Can You Pop Microwave Popcorn on the Stove?

I love popcorn, and I will go to great lengths to make it. Personally, I’ve cooked plain popcorn kernels in the microwave, and I’ve cooked microwave popcorn on the stove. You do what you gotta do. Am I right?

Microwave popcorn can be cooked on the stove since it is just popcorn, oil, and seasoning. Simply empty the contents of the popcorn bag into a pot with a lid, add some extra oil if needed, and cook it on high heat until it all pops.

Below, I’ll share the best videos I found showing how to make microwave popcorn without a microwave. Along with the stovetop method, I’ll share a method for making popcorn in an oven or toaster oven, too, or even in a popcorn machine.

Microwave Popcorn Without a Microwave

First, I want to make this clear: There is nothing crazy or special about microwave popcorn that makes it very different from normal popcorn.

Microwave popcorn is just popcorn, oil, and seasonings (salt, butter flavor, etc).

This means that if you don’t have a working microwave, you can take the contents of a microwave popcorn bag and cook it with another method of popping popcorn with oil.

These popcorn popping methods include:

  • In a pot on the stove
  • In a popcorn machine (“popper”)
  • And, more surprisingly, in an oven or toaster oven

My main caution would be to not dump microwave popcorn into an air popper. See below for more explanation on that (if it’s not obvious what the problem would be).

How to Make Microwave Popcorn on the Stove

If you like watching videos, you can scroll down for a video—but here’s the general process for popping microwave popcorn on the stovetop. You’ll need a medium sized or large pot with a lid.

How to make microwave popcorn on the stove:

  1. Remove the plastic sleeve from your microwave popcorn.
  2. Cut open your microwave popcorn bag.
  3. Scoop the popcorn, oil, and seasoning from the bag into a pot on the stove, and put the lid on the pot.
  4. If there’s not much oil in the bag, then add an extra tablespoon of cooking oil to the pot.
  5. Put the stove burner on medium-high heat.
  6. Every 10 or 15 seconds, lift and shake the pot.
  7. Cook until most kernels are popped, and popping has slowed until there are multiple seconds of silence between pops.
  8. Remove from heat and carefully pour the popcorn into a snack bowl.

Most microwave popcorn comes in oil that is solid at room temperature, then it will melt as it gets heated. Then a kernel will pop, then another, then more. It’s very exciting.

Here is a video showing the whole process:

How to cook microwave popcorn in a pot on the stove.

Can You Cook Microwave Popcorn in an Oven or Toaster Oven?

It is possible to cook microwave popcorn in an oven or toaster oven. Simply fold the popcorn into an aluminum foil pouch with some oil. Cook on high heat around 450 degrees Fahrenheit. It should pop roughly between 8 and 15 minutes.

You might not think that oven-cooking popcorn would be possible. Popcorn cooks with quick heat that causes moisture in the kernels to steam and pop. But ovens heat up more slowly. Wouldn’t this allow the kernels to slowly dry out rather than pop? Maybe in theory.

But in practice, it seems to work just fine. There are plenty of anecdotes you can read online of people cooking popcorn in the oven.

The video below was the best demonstration I could find. They don’t start with microwave popcorn—they just use plain kernels to make popcorn in a toaster oven.

But microwave popcorn is just plain kernels, oil, and seasoning. So this can be done with microwave popcorn, too. Just be sure to take the microwave popcorn out of its paper bag and transfer it to an aluminum foil “pouch,” as shown in the video:

Keep in mind: The process for making microwave popcorn in a pot on the stove is simpler and much faster than making popcorn in an oven or toaster oven. If you have a pot and a stove, that would be the more practical option to choose.

Can You Use Microwave Popcorn in a Popcorn Maker?

Most popcorn makers can use microwave popcorn once it has been removed from its paper bag. However, it would take more work to safely use microwave popcorn in an air popper.

Personally, I use the West Bend Stir Crazy popcorn machine. This kind of popper requires popcorn kernels and oil. Since microwave popcorn is just popcorn, oil, and seasonings, you can generally scoop the contents of a microwave popcorn bag into the popper and use it normally.

But this process would not be so simple for all kinds of popcorn poppers…

Can You Use Microwave Popcorn in an Air Popper?

Microwave popcorn cannot readily be cooked in an air popper. This is because air poppers do not use oil. Since most microwave popcorn comes with oil, you should not dump it directly into your air popper and turn it on. This could be dangerous.

Now, it may be possible to rinse the oil off of your microwave popcorn, and then use it like normal popcorn in your air popper. However, this may not be as simple as it sounds.

Oil does not dissolve in water—it’s hydrophobic. Usually, to fully wash oil off of something, you need to use soap. So, as weird as it may sound, you may need to use soap to fully clean the oil off your microwave popcorn kernels.

Then, you would need to rinse off the soap really well, so you’re not eating soap. If you did that and dried off the kernels, it should be safe to try cooking them in your air popper… But I can’t speak to the results you can expect to achieve!

Two More Recommendations for Your Plant-Based Journey

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