Never made popcorn without a popcorn maker? Stovetop popcorn is easier to make than you think—and it's more fluffy and crunchy than anything that comes out of a microwavable bag.


Here's how to get popping:

  1. Use a deep, heavy-bottom pot with a lid to prevent hot-oil splatters and overflowing kernels.
  2. Use oil that can withstand high heat—the ideal cooking temperature is 400°F to 600°F. Old-fashioned movie theaters used coconut and palm oils, but peanut and vegetable oils work just as well. The basic oil-to-kernel ratio is 1/3 cup of oil for every 1 cup of kernels.
  3. Do the three-kernel test: When the oil is sizzling, drop three kernels of popcorn into the pot. When they pop, it's time to add the rest.
  4. Gently shake the pot over your heat source as the kernels pop. This keeps the kernels from burning and gives the popped corn an even coating of oil. Holding the lid open slightly while you shake lets water vapor escape, making your popcorn extra crunchy.
  5. Season right away—popcorn absorbs seasonings best while it's hot. If you're making popcorn balls, now's the time to add your caramel coating.


This article was originally published in Allrecipes magazine.

Now that you know the secrets to stovetop popping, give these popcorn recipes a try.