Perfect Stovetop Popcorn (5 Minutes!)

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Close up shot of popped popcorn in a pot next to a bowl of nutritional yeast

Confession time, friends. We’re no strangers to burnt popcorn (there are some pots that can testify), but failure can be the best teacher! We now know that with the right method, perfect stovetop popcorn is possible (every time!), and there’s nothing quite like it! It’s SO quick, undeniably snackable, and totally customizable! 

Make your next at-home movie night special with this homemade popcorn, ready in just 5 minutes with 1 pot and 3 ingredients! Let us show you how it’s done!

Dry popcorn kernels, oil, and salt

How to Cook Popcorn on the Stove

Start by heating a large pot over high heat. We like stainless steel because it’s lightweight and easy to transfer the popped popcorn, but nearly any large pot with a lid will do!

Once the pot is nice and hot, reduce the heat slightly and add your choice of oil (we like avocado, coconut, or olive oil). Next, add the dry popcorn kernels and a little bit of salt and shake the pot to coat evenly.

After about 10 seconds on the heat, you’ll start seeing the popcorn POP! That’s when it’s time to cover with a lid and start shaking every 10 seconds. And in about 1 minute, you’ll have a full pot of popcorn ready to dump in a bowl and season to your heart’s content.

Adding dry popcorn kernels to a pot of warm oil

What to Put on Popcorn

You can keep it plain with just some salt, or add nutritional yeast for plant-based “cheesiness” or dried rosemary and garlic powder for a savory, herby twist. You can also get creative with any of your favorite spices or seasoning blends!

We also have a sweet, chocolaty version in our cookbook if that’s what you’re craving!

Troubleshooting Tips for Stovetop Popcorn

The key to stovetop popcorn is getting the pot hot enough that the kernels start popping within about 10 seconds — but not so hot that the oil starts smoking right when you pour it in. You’re aiming for that Goldilocks sweet spot, and when you achieve it, stovetop popcorn will become your new best friend!

It’s easiest to work with a gas stovetop vs. electric because the temperature changes more quickly, but either one will do. With an electric stovetop, you may need to wait a little bit (after dropping from high to medium-high heat) for the temperature of the pan to decrease before adding the oil.

Did the kernels burn, but not all of them popped? This can mean the pan wasn’t hot enough when adding the kernels, causing the popcorn to sit in the pot/oil too long while you tried to get them all to pop. Try turning up the heat or giving the pan longer to warm up next time.

Large pot of perfectly popped popcorn

We can’t wait for you to join the homemade popcorn club! With this method it’s:

Perfectly popped
Quick & easy
Customizable
Affordable
& SO snack-able!

Make it for at-home movie nights, kids’ snack trays, gatherings, and beyond!

More Savory Homemade Snacks

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Hands reaching in to pick up popcorn from bowls

Perfect Stovetop Popcorn (5 Minutes!)

PERFECT stovetop popcorn that’s quick, easy, and totally customizable. Just 5 minutes, 1 pot, and 3 ingredients required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Overhead shot of bowls of homemade popcorn and seasonings
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 12 (cups popped)
Course Snack
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? Best when fresh

Ingredients

POPCORN

  • 1/2 cup dry popcorn kernels
  • 1 Tbsp oil of choice (avocado, coconut, or olive)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste)

FLAVOR #1: "Cheesy" optional

FLAVOR #2: "Garlic & Herb" optional

  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot (we prefer stainless steel) over high heat and ready a large bowl for serving. Once the pot is hot (test by sprinkling in some water — it should sizzle), reduce the heat slightly to medium-high and add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) oil. Immediately add 1/2 cup (120 g) popcorn kernels and a healthy pinch of salt. Using oven mitts, shake the pan back and forth to coat.
  • Once the first couple of kernels start popping, cover with a lid and shake every 10 seconds to allow the unpopped kernels to settle to the bottom. Continue shaking every 10 seconds until the popping has mostly stopped, about 45-60 seconds. Transfer immediately to the large bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt.
  • Discard any burnt kernels — there shouldn’t be any, but if there are, that usually means the heat was too low or the popcorn was left on the stovetop too long.
  • Enjoy as is or sprinkle with seasonings of choice. We like nutritional yeast or dried rosemary and garlic powder.
  • Best served warm. Leftover cooled popcorn will keep in a sealed container for 2-3 days.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with avocado oil and without seasonings other than salt.

Nutrition (1 of 12 servings)

Serving: 1 cup popped Calories: 48 Carbohydrates: 7.4 g Protein: 1.1 g Fat: 1.6 g Saturated Fat: 0.2 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.9 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 98 mg Potassium: 27 mg Fiber: 1.3 g Sugar: 0 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 0.6 mg Iron: 0.3 mg

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  1. Kate says

    This was great! I’ve beens struggling for a while trying to learn how to make popcorn on the stove and these instructions were so straightforward and easy. I was suprised at how quick it went! The only thing I need to figure out is that my kernals did not all fully pop, so maybe I did not leave all of it in for long enough. Any suggestions to fully pop the kernals without burning everything?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad this method was helpful, Kate! Thank you for sharing your experience! It sounds like the pan may need to be a tad hotter before you add the kernels or they may just need another 10-15 seconds. Hope that helps!

  2. Mary says

    Best popcorn. My grandma laughed when I asked her to pop some in the microwave…she got out a pan and a bit of oil and made it on top of her gas stove…boy, was that good! Never went back to the microwave again.

  3. Krishna says

    This is the first popcorn recipe I have tried that didn’t use lots of oil and worked as promised.

    I made it in a small pressure cooker and it was delightful to open it after the popping stopped and find that it was filled to the top with fluffy popcorn.

    It makes a lot so you might need two bowls as my largest bowl was not big enough.

  4. Mari says

    Perfect popcorn! I loved the recipe, we added vegan butter for family movie night. Thanks for the technique. In the recent past as in like last night, I heated the oil in the past and used the three kernel method and had to pick out burnt pieces. No more burnt popcorn in this house!

  5. Mary says

    I’ve been using a brown paper lunch bag with 1/4 C kernels in the microwave 3-4 min. Then pour melted butter, yeast, sea salt – sometimes chili pepper on top. Minimal mess, although nothing tastes as good as your method!!

  6. J says

    No need at all to shake…..I just add oil, popcorn, cover and wait till all popping noise stops…….perfect popcorn every time!

  7. Dilushani says

    I know the oil helps a lot in this recipe but do you think it could be possible to make this oil free? Thanks

  8. Kat - the other 1 says

    In addition to nutritional yeast add taco seasoning and a little onion powder for taco popcorn, yum!

    Or, just salt, cinnamon and sugar, or pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon. Mmm!

    Will have to find pot to try this on the stove. :)

  9. Janet says

    I have a wonderful stove top popper called the Whirly Pop. It is very light weight and has a stirring mechanism inside. I follow your directions almost exactly. The one exception is that I put two or three kernels of corn in the hot oil and when one pops i figure the I add the rest of my popcorn, cover and stir. When the popping stops, I remove the pot from the heat immediately.

  10. Susan Warder says

    I had successfully used a Whirly Pop for stovetop popcorn for years. I switched to an induction stove earlier this year. I have tried several stovetop methods with varying success. Hard to shake the pan since burner turns off. If you have access to induction burner, I would be interested in seeing if you can engineer consistently successful results stovetopping popcorn on it. Whirly Pop does make an induction compatible version but it is $$$. Trying not to addd more stuff😜. Thank you for all of your creative work.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Susan, thank you for the suggestion! We haven’t experimented with an induction oven, but we’ll add it to our requests list.

    • curt says

      Yeah, i was just going to jump in to say this doesn’t work well on an induction range since you have to pick the pot up so as not to scratch the glass, and then the heat stops. 😔 I love popcorn, and bought a small electric equivalent (i think) to what others are calling the whirly pop.

      Am I late to the party realizing you can buy nutritional yeast fortified with B-12? My doctor suggested buying it b/c I have trouble sleeping, and apparently your body needs B-12 to make melatonin. Anyway, that’s what i sprinkle on popcorn now! Yum.