Even though the most common method of popping popcorn is to use a microwave, there are actually a lot of different methods. Do you wonder if you can make popcorn in a toaster oven?
Yes, you can make popcorn in a toaster oven, but you’ll want to make sure you do it properly to get the best result. It’s a great alternative to a microwave, and you can achieve great results both with microwave popcorn bags and plain kernels.
How Do You Cook Bagged Popcorn in a Toaster Oven?
Can you pop popcorn in a toaster oven? Yes! When cooking microwave (bagged) popcorn in a toaster oven, the first rule is: don’t use the bag. You’ll want to remove the contents from the bag because the bag is a fire hazard in a toaster oven. Don’t worry, though, it pops beautifully with just a few simple steps.
Here’s the best way to do it:
- Preheat the toaster oven to between 400-450F
- Remove the popcorn bag from its plastic packaging
- Open the popcorn bag and transfer the contents to an oven-safe container, such as a ceramic baking dish or bowl
- Cover with aluminum foil, pinching the sides to seal tightly
- Put the container in the toaster oven
- Leave it in the oven until there are about 3-5 seconds between pops, then remove it from the oven
- Remove the foil once it’s cool enough to touch
- If you’d like to add any additional seasonings, do it right away
There you go!
The deliciousness of microwave popcorn, but without the microwave.
How to Make Popcorn from Scratch in a Toaster Oven
Making popcorn from scratch is fun; you can control the oils, seasonings, and add-ins you want. It typically ends up healthier, which is also a bonus. But can you make it in the toaster oven?
You sure can!
You can follow pretty much the same method. The only difference is that instead of cutting the pre-made bag open, you’ll add plain kernels (try ½ cup) to the container before cooking. You can also add a tablespoon or two of oil to achieve a more tender popped kernel when it’s finished.
Here are some great options for adding your own seasonings and mix-ins:
- Olive oil & sea salt
- Herbs & parmesan cheese
- Spicy seasonings (chili powder, cayenne pepper & cumin, for example)
- Cinnamon & brown sugar
- Nuts, dried fruit & chocolate chips
- Toasted coconut & dried tropical fruit
- Lemon zest & basil
- Bacon (with the bacon grease, of course)
- Mini marshmallows, pecans & chocolate chunks
The options are unlimited when you make it from scratch, so just think about which flavors you love and go for it. For most seasonings and toppings, adding them immediately after removing the popcorn from the toaster oven works best. The exception is for ingredients that melt, such as chocolate chunks.
Tips & Tricks
How can you cook the best batch of popcorn?
Here are a few tips and tricks to get the most tender, fluffy kernel you can dream up:
- Shake the container at regular intervals to agitate the kernels (this will provide fewer unpopped kernels)
- Add some oil – about two tablespoons – to the unpopped kernels before they go in the oven (this will add moisture)
- Do not try to simply place the kernels on the oven tray instead of following the suggested bowl/foil method above – it will make a huge mess
- A reminder NOT to put a bag of microwave popcorn inside a toaster oven; it is a fire hazard
- Sprinkle a little bit of salt on the unpopped kernels in addition to seasoning when finished (this helps with a fluffy texture)
- A foil top works much better than a toaster oven cage, both in terms of mess and the texture of the finished product
Is Using a Toaster Oven Healthier Than the Microwave?
Using a toaster oven is not healthier than the microwave.
Despite the small amount of radiation that can be associated with microwave cooking, the faster cooking method of a microwave retains more nutrients than the toaster oven. This means your food comes out healthier with a microwave!
In terms of popcorn, the cooking time, either way, is relatively quick, so neither option is unhealthy. The real health factor when discussing popcorn comes into play with the types of fat, seasonings and mix-ins used when making it.
Can I Use the Oven Instead of the Microwave for Popcorn?
While this is possible, it works much better in a toaster oven than in a conventional one. That said, the regular oven can work if you don’t have a toaster oven handy.
Just like with a toaster oven, you’ll want to take it out of the bag first to lessen your fire risk. The method would be essentially the same, but make sure to heat only to the bottom of the given range. Also, be sure to shake the container regularly to keep the kernels moving around and avoid burning.
So, here’s the deal.
Not only can you make popcorn in a toaster oven, but you should. Why not use a method that provides tender, fluffy kernels of your favorite snack? Not to mention, the method is pretty easy and decidedly uncomplicated.
No matter your reason for not having a microwave handy, you don’t need to let that stop you from enjoying a delicious bowl of salty, buttery popcorn.
How to Stay Safe When Cooking Popcorn in a Toaster Oven
Cooking popcorn in a toaster oven is convenient and simple. However, you do need to do a few things to stay safe when using a toaster oven to make popcorn.
First of all, make sure the toaster oven isn’t located directly beneath one of your kitchen cabinets as this is a fire risk. You can also reduce the chance of a fire, by keeping the toaster oven clean. Remove all food debris after each use and double-check for things like crumbs before making popcorn.
To stay safe when cooking popcorn in a toaster oven, you also need to:
- Avoid using oil – popcorn cooked on the stove is usually cooked in oil. Oil gives the popcorn a rich taste and boosts its flavor. But you should never use oil when cooking popcorn in a toaster oven as it’s a fire hazard. Instead, save the oil until after the popcorn has cooked.
- Use a toaster oven-safe dish – you must use a toaster oven-safe dish with a toaster oven; otherwise, the dish will break and ruin your popcorn. You could use a silicone, glass, ceramic, or copper dish.
- Use oven-proof gloves – your toaster oven and the toaster oven-safe dish will be very hot. Always use oven-proof gloves when transferring the dish from the toaster oven.
What Are the Benefits of Making Popcorn in a Toaster Oven?
We’ve already discussed how easy it is to make popcorn in a toaster oven, and that’s one of the biggest benefits. But there are other benefits to be aware of, including:
- It’s healthy – as the popcorn cooked in a toaster oven can’t be cooked in oil, it’s a healthier option than stove top cooked popcorn. Toaster oven popcorn is also healthier than microwave popcorn as there are none of the risks associated with microwave popcorn, such as popcorn lung.
- No burned popcorn smell – there’s nothing worse than the lingering smell of burned popcorn that you often get with microwave popcorn. You haven’t got to worry about this with toaster oven popcorn as long as you remove the popcorn when the popping stops.
- It can be cooked at the same time as other dishes – depending on the size of your toaster oven, you can cook a batch of popcorn at the same time as cooking other foods.
- Fewer unpopped kernels – unpopped kernels taste bad and get stuck in your teeth. One big benefit of cooking popcorn in a toaster oven is that you get fewer unpopped kernels compared to when you cook popcorn on a stove.
Can You Put Flavorings on Toaster Oven Popcorn?
Yes, you can put any flavoring you like on toaster oven popcorn. Make sure to add them after you’ve cooked it rather than before.
As it’s so quick and easy to make popcorn in a toaster oven, you can try out lots of different flavorings to see which is your favorite. If you’re having friends round for a movie night, make lots of small batches of popcorn, topped with everyone’s preferred flavorings to keep everyone happy.
Some great flavorings to try include:
- Parmesan cheese
- Garlic and herb
- Peanut butter
- White chocolate
- Cheddar cheese
Can you cook popcorn in an oven? – check this out next.
Is a Toaster Oven a Good Way to Cook Popcorn?
Yes, a toaster oven is a good way to cook popcorn. Your toaster oven will make popcorn that smells and tastes great, which is all you need when you want to treat yourself after a hard day at work.
You might like our guide to reheating popcorn next.
Sue’s favorite pastime? Watching a good movie with a giant tub of popcorn by her side. Her friends and family know that if they want to get her something, popcorn is always a safe bet. Sue has an adventurous spirit and loves to travel exploring new places – she’s been to more than 40 countries!