Honestly, stovetop popcorn is one of my favorite budget-friendly snacks and always has been. It takes only a few minutes to make, can be flavored with a variety of ingredients, both sweet and savory, and is shelf stable for many months to come.

It’s hard to imagine what more you would want in a snack than that! If you have only ever eaten microwave popcorn, you need to hold on to your seat.

Stovetop popcorn is a whole new experience! You will find the kernels are much fluftier, have a better texture, and the corn flavor is much stronger. Choosing to cook on the stovetop is one of the best decisions you can make in your life.

The way to make is both simple and delicious like at the shop, the Apronese recipe will share below for you.

Popcorn Made Perfectly on the Stovetop

What Makes Popcorn Pop?

There is an important aspect of understanding how to make stovetop popcorn that can be learned by understanding what makes it pop. In every dried kernel of corn, there is still a small amount of moisture in the center that is still present.

As a result of the moisture heating up rapidly and turning into steam, pressure builds inside the kernel until it eventually pops.

I believe it is vital to have the hottest oil and to have the fastest increase in temperature (that is why I do not add the kernels until it has already reached a high temperature).

How Should You Make Stovetop Popcorn?

You need a very hot oil to make stovetop popcorn. This is what causes the kernels to pop into a big, fluffy, crunchy cloud when cooked over a stovetop, so it is essential that you make sure you use an oil that is able to withstand a very high temperature.

By using a lower temperature oil, you are putting yourself at risk of the oil reaching its smoke point and then flashing point, which would cause the oil to burst into flames (not a good thing).

Therefore, make sure you use a high heat oil, which is one that has a smoke point that is 400oF or above. It is important to keep in mind that some oils which have a high smoke point include (but are not limited to): vegetable, canola, corn, grapeseed, avocado, safflower, and sunflower oils.

What Causes My Popcorn to Always Be Small and Hard?

As you can see, there are several reasons why popcorn does not pop into big fluffy pieces when it is popped. Here is a list of some of the most common causes:

  • There is no need to worry about popcorn kernels that are too old as they will contain less moisture in the center. As a result, they will not pop as large as they should.
  • When you don’t use enough oil, there will not be enough for the kernels to be heated quickly and evenly, so you will have a lot of half-pops and small pops, since there is not enough oil for the kernels to be heated efficiently.
  • If kernels are added to cold oil, and the oil is heated slowly, the kernels will pop less dramatically and the pieces will be smaller, therefore, reducing the noise that the kernels make.

A big bowl of popcorn with two smaller portioned bowls on the side, with a measuring cup of unpopped kernels next to the bowls

How to Season Popcorn

It is my favorite part of popcorn that it can literally be seasoned with anything you want, and I do like it most. I love Tony Cachere’s seasonings, but I also love plain salt and freshly cracked pepper.

If you want some extra flavor, add some grated Parmesan, some sriracha, some truffle oil, nutritional yeast, or a little garlic herb seasoning. Oh, and butter. Butter. Oh, yeah, butter. Oh, yes, butter.

Alternatively, if you prefer sweet popcorn, you could choose to add butter, sugar, and cinnamon to your popcorn.

Please let me know in the comments below what is your favorite popcorn topping so that I can share it with you and the rest of us.

Stovetop Popcorn for One: How to Make It

As you can see from the recipe below, it makes about 8 cups, but you can also make a smaller batch, which would make 2-4 cups.

When I am making the recipe, I use one tablespoon of oil and two tablespoons of corn kernels, using a small sauce pot to ensure that all ingredients stay hot.

Easy Stovetop Popcorn Recipe

Using just a couple of ingredients and one pan, you can make perfect fluffy and crunchy stovetop popcorn in a matter of minutes. The perfect, fast, and inexpensive snack you will enjoy any time.

Author: Beth

Cook Time: 5 mins/ Total Time: 5 mins

Servings: 4 (2 cups each)


  • 2 Tbsp high heat cooking oil* ($0.04)
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels ($0.19)
  • 2 Tbsp butter (optional) ($0.26)
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt (optional) ($0.05)


  • Using a large sauce pot, add the oil, as well as one kernel, and cover it with the lid. Place the pot on the stove top and turn the heat to medium-high until you hear the test kernel popping.
  • In order to prevent the kernels from burning, you can add them to the pot, cover it, and give it a spin so that the oil coats all of the kernels. Once the kernels have started to pop, you can swirl the pot again to redistribute the oil if needed, but you don’t want to burn them.
  • The kernels will start popping rapidly shortly after they are added to the pot. Once the kernels begin to pop rapidly, open the lid a small amount to let out the steam. Keep it open only a little bit to keep the pot hot enough to continue popping the corn.
  • In the event that the popping slows down to the point where about a pop per second is heard, then turn off the heat. Wait a few more seconds for the last few pops to occur, and then remove the lid and pour the popcorn into a bowl.
  • Adding the butter to the hot pot after it has been cool for a few minutes will allow the residual heat in the pot to melt the butter, swirling the butter to ensure that as much of the butter is in contact with the hot pan as possible. Once the melted butter has been poured over the popcorn bowl, it is recommended you sprinkle the seasoning salt or herbs and spices on top, depending on your tastes.

*There are many types of cooking oils that can be used for cooking at high temperatures, including vegetable, canola, corn, grapeseed, avocado, safflower, and sunflower oils.


Serving: 2 cups ・ Calories: 153.5 kcal ・ Carbohydrates: 8.75 g ・ Protein: 1.45 g ・ Fat: 13 g ・ Sodium: 340.9 mg ・ Fiber: 1.63 g
The nutritional values shown here are only estimates. Please see our nutrition disclaimer.

Popcorn on the Stovetop: How to Make It – Step by Step Photos

Oil being poured into a sauce pot
It is recommended to add 2 tablespoons of high heat cooking oil to a pot of a medium size. High heat cooking oils could include, but are not limited to: vegetable, canola, corn, grapeseed, avocado, safflower, and sunflower oil.
Add test kernel to the pot
It is important that you add one “test” kernel to the pot. The kernel will be used to monitor the extent of the oil heating up.

Once you have added one kernel, the rest of the kernels can be added. Place a lid over the pot and turn the heat to medium high. Wait for the test kernel to pop.
Add the rest of the popcorn kernels to the hot oil.
You will need to remove the lid after a test kernel pops. Add 1 cup of popcorn kernels to the pot, replace the lid and shake the pot a bit to ensure that all the kernels are coated with oil.
Cracked lid on pot full of popcorn
You should crack the lid of the pot just slightly just as the popcorn is popping. This will allow excess steam to escape, otherwise it will collect on the lid and drip onto the popcorn as it pops.

You should remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for a few seconds until the popping stops completely. Once it slows down to about one pop per second, then you will know that the popping has stopped.
Pour Popcorn into a bowl
You now have a big pot full of fluffy popcorn, but it still needs to be seasoned. Pour the popcorn that has been seasoned into a large bowl and add a tablespoon of salt to it.
Melting butter in the hot pot
The pot should still be hot enough to melt the butter easily, but it should have cooled a bit for about two minutes, so you add the butter right after the pot is cool. Swirl the butter around to help it melt more easily in the hot pot.
Melted butter being poured onto popcorn
Make sure that the popcorn has been coated with the butter that has been melted.
Sprinkle seasoning salt onto buttered popcorn.
After the buttered popcorn has been tossed with seasoning salt or your favorite seasoning blend, sprinkle it with fresh ground pepper.
A hand picking up a handful of popcorn from a large bowl, two smaller bowls on the side
A fun and easy popcorn dish that everyone can make, Apronese thinks, how about you?
Do you have a recipe for this dish, comment below to let everyone know.