If there is space for air to get out, then heat will escape and the kernels won't pop evenly. You will end up with either unpopped kernels or burnt popcorn.
  4. You need some kind of oil to add with the kernels. I prefer vegetable oil, but you can use others as well. Canola oil is a great option.
  5. If you like salt with your popcorn, then have a salt grinder on hand. You won't need it until you're finished.
  6. Use oven mitts to make sure you don't burn your hand. This is optional, but don't say I didn't warn you.
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  1. First, place the pot on the stove, and add your popcorn kernels. I usually put in enough to cover the bottom surface of the pot. Putting too many in too small of a pot can result in uneven cooking.
  2. Pour your oil into the pot. You want to try to use enough to cover all of the kernels. Be careful! This is the most important step in the process. If you put too much oil, the kernels will be too wet to cook. Use just enough to cover the kernels, not drown them.
  3. Place the lid on top of the pot. This will stop heat from escaping and allow the kernels to begin heating up. Make sure the lid fits properly or your popcorn will not pop evenly.
  4. Place your stove on medium to high heat. I prefer high, medium will work it just takes longer.
  5. Gently shake your pot around to get the kernels to heat evenly. You should soon hear kernels begin to pop. Get your bowl ready!
  6. Once you hear the popping start to slow down, most of the kernels are popped. Turn down the heat until the kernels stop popping.
  7. Pour the popcorn into your bowl. Sprinkle a few teaspoons of salt onto the popcorn, and add extra butter if you wish.

Voila! Your popcorn is finished, no microwave required. Make sure to let the popcorn cool for a while before eating it, or you could end up with a burnt tongue.

Stovetop video instructions

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No Microwave, No Stove, No Problem

If you don't have a microwave or a stove, or you just want the quickest and easiest method for perfect popcorn, then air poppers are for you. Air poppers are also the healthiest way to cook popcorn, since they don't require any kind of oil. 

Air poppers are the easiest of all methods. Most air poppers come with measuring cups for your kernels and butter. Here are simple steps to using most air poppers.

  1. With your popper unplugged, remove the measuring cup or popping container and fill it with kernels.
  2. Pour the kernels into the poppers main chamber. Be sure not to fill the chamber to the brim, or else the kernels may overflow when they pop.
  3. Place a bowl under the air poppers chute. The popcorn will be dropping straight into your bowl.
  4. Simply plug the popper in, and it will do the rest of the work for you.

As you can see, there are definite advantages to using an air popper. They only take about a minute or so to make a large bowl of popcorn. Once it's popped you can add salt or butter as you wish. If you are adding butter, I'd recommend trying the squeezing/spraying butter. It is a lot easier to apply than melting butter. If you don't have access to those, don't worry. Most air poppers have a built in compartment that will add butter to the popcorn for you.


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Extra Tips

1. Some air poppers have an on/off switch, some don't. Remember to check before you use it for the first time.

2. The stovetop method usually doesn't pop every single kernel. If you don't hear kernels popping for about eight seconds, it's probably time to turn off the heat. 

3.If you are cooking popcorn on the stovetop and you have a wok, use that instead of a pot or pan. The sloped sides on the wok make it much easier to keep all the kernels in the hot spot.

4. After you pour the finished popcorn into your bowl, immediately put water into the pot. Doing this sooner than later will make it much easier for you to clean the pot. This is stovetop method only.

5.Don't try to make popcorn in the oven. Popcorn can only pop if it is heated up very quickly, which ovens just can't do. You will only end up with dried out kernels.

6. Try adding different toppings to your popcorn to make it even more delicious. I enjoy tapatio with my popcorn. You think thats weird? I've heard of ranch dressing, top ramen flavor packets, and macaroni and cheese all being added to popcorn. Frank's Red Hot Sauce is supposed to be one of the best toppings for popcorn. 

Do you have any good popcorn topping suggestions? Feel free to post them in the comment section below.



Sep 12, 2013 1:50pm
JiffyPop is the first thing that popped in my head when I read this article. It's fun to make too!
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