Here are three different ways to pop popcorn—in a hot air popper, on the stovetop, and in a microwave. We also discuss some health benefits.
Hot Air Popper
This is the healthiest way to make popcorn, but if you don’t have a hot air popper, then it’s another way for you!
You will need:
½ cup corn
Turn on the hot air popper and run it for 2-3 minutes to warm it up. Put your medium-sized bowl below the opening of the popper so the corn will be collected into it. It’s better not to use plastic, especially next to the hot popper, but that’s up to you.
Measure out a level ½ cup of unpopped corn and pour it into the hot air popper. Replace all parts of the lid into the grooves immediately. Wait until the popcorn is all popped, then unplug the popper and dump all remaining corn into the bowl. Top lightly with salt. Skip the butter and learn to eat popcorn without it. It’s easy! Your heart will thank you later. There’s already plenty of fat in the corn.
About 100 calories and 0.5g fat per 30g popped corn.
You will need:
½ cup corn
3 Tbsp. canola oil or grapeseed oil (these are recommended for high heat)
Choose a heavy bottom, deep stove-top pan or a popper designed for the stove-top. These usually have a wheel you can turn to keep things mixed up.
Put the oil in the pan along with 2-3 kernels of unpopped corn. Cover and turn on the burner to medium heat and wait until you heat the kernels inside pop! That means the oil inside is hot enough to pop all the corn.
Pour in the remainder of the corn and cover again, but leave the lid slightly ajar so the steam can escape. When the corn starts popping, use potholders to shake the pan occasionally so the unpopped corn settles to the bottom and keeps popping.
When the popping slows or stops, turn off the heat. Carefully remove the lid. Let any hot steam escape. Pour the corn into a bowl and salt lightly. Skip the butter and learn to eat popcorn without it. It’s easy!
About 140 calories and 9g fat per 30g popped corn. Compare to the hot air popper results and you’ll see how much easier it is on your body to use a hot air popper.
You will need: 1 bag of microwave popcorn
Microwave only the popcorn that comes in the special microwave bag. Microwave machines vary, but the typical suggestion is for 3 minutes on high.
Pay attention to the popping, and if the popping stops before 3 minutes, stop the cooking by pressing OFF or by opening the door.
There has been discussion that the chemicals used in the oil inside the bag of microwave popcorn is not healthy to breathe once it is vaporized. That is, there are dangerous chemicals in the vapor, so, after popping when you open the bag, don’t breathe the steam that comes out.
We stopped using microwave popcorn because of this. It wasn’t worth the risk if it’s true. Chemicals in the expelled air are probably also in the popcorn. So forget it. We just bought a little counter top popcorn popper and cook it with the stove top recipe.