Making Popcorn in a Pan

Category Cooking Tips
We are so used to microwave popcorn, making it in a pan may require a refresher course. This is a page about making popcorn in a pan.


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This is the old-fashioned way of making popcorn. It is easy to make and tastes so much better than microwave popcorn. This is the way my family makes popcorn. Nearly every kernel pops and it does not take that long to make. You can control the amount of salt or leave it out completely. You can even add other spices if you wish.



I use an 8 quart pot and use a piece of foil on top as a lid. You must make about six to eight wide openings/slits on the foil. To have crispy popcorn, you should allow the steam to escape. You can use a lid, just be sure to keep it opened a bit to allow the steam to escape.


Add the oil to the pot; we prefer coconut oil, since it tastes like “movie-theater popcorn”. Turn the burner on medium-high and when it heats up a bit, add the salt, if using, and swirl it around to blend.

Add three kernels of popcorn and cover. Wait for all of them to pop. Immediately add all of the popcorn and swirl to coat with the oil.

Remove from stove, leaving the burner on. Please be careful since the burner is still on, especially with young children in the household. Count to exactly 30 seconds. Place back on the stove and wait for it to start popping. Pick the pot up briefly and gently shake.

As the popping slows down, be ready to remove it from the burner. Remove the pot from the stove quickly and carefully remove the foil or lid. Be careful of the hot steam.


Gently keep shaking the pot to keep the popcorn from burning. Carefully dump the popcorn in a large brown paper bag or large bowl. I fold down the top of the paper bag to make a cuff.

At this point you can add more salt, Parmesan cheese, or other type of spices. We like to eat it as is.

Since I use a flat top stove, I lift the pot briefly and gently shake so not to scratch the surface. If you are using a gas or an electric stove you can leave it on the burner and shake.

Making popcorn on the stove top happens very quickly. This may appear to be a lot to do but it is quite easy and very fast.

To make clean-up easier, when the pot cools down a bit and is still warm, wipe out the inside of it with a dry paper towel. This makes washing the pot so much faster since you remove the excess oil while it is still warm.


Stove top popcorn tastes so much better than microwave popcorn, and it is cheaper to make plus it is healthier for you and your family.

A word of caution: Please be careful when children are in the home. Children sometimes get excited and want to get close while popping the corn. Being that making the popcorn happens so quickly, you do not want any little ones to be in the way while removing the hot pot from the stove.

Servings: 4-6
Time:3 Minutes Preparation Time
5 Minutes Cooking Time

By it' from NE PA / USA

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I learned something a couple of weeks ago and wanted to share with you. I bought a bag of popcorn at Dollar Tree. It was the stovetop type. Back home, I popped a pot full. Except for a couple kernels, every one popped. I thought, 'Gosh, this is nice'! And unusual, too.

A few nights later, I decided to pop more. This time, half of the kernels did not pop. The ones that did, only popped part of the way, I had to throw it all away. On yet another night, I popped more. I had to throw that out.


I thought I would see what I could learn from the Internet. I read several articles on popping corn. I dismissed them all, except for one. In this article, the instructions were basically the ones we all follow, except for one.

You were instructed to place your pot over medium high heat. Then add 4 or five kernels of corn. When the first kernel popped, immediately remove the pot from the heat and add the rest of the popcorn. Cover the pot and count to thirty. I did about 40 heartbeats.

Then return the covered pot to the heat. It was said that this period of time away from the burner gave the popcorn a chance to heat uniformly, and that when the corn started to pop, most all of it would pop at the same time, greatly reducing the chance of any kernels burning.

Eureka! The information was so very correct. The next and the next time I popped corn, I used this method. I was back to nearly every kernel popping and not one burned kernel. Unless you prefer nuked popcorn, you should give this a try.

Did you know? Regular butter has a smoking point of about 350 degrees F. Clarified butter, on the other hand, has a smoking point of 485 degrees F. That's quite impressive, almost up there with soybean, safflower, and not too far from avocado oil. Even higher than extra light olive oil.

With this in mind, and before we go to the presses, I decided to try to outdo myself. I did. I melted a stick of butter in a sauce pot. I poured the melted butter into a Pyrex measuring cup. I skimmed the solids off the top. That took about 3 minutes.

I didn't try to get the bottom layer of gunk out. I just poured some of the melted butter from the cup back into the pot, being careful not to disturb the bottom layer. Then I followed the tip above. Again, no burning, most all kernels popped, there was no smoking. After popping, I drizzled more of the clarified butter over the popped corn. This bowl, which I finished while writing this article, may well have been the best popcorn I ever tasted. Yes! Are you listening, Miz 2Sa?

Now that I'm good at this, I hope someone will share a recipe for making a caramel glaze to pour over the popped corn!


The Earth has completed yet another long journey around the Sun. It has come full circle. As of Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 5:44 am EST, the Earth starts its new journey. This is the time I celebrate as the beginning of a new year. The Winter Solstice is my New Years Day.

Regardless of when you choose to celebrate the coming new year, I want to take this opportunity to wish all my new found friends at ThriftyFun, the very best life has to offer for the year 2017! Thank you.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

I have a bag of popcorn in my cupboard. I tried to pop it the other day, but my husband doesn't think I did it right. I bought it at the bulk store, so I have no directions. Can anyone let me know the old fashion way to popcorn? Thank you. :)


By Sheila from Ontario


January 28, 20130 found this helpful

I really enjoy popcorn, but so much of the popcorn today seems more like styrofoam balls, than tender popcorn. The corn itself is different. That may be why the corn you popped did not seem to taste as good as the popcorn of the past.

You can purchase hulless, non-GMO varieties from a company called AmishMart. I have used hot-air poppers, and every pot or popper imaginable over the years. If you use a pot, do not leave it! Shake it constantly. Practice will bring you more success, but I have burned my fair share! That being said, AmishMart suggests popping the corn in this manner:

How To Pop Popcorn - Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons Oil*
1/2 Cup Popcorn (Any Color)
1 Popcorn Popper or Large Sauce Pan
1 Large Serving Bowl

Preheat oil on high heat in the bottom of popcorn popper for approximately 1 minute. Add popcorn to popper and cover. Lower heat slightly. Agitate popper until the popcorn ceases to pop. Pour popcorn into serving bowl. Salt to tast
* Any oil may be used. Canola Oil, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, etc.

I enjoy melted butter in addition to the salt. I am not affiliated in any way with AmishMart, it is just a place for me to purchase hard to find popcorn varieties. Good luck and enjoy your yummy popcorn!

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February 4, 20130 found this helpful

Try using a cast iron pot because I have tried the other types of pots and it didn't pop all the kernels. Then put enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Pour enough popcorn kernels about 3/4 amount to fill the bottom of the pot and no more than that. Make sure not to put more than that amount.

It shouldn't take no more than 5 minutes to pop a whole pot of popcorn. Pour out and apply salt or melted butter to taste.

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July 16, 20130 found this helpful

When I was growing up, we popped corn in an old pressure cooker. The seal was worn out on it but it popped great corn. I don't think we measured anything but the amounts given by other posters seem right.

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