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Does anyone remember the olden days, when people used to pop corn WITHOUT a microwave?


Why would you want to do such a thing?

You mean besides avoiding the unnamed chemicals and nasty whatnots that are in microwave popcorn? “Homemade” popcorn actually does taste better, plus, it’s something that would be nice to know in case of Armegeddon (another name for “no microwave”).  Besides, it’s easy.

You can just heat up oil, pour in popcorn (no, you shouldn’t take popcorn out of a microwave bag for this…buy plain, regular popcorn. Bonus: It’s cheap!) and you’ll end up with popcorn. But follow this method for more even results:


Put 3 tablespoons of canola oil in a medium saucepan and turn the heat on medium.


Put three kernels of popcorn in. These are your test kernels, your sacrificial popcorns. As soon as they pop, pour in 1/3 cup popcorn, put a tight lid on and immediately remove from the heat. This will more evenly heat the kernels. Count off 30 seconds.


Return to the heat. Slosh the pan back and forth. It doesn’t need to be constant, but VERY regularly, especially after it has started popping. If the lid can be turned to vent, all the better. Venting the pan will result in dryer, fluffier popcorn. If your lid doesn’t have a vent, you can put the lid ajar when you are not sloshing the pan. But don’t leave much of a space…popcorn will find its way through a crack and escape.

The popcorn will start popping quite soon. Keep sloshing, and keep a careful ear. When the popcorn has slowed popping, call it good and remove from the heat to prevent it from burning.

Add your favorite popcorn toppings. The Damsel recommends butter and salt. Old School.

Thanks to emeraldlens.info for the photo help with today’s post!

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  • My mom still makes popcorn this way -I’m not sure why we don’t -I’m thinking we need to start this up again…it’s ALWAYS better than microwave.

  • SO cool! I don’t think I’ve ever had real popped popcorn. Now I have to try this.

  • A new trick I learned – you can actually pop popcorn in a small paper sack in the microwave. It isn’t quite as good as a real microwave popcorn package – but it really works!

    • damsel

      That’s a cool idea!

  • Just tried this…and it was wonderful!

    Thank you, Damsel.

    This popcorn fanatic is in heaven!

  • We made popcorn like this awhile back, it was a huge hit w/the kids!

    PS: Can I join your critique group? Sounds intense but divine! 🙂

    • damsel

      Oh Terresa! That would be a dream come true.

  • That’s how we made popcorn when I was little…and I still pop corn that way!

    I found out that you can’t make it that way with a ceramic glass stove top! OY! Luckily I had an electric one burner that I used to make candles with that I could use.

    • damsel

      Good to know. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Dang, I should read your blog more regularly! I have been craving popcorn like crazy lately, didn’t want to go out and buy the expensive microwave popcorn, and couldn’t find the air popper. I’ve had some made with a StirCrazy popper and it was so good, I knew that the stove top would be just as good. This was, um, probably four days ago (right after you posted this!). But I didn’t know you had posted this! So weird.

    Anyway, I read pretty much the exact same formula you wrote out here, on a food forum. There were other variations, too, so I tried some of those. I ended up really liking coconut oil to cook it with. As soon as it was completely melted, I threw in all the kernels. When they started to pop, I took it off the stove briefly (5-10 seconds) and shook it, then put it back on. Every little while I would pick it up and shift it back and forth a bit (I don’t like doing it directly on the stove because it makes so much noise that you can’t listen for the popping). It came out so great, and I just lightly salted it. YUM.

    • damsel

      Thanks for reading! By the way, if you would like, you can subscribe to the Old School on Google Reader or via email by following links on the right hand side. Let me know if you have any questions. Now I’m off to have a look at yours!

  • Armageddon = no microwave. lol

  • I actually had you on my list of favorites in Google Reader, but yours was too far down, so I never saw it. I just moved it up where I can see it. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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  • Old school rocks! I popped my first batch of real popcorn all on my own today. (I used to air pop it with parental supervision as a kid.) I coated it in cinnamon honey butter and my kids could not have been more impressed!
    Popcorn is the only thing I kept my microwave around for anymore, but now I don’t even need it for that!