Seriously. If you eat microwave popcorn, do yourself a favor and stop. Because popcorn made on the stove is WOAH, SO MUCH BETTER. Also cheaper, unlikely to give you third-degree burns from escaping steam, and totally free of that scary chemical that gives people a condition actually called "popcorn lung.
" Really. That's just not right.
Plus, it takes about the same amount of time to make popcorn on the stove as it does to nuke a bag full of carcinogens. So really, there is NO REASON to eat microwave popcorn.
Maybe you're saying, "But I don't know how to make it on the stove. It's too confusing."
To which I say, "No, it's not." And I am now going to tell you how to make it on the stove, so you no longer have any excuses.
First you have to get your popcorn. It's in the aisle at the grocery store where all that evil microwave popcorn lives. You can get fancy popcorn other places, from special heirloom varieties grown organically, down with GMOs and Monsanto, etc. You probably should do that if you can, but failing that, just buy a bag of popcorn at the grocery store. There are even store brands, and I can vouch that they are just fine. The bag will have instructions for how to make the popcorn right on it, but I will still continue with MY instructions, because this wouldn't be much of a tutorial otherwise, now would it?
Okay! Now you have your popcorn. So you need a pot. Any heavy kind of pot will do. The size depends on how much popcorn you want. If you're making it just for yourself (which I do with some frequency), use a smaller pot--like a two-quart size. If you're making it for more people or you just like to eat a LOT of popcorn by yourself--and I will not judge you if that is the case--use a big pot. However big the pot is, that's how much popcorn you'll end up with.
Once your pot size is determined, put the pot on the stove and add a little oil. Canola, peanut, vegetable, non-coconutty flavored coconut . . . whatever, as long as it doesn't have a flavor of its own (known to smart people as "neutral" oils--look! you're smart now!) and can be heated to a high temperature without smoking and getting gross (known as having a high smoke point). I don't measure the oil. You really just need enough to just coat the bottom of the pot.
Turn your burner to high and add the popcorn. I don't measure this either, I just add enough popcorn to make a single layer on the bottom of the pot. Now you need to put a cover on the pot. You can just use the lid that goes with the pot, but you'll have to hold it there a little ajar to let steam escape or you'll get tough popcorn. And a few kernels will find their way through the little gap. My preferred cover is actually either a mesh strainer (like this
) for a smaller pot or one of those splatter guards
for the big pot. These are perfect because they can be kept tight on the pot and the mesh lets all the steam escape without letting any of the popcorn escape. But just a lid works too.
You have to have SOMEthing on there though, or you will get popcorn EVERYWHERE. This makes dogs quite happy, but there's no need to waste good popcorn on dogs. So make sure you have a cover.
After a minute or so, the popcorn will start to pop. Turn the heat down to medium-high. Shake the pan a bit occasionally, keeping the cover on, to keep any of the popcorn from burning. When it's mostly done popping, which will only take a couple of minutes, pour it into a big bowl. Like, a BIG bowl. Not just big enough, but big enough so you can mix the popcorn around without pushing it all out of the bowl. Irritating.
Then, in your now-empty but still-hot pot that is off the heat, put in some butter*. A tablespoon, two tablespoons, whatever. Up to you. When the butter is melted, dribble half of it over the popcorn, then add some fine salt. Don't use kosher salt or coarse sea salt or anything--the crystals are too big. Ordinary table salt will work. Then mix it all around with your hands or a big spoon and add the other half of the butter and some more salt if you want.
And there's your popcorn. It kind of looks involved when it's all written out like this, but trust me, it takes about five minutes and is SOSOSOSO much better than that crap in a plastic bag.
Try it. You'll like it. Guaranteed.
* Confession: Until about a month ago, I always heated my butter separately in the microwave. Then I saw the MiL make popcorn, melting the butter in the conveniently still-hot pot, and I was all, "Oh. STUPID ME." That MiL. Such a clever one.