Sunday, April 1, 2012

Simple Stovetop Healthy Popcorn Recipe

With all of the hype recently about the health benefits of popcorn, it is increasingly obvious why people love and crave popcorn so much.  Of course, without a doubt, the healthiest popcorn to eat is air-popped, with no toppings.  However, let’s face it: air-popped popcorn, with no oil, butter, or salt, is not very appetizing.

So what is the best compromise between “naked” popcorn and the butter-laden salty kernels from the movie theater?  Stove top popped popcorn.

Made with a little thought, it can be made with a minimum of unhealthy aspects while still being tasty.  You can also add a wide variety of flavorings that are both delicious and still healthy — most cooking spices, like chili powder, cumin, curry powder, garlic powder, Cajun spice, garam masala, or even combinations of spices are wonderful ideas.

Stovetop Popcorn
Stovetop popcorn is a wonderful compromise between healthy and tasty


  • 4 Tbsp. oil – enough to coat the bottom of the pan and come about halfway up a kernel of popcorn; grapeseed is a wonderful healthful choice, as is canola
  • 1/2 c. popcorn kernels
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 qt. covered pot (soup pot or dutch oven size)


  1. Put the pan with oil on the stove over medium-high heat.
  2. Add few kernels (3-5) to the oil to let you know when it is hot enough.
  3. Cover the pan and wait, shaking the pan back and forth vigorously a couple of times a minute.
  4. When you hear all your kernels pop, fish out the popped kernels with a spoon or fork (so they don’t burn and give the remainder a bad flavor), then pull the pot off the heat.
  5. Quickly add the salt and the remaining kernels, and cover the pot again, shaking a bit to cover the kernels in oil.  Keep this up for about 30 seconds, to heat the kernels evenly without risk of burning them.
  6. Place the pan back on the heat.  Tilt the lid ajar to one side slightly, providing a crack for steam to escape from; this keeps the popping kernels from becoming soggy from the steam escaping other kernels.
  7. Continue to carefully shake the pot back and forth periodically.  The kernels should begin to pop quickly, and largely at the same time.
  8. When most of the kernels are popped – there should be several seconds between pops – remove the pot from the stove.  Wait a few seconds for any last-minute pops, then dump the popcorn into a large bowl.  
  9. If you wish to add any other flavorings, or if you feel you simply must use butter, add them at this time.

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