How To Repop Unpopped Kernels In The Microwave (Easy Guide)

Categorized as Microwave Cooking
Repop Unpopped Kernels In The Microwave

It’s happened to all of us at one point or another: you’re reaching into your bag of microwave popcorn, and you pull out a handful of unpopped kernels. While it’s tempting to just toss those unpopped kernels in the trash, there’s actually a much better way to deal with them.

In this article, we will learn an easy way to repop unpopped kernels in the microwave. With this simple technique, you can say goodbye to the frustration of unpopped kernels once and for all.

Why Do Some Popcorn Kernels Fail To Pop?

There are at least three reasons why some popcorn kernels fail to pop.

Moisture Content

It turns out there’s actually quite a bit of science behind why certain kernels refuse to pop. The perfect popcorn kernel contains just the right amount of moisture, typically around 14-15%.

Any less and it becomes too dry and won’t explode, any more and it’ll have too much liquid sloshing around inside and also fail to pop. You can test the moisture level of popcorn kernels by simply pressing down on a single kernel with your fingernail.

If the kernel dents easily, there’s too much moisture and if the kernel is hard and won’t dent at all, there’s not enough moisture. Either of these conditions will result in popcorn that fails to pop.

Popcorn Hull

The second reason why popcorn kernels might not pop is due to the popcorn hull. The hull of a popcorn kernel is the thin, hard outer layer that protects the kernel’s contents. The hull is also what bursts and pops when heated, releasing the popped corn. If the hull is damaged or compromised in any way, moisture can escape and the kernel will not pop.

Because the issue of unpopped kernels can often be traced back to moisture and hull integrity, some people suggest soaking the popcorn beforehand to add extra moisture and increase the chances of popping. Others advocate for drying out the kernels before cooking.

But sorry folks, unfortunately, science hasn’t quite caught up with our microwave popcorn fixation. While these theories may have some merit, there’s still no definitive proof that either one is the answer to achieving perfectly popped kernels every time.

Uneven Heat or Inadequate Time

Finally, one last potential reason why popcorn might fail to pop is due to uneven heat or inadequate time. Because there are many kernels in a bag of popcorn, a few might get more heat or less time than the others, causing them to fail.

Unlike the first two reasons, this issue is more easily controlled by the user and can be easily remedied. You can simply reheat the popcorn again in the microwave or on the stovetop to try and pop any remaining kernels. And this is what we’ll discuss next – the best ways to repop unpopped popcorn kernels in the microwave.

How To Repop Unpopped Kernels In The Microwave: Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you understand the science behind unpopped kernels, here is our step-by-step guide to repop them in the microwave.

  1. Start by removing any unpopped kernels from the bag of popcorn, along with any burnt or wasted pieces.
  2. Clean off any salt or other seasonings that may have stuck to the kernels.
  3. Pour the popcorn kernels into a brown paper bag.
  4. Microwave the paper bag on high for about two to three minutes, or until you start to hear popping.
  5. Pour the popped kernels into a large bowl.
  6. If you still find a few unpopped kernels, throw them away.

To remove the unpopped kernels you can pick them out by hand, or you can slit small holes in the bottom of the bag and shake them out.

As for the second step, you can wipe the kernels off with a damp cloth or paper towel, or you can also place them in a strainer and rinse them under running water. Don’t forget to dry the kernels completely before continuing with the next step.

Finally, any unpopped kernels that remain after microwaving are beyond saving and should be discarded.

Another Way to Repop Unpopped Popcorn Kernels

Another option for repopping unpopped popcorn kernels is to use a pot on the stove. Here’s how:

  1. First, add your kernels to the pot and give them a splash of oil.
  2. Cover the pot and heat it on medium-high until you hear the popping begin.
  3. Once it starts popping, turn the heat down to medium-low and continue cooking for another minute or two, until the popping slows down.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Any remaining kernels should be thrown away.

How to Store Popcorn for Longer Freshness

When it comes to storing popcorn, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. The first thing to do is make sure the popcorn is cool before you pack it. If it’s still warm, the heat will cause the popcorn to spoil more quickly.

Avoid seasonings when packing the popcorn, since they can make it more difficult to store and can also cause it to go bad faster. After it’s cooled, you can store your popcorn in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Some people also recommend to vacuum seal the popcorn, which can help extend its shelf life even longer. Just be sure to check on it every few days to make sure the seal hasn’t come undone.

5 Ways to Live Up Your Microwaved Popcorn

If you’re like me and love popcorn, then you know that sometimes the best way to enjoy it is with a good ol’ microwaved bag. But, who wants plain ol’ popcorn all the time? Not me! Here are 5 ways to jazz up your microwaved popcorn and make it even more delicious!

1. Shake on Frank’s Red Hot or Tabasco sauce

This is an easy way to add a little bit of spice to your popcorn. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try making your own spicy seasoning blend! Just mix together some chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, and salt to taste. Then sprinkle it on your popcorn and enjoy.

2. Dusting of parmesan cheese

If you’re looking for a savory option, then this is the way to go. Just sprinkle some parmesan cheese on your popcorn and enjoy. You can also try other types of cheese, like cheddar or mozzarella. Just be sure to experiment until you find the perfect combination for you.

3. Red pepper flakes

This is another easy way to add a little bit of spice to your popcorn. Just sprinkle on some red pepper flakes and enjoy. You can also try other types of spices, like cumin or curry powder. Just be sure to experiment until you find the perfect combination for you.

4. Taco seasoning

This is a great option if you’re looking for something with a Mexican flair. Just sprinkle on some taco seasoning and enjoy. You can also try other types of seasonings, like fajita seasoning or enchilada seasoning. Just be sure to experiment until you find the perfect combination for you.

5. Garlic and rosemary

This is a great option if you’re looking for something with an Italian flair. Just sprinkle on some garlic and rosemary and enjoy. You can also try other herbs and spices, like basil or oregano. Just be sure to experiment until you find the perfect combination for you.


So now that you’ve thoroughly learned the ins and outs of re-popping unpopped popcorn kernels, it’s time to take what you’ve learned and put it into practice. Next time you’re popping some popcorn for a movie night, don’t be discouraged by a few unpopped kernels – simply repop them in the microwave and in a minute or two, you’ll have fresh, crunchy popcorn to enjoy.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to experiment with your own seasoning combinations and try out some of the other fun ways to jazz up your microwaved popcorn. Who knows – you may just find a new favorite way to enjoy this classic snack!

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!