How to Make Popcorn on the Stovetop

Stovetop Popcorn Recipe

Did you know that you can make popcorn on the stovetop?

Maybe some of you are like “um, yes, DUH. Of course I do, Joanne.”

Until a few years ago, I had no idea. I thought popcorn was only made in microwaveable bags and those gigantic carts with the big glass windows that you find in movie theaters.

There are three main reasons why I think making popcorn on the stove top is WAY better than making microwaved popcorn.

Stovetop Popcorn Kernels

First of all, a lot of microwaveable popcorn has artificial butter flavorings, chemicals, and excessive amounts of salt. Well, and excessive amounts of that buttery stuff too.

It’s like the person who designed most microwaveable popcorn was like, “I’d like a little popcorn with my butter, please” instead of the other way around.

I like that I can control the amount of butter and salt I use, and use good quality ingredients.

How to Make Stovetop Popcorn

Stovetop popcorn is also cheaper to make than microwaveable popcorn, and I can make as much or as little popcorn as I want to (those microwave popcorn bags are too big to finish on my own).

First heat up a big pot, and put 1/8 tsp vegetable oil on the bottom, and spread it around with a spatula:

Stovetop Popcorn How-to

You are using a really small amount of oil here, otherwise the oil will pool around the pan and the popcorn kernels will have a hard time rolling around (and they’ll burn).

Add your corn kernels, put the lid on, and start shaking!

How to Make Popcorn on the Stovetop

You shake the pan for a few minutes, vent it slightly, until all the corn kernels pop. Then you can dress it up with whatever flavors you want!

Here’s my How to Make Stovetop Popcorn video showing you how to make it from start to finish:

Stovetop Popcorn Recipe


  • 1/8 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup unpopped corn kernels
  • 1 tbsp melted butter (or more, if you want)
  • pinch of salt


  1. Heat up a big pot over high heat for a few minutes, then use a spatula to spread around the vegetable oil on the bottom of the pan. Dump in the unpopped corn kernels and put a lid on the pot. Turn the heat down to medium. Start shaking the pot forward and back, side to side, constantly moving the pot around the burner. If you don’t shake the pan continuously the popcorn kernels will burn.
  2. After a few minutes, vent the pot slightly by moving the lid a bit to the side (but don’t let the majority of the hot air escape). Continue shaking, and the corn kernels should start popping. Once the popping slows down, dump the popcorn out into a bowl and drizzle over the butter. Then, season with salt (adding the butter first helps the salt stick to the popcorn). Enjoy!

Note about doubling/tripling: You can make as much popcorn as you want as long as the corn kernels are no thicker than a single layer on the bottom of the pan. They need room to roll around the hot pan and heat up.