DIY Microwave Popcorn {Popped to Perfection}


Close your eyes and envision opening a bag of popcorn just out the microwave, watching the steam escape and inhaling the unforgettable aroma of delicious, buttery popcorn.  Does your mouth immediately start to water? Does your mind wander to childhood memories? Now, where’s the popcorn?!

I’ve eaten my fair share of microwave popcorn over the years, but once I started looking closer at the ingredient lists (WHY do you need silicon dioxide, isomalt or soy lecithin in popcorn?!) and reading about the potential health concerns of microwave popcorn, I set out to find a healthier, portable, DIY option that captures the warm, fluffy goodness of popcorn without additives or preservatives.

Popped Perfection

Popcorn, when prepared correctly, can be a healthy snack option.  However, we’re not talking about the butter drenched movie theater variety which the Center for Science in the Public Interest found can have up to 1,600 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat per serving – equivalent in calories to eating 2 personal pan pepperoni pizzas! In comparison, 1 cup of air-popped popcorn has about 30 calories and 0 grams of fat.

Popcorn is an unprocessed, GMO free (that’s right, even though almost 90% of corn in the US is genetically modified, GMO popcorn doesn’t exist!) whole grain that is naturally low in fat and calories and is a good source of fiber.  Two tablespoons of unpopped kernels yield about 2-3 cups of popped popcorn. Pair that with some nuts or cheese and you have the perfect snack!

Check out this fascinating infographic and short video explaining how popcorn pops.

2 Ingredient Microwave Popcorn

Growing up, my mom often made stovetop popcorn and I remember watching in amazement as the popcorn kernels magically started doing their infamous song and dance, wondering if they would explode out of the pot.  I still use this traditional stovetop method when I need larger batches of popcorn, but it didn’t address the issue of portability.  I enjoy popcorn as part of an afternoon snack but I don’t have a full kitchen at work (as most of us don’t!)…insert the microwave!

Make microwave popcorn with only 2 base ingredients (plus a microwave!) #cleaneating #saslife Click To Tweet

You can make microwave popcorn without worrying about potential health concerns from additives, unnecessary ingredients and packaging materials by using only 2 base ingredients {plus a microwave of course!}.  All you need is a brown paper bag and popcorn kernels.  That’s it!

Check out this video to see for yourself just how easy it is!


DIY Microwave Popcorn
Makes 1 Serving


2-4 Tbsp whole popcorn kernels
1 brown paper lunch bag


  1. Place popcorn kernels in a brown paper lunch bag.
  2. Fold the top of the bag down 2-3 times.
  3. Place UPRIGHT in microwave.
  4. Cook 1-2 minutes or until popping slows to 2-3 seconds between pops.
  5. Stay close by! Popcorn quickly goes from perfect to burnt in the matter of a few seconds! It’s best to err on the slightly under-popped side rather than scorch your snack.
  6. Spray popcorn lightly with olive-oil spray or drizzle with olive oil or melted coconut oil, butter or ghee to help the seasonings adhere and sprinkle with desired seasoning (see ideas below).

Note: I’ve also read that you can use this technique without a bag but I haven’t personally tested that method. Using an air-popper is another option but if your kitchen is bursting at its seams, save yourself the extra gadget!

Personalize Your Popcorn

Now that you have perfectly popped microwave popcorn, it’s time to get creative and add some spice to your popcorn!  Lightly spray popcorn with olive oil spray or drizzle with olive oil or melted coconut oil, butter or ghee to help the seasonings adhere better.  Then, sprinkle with any combination of seasonings you like.  You can also keep it “old school” and enjoy it naked or with a simple dash of sea salt.

Check out a few seasoning options below and let us know what your favorite combinations are!

DIY Popcorn Seasonings
Recipe from Evermine


Texas Blend
1 ½ Tbsp chili powder
½ tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp cumin
½ Tbsp ground parsley flakes

Mexican Chocolate
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp powdered sugar
⅛ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp coarse salt

Zesty Ranch
1 Tbsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp dried dill
1 Tbsp dried parsley
½-1 tsp sea salt
½-1 tsp ground black pepper

Curry Kick
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
½ Tbsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper

Spicy Citrus
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp orange zest
½ tsp lime zest
¼ tsp coarse salt
¼ tsp brown sugar


  1. Combine ingredients for selected seasoning blend in a bowl.
  2. Mix until thoroughly combined, making sure herbs and spices are fine enough to go through the holes of your shaker. If they are too large, pulse in a food processor until finely ground.
  3. Transfer to a clean and dry glass shaker bottle or other air-tight container.

Notes: For a unique gift idea, pair a bag of popcorn kernels with a collection of these seasoning blends. Print these templates on label paper to easily adhere to the top (to prevent spices from spilling out) and front of glass shakers.

Click here for a printer-friendly version of these recipes.

Click here for a printer-friendly version of this blog post.


About Author

Ashley Bailey, MS, RDN, LDN, IFNCP


Ashley is a Nutritionist at SAS Institute in Cary, NC. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner, Certified Biofeedback Instructor and also has a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management. Outside of work, Ashley enjoys crafting, cooking, walking and spending as much time as possible at the beach. Follow @abaileyRD on Twitter.


  1. Robert Anderson on

    Another alternative is buying a silicone popcorn bowl. They usually go for about $15 on Amazon. You just dump the kernels and maybe a little non-stick spray, plus your salt etc. Use the Popcorn option on your microwave. The bowl's dishwasher safe and lets you pop a bunch at a time.

Leave A Reply

Back to Top