Making Popcorn The Old-Fashioned Way

How do you make popcorn? In a bag in the microwave? With a popcorn popper? What if I told you that you could make popcorn the old-fashioned way with just a pot and some oil? In fact, I’ve never used a popcorn popper in my home. If you learn to make it on the stove top, it will mean one less piece of kitchen equipment for you to store. We do make microwave popcorn also. But when you make popcorn the old-fashioned way, it might even be less expensive too.

Popcorn is a tasty snack. We like to enjoy it together as a family on Sunday evenings. I often serve it with butter on it, and seasoned salt. Or the “orange salt”, as we call it at our house. 🙂 It’s so easy to make popcorn the old-fashioned way with just about any pot you might own. I usually use a 4-quart or larger kettle to make mine though. Also make sure to choose a pot with a lid that fits.

Making popcorn the old-fashioned way

I buy popcorn kernels in a 1-2 lb bag. I’ve even been able to buy them at Aldi’s before. But you should be able to get them at most grocery stores. I use canola oil for popping them, however I am sure most any oil would work satisfactorily.

Making popcorn the old-fashioned way

To get started I place my pot on a burner, and pour in my oil. I generally do not measure this step, but I attempted to quantify it for this post. So around 3-4 tablespoons of oil should be sufficent. It should cover at least three-fourths of the bottom of the pot. I then add two kernels of popcorn to the pot as well, and turn the burner to medium high.

Making popcorn the old-fashioned way

Next I place the lid onto the pot. And then I will wait until both kernels have popped. This tells me the oil is heated sufficiently for popping the popcorn. So I now pour in enough kernels to cover the majority of the bottom of the pot. If you don’t put in enough kernels the popcorn may end up tasting a little oily. And on the flip side, if you add too many, the lid may start lifting off the pot as the popcorn overfills it. But with a little practice you will get it figured out. It’s really no biggie if you put in a little too many kernels, as I have done it frequently myself.

Making popcorn the old-fashioned way

Again replace the lid, and keep an ear out listening to that popping. It will start slowly. Then it will be a steady, rapid popping for only a few minutes. Towards the end it gradually begins slowing down. When you aren’t hearing a lot of popping noises, it’s time to remove it from the burner. Otherwise, you may end up with some burnt popcorn. And you want perfectly made fluffy popcorn.

Making popcorn the old-fashioned way

Carefully dump the hot popcorn into a large bowl. Of course the choice of toppings to add are totally up to you. But while the pot is still warm you can use it to melt butter for your popcorn. Just wipe out the leftover pieces of kernels and oil with a paper towel. Then toss 2 tablespoons of butter into the pot and let it melt.

Making popcorn the old-fashioned way  Making popcorn the old-fashioned way

After the butter has melted, drizzle it over the popcorn. I stir the popcorn while I am doing this to get the butter more evenly distributed. Then all that’s left is to add the seasoned salt or whatever other topping you like. Get started munching, and pretend you are an old-fashioned pioneer from Little House on the Prairie this fall and winter!

Making popcorn the old-fashioned way


If you want another great popcorn recipe that expands on this post—please visit Holiday Spice Popcorn For Christmas! Yum!


How to fix a perfect fluffy bowl of popcorn the old-fashioned way without a microwave or popcorn popper. It can be made right on your stovetop with a pot or kettle.


I am married with three young children. My husband and I are both registered nurses. I like to try new ideas out, and will obsessively research whatever that latest idea is. We like to try different ways to decrease our living costs and save money. My husband is great at building/fixing/diy etc. and figuring out how to implement my new schemes.

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