How to Microwave Popcorn in a Bowl

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Popcorn is a beloved snack for people of all ages. There’s nothing quite like the smell of popcorn popping and the taste of hot, fresh popcorn!

Traditionally, popcorn was made in popcorn poppers or on the stovetop. However, thanks to advances in microwave technology, you can now easily make popcorn in the microwave using just a bowl.

Microwaving popcorn in a bowl is quick, convenient, and results in light, fluffy popcorn every time when you follow a few simple steps. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know to make perfect microwave popcorn in a bowl.

Benefits of Microwaving Popcorn in a Bowl

Microwaving popcorn in a bowl has several advantages over other preparation methods:

  • Speed – Microwaved popcorn is ready in just 2 to 5 minutes. Much faster than stovetop popping or using a popcorn popper.
  • Convenience – All you need is a microwave-safe bowl, kernels, and plate or lid. No need for special equipment.
  • Simplicity – Microwaving popcorn is as easy as pouring kernels in a bowl, microwaving, and seasonings. Minimal prep or cleanup.
  • Flavor – You control flavorings like butter, oil, or seasoning salts. Healthier than microwave bags.
  • Cost – Buying loose kernels is cheaper per serving than pricey microwave popcorn bags.

For fast, easy popcorn with no special equipment required, microwaving it in a bowl can’t be beat!

Tips for Microwaving Popcorn Successfully

Follow these tips and tricks to ensure perfect, fluffy popcorn every time you microwave it in a bowl:

  • Use a large bowl – Popcorn needs room to expand, so use a big microwave-safe bowl with tall sides. Glass or ceramic work best.
  • Add a tablespoon of oil – A bit of oil like coconut, olive, or avocado oil helps the kernels pop. You can omit for an air-popped version.
  • Use 1/4 cup kernels – This amount will yield around 3 servings after popping. Adjust amounts as desired.
  • Cover loosely – Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe plate or lid. Venting lets steam escape.
  • Microwave 2-4 minutes – Cook time depends on your microwave. Listen for the popping to slow to gauge doneness.
  • Let sit 1 minute – After microwaving, let the bowl rest in microwave for a minute so kernels finish popping.
  • Season and serve! – Carefully remove bowl, add desired seasonings, and enjoy your popcorn!

Using these tips will ensure you end up with light, fluffy, perfectly popped corn every time you make it in the microwave. No more kernels that don’t pop or burnt popcorn.

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow this simple step-by-step guide for foolproof popcorn:


  • 1/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon oil (coconut, olive, avocado, etc) optional
  • Seasonings as desired (salt, butter, spices, etc)


  • Large microwave-safe bowl
  • Microwave-safe plate or vented lid
  • Microwave oven
  • Oven mitts


  1. Add the kernels and oil (if using) to the microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Cover the bowl loosely with the microwave-safe plate or vented lid. Make sure there is venting for steam to escape.
  3. Microwave on full power for 2 minutes.
  4. Listen closely. Once popping slows to 2-3 seconds between pops, stop microwaving.
  5. Carefully remove the hot bowl from microwave using oven mitts.
  6. Let the bowl sit in the microwave for 1 minute to allow any un-popped kernels to finish popping.
  7. Remove from microwave, remove lid/plate, and add any desired seasonings and butter.
  8. Eat and enjoy immediately while hot and fresh!

That’s all it takes to make perfect popcorn in the microwave every time. The keys are using a large bowl, microwaving 2-4 minutes based on your microwave power, and letting it rest before removing.

Now that you know how to pop it like a pro, get creative with fun flavorings!

Flavor Ideas

The great thing about popcorn made from kernels is you control the flavors. Ditch the chemical-laden microwave popcorn bags and experiment with fun, tasty flavors:

  • Classic movie style – Butter, salt, maybe some parmesan cheese
  • Sweet and salty – Butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt
  • Pizza popcorn – Grated mozzarella, oregano, garlic powder, pepperoni
  • Cajun – Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, paprika
  • ** Ranch** – Ranch powder, onion powder, dried parsley, dill
  • Chocolate – Cocoa powder, powdered sugar, chopped chocolate
  • Birthday cake – Rainbow sprinkles, vanilla, powdered sugar
  • Cheesy jalapeno – Shredded cheddar, diced jalapenos, cumin

Let your imagination run wild! Create your own flavor masterpiece.


Still have questions about making popcorn in the microwave? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How much popcorn will 1/4 cup kernels make?

1/4 cup of unpopped kernels will generally yield around 3 servings (about 10 cups) of popped popcorn.

How long does it take to pop popcorn in the microwave?

Popping time can vary based on microwave wattage, but will usually take 2 to 4 minutes. Listen for the popping to slow to judge doneness instead of going solely by time.

Why does some of the popcorn burn?

Burnt popcorn usually happens from cooking too long. Stop the microwave once popping slows to 2-3 seconds between kernels. Leaving it longer risks scorching.

Should the bowl be covered while microwaving?

Yes, you need to cover the bowl with a vented lid or microwave-safe plate. This lets steam escape so kernels pop properly. Never microwave popcorn in a fully sealed container.

Can you use brown paper bags?

No, don’t use paper bags. The paper could catch fire or melt from the heat. Use microwave-safe bowls only.

What microwave power level is best?

Always use full power for microwaving popcorn. Lower power levels will lead to uneven popping and cooking.

Storing Your Popcorn

Proper storage is key to maintaining that signature crunch and taste of freshly popped popcorn. After popping, let the popcorn completely cool before transferring it to an airtight container. This prevents excess moisture from accumulating and making it soggy.

Pour the popcorn into a rigid container or resealable plastic bag, pressing out any excess air. The more airtight, the better. Tupperware or Gladware work great for storage. For bags, squeeze out extra air then seal tightly.

Once sealed up, keep stored popcorn in a cool, dry spot like the pantry or cupboard. Avoid the refrigerator or other humid areas that can cause condensation. An ideal storage temperature is around 70°F. If you want to extend freshness for more than a day or two, consider placing the container in the freezer. Just avoid direct contact with the freezer coils.

With proper storage methods, leftover popcorn can retain its signature light and crispy texture for up to a week. Just be diligent about keeping moisture out and storing in a sealed container away from heat, humidity, and steam. Follow these steps and you’ll be snacking on crunchy, delicious popcorn throughout the week!


Now you have the full scoop on making delicious popcorn in the microwave using nothing but a bowl!

It only takes a few minutes and a few simple ingredients to enjoy this tasty snack. Feel free to get creative with fun flavor combinations.

Just be sure to use a big vented bowl, microwave 2-4 minutes based on your microwave wattage, and allow the popcorn to rest before opening for best results.

Your nose will thank you when it gets a whiff of that mouthwatering popcorn smell filling your kitchen. Enjoy your freshly popped creation!

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!

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