How to Make Microwave Popcorn

How to make microwave popcorn in minutes—without having to run to the store or ingest any nasty preservatives, fake butter, or artificial anything. Perfect for Netflix binges!

A brown paper bag with popped microwave popcorn spilling out of it.

When you can’t get your hands on packaged microwave popcorn, here’s how to make your own microwave popcorn with nothing but a handful of popcorn kernels and a brown paper bag. No running to the store. No artificial colors. No fake butter. No nasty preservatives. And no ridiculous price tag. Just perfectly popped popcorn that’s actually healthy for you. Not to mention perfect for your next Netflix binge.Renee Schettler

How To Make Microwave Popcorn

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Makes 1 1/2 cups
5/5 - 1 reviews
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Special Equipment: Unused brown paper lunch bag



Place the popcorn kernels in the paper bag. Fold the top of the bag over two or three times.

Place the bag in the microwave so it’s standing up. Microwave the bag on high until the popping slows to a few seconds between pops, which can take anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 minutes, depending on your microwave and your popcorn.

Tester tip: Do not wait for the popping to stop before your remove it from the oven. Trust us. By then all your popcorn will be burnt.

Remove the bag from the microwave.

If using butter, melt it in a small bowl in the microwave on medium power for 30 seconds. If the butter isn’t completely melted, give it a quick stir.

Carefully open the bag and pour the butter or olive oil over the popcorn. Add the salt, close the bag, and shake. Don’t forget napkins aplenty.

WARNING: If you decide to make a second (or third or fourth) batch of microwave popcorn, use a new brown paper bag for each batch. DO NOT, under any circumstances, reuse a bag that has already been in the microwave. Also, DO NOT pour the unpopped kernels from a prior batch in with the fresh kernels for a later batch in the hopes that they will pop because they won’t. Originally published April 1, 2016.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

OMG. My life will never be the same again. No more burned pots or fake butter—this recipe works perfectly. I just ran out to get more paper lunch bags!

All of my corn kernels popped after about 2 1/2 minutes in the microwave. One or two were slightly burned, so you do need to take the bag out promptly. Three tablespoons of corn popped up to nearly 4 cups—a single serving in my house. Just 5 minutes to popcorn nirvana.

I'm so excited for this new technique! Popping popcorn using a microwave and an ordinary paper brown bag really works. This recipe is simple, and you'll have delicious healthy popcorn in less than 5 minutes.

I didn't believe just folding over the top of the bag twice would really hold together, but it did. I was amazed to actually hear popcorn start popping within seconds. My popcorn took 2 minutes and 10 seconds, but next time I'll go for 2 minutes flat, as my popcorn almost burned.

When I melted the butter and added it to the bag, it mixed nicely but a little butter soaked into the bag, so I would serve the popcorn in another container. I used salted butter, and next time I make this, I'll use less salt. Just salt to taste.

I made this 2 more times and thought I would experiment with the bag laying down, similar to store-bought microwave pop instructions, and it only popped 1 tablespoon out of the 3. So I tried it again standing up. Please note, the bag must be standing up to get the best results.


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  1. So very good & healthy, microwave popcorn in a brown paper bag. It is a big plus for those that want to snack without the calories. It tastes great without salt or anything on it. Just a reminder salt/sea salt can raise blood pressure, hold water which causes swelling, etc.

  2. I have been doing this for years now using good quality paper bags. The generic store brand bags just didn’t seem to hold up for me. Life changed for me forever when I found a reusable silicon microwave popper on that website that everyone uses to purchase things. They are inexpensive, reusable and go into the dishwasher. Do yourself a favor and give it a look.

  3. Was this an April fools joke? Or, was this for real? Don’t you need those metal like thingies in the bottom of the bag to heat up in the micro so that the kernels pop?

    1. Not an April Fool’s joke, Stu. No, you don’t need metal thingies in the bag (are there metal thingies in the commercial microwave popcorn bags?!) and in fact putting metal in a microwave is a fire hazard. Don’t do it.

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