How to Make Popcorn on the Stove Perfectly Every Time

When you know how to make popcorn on the stove simply from popcorn kernels and oil, you’ll always choose stovetop popcorn over bagged microwave popcorn.

popcorn in bowl

Maryna Iaroshenko / Getty Images

Total Time:
10 mins
10 cups

It’ll take a little bit longer, but the stovetop method eliminates the need for food additives and puts you in charge. Start popping to create popcorn recipes—classic buttered or truly gourmet popcorn loaded with seasoning and popcorn toppings. Maybe all you know is the convenience of microwave popcorn. It certainly has its time and place, but the classic stovetop popcorn method allows for complete customization and requires minimal ingredients and tools. All you need to make homemade stovetop popcorn is popcorn kernels, oil, and a saucepan with a lid.

Stovetop Popcorn Math: ½ cup popcorn kernels will make about 10 cups of popped popcorn.


  • 1/2 cup popcorn

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 tbsp butter, melted


  1. three popped kernels in pan with oil

    In a 4- to 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add 2 to 3 popcorn kernels to the oil. When the test kernels pop, you're ready to add the rest of your kernels.

    Test Kitchen Tip

    Use an oil that can withstand high temperatures without smoking or breaking down, such as canola oil or peanut oil. Do not use olive oil or butter.

  2. When the test kernels indicate the oil is ready, add the rest of your popcorn kernels all at once. Give the pan a shake so all the kernels get coated with oil.

  3. place lid on pan while popping kernels in oil

    Once you've added all your popcorn kernels and coated in oil:

    • Cover the pan and cook over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally and partially lifting the lid to let steam escape.
    • When the popping slows, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the popcorn to a serving bowl. Add salt and butter, seasoning blends, and/or candy toppers to your popcorn as desired.

Popcorn Recipes

Use your stove top popcorn to make one of these delicious recipes:

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

96 Calories
11g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 95.7
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10.5g 14%
Saturated Fat 0.8g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 7.5mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 0.5g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0.1g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0.1g
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 0.2mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 2.4mg 0%
Fatty acids, total trans 0.4g
Vitamin D 0IU
Alanine 0g
Arginine 0g
Ash 0g
Aspartic acid 0g
Caffeine 0mg
Carotene, alpha 0mcg
Choline, total 0.1mg
Copper, Cu 0mg
Cystine 0g
Energy 400.3kJ
Fluoride, F 0mcg
Folate, total 0.1mcg
Glutamic acid 0g
Glycine 0g
Histidine 0g
Isoleucine 0g
Leucine 0g
Lysine 0g
Methionine 0g
Magnesium, Mg 0.9mg
Manganese, Mn 0mg
Niacin 0mg
Phosphorus, P 2.5mg
Pantothenic acid 0mg
Phenylalanine 0g
Phytosterols 25.5mg
Proline 0g
Retinol 0.1mcg
Selenium, Se 0mcg
Serine 0g
Starch 0.4g
Theobromine 0mg
Threonine 0g
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 1mg
Tryptophan 0g
Tyrosine 0g
Valine 0g
Vitamin A, IU 2.2IU
Vitamin A, RAE 0.2mcg
Vitamin B-12 0mcg
Vitamin B-6 0mg
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 20.2mcg
Water 0g
Zinc, Zn 0mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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