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Make Your Own Microwave Popcorn in a Brown Paper Bag

Updated on December 8, 2014

Why make it yourself?

If you love popcorn and you are looking to reduce you salt or fat intake, if you are a vegan or have other dietary concerns about the healthfulness of packaged microwave popcorn, or if you just want to stop throwing money away on what should be one of the most economical snacks out there, then this recipe is for you. Commercially sold Microwave Popcorn includes partially hydrogenated oils, preservatives (Propyl Gallate, anyone?) and a ton of salt. When you take this process into your own hands you can control your intake of fat and sodium, as well as drastically reducing your price per serving.

Popcorn fanatic? Click here to buy organic popcorn in bulk and save over Grocery and Whole Foods prices!

Step by Step Instructions to Pop Popcorn in your Microwave

Ready, Set, Pop!

The only two things you need to make microwave popcorn at home are the popcorn kernels and a brown paper lunch bag. Your grocer should have a selection of kernels to choose from, and if you are lucky that selection will include Organic kernels if you choose to go that route. The average price I have found in my area is $1.99 for a 2 lb bag which will net you 26 4-cup (popped) servings. Brown paper lunch bags can be bought for around $2 for a pack of 100. Compare this to Orville Redenbacher's Microwave Popcorn Movie Theater Butter ...15 servings for $3.59 including something on the ingredients list called "TBHQ". Still following?

A measuring cup is also helpful if you want to determine the optimal amount of kernels for your bag, and a tiny bit of oil or butter tossed into the bag can help give it a nice coating for your salt or other seasonings to adhere to once the kernels are popped. Totally up to you. If you want to go to the utmost level of thrift, it is possible to re-use your paper bag as many times as you like...but if you are going to do that, then skip the added oil or butter. The bag WILL get greasy.

Ok, so this is what you do. Add about 1/3 cup of kernels to your bag, oil or butter if you like, and fold the top of the bag over twice. It is not necessary to staple the bag or tape it. The popcorn will not come flying out. Promise.

In the example pictured we used 1 cap-full of olive oil and that was the perfect amount for the batch...IMO.

Turn your microwave on at High power either on the popcorn setting, or set it for about 3 minutes and be prepared to turn off the power once you hear 5 second of silence between pops. Any longer and you will end up with a bag of scorched popcorn.

Open the bag and add salt or whatever other seasoning you choose, shake it up and enjoy!

No Bag? Buy A Microwave Popcorn Popper and Be Even More Earth Friendly

The Nordicware Popcorn Popper is one that actually works in the microwave. The 3-Qt. Popper makes light and fluffy popcorn in about 4 minutes. Just place 1/2-cup of popcorn kernels in the bottom bowl and cover with the lid. No oil needed, makes up to 12 cups of popped corn.

Buy Your Popping Corn Online - Get Organic and Non-GMO Popcorn for less online

Arrowhead Mills Organic Yellow Popcorn - 28 oz
Arrowhead Mills Organic Yellow Popcorn - 28 oz

Buy Arrowhead Mills Organic popcorn online - and save yourself a trip to Whole Foods


No microwave? - Other Ways to Make Fresh, Healthy Popcorn at Home

You don't need a microwave to enjoy all the benefits of freshly popped popcorn. The poppers below allow you to control the salt and oil used to make this delicious treat. So go ahead and indulge in this healthful snack, guilt free!

Presto 04820 PopLite Hot Air Popper
Presto 04820 PopLite Hot Air Popper

This is the one you grew up with. Why mess with a good thing!


What are your favorite popcorn toppings?

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    • LouisaDembul profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow, must try this. Didn't know you could do it yourself in the microwave. We love popcorn, without all the additives.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I didn't knoww that I could make Popcorn in the microwave. Thanks for sharing :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I didn't knoww that I could make Popcorn in the microwave. Thanks for sharing :)

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 

      7 years ago from Northern California

      Great idea and so healthy too. Will have the kids try it this weekend.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      7 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I am trying this right now. Perfect for Sunday evening.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      That is a great lens. I love microwave popcorn but it is so unhealthy. I will have to give the recipe a try . Thanks for the great information

    • kspoll profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      @lbrummer: Hi there, thanks for stopping by! Lately I have been making this with no oil at all. The oil is helpful in getting any dry toppings to stick to the popcorn, but not necessary for it to pop properly.

    • lbrummer profile image

      Loraine Brummer 

      7 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

      This sounds great, I'll have to try it. I love popcorn, but not all the oil. I wonder what the minimum amount of oil you can use would be. A capful would probably be about a tablespoon I would think. Do you suppose a teaspoon would be enough?


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