How To Prepare Microwave Popcorn Without A Microwave

  • Author: Sue Dorrens
  • Published: August 4, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Popcorn is such a fabulous snack, but do you need to use a microwave? Do you want to know how to pop microwave popcorn without a microwave?

Popcorn made with other methods takes a smidge more work and patience, but it’s worth it. This guide will walk through four foolproof methods to make popcorn (yes, even microwave popcorn from a bag) without a microwave.

Method #1: Stovetop

Preparing microwave popcorn using the stove is the best method if you want the most fluffy, tender, and flavorful result. It’s much better than the microwave.

This is what you’ll need:

  • Microwave popcorn bag
  • Additional seasonings, if desired
  • Any type of oil
  • A medium-sized pot (2- or 3-quart works well) with a lid
  • A bowl for the finished popcorn

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove the plastic wrapping from the popcorn bag.
  2. Cut open the popcorn bag and pour the contents into the pot.
  3. Add one tablespoon of oil (any kind) and place the lid on top of the pot.
  4. Turn the burner on medium-high heat.
  5. Shake the pot regularly, about every 10-15 seconds or so.
  6. Continue until there are about 3-5 seconds between pops.
  7. Remove the lid to allow steam to escape. Allow it to sit for a couple of minutes before transferring.
  8. Transfer from the pot to a bowl and add more seasonings if desired.

This method is universally considered the best because it creates the best balance between moisture and heat. It also allows for more control than other ‘set it and leave it’ methods. Even when there is a microwave available, this is the superior choice.

Stovetop Popcorn Maker

Do you make popcorn often? To make the process easier, you could look into purchasing a stovetop popcorn maker, which is more automatic and heats evenly to prevent unpopped kernels and burnt popcorn. Plus, these have built-in steam escape valves and hand cranks to help with stirring.

Method #2: Toaster Oven

You might not think cooking popcorn in a toaster oven would work well, but it does. It’s one of the easiest cooking methods without using a microwave.

This is what you’ll need:

  • Microwave popcorn bag
  • Additional seasonings, if desired
  • An oven-safe container (preferably a bowl)
  • Aluminum foil
  • A bowl for the finished popcorn

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Preheat to 400-450F
  2. Remove the plastic wrapping from the popcorn bag
  3. Cut open the bag and pour the contents into the container
  4. Cover the container with aluminum foil, pinching the sides tightly
  5. Once there are about 3-5 seconds between pops, remove the bowl from the oven
  6. Allow it to cool a bit, then remove the foil to allow steam to escape
  7. Add additional seasonings, if desired

Conventional Oven

We don’t recommend using a conventional oven to make popcorn. It takes a long time to heat up and is far more likely to result in burnt popcorn. However, we used an air fryer, which worked well.

Method #3: Grill

Cooking popcorn on a grill could come in handy for various situations, such as camping and grill-outs. There are two ways you could go about it, although they are the same in practice.

This is what you’ll need for either method:

  • Microwave popcorn bag
  • Additional seasonings, if desired
  • Any type of oil
  • A baking pan or a cast iron skillet
  • Aluminum foil
  • A pair of tongs
  • A bowl for the finished popcorn

You can use a baking pan:

  1. Remove the plastic wrapping from the popcorn bag
  2. Cut open the bag and pour the contents into a baking pan
  3. Add about two tablespoons of oil and mix
  4. Cover with aluminum foil (take care to punch the edges tightly)
  5. Set the heat to medium and close the grill’s lid
  6. Once you start to hear popping, open the lid and shake the pan gently but continuously while it continues to pop (use the tongs)
  7. Once there are about 3-5 seconds between pops, remove the pan from the grill
  8. Allow the pan to cool a bit, then remove the foil to allow steam to escape
  9. Add additional seasonings, if desired

…or you can use a cast iron skillet. The method would be the same, but instead of a baking pan, you would use a cast iron skillet.

Griddle

How cool would it be to make popcorn on your Blackstone griddle? You sure can! You can do this on any type or sized griddle, even if it’s not a Blackstone.

This is what you’ll need:

  • Microwave popcorn bag
  • Additional seasonings, if desired
  • Oil (any type works, but a high-smoke point oil such as avocado or canola works best)
  • A large metal dome or bowl (large enough to cover the popcorn)
  • A flat, metal spatula
  • A pair of tongs
  • A bowl for the finished popcorn

And here’s how to do it:

  1. Preheat the griddle to 500F
  2. Add about two tablespoons of oil to the griddle in a large circle (about the size of the dome or bowl for covering the popcorn)
  3. Remove the plastic wrapping from the popcorn bag
  4. Cut open the bag and pour the contents on the griddle, pushing it down into one flat layer with a spatula
  5. Allow the popping to continue while continually moving the dome/bowl around in a circle to prevent burning
  6. Once there are about 3-5 seconds between pops, remove the dome/bowl
  7. Add additional seasonings if desired
  8. Use the tongs to transfer the popcorn into a bowl

This method will give the popcorn a delicious smoky flavor. It works quite well for adding additional flavors to maximize that smokiness, such as Italian spices or bacon.

Method #4: Open Fire

Cooking popcorn over an open fire can be such a fun camping tradition. Or if you’re just sitting around a backyard fire pit. It’s a fun way to get your popcorn fix, especially if there are children around to enjoy the process.

This is what you’ll need:

  • Microwave popcorn bag
  • Additional seasonings, if desired
  • Oil (any type works, but a high-smoke point oil such as avocado or canola works best)
  • A sheet of aluminum foil
  • A metal skewer or long stick
  • A bowl for the finished popcorn

Here’s how to cook it over the fire:

  1. Remove the plastic wrapping from the popcorn bag
  2. Cut open the bag and pour the contents onto a sheet of aluminum foil
  3. Add about two tablespoons of oil and mix
  4. Fold the aluminum sheet in half, then fold or twist the sides closed
  5. Attach the foil pouch to the end of a metal skewer or a long stick
  6. Place the pouch over the top of some hot embers (placing it directly over a flame will cause the popcorn to burn)
  7. Once there are about 3-5 seconds between pops, remove the pouch from the fire
  8. Allow the pouch to cool enough to be able to open it safely, then open it to allow any steam to escape
  9. Add additional seasonings, if desired

In Summary

Cooking popcorn can be a fun, satisfying process. And no, you do not need a microwave. These simple, unique methods give the popcorn various flavor differences you’ll love to experiment with.

So if you’re craving the salty, tender chew of a popcorn snack but don’t have a microwave, you now have various ways to make that craving a delicious reality.

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