How Many Minutes Do You Put Popcorn In The Microwave? Tips For Making Popcorn

Maybe you’re planning to make a quick popcorn snack for movie time or a fun gathering with friends and family, microwave popcorn is so easy to make.

However, making popcorn in the microwave can be tricky. You need to pay undivided attention to the popcorn in the microwave because it cooks really fast and may burn if care is not taken.

Microwave typically comes in different power levels; 700, 1000, and 1100 Watts, among others. The higher the power the faster it cooks. Depending on the type of microwave, it takes 2 to 3 minutes to cook popcorn. The volume of popcorn in the microwave also affects the cooking time.

The rule of thumb is to listen to the popcorn popping and switch off your microwave immediately after you sense a two to three seconds gap between pops. Read more about how to make perfect microwave popcorn in this article.

How to make popcorn in the microwave

Making popcorn in the microwave is hassle-free. With your kennel, paper bag or glass bowl, seasoning, and of course the microwave, you are good to go. Most people tend to use paper bags more than a glass bowl. I will explain how you can microwave popcorn with either of the two:

1. Microwave popcorn in a paper bag

First, pour the kernel into a paper bag (the volume of the popcorn determines how big your paper bag should be). Next, seal the bag by folding it down twice from the top.

Place the paper bag in the microwave and heat for 3 minutes. Pay attention to the popcorn popping and switch off the microwave once you notice 2 seconds delay between pops.

Take the bag out carefully and leave it to cool for a few minutes before opening to avoid steam burning. Turn the popcorn into a bowl, season with salt and melted butter, and mix. Your popcorn is ready to serve.

SEE: Can You Microwave Food in Cardboard Containers

2. Microwave popcorn in a glass bowl

Start by pouring the kernels into a microwave-safe glass bowl with a tight fitting. A Pyrex bowl is suitable in this instance. Then, cover the bowl and place it in the microwave.

Heat high for 5 to 6 minutes and pay attention to the popcorn popping until you can sense a 2 to 3 seconds gap between pops.

Switch off the microwave immediately and carefully take out the bowl using oven mitts. Leave it to cool for a few minutes before opening. Finally, season with salt and melted butter, mix and serve immediately.

SEE: Can You Microwave Paper Plates

Why does your microwave popcorn burn?

Microwave popcorn cooks really fast. With paper bags, it can typically cook in 3 minutes or less and 5 minutes or less with a glass bowl. If you fail to take out the popcorn from the microwave after it has popped completely, it will begin to scorch or burn.

After placing your kernel in the microwave, the kernels start to pop in 15 to 20 seconds. You don’t have to wait till the microwave stops. Make sure you’re attentive to the kernels popping in the microwave.

Once you notice a two seconds delay after each pop, stop the microwave immediately to prevent it from burning. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t pre-heat the oven before placing the kernel inside.

SEE: Can You Put Pizza Directly on Oven Rack

Why won’t your popcorn pop in the microwave?

If your popcorn isn’t popping, it is either because it is stale and dry or because the power in your microwave is too low. Without enough moisture in the popcorn kernels, it may not pop at all or just a little.

A possible remedy for stale popcorn is to put the kernel in an open container and store it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. It should be able to absorb the moisture in the fridge and pop afterward in the microwave.

Also, ensure that your microwave is set at its highest wattage for the best result. Note that, all of the kernels don’t pop in the microwave. What is most important is to have popcorn that isn’t burnt.

SEE: Can You Microwave Mason Jars

Can you microwave popcorn without oil?

Yes, you can. You don’t have to grease the kernel with oil or butter before placing them in the microwave. The moisture in the kernel is enough to make it pop perfectly. Only make sure that the microwave is set at high heat so that the ray can penetrate the kernel so well.

When it’s ready, you can then season the popcorn with melted butter and salt pinch and stir to taste. This makes the paper bag reusable unlike when you pre-toss the kernel with oil or butter.

SEE: Does Popcorn Go Bad Eventually

How to make microwave popcorn better

You can decide to eat your popcorn straight from the oven after popping without seasoning. But, if you love to make your popcorn taste better, here are some things you can do to spice it up:

  • Season with melted butter and salt and stir together
  • Top with melted coconut oil and salt
  • Top with taco seasoning and nutritional yeast
  • Season with powdered sugar, cinnamon, and salt

SEE: How You Can Put Butter on Popcorn Without Making It Soggy

Why do people use microwaveable popcorn instead of stove popcorn?

The advantage of microwave popcorn over others is convenience. You can typically prepare your popcorn in less than three minutes.

Whereas using a stovetop or electric popper involves a lot of processes and it takes longer to pop. You need to put your kernel in a big enough bottom pan and add butter. Then you have to put the heat at medium and open the lid slightly to allow steam to escape.

Also, you have to shake the pan or popper so that the kernel heats evenly. All of these are time-wasting and stressful compared to microwave popcorn.

SEE: Differences Between Microwave and Oven You Don’t Know

How to make popcorn without a microwave

Here is a step-by-step guide for making popcorn without a microwave:

Step 1

Pour 3 tablespoons of oil (vegetable, coconut, olive oil, etc.) into a large pan. Set your stove-top heat at medium and heat up the oil.

Step 2

Pour the kernel into the hot oil slowly so it doesn’t splash.

Step 3

Cover the pot with a lid but open slightly for steam to escape so that the popcorn comes out crispy. You can also poke several holes in an aluminum foil and use it as a cover. 

Step 4

Take the pan by its handles and jiggle it every 30 seconds so that uncooked kernels can get to the oil too.

Step 5

As soon as you notice that each pop is delayed by 2 seconds, turn off the heat. It simply means that the popcorn is done.

SEE: What Round Popcorn Is And How To Make It


How long to microwave popcorn in a paper bag?

Depending on the type of microwave, popcorn cooks within 2 to 3 minutes in a paper bag.

Can you keep microwave popcorn for long before eating it?

Yes, but it is going to be a little hard and cold.

Can you reheat microwave popcorn in a microwave?

No. The kernel would have lost its moisture after heating up in the microwave, so it wouldn’t pop anymore.

How do you make popcorn sugary?

Simply add sugar to your recipe.


Popcorn cooks so fast in the microwave. So, your best bet is to be on alert while it’s popping in the microwave.

Once the pop slows down to about 2 seconds between pops, turn off the microwave immediately. Not all of the kernels get popped but it is better than having all of the popcorn burnt.

You can then season with melted butter and salt or go with other special toppings like coconut and cinnamon oil.

Finally, you should read this article to know if you can put parchment paper in the microwave or not.

I hope this article helped. Thanks for reading.