We’ll show you how to make microwave popcorn in a paper bag! This recipe requires no oil or butter (but you can add both if you want!), just popcorn kernels and a brown paper bag. You’ll love making fresh air popped popcorn anytime.
Why Make this Recipe
You’ll love how simple this recipe is, no fancy gadgets or weird ingredients. Microwave popcorn is a great light and healthy snacks and easy to customize to your own tastebuds.
- Popcorn Kernels. You can’t just use any corn kernels in this recipe, they specifically need to be popcorn kernels.
- Paper bag. A simple brown paper bag (like the kind you used to take your sack lunch to school in) is ideal. You don’t want to have any writing or anything printed on the bag, so no weird fumes get into your popcorn.
- Oil. No oil is required in this recipe, but is a great way to add a little extra flavor to your popcorn, and a little oil goes a long way.
- Butter. If you want to top your popcorn off with melted butter, it is better to use clarified butter/ghee. These have a lower water content and will make your popcorn less soggy. Better to use clarified butter or purchase ghee
- Salt. Salt enhances the flavor of everything in this recipe, popcorn salt is best. It is finer than traditional table salt and will stick better to the popcorn.
How to Make this Recipe
- Add kernels to paper bag. If adding oil (oil is optional) add to the kernels and shake the bag to coat the kernels. Place your kernels in a brown paper bag and roll the top of the bag down several times.
- Microwave. Place the bag on its side in the microwave for 2-3 minutes or until there is more than a 1 second gap between popping.
- Butter it. (optional) If adding butter, drizzle melted butter over popcorn, close the bag, and shake vigorously to coat evenly.
- Salt. (optional) If adding salt, sprinkle over top to taste.
What Kind of Oil to Use
While no oil is required in this recipe, it is an optional add in. Oil can add some moisture and flavor and help seasonings stick to your popcorn. You only need about a ½ teaspoon of oil for ⅓ cup kernels.
You can use almost any oil you like, just keep in mind the flavor of the oil and how it can you affect your popcorn. I’ve used olive oil, vegetable oil, and coconut oil. You could even try using an infused olive oil for a fun way to flavor your popcorn.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The exact cook time will vary depending on your microwave and how much popcorn you add to your bag. For ⅓ cup of kernels I suggest 2-3 minutes. But biggest suggestion is, listen for the pops.
Your popcorn is done when there is more than a 1 second gap between the popcorn kernels popping. The longer the time between the pops gets the higher the risk you run of burning your popcorn.
In this recipe we add ⅓ cup of popcorn kernels to our brown paper bag before microwaving.
Yes! I love that this recipe doesn’t not require any oil to pop popcorn.
You can add flavor your popcorn in a bunch of different ways, butter and salt will give you a traditional movie theatre popcorn flavor. But you can add cinnamon and sugar, garlic powder, dried herbs, Italian seasoning, Creole seasoning, get creative! There are so many delicious ways to flavor your microwave popcorn.
TIP: If you find that your seasonings are not sticking to your popcorn, try drizzling a little clarified butter over the popcorn, stirring or shaking your bag thoroughly coat it, then add your seasonings to the bag. The butter will help the seasonings stick to the popcorn.
If you’ve ever tried pouring melted butter over your popcorn before, you’ve probably eaten some soggy popcorn. I have a few tips on how to avoid making your popcorn soggy.
Start by using clarified butter/ ghee. You can purchase this at the store or make it at home easily (instructions below). Clarified butter does not have the same water and milk content as regular butter so it is less likely to make your popcorn soggy.
My next tip is to shake the bag vigorously after adding the butter. Pour the butter on the popcorn, close the bag, and shake it hard! This will help disperse the butter evenly, making sure it doesn’t pool, so you don’t end up with soggy popcorn.
I don’t typically recommend you pop popcorn with butter because of the water and milk content in butter, as well as the low smoke point. However, if you would like to toss your popcorn kernels in butter before you microwave your popcorn in a paper bag, use clarified butter or ghee.
Absolutely! I wouldn’t recommend tripling it though. If you triple it then you’ll end up with an overflowing bag of popcorn and a lot of kernels left unpopped in the bottom of the bag. You will likely need to adjust how long you microwave the kernels if you do double it. Again, listen for the pops.
If you don’t have a brown paper bag or prefer not to use one, you could make this recipe in a glass bowl with a microwave-safe lid or try placing a microwave-safe glass plate on top of the bowl. Just make sure you use a large enough bowl for the expanding popcorn. You will need to microwave the popcorn for about a minute longer than when using a bag.
I will say, I feel like this method does not work as well as a paper bag. It takes longer for the heat to penetrate the bowl and you’re often left with more kernels at the end.
How to Make Clarified Butter/Ghee
What is clarified butter and its benefits?
Clarified butter, also called ghee, is butter that has had the water and milk solids removed. It is great for cooking because it has a longer shelf life in the fridge and a higher smoke point.
For our purposes, clarified butter is better for drizzling over the popped popcorn than regular butter. Clarified butter is less likely to make the popcorn soggy because it has less water and milk content. If you don’t want to make your own clarified butter, you can usually purchase it at the store—usually labeled as ghee.
How to Make Clarified Butter or Ghee:
- Place your butter in a saucepan over low heat and let your butter melt. You can also do this in a microwave safe dish. Do not let your butter boil!
- You will see all the white, foamy milk solids rise to the top of the pan. Use a spoon to skim the milk solids off the top.
- Ladle the clear, yellow butterfat into a clean bowl. Be sure to leave any water or milky, white liquid at the bottom of the pan or dish.
- The clear, yellow butterfat is your clarified butter (ghee). This is ideal or for cooking with, drizzling over your microwave popcorn or even tossing your kernels in before cooking in the microwave.
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How to make Microwave Popcorn (in a Paper Bag!)
paper bag, and a microwave
- ⅓ cup popcorn kernels
- butter for topping optional (clarified/ghee)
- ½ teaspoon oil optional
- Salt to taste or any desired seasonings (popcorn salt is best)
- If adding oil, toss kernels in oil and seasonings before placing in the paper bag. Or simply place kernels by themselves in the paper bag. Fold down the top of the paper bag 3 times.
- Place paper bag in microwave for 2-3 minutes until there is more than a 1 second gap between kernels popping. Every microwave is different, you may need to add more time or less time, so listen for the pops!
- If adding melted butter and salt, drizzle over the hot popcorn, shake vigorously in the bag to disperse it evenly. Enjoy!
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