Stovetop Popcorn

When you make popcorn from scratch, the old-fashioned way, it’s a natural whole-grain, high-fiber snack (with none of the gross chemicals that can be in microwave popcorn). If you don’t have a popper, try this method. Make sure to get an adult’s help with this recipe, since you have to shake a hot pot on the stove top!

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Hands-on time: 5   |    Total time: 5   |    Makes: 2 Quarts


Measuring spoons
Large pot with lid
Measuring cup
Pot holders 
Large bowl


3 tablespoon canola or olive oil
1⁄3 cup popcorn kernels
1⁄2 teaspoon salt


Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your equipment and ingredients and put them on a counter.

  1. Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Carefully add the oil to the pot. 
  2. Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pot.
  3. When the kernels pop, add the remaining popcorn kernels in an even layer. Turn the heat off and cover the pot. Count to 30 (or time half a minute on a stopwatch). 
  4. Turn the heat back on to medium. When you hear a lot of popping (this will not take long) use pot holders to gently shake the pot, moving it back and forth over the burner. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, turn the heat off. 
  5. Dump the popcorn into the large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. 

Season your popcorn with any — or a combination — of the following:

  • A little olive oil (instead of butter)
  • Grated lemon or lime zest
  • Spices such as ground cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, or curry powder
  • A dash of hot sauce (not too much or the popcorn will get soggy)
  • Dried or fresh herbs such as dill, rosemary, oregano, or thyme
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Garlic powder
  • Grated Parmesan cheese