Microwave Popcorn Made Better

Confession time: I’m a procrastination eater.  Because you know, you can’t do work if you’re eating.  Seeing as how it’s finals time at school, I’m currently doing a lot of procrastination eating in order to put off working on papers.  You have to choose wisely in your procrastination eating choices however, since you just want to put off doing work, not put on 20 pounds.  One good snack (and not just for procrastinating, just in general) is popcorn.  Fresh popped popcorn smells wonderful, and is tasty too.  Bonus: popcorn isn’t terrible for you.  Using an air popper doesn’t take that long, but it can be surprisingly hard to find a good (and not crazy expensive) popcorn popper, plus, some people just don’t really have room for one in their kitchens.  But never fear!  It’s easy to make popcorn in the microwave (and I’m not talking about the prepackaged bags you buy at the store).

You won't need one of these, don't worry.

You won’t need one of these, don’t worry.

This recipe/procedure, whatever you’d like to call it, originally comes from the corn episode of Good Eats, “Ear Apparent.”

This is what you'll need.

This is what you’ll need.

Basic Microwave Popcorn Recipe:

¼ cup popcorn

2 tsp. oil of choice (I used canola)

¼ tsp. salt (though I just eyeballed it)

1 brown paper lunch bag

Coat the popcorn with the oil and salt in the paper bag.  The original instructions say to fold the bag shut and staple, but since last I’d heard metal in the microwave wasn’t the best idea, I just folded the top of the bag over 3 times and it worked fine.  Cook in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.  Once the popping stops, or there’s considerable time between pops it’s done.  The oil does start to leak through the bag, so it’s best to put the bag on a plate in the microwave.

Popcorn getting dizzy in the microwave.

Popcorn getting dizzy in the microwave.

And there you have it!  Fresh popcorn in about 4 minutes!  If the oil doesn’t add enough flavor for your liking you can melt some butter to add to the popcorn once it’s done.  Or really you can add any type of flavoring you might add to popcorn made using an air popper.

In retrospect I probably should have found a nicer bowl to put my popcorn in, rather than an old sherbet container...but hey, this is the Poor Couple's Food Guide, not the Ritz.

In retrospect I probably should have found a nicer bowl to put my popcorn in, rather than an old sherbet container…but hey, this is the POOR Couple’s Food Guide, not the Ritz.

You can also make knock-off kettle corn.  Not that regular kettle corn is super hard to make, but it does involve the stove.  Real kettle corn isn’t made with cinnamon, and this doesn’t have the same crunch to it, but it does have a similar sweet/salty combo going on.  The cinnamon kind of stands in for the cooked sugar flavor you’d get with the real thing.

Knock-off Kettle Corn Recipe:

2 to 4 tbsp. melted butter (depending on how buttery you like it)

2 tsp. cinnamon sugar

1 batch Basic Microwave Popcorn

After the popcorn is finished popping, stir in the melted butter and cinnamon sugar.

The extra ingredients

The extra ingredients

As mentioned before, popcorn is actually a pretty good snack for you, provided it’s not super loaded down with butter and salt.  On its own popcorn is low calorie, and a source of fiber.  While the microwave popcorn you buy at the store is slowly getting less terrible, it does still have some less than ideal ingredients in it.  Plus, when you make it this way you get to control exactly what is going in, and you can flavor it however you want.  A win-win in my book (a book that will never be written because I’ll be too busy procrastination eating).


Posted on November 29, 2013, in We Can Do It Better and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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