Woman pours popcorn from Popper into a white bowl

How to Make Stovetop Popcorn Right Every Single Time

Love the gourmet taste of stovetop popcorn but aren't confident about your culinary skills? Here's a guide that will teach you the secrets to cooking popcorn on stovetop perfectly.

Stovetop popcorn is the ultimate flavor–packed treat for viewing parties, romantic stay-at-home dates, and weekly game nights. Knowing how to cook it is a trick you’ll want up your sleeve! 

In this post, we’ll share some tips to make stovetop popcorn like a pro — as well as our recommendations for oil, seasoning, and more. 

Let’s get started:

Things You Need to Make Stovetop Popcorn

Before we share our stovetop popcorn recipe, let’s talk about the basic elements of making this snack:


Person scoops kernels out of a glass jar

Kernels come in different colors, with yellow and white being the most common. The type you go for can affect your popcorn’s flavor and texture.

If you want to bite into crunchy popcorn, yellow kernels won’t disappoint. They come out bigger than white kernels and have more noticeable hulls, making them crispy and oh-so-satisfying. Movie theaters use this type of kernel.

White kernels are smaller, with tender hulls. They pop into soft, fluffy clouds and are the closest you can get to hulless popcorn

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Yellow vs. White Popcorn


When it comes to choosing oil for your stovetop popcorn, the most important thing to consider is smoke point.

An oil’s smoke point is the temperature at which its compounds break down and produce smoke. Once it reaches that state, it ruins your popcorn’s taste — and more importantly, it’s awful for your health. Pick an oil with a high smoke point so you don’t risk burning your kernels. 

Another factor to look at is flavor profile. Certain oils can lend distinct flavors, while others have a more neutral taste.  

If you’re health-conscious, then you’ll also want to consider nutritional value. Do your homework on fat content and other properties. 

There are several types of oil that have one or two of these elements, but one particular oil that suits stovetop popcorn is coconut oil. It’s actually what movie theaters use instead of real butter. It’s healthier than other fats, has a high smoke point, and adds a richness that complements the kernels.

Read More: What's the Best Oil for Popcorn?


Classic Kettle Popcorn kit and bowls of powdered sugar, marshmallows, and sprinkles on a white counter

You can make stovetop popcorn with just a pinch of salt and it’s already gonna taste fantastic. But if you want a little kick, add spices like paprika or if you want a full-on dessert, mix in chocolate or marshmallows. The possibilities are endless! 

Need more inspo? Here’s a post with awesome popcorn seasoning ideas. 

Huge Pot with Lid

Kernels require plenty of room to move around so they don’t stay stuck to one side and burn. So how big should your pot be?

The actual size will depend on how much popcorn you want to pop, but if you’re like us and can eat an entire bowl by yourself, a 6-quart pot will do the trick. 

And if you have one with a multi-clad bottom, even better. It’ll help the kernels cook evenly. 

How to Cook Stovetop Popcorn 

This stovetop popcorn recipe makes 6 quarts of popcorn, enough for four people or one hungry popcorn lover. 


  • 1/2 cup kernels
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon fine salt (or to taste)
  • Your choice of seasoning


Step 1: Prepare

Man prepares ingredients needed for stovetop popcorn

Assemble your ingredients and have a bowl ready so you can pour the popcorn right after popping. 

Step 2: Heat

Crank your burner to medium heat and place the pot over it. Add oil and 2-3 kernels. Cover the pot and wait till you hear popping. This will tell you that the oil has been heated enough. 

Step 3: Add Ingredients

Person pours kernels into a mint Popsmith popper

After the test kernels pop, take the pot off the heat. Remove the lid and pour in the remaining kernels and your seasoning. Give the pot a good shake to distribute the kernels. 

Step 4: Shake It Up

Put the pot back on the heat, cover it with the lid, and listen as the popcorn pops. Shake every once in a while so the kernels don’t stay in one place and burn.

When there’s a bigger pause between pops, turn off the heat and remove the lid. Then add your mix-ins. 

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy

Pour your popcorn into the bowl, allow steam to escape, and then serve. 

Cooking Popcorn on Stovetop the Popsmith Way 

Man cranks handle of a Popsmith popper

We won’t judge you if you read all that and felt intimidated. 

Getting stovetop popcorn right can be difficult even when you know your way around a kitchen, and nothing’s more frustrating than throwing out what should’ve been a great snack. We’ve been there!

It’s what spurred us to create the Popsmith Popper, a stovetop popcorn popper that simplifies the entire process. To use it, you just need to heat your stove, add your ingredients, turn the crank till popping stops, and enjoy.  

Man removes lid of Popsmith Popper to reveal freshly popped popcorn

The stainless steel Popper is compatible with all stoves and can make up to 6 quarts of drool-worthy popcorn. You’ll never have to worry about unevenly popped or burnt kernels, just fighting the urge to claim the entire bowl for yourself.

Read more: Meet Our Innovative Stovetop Popcorn Popper

Stovetop Popcorn Perfected

Once you taste stovetop popcorn, you’ll never want to go back to microwave or air-popped popcorn. The flavor is just way more intense, and the texture can’t be beat. 

While it can be a challenge to make stovetop popcorn the traditional method, using the Popsmith Popper changes things. It’s all you need to make the best-tasting popcorn ever.

FAQs About Stovetop Popcorn

What is the best oil for stovetop popcorn?

Coconut oil is the best oil to cook your stovetop popcorn. It has a high enough smoke point to keep the kernels from burning, plus it infuses the popcorn with a nice richness.

What seasoning is good on popcorn?

Nearly anything! That’s the cool thing about popcorn. It satisfies your sweet, savory, and everything-in-between cravings. 

If you want an alternative to your usual buttery popcorn, try garlic parmesan, peanut butter, or chocolate caramel. 

Why is my stovetop popcorn not fluffy?

If your popcorn doesn’t come out fluffy, it might be because your kernels are old or you let them stay in the stovetop popcorn maker too long. Another possible culprit is trapped steam.

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