Microwave Popcorn

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Never overspend on Microwave Popcorn from the store again! Learn how to make popcorn in the microwave from scratch with these two easy methods. No popcorn popper needed!

Use this delicious popcorn recipe to make Chocolate Covered Caramel Corn. Or try a batch of Payday Caramel Corn for the holidays!

Cooked popcorn falling out of a brown paper bag.
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Why Make Microwave Popcorn

A bowl of freshly popped popcorn is a must have for movie night at my house. The store bought microwave popcorn bags never do it for me with all of that fake tasting “butter” topping.

Homemade popcorn is not only better for you, with lots of whole grains and no preservatives, it’s way less expensive too! For the price of one store bought bag of microwave popcorn, we can have 5 bowls of the homemade stuff.

I have made–and loved–stove top popcorn before, but when I’m trying to make a quick snack, I far prefer this microwave popcorn method.

This popcorn recipe is oil free and has only one ingredient: popcorn kernels!

Once your kernels are popped, you can dress them up however you like with melted butter, sea salt, cheese and any other of your favorite popcorn toppings.

Use this guide for how to make popcorn in the microwave to make perfect popcorn every time. The popcorn is fluffy and slightly crispy, with no burnt pieces and without requiring anymore effort than the store bought bags.

I use this base recipe before making Homemade Caramel Corn! It comes out perfect. Also great for Cracker Jacks– I make my own version.

Popcorn kernels being scooped into a brown paper bag.

Two Methods for Microwave Popcorn

You can make popcorn in the microwave two ways:

  1. With a paper bag
  2. In a glass bowl

Which is better? I have used both methods several times and like them both just the same.

  • The glass bowl method is nice when I’ve run out of bags, and it also takes out one step between popping and serving. Some people are also nervous about cooking paper bagsin the microwave.
  • The paper bag method is amazing when I want to make popcorn we can take on the go. Or (real talk) if I’ve forgotten to wash the dishes and we have no more clean bowls. I’m only human.

How to make popcorn in a bag

Brown paper bag folded over with popcorn inside.

Grab an ordinary paper lunch sack and measure in 1/3 of a cup of popcorn kernels.

WARNING: Do not use paper bags that are made from recycled materials in the microwave!

Fold down the top of the bag twice to keep the kernels in while they pop.

Microwave for 90 seconds on high power. Listen to the popcorn as it pops and take it out if you start to notice more than one or two seconds between pops.

Remove the bag from the microwave and add any toppings you like. You can season the popcorn right in the bag or pour it into a serving bowl first.

Be careful when opening the bag as the steam escaping will be hot!

How to make microwave popcorn using a bowl

Glass bowl with white plate and popcorn kernels in bowl.

Add 1/2 cup of kernels to a glass microwave safe bowl.

Fit a microwave safe dinner plate over the top of the bowl, making sure it covers any gaps as well as possible.

Microwave for 5 minutes at full power or until you hear 1 – 2 seconds between pops.

Carefully remove the bowl and the plate (it will be hot!). Add desired toppings and serve!

Tips and Tricks

  • Keep a close ear on the popcorn as it pops. It’s better to have a few unpopped kernels than a whole bowl of burnt popcorn!
  • Monitor the paper bag closely. It can catch on fire if you leave it in too long.
  • Adjusting serving size: This recipe yields 3 cups of popped corn. You can double this recipe using the bowl method, as long as your bowl is large enough–you may need to leave it in for a few more seconds.
  • Some stores also sell popcorn in the bulk bins which means you’ll save even more on your snacking!
  • Use this recipe to make our soft and chewy popcorn balls!
Clear glass bowl with microwave popcorn inside.

Recipe FAQs

What kind of popcorn do you use for microwave popcorn?

Use plain popping corn for this recipe. Look for either white popping corn or yellow kernel popping corn. You’ll find it at the grocery store next to the microwave popcorn bags.

Is microwave popcorn healthy?

This microwave popcorn recipe is made with only one ingredient. Popcorn Kernels!

Is it safe to use a paper bag in the microwave?

Do not use paper bags in the microwave that have been made from recycled materials. These can be flammable. If unsure, use the glass bowl method described above.

Microwave Popcorn Toppings

Your popcorn is your canvas! Here are a few delicious popcorn topping ideas for how to dress up your popcorn.

  • Melted butter and sea salt
  • Olive oil or melted coconut oil with salt
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • Cinnamon Sugar
  • Toss with chocolate chips and sea salt for a sweet and salty treat
Popcorn served in bowls with a small bowl of butter.

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Microwave Popcorn

5 from 2 votes
By: Aimee
Never overspend on Microwave Popcorn from the store again! Learn how to make popcorn in the microwave from scratch with these two easy methods. No popcorn popper needed!
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 4 minutes
Servings: 3 cups


  • cup popcorn kernels
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  • Place ⅓ cup popcorn kernels in a paper lunch sack.  Fold the top down making 2 folds. 
  • Set the bag upright in the microwave.  If the bag tips over while the popcorn is popping, it’s ok.  It will not affect the popcorn. 
  • Microwave for 1 and-a-half minutes or until there is 1-2 seconds between popping kernels.  It is better to have a few unpopped kernels than a whole bag of burned popcorn. 
  • Always monitor the popping process.  Leaving the bag unattended and microwaving for too long may result in fire.
  • After the popcorn is done popping, remove the bag and add desired toppings.


  • You can also make this using a glass microwave safe bowl. Place ½ cup popcorn kernels in bowl.  Cover bowl with microwave safe plate.  Microwave for 2-5 minutes, or until there is 1-2 seconds between popping kernels. (*mine took exactly 5 minutes).  Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave.  It will be hot.  Serve with desired toppings.


Serving: 1cup, Calories: 5kcal, Sodium: 7mg
Course: Appetizers
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

Skip the store bought preservative laden microwave popcorn and make your own healthier version for just pennies! Movie night just got a lot tastier.

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on December 29, 2020

Comments & Reviews

  1. Check first to make sure the bags do not have any recycled content. This type of paper bag may have chemicals from recycled papers.

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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