Popcorn on stove                                                                                Photo by Donna

Ever since a spate of popcorn "the old fashioned way" posts came out a year or so ago—The Times did a blog symposium, Bittman commented, Elise—I've wanted to weigh in on one critical point. Superbowl weekend is an apt time to do so.  I make popcorn all the time, and the key point for me is getting all the kernals to pop within 60 seconds or so of each other. To do this, I start the kernels in cold oil.  What's the rationale behind letting the oil get hot first?  No one ever says.  By the gradual heating and continual shaking of the kernels as they heat, they heat evenly and uniformly, and once they begin to pop, it's over in a flash.

What I really want, just once, is for every single kernel to pop at exactly the same time.  So far no luck.

Another key point is to shake the pan continuously once the popping has begun so that all the unpopped kernels fall to the bottom of the pan where they can pop. 

That's all there is to it, one of the best foods there is, period.  How can people have stopped popping corn?  I can barely fill a glass with ice water and melt the butter before it's over.  The microwaved stuff is convenient and it tastes convenient.  The smell is nasty (probably for a reason).  For a while, my young son kept asking me for "pop popcorn."  James, I said, why do you call it pop popcorn?  He said, "No, POT popcorn." Popcorn that you cook in a pot.  I'm sad we need to distinguish between the two.  There is popcorn and there is microwaved stuff coated in grease and powdered flavorings that resembles popcorn and is favored by the young and the lazy.

Here are my quantities for four people:
1 cup popcorn
3 tablespoons of canola oil
2 ounces butter melted

Fine sea salt or kosher salt to taste

Combine popcorn and oil in a pot over high heat and cover.  Swirl and hop the kernels frequently as they heat. Melt butter.  Once the kernels begin to pop, shake the pan continuously until the kernels are poppled.  Pour into a big wooden bowl, drizzle with butter, toss.  Add salt to taste.

(When I don't want the butter, I add a teaspoon of chilli flakes to the cold popcorn and oil;
if you received some truffle salt for Christmas as I did—thanks annie!—try it on popcorn, it's awesome.)

However you season your oil, if you drizzle the hot popcorn with butter or with bacon fat or regianno, make POT popcorn and make it often and life is better.

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80 Wonderful responses to “Popcorn”

  • Food Dude

    Use a steep sided bowl, so the kernels are concentrated at the bottom of the pan. As they pop, the un-popped seeds stay at the bottom, but the popped ones rise up the sides and don’t burn. Always salt the kernels BEFORE you pop them. That way the salt becomes absorbed by the final product. Finally pop in peanut oil. You’ll never need butter again.

  • emily

    i’m a little late on the posting, but my dads popcorn has always been one of my favorite things. the secret? BAKING it after popping!

    so, pop in oil, drizzle with butter, sprinkle with Popcorn salt (finer grain so it sticks), and then bake in a brownie pan in a 200 degree oven for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Its hard to wait it out, but the way the butter bakes into the kernels makes for an amazingly light and crispy texture and taste. Try it!

  • HenrysMom

    I am a disbeliever in the need for shaking the pot while things pop. I think to get all the corn to pop, you need to use a little less corn or a bigger pot. We make real pot popcorn all the time, too. I even make it and sneak it into the movie theater rather than let my 7 year old eat the junk they sell. Husband likes butter, I like olive oil and parm, 7 year old likes either and has never had the microwave stuff. I agree that kosher salt is too big. We have a box of sea salt just for the popcorn. Hooray for real snack food!

  • MikeLM

    Very strange thread-

    TONS of popcorn stuff and only ONE mention of garlic. (And that was garlic salt.)

    Wassamatta you people?

    GARLIC butter is the way to dress popcorn, no matter how you like to cook it. It’s just fine with half butter and half EVOO, couple crushed garlic cloves, a little Worcestershire, and a squirt of Tabasco for the sauce. Mix, melt, then toss with the popped corn. Then sprinkled with salt and grated Parm, it’s definitely a meal in itself.

    The idea of sprinkling with brewer’s yeast sounds interesting, and I may try it.

    Toasted wheat germ might not be bad, eighter. We always top our mac&cheese with that, rather than bread crumbs.

  • Stan Malinowski

    I just made a big bowl of popcorn last night. As usual, it was excellent but did not take advantage of some of the more exotic seasonings mentioned in previous postings (above).

    I use cheap popcorn that I transfer from its plastic bag to a nice big Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn jar.

    I pour a bit of extra virgin olive oil into a big pot (I don’t know how big… 4 quart?). Then I heat the whole thing on my 2nd hottest burner (full heat, about 15,000 BTU).

    When I feel it’s hot enough, I add enough popcorn to cover about two-thirds of the bottom of the pot.

    Then I put a splatter-cover over the pot, weigh it down with something and mix a Cuba Libra for myself. I also set a small pot on a small burner and put a good chunk of unsalted butter in it.

    Sipping away on the Cuba Libra, I listen for the popping to get fast and furious at which time I turn the heat down to 50%. When the popping slows down, I turn off the heat entirely.

    After 30 seconds or so, when the popping seems to have stopped, I pour the popcorn into a big bowl. I drizzle the butter over the popped corn and shake a little kosher salt (that’s all I’ve got) onto the corn. The nice thing about the larger granules of kosher salt (and, I believe, sea salt) is that the popcorn rarely gets too salty.

    My method includes a pot with a very heavy bottom which distributes heat quite evenly and requires absolutely no shaking during the entire process. Further, it is rare to have any un-popped kernels using this method (I credit the pot).

    As for microwave popcorn, I gave that up years ago!

  • Chris

    I’m a popcornaholic, and I’ve never bothered with microwave popcorn because of its relative cost to bulk popcorn, and it’s not like it’s a lot of work to pop on the stove.

    If I try to add melted butter to popcorn after it’s already in a bowl, I can never get it dispersed adequately; it just soaks the first few kernels in comes in contact with. To get around that, I have a two or three knobs of butter ready to go, and I quickly throw them in the pan a few seconds after the kernels start popping, and then shake as usual.

  • shelley

    I third the nutritional yeast, it really is yummy and if you have kids like me it’s a sneaky health bomb. I don’t bother to melt the butter. I just drop the slab in and stir with a wooden spoon right after turning off the heat. It works great. Then I put in the yeast and a little salt.

  • ToddC

    All these responses but no ever uses a little sugar and molasses, it’s like caramel corn without all the hassle. Enough olive oil to get the kernals covered, little bit of sugar once sizzling and pour over the molasses to taste, and shake vigourously once it starts popping. Addictive stuff. As I use a cast iron dutch oven for mine, that popping phase makes for a few minutes of vigourous energy expenditure too boot.

  • Ann Harste

    Sometimes when I make my pot pocorn I cover the pot with my splatter screen so that the steam can escape as it pops. Seems to work pretty well.

  • Jewel

    While I think pot popcorn is the only way to have it, I’ve always heated the oil then added the corn. So I tried Michael’s suggestion last night and OMG – the best ever! It was so much crisper than my old way. Thanks for the tip!

  • boiler bob

    Put a couple of tablespoons of butter in when you start the whole thing. Also use the cheap olive oil(not evoo). Only one time in my life have I had it pop in about three seconds. I have been doing this for forty some years.

  • 123

    Canola oil is pretty ubiquitous, but depending on where you live, it might be referred to as rapeseed oil. Canola is a cultivar of rapeseed and was bred to have a lower level of a certain fatty acid than rapeseed. Western Canada is a major producer, and the name “canola” was created as a marketing term – derived from “Canadian oil, low acid”.

    It has become a popular cooking oil – very low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat along with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Annie LaG

    Thanks for the shout out. Did you try any of the other salts on your popcorn? Also, is there a particular brand of kernal you like? I’m always amazed at the variety on the supermarket shelf.

    p.s. bacon fat?! You are the devil.

  • Jeannie

    I really, really appreciate your posting a simple but very tasty idea!!! I made some tonight using peanut oil(it worked fine, bad idea?) and then added Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt and grated some parmesan. Very, very tasty…..another great idea you posted on was popovers……
    Thanks for reminding me of the easy, but real comforts of the kitchen…

  • Kathleen

    A few people have mentioned Brewer’s Yeast (or nutritional yeast) but no one has mentioned the great combination of soy sauce (or Bragg’s amino acids) and then adding the yeast. It sounds weird I know, but it’s one of our favorite ways to eat popcorn!

  • Kirk

    I have been a popcorn freak since I was nine and have tried every method and most devices. By far my favorite popper is the West Bend Stir Crazy Popper. Flavors as good as pot corn and nearly every kernel popped. Another trick I’ve learned is to add salt (very fine grained sea salt) to the oil and corn before popping (season as you go). Coarser salt may scratch the non-stick surface but the fine salt does not as distributes the salt evenly. Haven’t seen any bad effects of the salt on the oil. If you wanted Kettle Corn you could do the same with fine sugar (blend regular sugar until fine) and a little salt.
    Peanut oil or olive oil are my favorites.
    I am either a purist or a bore with popcorn toppings. Nothing but salt, butter and sugar.

  • Ann

    Popcorn is a great snack…whole grain, high fiber, low calorie…and delicious. Have you ever tried Fireworks Popcorn? Each of their 12 premium varieties has a unique texture and flavor…a true popcorn experience. Try a popcorn tasting party.

  • shan

    Cold oil method for me. I like to sprinkle mine with “roasted chicken seasoning”, ie a prepackaged herb mix of sea salt, roasted garlic, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, sage, thyme, green and white peppercorns, dehydrated green bell peppers, freezedried sweet basil, and lemon oil.

  • Brew

    2 other seasonings to think about…

    Morton’s Hot Salt is practically made for popcorn. It’s certainly one of the best uses for it I can think of, other then eggs, or hamburgers.

    And my latest discovery – BaconSalt.
    http://www.baconsalt.com/

    It’s incredible for popcorn…(or roasted corn on the cob, for that matter)

  • 123

    Before you completely dismiss all microwave popcorn, try Black Jewell Microwave popcorn (www.blackjewell.com)- contains only corn, soybean oil and salt. It is really very good. Not oily, no odd or off flavors, and the salt is minimal.

    Has anyone tried popping sorghum? I saw Andrew Zimmern try this and he raved about it – said it was better than corn.

  • Ann

    Have you tried Fireworks Popcorn? They have 12 varieties of all natural popcorn. Each variety is unique in texture and flavor. Find your favorite at http://www.popcornlovers.com. It is more than eating popcorn. It is a true popcorn experience.

  • KB

    I only make popcorn on the stove. I have an old Revere sauce pan that is only used for that purpose. I went to make some one night and decided to use some truffle oil I had (not very expensive stuff). It was fantastic. I’ve used extra virgin olive oil as well, but obviously have to watch the low burn factor. Little garlic salt and parmesan and I’m in heaven!

  • Tags

    -
    My favorite popcorn is the “buttered popcorn” flavored Jelly Belly jelly beans.

  • t

    couldn’t agree more–”pot popcorn” is my all-time favorite snack, and i wouldn’t have it any other way (sidenote: isn’t putting staples in the microwave a bad idea???). my husband even gave me a mix-cd with James Brown’s “Mother Popcorn” on it; it is one of my theme songs, and I highly recommend putting it on the stereo before heading to the kitchen. dancing while cooking, though occasionally dangerous, can definitely add a richness to your popcorn that you may not have had before. YUM!

  • becca

    This is the best way to make popcorn. I add some healthy dashes of Tabasco to the melted butter-or just grate Parm and drizzle Tabasco on top.

    I never got the microwave popcorn thing, given how fast the stove-top is. I finally got my good friend to give up her habit after they linked the artificial butter flavor to certain lung cancers.

    A few years ago I struck up a very interesting conversation with a woman who used to work for International Flavors in NJ. They made the artificial butter flavor and she told me about some of the things that went into their many other artificial flavors. Let’s just say that beaver testicles were involved. I am not kidding. I avoid artificial flavors and colors whenever I can. The fake butter flavor debacle is case and point. Really, who can improve on the real thing?

  • cybercita

    i would never even consider eating microwave popcorn, ugh!

    i’m also a fan of cold oil popcorn. someone once taught me to sprinkle brewer’s yeast on it and it’s amazingly delicious.

  • Vivian

    I love pot popcorn. I usually drizzle it with a little of my favorite hot sauce or a little chili powder. Any way you have it is definitely better than the microwave stuff they sell.

  • Rob

    I suggest using clarified butter if you have it available. The moisture in regular melted butter makes the popped kernels shrivel up, but with clarified butter that water has been boiled out, so it’s not a problem.

    I made some last night and noticed that the dog recognizes the sound of butter dropping into the milk steamer (my first step in popcorn production) and comes running…

  • Cameron S.

    I also like a splash of really good olive oil, some good parmesan, and some good salt.

  • cherylk

    “Pot Popcorn”, love that, is almost a nightly thing at our house. I like it with fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt. I love it with fluer de sel, a good chili powder works and freshly grated parmesan as mentioned above. Such a simple, inexpensive treat. We like to drizzle the left over with melted dark chocolate.

  • Devon

    The paper bag with staples totally works. I used to do it all the time as a lazy teenager, but I’ve got to say that the stovetop method is far superior. I’ve pretty much perfected the method and it doesn’t require all that shaking like Michael’s.

  • Kate in the NW

    We called my grandfather “Pops” not because he was old but because he made the very best “pot popcorn” ever, and he made it every time we walked in the door. Served it with sweet, sweet Southern iced tea. Yum!

    If you want salt that distributes nicely and sticks to the popcorn, try super-fine “french fry salt”, or better yet make your own: use kosher and fritz it in the processor or a coffee grinder until it’s superfine. You can also add other dried flavorings then too (red or black pepper, dried herbs, dried lemon zest, etc). Grated orange zest is really good on the “kettle corn” variety but will burn so put it in later rather than sooner.

    MR, you can always be trusted to bring well-deserved attention to the tried-and-true basics that are soooooo good….

  • NVR

    Mr. Ruhlman,

    I’m going wildly OT here,so spare with me if you will.

    1. When’s your new «Ratio» cookbook coming out?
    2. When do you think the «Ad Hoc» book will be out?
    3. Are you planning on revising and/or expanding your «Elements» book in a second version?

    A firm believr in your cookbooks,

    NVR

  • David

    Great post. I’ve found the brown bag microwave technique to work great if you just “glisten” the kernels with a bit of olive oil before popping. For “pot popcorn,” tossing a scant handful of sugar into the pot immediately AFTER the first kernels begin popping produces a delicious carnival-style kettle corn. Don’t add the sugar too early or you risk burning it. –David in Cle Hts.

  • Robert

    I agree – microwave popcorn is an awful salty, unhealthy thing lazy people eat.

    Try some Tabasco on your popcorn. I like original but their chipotle flavor is my favorite on air popped pop corn. This cuts the need for salt as well so it becomes a super healthy snack.

    We bought a Presto air popper from a friend at a group yard sale for 15 cents and used it for a decade. It finally gave out — we replaced it with an identical unit for ~$20.00. Great uni-tasker IMO.

    http://www.amazon.com/Presto-04820-PopLite-Corn-Popper/dp/B00006IUWA

    And yes, no metal in the microwave pls. :)

  • MessyONE

    I used to do this all the time, I even had a dedicated popcorn pot. It was an ancient enameled cast iron thing that was really too heavy for anything else. If I filled it with anything other than popcorn it was too heavy for me to lift. Yes, I’m willing to concede that I’m kind of a wimp.

    I made it a little differently, though. I put in enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pot, then three kernels of corn. When they popped, I dumped in the rest of the popcorn and shook it until it finished popping. I found that method gave me the fewest unpopped kernels at the end.

    Try butter, salt and a little smoked paprika.

  • michelle

    I am a popcorn nut. It’s one of my all time favorite foods. I even lived off it once – for a year – poor and just out of high school. Also, I’m happy to see that your high-quality, expensive, (what is that, Viking, All Clad?) pan has the same burn marks on it that my pans have. A brand new, pristine pan is a terrible thing to waist.

  • Sharon

    Rosendale’s restaurant in Columbus Ohio serves truffle popcorn at the bar as a cocktail snack. Truly decadent and totally addictive. I think they use both butter and truffle oil, salt, and a small amount of finely chopped fresh parsley. I dream about the stuff.

  • Noni

    I just recently returned to the joys of pot-popcorn. I don’t know how I lasted this long with all the other crappy popcorn options!

    And…melted chocolate over the salted and buttered popcorn may be considered over the top, but awesomely so.

  • ntsc

    I’ve been making pop corn the old fashioned way for ever, 40-50 years. Currently I use a pot with a mechanical stir. Oil, salt and popcorn in the pot, heat and pour a 1/4 lb of melted butter over it. Mostly I eat it that day, but since I like it stale (to my wife’s disgust) it will take 2-3 days to be gone. Maybe today.

    I also pop with an air popper. That gets no butter or salt. It isn’t the same thing as the pot popcorn, but essentially no calories so it makes a good regular filling snack. Air poppers are still sold new.

  • John

    TRUFFLE SALT

    Making popcorn with butter and truffle salt is VERY SEXY.

    I’m just sayin.

  • nathan

    my ultimate popcorn experience is Tiny Tender brand from YoderPopcorn.com. small, very nice corn-y taste, unlike some of the really large kernels that have all the flavor of warm styrofoam…
    i pop it in a stir crazy with canola oil and then use just a little seasoning salt(lawry’s), it doesn’t need anything else…
    it is seriously addictive(popcorn CRACK!).

  • claudia (cook eat FRET)

    well, it’s a staple around here. i get mine from rancho gordo
    the quality is amazing – ultra fresh – snowy white – every kernel pops
    i use alton’s method – sans oil
    then i sprinkle with white truffle oil and salt

    love it, couldn’t live without it

    btw – that photo is beautiful…

  • apolicious

    oh god yes. this post made me so happy! popcorn is a staple of my diet, and I’ve been making it with an actual old-fashioned popper since I was about 14. it’s heads and tails above anything that comes in a bag. and although there are so many ways to dress it up, I agree that the pinnacle of popcorn is just some butter and salt.

  • Randy

    Also, for those of you that are microwave popcorn enthusiasts, there is an emerging disease called Popcorn workers disease. The fumes from the crap they put in there to make it shelf stable come out when popped. It leads to lung disease and some say it is worse than second hand smoke.

  • NancyH

    This post may get me off my air popper popcorn habit (which tastes like cardboard if it isn’t slathered with butter and cheese).

    Michael – for your recipe above, what size pot do you use? 2 Qt Saucepan?

  • Shaun Tolnay

    I was probably 16 when my good high school friend showed me this very method of popping corn.

    10 years later, it is the only way I have popped corn, the only way I will ever pop corn, and I too do it often.

    Nice little recap!

  • Jenni

    This is how I make my popcorn–I like lemon pepper and grated parm on mine.

    Microwaving isn’t an option for us, nor do we want it to be. We got rid of our microwave after realizing that a ton of studies have been done on the safety of the ovens themselves (radiation leaks, etc), but hardly any have been done on the food itself. Best to just walk away.

    Back to the popcorn: a friend told me she makes hers in bacon grease. Now, that sounds like a real treat!

  • ruhlman

    pot size is a good question. the above quantity requires a 6 to 8 quart pot. but often when i only have a little pot, i make just as much and keep dumping the pop corn out as i make it.

    i’ve added butter to the oil at the last minute but the water in it cools the oil too much and if you add it to early it can burn.

    love the duck fat suggestion!

  • Carol

    My mother always popped corn in a pressure cooker (without the weight). It’s nice and heavy with a built in steam vent and makes enough for two people. I bought one at a garage sale just for popping corn.

  • Jonathan

    My wife and I are slowly converting all who know us away from microwave “popcorn.”

    We use a “Stir Crazy” popcorn maker – it has a little stirring rod so that you don’t have to keep shaking it, and melts the butter on the top. Quite delicious.

    If you can still find ‘em, the hot air popper makes some good corn. Might need to use a little more butter with it though.

    Finally, we’ve been enjoying Humphrey Popcorn (found in the CLE area at Heinen’s). Much better than the national brands.

  • Russ H

    The person before sho suggested pepper is probably on to something. I had salt and pepper potato chips and they were great.

    I have also seasoned popcord with Garlic Salt, and also want to try Old Bay (since I love it on just about everything else.)

  • Laura

    Oooh…such good childhood memories! My mom used to pop corn for us (in a hot air popper rather than a pot though) when we were little and our friends were over. Perfect afternoon snack!

  • Eugenia

    A chef friend here in Eugene uses duck fat as her oil — takes popcorn to a whole new level. She uses enough to cover the bottom of the pot, and then tosses the popped popcorn with salt and nutritional yeast.

    As for us, we eat straight-up popcorn with no butter. I like the larger grains of kosher salt, so I differ with Michael’s opinion above. If you haven’t tried different types of popping corn, it’s worthwhile. We like the really tiny ladyfinger popping corn best. (See http://amishcountrypopcorn.com/ladfinpop.html )

    Wanted to add that I really love your photos on Michael’s blog, Donna! You have such an eye. They’re one of the reasons I visit this site so regularly.

  • Alex

    Staples? In a microwave? Surely not. Pot popcorn is by far the best. Salt, pepper and a little chilli – perfect.

  • The Bad Yogi

    Carri, we tried a Jjiffy-Pop last year on a camping trip and even the dogs wouldn’t eat it. Nasty doesn’t begin to describe it.

    If you microwave in a brown bag ala Alton, don’t bother with staples, just fold the bag over (and it’s not wise to use them.)

    Butter will scorch. Oil is better. Dry pans can burn.

    Does it sound like we eat too much popcorn here? Never too much :-)

    And we order our popcorn from Rancho Gordo (www.ranchogordo.com) along with beans. Mmmmm, beans.

  • Michael

    Since we’ve been getting tiny cobs of popcorn from our CSA, we’ve fallen in love with stovetop popcorn again.

    I think kosher salt is the wrong choice since the grains are so large. They seem to just collect too much at the bottom of the bowl. A finer salt is much more appropriate and I’ve started whirring some sea salt in my spice grinder to get it down to a finer texture that adheres a little better to the kernels. Although, when you do this, you should use a lot less salt than you think you need.

  • drago

    Can you pop the popcorn in melted butter or is the required heat too high? (It seems like this would potentially eliminate the step of adding more butter later.)

  • Victoria

    This is exactly how I make popcorn. In a 2-quart All Clad stainless steel pan. I never use butter, so I’m going to try the chili flakes.

    WHAT is truffle salt? (I guess it speaks for itself, but I’d love to hear about it – where you get it, what you do with it. Do I have to get my own truffle and bury it in salt? Yow. Something I have not come across.)

  • william

    I’m a big fan of both the stovetop method for the best tasting popcorn and the “Alton Brown” method in the microwave for speed and convenience. I fold the bag over and it holds together well enough. A handful of popcorn and a drizzle of olive oil, fold, shake, and microwave. You wind up with quite a few unpopped kernels but its fast and easy. Much better than any store bought microwave stuff.

    I use a wok to cook my stovetop popcorn. Mine came with a nice big dome lid that gives plenty of room for expansion. Plus its a good shape for tossing in butter and salt.

  • IM Able

    I am a huge proponent of this method and often leave out the butter at the end to avoid the additional calories. Be sure to salt the popcorn immediately after it is done, allowing the salt to adhere to the kernels without provocation.

    On addition I would humbly suggest? Pepper. Salt and pepper popcorn is amazing.

  • Russ H

    Woulden’t you still get even heating from pre-heating the oil? It seems that the corn would still heat evenly as long as the corn was at a uniform tempreture when it went in. And, unless you keep half in the freezer, and half in a jar on the counter why wouldn’t it be?

    I do know that some corn-popping devices call for pre-heating. That may be where the idea came from. I do not do microwave popcorn, but I do own a stir crazy wich I am very happy with. I prefer pot popcorn, but if I am lazy or need a large amount, the popper is a huge help.

  • carri

    This post cannot go by without a mention of that precusor to microwave popcorn…Jiffy Pop! I think they still make them, even. Never got one to work, not ever

  • All About Food

    I love, love, love popcorn — pot popcorn! On cold winter nights in MN, it’s always the perfect snack. This is how I make the perfect pot popcorn: Sorry, I don’t measure.
    I cover the bottom of my 4-1/2 quart Calphalon pot with canola oil. Then, I add enough kernels to entirely cover the bottom of the pot. Turn my gas burner to medium-high. The pot is covered. Once I hear the first pop, I move the cover slightly so there is an opening for steam to escape, but small enough so the corn doesn’t pop out. Don’t shake the pot. Just let it sit there with the corn popping. It won’t burn if you’re using a heavy pot. When the popping has stopped, dump it all into a big bowl. There will be very few unpopped kernels, if any. I think it depends on freshness of kernels. A generous dose of melted butter, salt, and a comfy chair to nestle into with the big bowl of crunchy popcorn. Heaven!

  • Andrew

    It does if you over do it. But if you stop the popping before you think you need to, it’s pretty good. The pot on the stove is still better, but this way has no cleanup.

  • Andy Coan

    Just don’t use the grease you’ve used to fry fish in. I’ve heard from…er…a friend…that it ends up tasting a little weird.

    Then again, if you’re looking for a textured counterpoint to your Sakai-style trout ice cream, maybe it’s just the thing.

  • Andrew

    While I agree that on top of the stove is best (especially with a little truffle salt), there is a good way to do microwave popcorn. Take your quality popcorn that you use for the stove, and seal it in a brown paper bag with a couple of staples. Alton Brown did it on Good Eats, and it works quite well.

  • ruhlman

    i have heard of that but have yet to try it. doesn’t the microwaving of the popped kernels dry them out?