Homemade Popcorn

by Maggie on January 19, 2011

Did you know that today is National Popcorn Day?


I thought this was the perfect time to do a little post on the simplicity of popping your own popcorn.

I know it’s nothing new. It’s nothing special. But it’s darn easy and sometimes we need to be reminded how easy it is to make real food in our own kitchens.

Pete and I haven’t had a microwave for a couple of years now.


It’s shocking. How can a modern family possibly survive without a microwave?

Alas, we’re doing it and we don’t miss it one bit.

So if you want popcorn but you don’t own a microwave, what on earth can you possibly do? Do they even make Jiffy Pop anymore?

All you need is a stovetop, a saucepan with a lid, kernels, oil, sea salt, and 5 minutes of your time. Sounds like such an inconvenience doesn’t it?

Homemade Popcorn

1/4 cup popcorn kernels

3 tbsp grapeseed oil

sea salt and more oil for drizzling

1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional for a dairy-free cheesy popcorn)

Place oil in the saucepan and set the dial to medium-high heat. Add kernels and cover with lid – leave a slight opening for steam to escape. Don’t open the lid once it starts popping. Shake the pan back and forth a few times while it’s a poppin’. We use a saucepan with a glass lid so we can see what’s happening. Once it’s really starting to pop, I turn the burner off and shake the pan back and forth until popping slows down. Drizzle with more oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Toss until well combined. Serve immediately.

Serves 2 adults for a movie OR 4 children for some Dora (yes, I’ve caved and allowed Dora into my home).

Callum’s Kettle Corn

This is Callum’s favorite way to enjoy popcorn.  He tried it at the Farmer’s Market and insisted we make it at home.

1/4 cup popcorn kernels

3 tbsp grapeseed oil

1/2 tbsp raw cane sugar

sea salt and more oil for drizzling

Place oil in the saucepan and set the dial to medium-high heat. Add kernels and cover with lid – leave a slight opening for steam to escape. Don’t open the lid once it starts popping. Shake the pan back and forth a few times while it’s a poppin’. We use a saucepan with a glass lid so we can see what’s happening. Once it’s really starting to pop, I turn the burner off and shake the pan back and forth until popping slows down. Drizzle with more oil and sprinkle with sugar and sea salt. Toss until well combined. Serve immediately.

And now for the popcorn Pete and I are slightly addicted to – Maple Sweetened Caramel Corn. This stuff is so darn tasty. If you want it really sticky and really sweet, double the syrup recipe and enjoy. We like it with just a hint of sweetness – the sweet and salty combo is, as usual, to die for.

Maple Sweetened Caramel Corn

For the popcorn:
¼ cup popcorn kernels

3 tbsp grapeseed oil

¼ cup roasted peanuts

¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds

For the maple caramel syrup:

1/3 cup maple syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil

½ tsp coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Make the popcorn:
Place oil in the saucepan and set the dial to medium-high heat. Add kernels and cover with lid – leave a slight opening for steam to escape. Don’t open the lid once it starts popping. Shake the pan back and forth a few times while it’s a poppin’. We use a saucepan with a glass lid so we can see what’s happening. Once it’s really starting to pop, I turn the burner off and shake the pan back and forth until popping slows down. Place in a large bowl with roasted peanuts and pumpkin seeds, toss to combine. Set aside.

Make the maple caramel syrup:
Melt coconut oil in a small saucepan with maple syrup and sea salt. Let mixture come to a boil. Stir mixture and continue to bubble and boil for two more minutes (stirring so as to avoid burning). Remove from heat and pour over prepared popcorn. Toss to combine. Lay on a greased baking sheet and place in oven at 250 degrees for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven, let cool and then snack away. Store in an air-tight container if you have any leftovers.

Serves 2 adults OR 4 children.

This post is linked to Lauren’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free event called Follow the Calendar. You’ll have to check out Lauren’s roundup at the beginning of February. There will be some interesting posts, I am sure of it! And speaking of Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free, Naomi Devlin (the event creator) has asked me to host April’s event. So make sure you join in for April!

This post is also linked to:
Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.
Gluten-Free Wednesdays.
Full Plate Thursday.
SOS Kitchen Challenge.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Zoe January 19, 2011 at 8:31 am

A modern family that survives without a microwave…us, too! My family used to have a microwave, but we gave it away when we weren’t using it as much to the point of not at all. It’s a nice convenience when one has it, anyway. (FYI, we always popped popcorn in a popcorn maker.) The popcorn looks great, Maggie! While I do like traditional butter and/or salt, sometimes I enjoy drizzling honey over my portion. 🙂 I’ll have to see about trying your version next time there’s popcorn in the house.


Maggie January 19, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Hi Zoe – Glad to hear we’re not the only modern family without a microwave! Honey is a glorious idea! I’ll have to try that sometime.


Linda January 19, 2011 at 11:48 am

I’m with you on the microwave. We have one, but I seldom use it. I have used a Turbo Oven for several years, but it just broke and I replaced it with a NuWave oven. I like them both as alternatives to a microwave.

I always preferred stovetop popcorn to microwaved. A couple of years ago we were given an electric popcorn maker (not an air popper, it does use oil). It’s a bit easier than the stove, but I’ll go back to that if this breaks. Your maple popcorn sounds terrific, and I just bought some nutritional yeast the other day but haven’t tried it yet.


Maggie January 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Hi Linda – I am going to have to google NuWave oven! I’ve never heard of it. You’ll have to try the nutritional yeast on your next batch of popcorn. Let me know what you think.


Kim - Cook It Allergy Free January 19, 2011 at 11:49 am

Maggie, I always make air-popped popcorn! It is one of our favorite treats for movie night here!! We are always looking for new fun ways to dress it up too so I am totally going to try the maple sweetened corn!! Yum! Great idea! WE even have one of those big popcorn machines that are on wheels, but I have NEVER used it because I do not want to clean it. Instead, I always use my little ugly air-popper because you do not have to do anything to clean it! 😉


Maggie January 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Hey Kim – Too funny! I like that you don’t have to haul out an appliance for this recipe. Between my KitchenAid and my Blendtec (!!!) I feel like I clean enough appliances! Hope your boys like the maple sweetened popcorn.


Melanie January 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I’m glad were not the only ones that don’t use a microwave! When my husband and I got married one of our wedding gifts was a microwave, but I returned it for a toaster oven. At first my husband thought I was crazy for not having a microwave, but now he realizes a toaster oven is just as convenient, without the risk of radiation. I’ve even made a cake in my toaster oven!


Maggie January 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Hey Melanie – I would LOVE a toaster oven. The radiation was one of the main reasons we got rid of our microwave. I’d love to hear more about your toaster oven cake!


Alta January 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Yum! I’ve made popcorn a few times this way. So so good.


Maggie January 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Hi Alta – So did you go home and make popcorn 🙂


KellyBelly January 19, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Hello, I made the carmel popcorn for a scout outing and everyone LOVED it! Crazy good treat.
No microwave and stovetop popcorn are the way to go! thanks


Maggie January 22, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Hi Kelly – I am so glad they love it, you were fast at testing that one out! Thanks for letting me know.


Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli January 19, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Excellent treats. We love popcorn and I’m certain my girls would love Callum’s kettle corn.


Maggie January 20, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Hey Kristin – Hope the girls like our version of kettle corn. It’s a pretty lucky treat!


nicola @ gfreemom January 19, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Brilliant. My room mates and i used to make popcorn like this back in my college days. I’d forgotten all about it. Consider me converted to ‘real’ popcorn again.


Kim January 19, 2011 at 11:50 pm

No microwave here either – don’t thing that surprises you, does it? We love stove top popcorn – so delish! I actually just heat the oil and three kernels over medium heat, once the kernels pop, I remove the pot from the burner, add the rest of the kernels and return to the burner, covered. Then let it do its thing – no shaking at all. When popping slows popcorn is done.

We usually do the nutritional yeast topping, but your maple topping…well lets just say Justin loves maple syrup, so I will definitely give it a try. Thanks Maggie.

We also have a toaster oven with convection, makes reheating leftovers super easy!


Maggie January 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Hey Kim – Lovely to see you here 🙂 Thanks for the ideas for popping! Will have to try that. Sounds cool! Hope Justin likes the maple syrup topping – I know he will though. It’s a little bit addictive. Looks like I’m going to have to go toaster oven shopping…


Annie January 20, 2011 at 4:14 pm

My oh my the caramel corn looks so tasty! We’ve been popping popcorn on the stove for a couple of years now (pretty much since we said adios to the old microwave) but we’ve pretty much stuck to the usual salt and oil and the odd time we’ve tried dill pickle (done the same way you do your caramel corn except with leftover pickle brine). Next time we’ve got the hankering for the sweet and salty combo (which won’t be long I’m sure!) we’ll definitely be trying this!


Maggie January 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Annie that dill pickle popcorn is brilliant! I love it. Except that I don’t love dill pickle flavour. However, I trust and you Kyle so if you made it for me I would definitely try it. Thanks for sharing.


Miz Helen January 20, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Hi Maggie,
You really brought that popcorn to the right place, I am so glad that you brought me my very own bowl. I love homemade popcorn and yours looks delicious. Thank you so much for coming to Full Plate Thursday and please come back!


Maggie January 22, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Hi MIz Helen – Glad you like your popcorn 🙂 I will be back for sure!


Elsa January 20, 2011 at 6:54 pm

I cook popcorn the same way — no microwave! 🙂 I love the different flavors though, I will have to try a few. I also like that you are using different oils. I’ve been on an oil kick lately, so I’ve been obsessively buying every new one I see. This will put a few of them to use!


Maggie January 22, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Hi Elsa – I love trying new oils too. Grapeseed and coconut are my two faves right now! Hope you enjoy the popcorn.


Ricki January 20, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I don’t use the micro but my honey won’t let me get rid of it (he’s a science geek and swears there’s nothing harmful–ha!). I never did get the hang of stovetop popcorn, though. When I used to make it back in my single days, I’d always burn it! I have an air popper and just always use that, though I have to admit, it tastes a little like styrofoam that way (not that I’d know exactly what styrofoam tastes like, or anything. . .). Your variations all look great!


Maggie January 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Hi Ricki – I like science geeks – the opposite of me 🙂 I always learn something from their hours of research. Thanks.


Alisa Cooks January 20, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Homemade popcorn is so much better! We actually have a microwave right now, because it is a built-in for the place we rent, and I miss NOT having one. They are too convenient for cheating, seriously.

It is sad that I’ve had some popcorn kernels in our cupboard for ages. Time to get popping!


Maggie January 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Hey Alisa – I hear ya on the microwave’s convenience. We stayed at friends over the holidays and I used theirs all the time to warm up my coffee.


Valerie @ City|Life|Eats January 21, 2011 at 10:37 am

Oh yum. This looks soooo good 🙂


Maggie January 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Thanks Valerie. It is a yummy treat!


The Teenie Foodie January 22, 2011 at 5:37 am

Happy popcorn day! I just love making it at home, its so much fun! Thanks for these recipes, I like mine plain but the maple one sounds delicious… Great post, I always forget to make popcorn.

Thats great that you don’t use a microwave, I have never used one in my life… microwaves are banned by my family so I guess what you’ve never had, you don’t miss!

Teenie Foodie


Desiree Fawn January 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm

YUM!! We have a little electric popper machine and we use it ALL the time!
So yummy! That smell of popping corn reminds me of my childhood!


Maggie January 24, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Hey Desiree – I love the smell of popcorn, totally takes me back to the days when we used to go to the $2 Tuesday night movies 🙂


The Healthy Apple January 23, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Lovely post, Maggie…I love homemade popcorn and adding nutritional yeast on top with chili powder and sea salt is my favorite way to enjoy it! Great post for a fun, healthy n’ lite snack anytime of the day, especially when watching movies on a winter night! Love your gluten-free work! Looking forward to seeing more of your tasty gluten free treats!


Maggie January 24, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Hi The Healthy Apple 🙂 Thanks for the nutritional yeast variation. That sounds like a great treat too!


Cheryl January 25, 2011 at 10:16 am

My teens are home on semester break right now and are loving the maple popcorn. Our whole family is up for healthier living and we are
Making sought more of our own food. Thanks for getting me back to stove top popcorn!! It is so easy to make, reduces the amount of garbage we make and is better for us. Awesome!!!!


Maggie January 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Hi Cheryl – I am so glad that your teens are loving the maple popcorn. Isn’t it lovely? I never even thought about the reduction of waste – you’re so right! Thanks for letting me know.


Brittany @ Real Sustenance January 26, 2011 at 12:26 pm

We gave up bagged popcorn awhile ago when discovering how easy.. and how much cheaper it was to make it on our own. And then of course when I went Dairy Free.. I figured out that even if I wanted to but it.. it was off limits (No tears shed over that realization 🙂
Usually I flavor mine using non-stick spray to get everything to stick- Salt, Garlic Powder, Nutritional Yeast and Pepper.
This recipe has me quite excited.. I have a serious sweet tooth.. and I can’t wait to try this!!
XO, Britt


Maggie January 28, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Hi Brittany – I’ve shed few tears over my dairy-free changes too! It’s actually more interesting too! The only thing I am missing is yogurt. I’m not into soy yogurt and would love to try coconut yogurt but can’t get it in Canada yet. Darn! Thanks Brittany.


Kim @ Affairs of LIving January 27, 2011 at 11:10 am

How fabulous! I love that you used coconut oil in that maple caramel syrup – I need to make the syrup to use for other things sometime. Thanks for your entry to the SOS Kitchen CHallenge, Ricki and I co-host the challenge each month and it is great to see your entry.


Maggie January 28, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Hi Kim – Thanks for checking out my recipe! I think the maple syrup syrup 🙂 would be great on mixed nuts too. Maybe even a granola of sorts!


Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) January 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Isn’t it funny how in our minds, popcorn seems so hard, but in reality it is so easy! I haven’t bought microwave popcorn in years either. I love doing quickie caramel popcorn too. Your version all look delicious!


Maggie January 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Thanks Sarena!


Susan January 31, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Maggie! Yay! You did a button! It looks awesome! 🙂


Maggie February 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Thanks Susan! I’m glad you like it and thank you for encouraging me to do so! It’s been on my to-do list for a while! Did you get your book yet?


Lindsey May 14, 2011 at 7:34 pm

There are a lot of things I love about you. One of them is this recipe. XO


Maggie May 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Thanks Linds. This made me smile. xo


Jane Lehman October 26, 2012 at 7:46 pm

This was my first time on your site. WONDERFUL! I’m always happy to meet people who do NOT own a microwave. I usually feel so alone… 🙁 lol I’ll definitely be trying your recipes. THANKS!


Maggie October 27, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Yay Jane! Welcome to the anti-microwave club 🙂


Sarah May 9, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Can I ask why you don’t have a microwave? I just went gluten free for health reasons. Because I work a desk job it’s impossible for me to make a meal fresh for every meal. Especially living alone. I made a stellar GF veggie lasagna last night but if I didn’t have a microwave I couldn’t eat it again. Especially at work where we only have a fridge and microwave. Just curious 🙂


Maggie May 9, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Hi Sarah – I want some of that veggie lasagna please 🙂 We got rid of ours mainly because a microwave destroys a lot of the nutrient value in foods. But also because of the radiation factor. Life is about balance though, right? We live a lifestyle that lets us make a decision like this (we both work from home). We reheat things on the stove or in the oven. It’s much easier than I thought it would be. That said, if I am somewhere and a microwave is my only option, I do use it. I hope that helps. Just don’t stand in front of the microwave while you’re waiting for your food to cook 🙂 Let me know if you have any more questions!
Have a great weekend,


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