Healthy, Beautifying DIY Microwave Popcorn

Bowl of DIY microwave popcorn

by Sonja on September 30, 2009

I’m so excited about the discoveries I made over the weekend. I learned the easiest recipe ever for making popcorn that’s delicious and good for me. I also learned popcorn can be beautifying. Scientists recently reported their discovery that popcorn contains a surprisingly large amount of antioxidants. Yes, antioxidants! – those lovelies that help protect our skin from damaging free radicals in the environment, including those brought on by sun exposure.

Add this to the fact that popcorn is a good source of fiber and we’re talking about a yummy treat that rocks. I absolutely adore popcorn. But the popcorn I usually eat are the microwave or movie theater varieties, which generally contain stuff that’s unhealthy.

Microwave bag popcorn usually contains nasty chemicals and is often high in fat (at least the kind I like). And certainly my heart broke years ago when the Center for Science in the Public Interest announced that a large bag of microwave popcorn contains tons of saturated fat and as much fat as SIX Big Macs – that’s without the mystery “butter” topping. Add the “butter” and you’re adding on another couple of Big Macs.

Even knowing that, I still adore movie theater popcorn and get it every time I go to the movies. But I’m trying to turn a healthier leaf and break the habit so I was elated when I came across this recipe.

The Super Easy, Healthy Recipe

You can make healthy popcorn with a brown paper bag, a piece of tape, and a microwave. Seriously. It makes perfect sense that you can pop plain popcorn kernels in the microwave. It just hadn’t occurred to me. I was going to buy an air popper to make healthy popcorn. But now I’m going to skip it.

Ingredients for DIY microwave popcornI found this recipe on the Vitamin G blog on (great blog, by the way!) and it works like a charm.


  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup popcorn kernels (I used organic popcorn I bought in bulk at a health food store – my favorite is Rainbow Co-Op Grocery in San Francisco)
  • One medium-size brown bag (about the same size as the bags used for regular microwave popcorn)
  • One piece of tape (I used a piece of Scotch tape)


  • Add popcorn to bag.
  • Fold bag a couple times and tape closed.
  • Place bag in microwave with folded side up.
  • Microwave for two to three minutes, until there’s about five seconds between pops.
  • Sprinkle with salt or other spices (I used the organic Trocomare herb seasoned salt shown in the pic, which I also got at Rainbow).

I made a couple bags with this recipe. The popcorn came out nice and fluffy sans the chemical goo of regular microwave popcorn. Afterward, I melted a bit of butter in the microwave and drizzled that on top. I know that’s not a healthy addition. But I adore butter. And it’s still a healthier alternative to whatever they stick in those microwave popcorn concoctions and waaaaay better than movie theater popcorn. I may just start sneaking in a bag of this in next time I go to the movies.

Do Tell

Ever try this recipe? Do you like to munch on popcorn? Are you addicted to microwave or movie theater popcorn? Do tell.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Princess Poochie September 30, 2009 at 8:53 am

If you use EarthBalance (spread or sticks) they can be melted just like butter and have no cholesterol (only animal based foods like butter, meat and cheese have cholesterol). There are olive oil version which would go especially well with the popcorn. I like to sprinkle mine with a bit of garlic salt too!
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2 Leia September 30, 2009 at 9:28 am

Yum! I love popcorn! I will have to try microwaving it like you suggested. A little bit of butter isn’t all that bad as it contains calcium - you just have to indulge in very small quantities!

Another healthy snack to try - apples slices dipped in peanut butter. I’m having it right now - delish! :)
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3 Kwil September 30, 2009 at 9:47 am

Ohh popcorn, my first love :)
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4 maria September 30, 2009 at 9:54 am

Thank you for sharing, I must try this recipe. I always go for the really bad movie theater butter popcorn!!
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5 Sal September 30, 2009 at 10:39 am

Geez, you’re kidding me. That’s all it takes? Husband Mike is a MASTER of popping in a stovetop pot, so we usually go that route … but this is even easier!
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6 Sonja September 30, 2009 at 10:53 am

❤ Princess Poochie, thanks for the tip! I’ll have to check out the olive oil version. Thanks!
❤ Leia, very good point. I don’t want to ignore my calcium needs. heehee! I’ve also been experimenting with other healthy snacks. Mary’s Gone Crackers with tapenade is awesome (I like the salty snacks more than sweet.) :)
❤ Kwil, OMG, totally.
❤ maria, it’s my favorite part of the movie. I buy the giant tub and then take most of it home to clog my arteries there. Such a bad habit! But maybe now I can kick it.
❤ Sal, I know! Isn’t it ridiculous?! I feel so silly that it never, EVER occurred to me and it still amazes me when I make some. I am so crazy excited about this, because popcorn is totally my CRACK. I am a fiend. :)


7 Ev`Yan || apricot tea. September 30, 2009 at 12:17 pm

I LOVE popcorn. I usually have it for lunch.

Since I don’t have a microwave — I use a toaster oven — I cook our popcorn over the stove. I put in a tiny bit of olive oil, heat it in a pot, & put 1/4 cup of kernels in. (I also use organic; it just tastes better!) After it’s all popped, I put it in a bowl, melt [organic] butter in the pot I popped the kernels in, & drizzle it over the popcorn. I usually add salt & white cheddar seasoning. It’s so amazing.

Also, my sister & I created a special seasoning recipe for popcorn. Instead of using salt, we tried lemon-pepper & Parmesan cheese & it tastes DIVINE. Give that a go, if you’re wanting a different taste. :]
Ev`Yan || apricot tea.´s last blog ..the proust questionnaire, in my words. My ComLuv Profile


8 K-Line September 30, 2009 at 1:08 pm

I wondered if this method works - I’ve read it and it seemed totally sensible and yet have not tried it! (I’m not a huge popcorn buff.) And butter is not bad! Butter is nature’s perfect food, IMO. Just don’t use half a lb! :-)
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9 jennine September 30, 2009 at 2:13 pm

holy moly… IS THAT ALL???
i thought popcorn had to go through some chemical lab to be microwaveable.
popcorn is my absolute favorite ’snack’ but like apricot i usually pop it with olive oil on a stove top, only i just lightly salt it… i have this weird thing about flavoring food too much (was it was the don’t drown your food guy? )


10 Liv Lundelius September 30, 2009 at 3:20 pm

i love popcorn!
i used to make it the oldfashioned way in a pot with my mum
when i was little, so good to know thats working much easier
this way! i will eat only popcorn from now on for the next months.
what have you done!?
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11 Sonja September 30, 2009 at 4:06 pm

❤ Ev’Yan, the lemon pepper and parm sounds amazing. Definitely gonna have to try that. Thanks for the fabulous tip!
❤ K-Line, I like the way you think. :)
❤ jennine, nuts, huh?! I totally forgot about the don’t drown your food guy. He rocks.
❤ Liv, I may just do the same thing. I’m eating it right now! At least we’ll be getting plenty of fiber and antioxidants!
Sonja´s last blog ..Hidden Sequins My ComLuv Profile


12 Elle September 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm

I read this and seriously walked into the kitchen to make some popcorn! Movie theatre popcorn is delish but there’s something about popping it at home that makes it seem like much more of a “healthy treat.” I’m a sucker for butter though so I drown mine in I can’t believe it’s not butter spray… 0 calories/ no trans fat/ no cholesterol (or so the bottle says)!
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13 Eliza September 30, 2009 at 6:43 pm

I am so going to have to try this. Thanks for passing on the tip!

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14 tami September 30, 2009 at 9:02 pm

whoa, now i have to try this! i am gonna add sugar and salt for that kettle corn flavor! :D
thanks for this tip!!
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15 Kristine October 1, 2009 at 5:53 pm

I love popcorn and I love butter - the more cholesterol haha! But I don’t get the part about sprinkling butter in the microwave, Jen? Or I didn’t read it right :)
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16 Sonja October 4, 2009 at 3:24 pm

❤ Elle, that’s awesome. I know exactly how you you feel. I had to rush and try it myself. But be careful with the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. It may have no calories, etc. But it’s a total chemical stew. Using real butter sparingly is considered healthier than using a supposedly healthy margine like ICBITNB.
❤ Eliza, you’re very welcome!
❤ tami, very good idea!
❤ Kristine, yeah, I’m not sure if I love popcorn for itself or simply as a vehicle for butter. :) Sprinkle the butter on AFTER microwaving. ;)


17 mel October 5, 2009 at 5:34 am

wow really interesting!!


18 jennine October 7, 2009 at 3:27 pm

omg i just downed a bag of diy microwave popcorn… and you know i skipped the scotch tape, it works just fine if you roll up the top of the bag.


19 Fenke October 8, 2009 at 12:28 am

now i wish we owned a microwave. i love popcorn!
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20 Sonja October 12, 2009 at 11:45 am

❤ mel, it’s funny. I’ve made a million bags since I learned about this and I’m still as excited about this discovery as ever.
❤ jennine, awesome! Another friend tipped me off about not needing tape so I gave it a try. I was worried that I’d have popcorn everywhere and was happily surprised that wasn’t the case.
❤ Fenke, I’m sure one of those air poppers will give similar results. I’m just happy that I can use the microwave I already have. I was all ready to buy an air popper when I learned about this. BTW, love your avatar!


21 November 5, 2009 at 9:53 am

wassssss good fools


22 Fallon November 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Earth Balance is really good, but my personal favorite has to be olive oil! Your health store probably has something called nutritional yeast, and this is EXCELLENT on popcorn.


23 Post-Modern Jen November 23, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Can’t wait to try this!
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