a bag of microwave popcorn next to a box of Popsmith's Oh Sooo Buttery Popcorn

Stovetop Popcorn vs. Microwave Popcorn: The Pop Off

In this blog post, stovetop popcorn and microwave popcorn go head to head as we discuss the differences between these two.

How is stovetop popcorn different from microwave popcorn? We get this question all the time, so we figured we’d break it down for you. Spoiler alert: it’s not just the popping method that sets the two apart. You also end up with distinct results.

Check it out:


woman turns crank of orange stainless steel popcorn popper

The most obvious distinction between microwave and stovetop popcorn is how they’re popped.

To make microwave popcorn, all you have to do is take the plastic off a bag, make sure the right side is facing down, press the popcorn button, and voila. It’s easy enough for kids to manage (but still supervise younger ones), and you don’t have to monitor it constantly. 

On the other hand, making popcorn on the stovetop requires a bit more effort. You’ll need to measure out ingredients, make sure your cooktop is set to the right heat, and shake your pot constantly to keep kernels from burning. 

But if you use a stovetop popcorn popper instead of a regular pot with a lid, your job will be much easier. 

Take the Popsmith Popper, for example. Its stainless steel construction and multi-layered metal bottom promote even heat distribution, while its patented spinning mechanism ensures that every kernel gets popped without the need for constant shaking.


woman smiles as she turns the crank of a stovetop popcorn popper

While microwave popcorn is easier to prepare, stovetop popcorn has it beat in terms of taste. 

The stovetop method allows for full control over the popping process, giving you crisper and more flavorful popcorn. You can also customize your popcorn however you like, whether it’s using coconut oil instead of canola oil or seasoning it with furikake. 

Microwave popcorn is limited in flavor options and can sometimes leave you with unevenly popped kernels or a weird aftertaste. It’s also not as crispy as stovetop popcorn. 

Nutritional Value

Microwave Popcorn

It was common among microwave popcorn brands to use a chemical additive called diacetyl back in the 2000s. This was added to give the popcorn a butter-like flavor.

It was discovered, though, that diacetyl could cause major lung damage when eaten in large doses — with people experiencing wheezing and shortness of breath. This condition eventually became known as popcorn lung.

While no microwave popcorn has diacetyl these days, many still consider it unhealthy and unsafe because of the controversy.

But is this the case? 

Let’s just say microwave popcorn, despite not having diacetyl or PFAs and PFCs (these are now banned by the FDA), really isn’t the healthiest snack out there and is best eaten in moderation. Even without these harmful chemicals, it contains a lot of sodium and saturated fat. 

Related: Is Microwave Popcorn Bad for Your Health?

Stovetop Popcorn

woman reads the instructions for making Popsmith's Oh Sooo Buttery Popcorn

As we mentioned earlier, making popcorn on the stovetop gives you complete freedom over ingredients. This doesn’t only impact taste. It also affects the popcorn’s nutritional value. You can make the snack as healthy — or decadent — as you want. 

The same is true even when you use our pre-measured Oh Sooo Buttery Popcorn and  Classic Kettle Popcorn kits. Since each ingredient has a separate pouch, you can portion them and save the rest for another time.

Overall Value

smiling man behind a counter with three different bowls of popcorn

Microwave popcorn, at around $5 a box, might seem cheaper. But it can add up if it’s a regular snack in your household. 

While buying a stovetop popcorn popper costs more upfront, it’s a great investment for major popcorn lovers — and is sure to become part of your movie night tradition. You can also buy kernels and oil in bulk, which will save you a lot of money down the line. 

And the Winner Is…

We understand microwave popcorn’s appeal — it’s convenient, which is a huge plus when you just want a quick snack after a long day.

But if popcorn is your favorite snack and you enjoy cooking up fun recipes in the kitchen, then making stovetop popcorn is worth it. It gives you better control over flavor, nutritional value, and texture.

And the best part? You don’t have to be a professional chef to pull it off. With Popsmith, stovetop popcorn has never been easier to perfect. Just pour, turn, pop, and repeat. 

Grab our Starter Set today for the ultimate snacking experience! 

Featured Products

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