How To Make The Best Popcorn In The Microwave

4.59 / 5 ( 87 Reviews )
42 Comments Jump to Recipe

Here is why I love making homemade microwave popcorn- you only really need popcorn kernels. Of course you can season your popcorn however you want. But popcorn in the microwave is so cheap and versatile. Each member of your family can make it and season it however they want! Our families favorite is a classic butter and popcorn seasoning. If you want a delicious dairy-free microwave popcorn, try using coconut oil!  Check out these popcorn recipes for more inspiration on popcorn flavors.  Follow these 4 simple steps to get the best microwave popcorn!


For this recipe you will need:

Step 1: Portion your popcorn kernels into 1/4 cup baggies

Start off by portioning your Popcorn Kernels into 1/4 cup baggies. 1/4 Cup of popcorn kernels makes five 1 cup servings of popped popcorn! This will help your kids be independent in their popcorn making endeavors!  Since I buy our popcorn by the giant tub, I usually only portion out 5 or 6 of these at a time.  I want my kids to be independent, but I also want to control the mess :).   Plus, it only takes about a minute or so, and then you aren’t dealing with storing tons of bags.  My kids will actually put the empty bags back in the cute little popcorn containers we store them in, so we can re-use them when empty!

Step 2: Place your popcorn kernels into a 1.5 or larger quart bowl

Place a 1/4 cup of kernels in a 1.5 or larger quart bowl. I LOVE using my Pyrex 1.5 or 2.5 quart bowl. A single serve regular sized bowl will also work for this recipe. However you wont want to use as many kernels, as it might overflow.

Then place a ceramic or glass plate on top of the bowl.  This lets the air circulate better than the lid while containing the popcorn to help it get hot enough to pop.  If you want buttery popcorn (which is totally optional… lots of times we eat ours plain, or throw in some chocolate!), place 1- 2 TBSP of butter to make it on top of the plate.   You can use salted or unsalted butter, depending on if you like salt on your popcorn.  We usually forgo the salt to make it healthier! If you are going to add Popcorn Seasoning or Popcorn Salt be sure to use unsalted butter, unless you like a little popcorn with your salt :D.  I’ve never had a problem with the butter making a mess over my microwave, but if it’s something you are worried about, you can melt the butter before you microwave the popcorn, and add when the popcorn is done popping!



Step 3:  Microwave your popcorn for about 3 minutes

This can vary a bit, depending on the wattage of your microwave.  My 1000 watt microwave takes between 2:45 and 3 minutes.  In 2.5 quart bowl, the 2:45 is perfect.  When I use the 1.5 quart bowl, it often takes the full 3 minutes.   If your microwave is more powerful that mine, it will take less time, and if it’s not 1000 watts, it will take more. Just keep an eye on your popcorn.

Step 4:  Add your seasonings

After your popcorn has finished popping, its time for the best part! Mix in the butter and popcorn seasoning to your liking. Feel free to add more butter than called for to get that extra buttery taste!

Final Thoughts

In just minutes you can have fresh, light, buttery, and homemade popcorn!  This was so fast and easy, that I will definitely make this again for movie nights. I will do each person’s bowl and let them customize it. I love that it only takes a few minutes of my time, uses ingredients I already have, and is so cheap!

Let us know what you love about making popcorn in the microwave! Happy snacking!


How To Make The Best Popcorn In The Microwave

I'm not a huge fan of the microwave bags of popcorn, it's just too expensive and has too many chemicals.  Check out this super easy, super healthy way to make Microwave Popcorn bags yourself!!  No added oils, chemicals, or anything else in it! That's my kind of Popcorn!
4.59 / 5 ( 87 Reviews )
Print Rate
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 4 minutes
Serves: 5
Adjust Servings: 5


  • Microwave
  • 2.5 qt Bowl


  • ¼ Cup Popcorn Kernels
  • 2 tablespoons Butter optional
  • Popcorn Seasoning or Popcorn Salt to taste


  • Place 1/4 cup popcorn kernels in 1.5 to 2.5 quart glass bowl
  • Cover with glass or ceramic plate
  • If you want to add butter, place on top of plate, so it will melt.
  • Microwave 2:45 to 3 minutes
  • Top with melted butter, seasonings, or leave plain! There are so many delicious varieties!

Recipe Notes

If your microwave is more powerful than mine, it will take less time, and if it’s not 1000 watts, it will take more.


Calories: 34kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 7mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g
Ingredients: Butter, Popcorn, Salt
Meal Type: Appetizers and Snacks, #StayHome, Clean Eating, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Meatless
Categories: Finger Food and Dips, Healthy

Comments & Reviews

  • I have a presto microwave popper, I had it for years and I love it. I never liked bagged microwaves popcorn. Now I have an alternate way to make popcorn if it ever breaks. Thanks Becky

  • I can’t wait to try this. Save money on purchasing the big tub of kernals and on top of it no need for oil. On top of that a super healthy snack.

    • We LOVE it! It’s so much healthier, and it’s super fast too! We love not having to get the big popper out! Just put the kernels in a bowl, put a plate on top, and microwave! WOOT!

      • if you put 2 tablespoons of butter on top of a plate in a microwave it will make a huge mess. Please do not post things if you really do not use them

        • I did do this, in fact, I even posted a picture about it. You can look at the picture taken in my microwave, and see that it didn’t make a mess 🙂 I’m so very sorry if it did for you, but it didn’t make a mess for me, and I posted what I knew. 🙂 In the dozens of times we’ve done this, it’s never made a mess. But again, I’m sorry if it did for you!
          But I did update the post with an alternative idea 🙂

        • Edna, maybe your microwave is stronger than her 1000 watt. Now you know🤷.

  • We just use a plain brown lunch bag. Fold over the top and Presto! Eat it out of the bag, and you don’t have to wash a bowl… 😀

  • if you put butter on top of the plate, won’t it splatter everywhere??

    • Yes, I would think it would. Personally I would melt it for 30 seconds separately in a small bowl covered.

    • I’ve never had it splatter everywhere, but I almost always am doing it with a frozen cube a butter. If you find it’s splattering, Kearna’s suggestion of melting it separately is great! Just do it first, because you want to add it right when the popcorn comes out of the microwave 🙂 Of course, you don’t have to add any butter at all, and it’s still good (although, I’m a fan of the butter, myself!) 😀

  • Does the butter not fly all over the microwave when you are popping and melting? That would be messy…

    • You can always melt it separately before hand, but it’s not an issue I’ve encountered. However, all microwaves have different wattages, it depends on how cold the butter is, etc.

  • Just to let you know if you freeze your popcorn bags and pull them out to put in the glass bowl you wont have any unpopped kernels. This was shared with me and I just haven’t made popcorn of late to test the theory – thought I would share 🙂

  • Man people can sure spout off. You responded with such grace. It makes sense that the butter would not spatter. Of course a high wattage microwave will make butter spat like crazy. But microwaves heat high density foods faster. The popcorn is denser than the butter so the butter gets a less “intense” heating. Please be polite when responding so you don’t end up looking like a fool. Edna, did you try it and make a mess before posting?

    • I agree, her comment was SO unnecessary! I’ll be doing this tomorrow, thanks Becky!!

      • Thanks guys! Have fun Melissa, and thanks Becky for explaining the way the microwave heats… 🙂 I didn’t know the science behind it, I just knew I had never gotten a mess 🙂 The microwave is my 2nd least favorite place to clean (after the toilet) so of course I’m not going to share an awesome way to make everyone clean 😀

  • What a great idea!! Have you tried it with plastic bowls?

    • I have actually… it didn’t work out well… I’m guessing because they don’t retain enough heat, but I could be wrong, because it wasn’t the same size bowl. You can try it, and if it works for you, I’d love to have you share your success details (size of bowl, time spent in microwave, etc!)

  • Omg! I moved and gave away my popper. This is so much better. I go into crazy popcorn addictions every now and then. This is great thanks so much!

  • just tried this and it cracked my plate right in half 🙁 I set microwave to 3 min and about a min and a half it cracked 🙁

  • if you put 1-2 tbsp of oil in with the popcorn kernels you will get that great flavor but won’t end up with soggy popcorn like you do when you pour melted butter over popped popcorn.

  • thanks for this wonderful tip! Worked perfectly in my Pyrex bowl and I even didn’t have any problems with my butter making a mess! Now I am enjoying some delicious organic popcorn that is even better than the bagged ones and much healthier!

  • Another idea… when you salt (or instead) add nutritional yeast. You will get that cheesy popcorn effect…
    P.S. – Thank you for this… I looooove popcorn…

  • I love it! This is my kind of recipe. It will save me money instead of buying pre-prepared microwave popcorn. Period I love Pyrex bowls and correlleware plates too because they last forever and are microwave safe. Thank you for the easy recipe!

  • Just tried this for the first time and it worked ok! It def satisfied my craving… my micro is a bit weaker, so it took ~4mins to pop 3/4 of the kernels in the bowl. WARNING: the glass bowl will stay very hot for a long time. I might try next time w a smaller bowl or maybe by not covering it (it seemed steamy upon opening). Also I saw a tip of freezing the kernels, sounds promising! Anyways, thanks to you Becky! I hate pre bagged popcorn and micro options, too much chemical. Great start to my new snack fix!

  • My butter never splattered, so maybe it was the brand of butter. I make my own butter, but use store bought for this. Couldn’t find the pyrex bowls in my area, but my step-mom had some. (The Tupperware bowls just don’t work well.) Thanks for the wonderful idea.

  • This is the recipe I have been looking for!! I have tried it in a brown bag in the microwave but it made a mess. Thank you!!

  • I have a microwave glass popcorn maker. When I make my popcorn with butter I put a couple of tablespoons right in the maker along with the kernels. Sometime I use olive oil and some salt instead. This way most of the kernels come out buttered!

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