Easy Homemade Microwave Popcorn

An individual I didn’t know messaged me on Facebook over the weekend. In asking how I was, they used a term they clearly thought was a compliment. I disagree — I mean, I don’t even know them. But in that single message, they reminded me of something important: I want my kids to stay away from social media for as long as they can.

Seriously. I very much want my kids to just be kids — little people enjoying their lives, their adventures and their friends without the pressures of social media or the false pretenses of folks who message strangers. They never mean what they say.

Instead, we’ll tend our garden, hang out at the parks around town to use the fancy new jungle gyms and spend quieter nights at home — sometimes reading, sometimes watching something together.

We do love our movie nights.

Hey, is it movie night yet? Gather with the family, put on a good flick and pop some popcorn to share. And once you’re done, chat about what you saw. I love hearing my kids’ perspectives on things we’ve watched together.

But when you do, forget prepackaged, already flavored microwave popcorn. Erase it from your memory and move forward. Making your own popcorn is so much better (and can be so much more wallet friendly!). Plus, it’s easy. Swear. Heck, you can even still make it in the microwave.

There’s a big difference when you make your own. You control the ingredients, choose the flavors and know precisely what’s in the big bowl you’re sharing. Personally, I like having that level of control over my food. How about you?

In the fall, you might be able to score popping corn still on the cob at the farmers’ market. Buy it. The procedure for making it is very similar to the one I share here. And it’s delicious. But in the meantime, pick up some kernels — there are so many varieties with different nuanced flavors — and try making your own popcorn.

The paper bag can be reused if you make more than one batch (I’ve even reused it the next day).

And then season it. There are so many great ways to transform just-popped popcorn into something special. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Parmesan, salt and pepper — Sprinkle the parmesan, salt and pepper directly into the bag while the popcorn is still hot. Shake vigorously. Enjoy.
  • Rosemary, olive oil and sea salt — Drizzle a little olive oil into the bag. Use finely chopped dried rosemary. Sprinkle onto hot popcorn with sea salt. Shake vigorously. Enjoy.
  • Buttery popcorn — Transfer popcorn to a large bowl. Drizzle with melted butter. sprinkle with salt. Enjoy.
  • Peanut butter pie — Spread the popcorn on a baking sheet covered with wax paper. Heat a tablespoon or two of peanut butter. Drizzle over the popcorn. Melt 1 oz chocolate (milk, dark or white will all work). Drizzle over the popcorn. Sprinkle with crushed graham crackers. Enjoy. (This one is a little messy but so tasty.)
  • Snickerdoodle — Drizzle (in bag) with melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Shake vigorously. Enjoy.

Easy Homemade Microwave Popcorn
Serves: 4
  • 1 brown paper lunch bag
  • ⅓ cup popcorn kernels
  1. Open the lunch bag. Add the popcorn kernels. Fold over the top of the bag twice.
  2. Place in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes, stopping as soon as the popping slows -- you don't want to burn it.
  3. Remove from the microwave, let cool slightly (that steam is hot!) and season as desired.


Sarah Walker Caron

About Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is editor of Bangor Metro magazine and senior features editor for the Bangor Daily News. She is the author of "The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook," (Sept. 2018, Rockridge Press) and the co-author of "Grains as Mains: Modern Recipes Using Ancient Grains" (March 2015, DK). Her recipes have appeared in the BDN, Betty Crocker publications, Glamour.com and more. She also writes about food at www.sarahscucinabella.com.