Learn how to make healthy popcorn in a paper bag using simply popcorn kernels (and nothing else) with this easy and affordable popcorn hack.
Despite acquiring our first microwave in the late 70s, it wasn’t until the early 80s that my parents started making microwave popcorn. Instead, we had old school popcorn maker when I was growing up. The brand escapes me now, but it had a large brown metal base and an orangish colored plastic top that melted butter. At the time, it was still cheaper to buy popcorn kernels and make your own popcorn. We’d pop them in oil in our popcorn maker and then melt butter to drizzle on top, just like in the movie theater.
At some point, we shelved the popcorn maker permanently. It was big and bulky. It also took up a LOT of space. Primarily my mom said it was a total pain in the ass to clean.
The mess-free convenience of microwave popcorn made movie nights at home a snap. The only clean up was the giant tupperware bowl we used to dump the popcorn in to pass around, and well, the dishwasher took care of that.
Even with microwave popcorn being so affordable in this day and age, it can still come with unwanted ingredients. These ingredients aren’t always safe. Remember the big news story about microwave popcorn butter causing cancer? Turns out these allegations weren’t completely inaccurate. There is actually a disease called popcorn lung that people acquired from inhaling the chemicals found in imitation popcorn butter. (Source.)
Thankfully, microwave popcorn producers wised up. For the most part, the ingredients causing health problems have been removed from microwave popcorn entirely. That’s not say, however, that some brands of popcorn don’t still contain chemicals found in artificial flavorings and preservatives that may not be healthy for us.
Easy Microwave Popcorn Hack Using a Paper Bag
While there are several alternatives to making popcorn — such as using an air popper or making popcorn on the stovetop — there is a simple and easy popcorn hack that allows you to make popcorn in the microwave with nothing but popcorn kernels and a paper bag.
All you need for this easy, microwave popcorn hack is popcorn kernels for popping corn, a microwave and a brown paper bag. So it’s healthy, low calorie and super affordable. This popcorn hack for making popcorn in a paper bag is also great in a pinch if you’ve run out of your microwavable version and don’t feel like making a trip to the store. Simply keep popcorn kernels in your pantry for emergencies.
To make a single. cereal bowl size serving of popcorn simply place 2 Tablespoons in a brown paper bag.
Then fold the paper bag over and seal it closed. My mom likes to use tape for this. I on the other hand, prefer to simply secure the bag with two folds and a tear, as illustrated above.
Place the bag of popcorn kernels in the microwave. Then heat on high about 1 minute 10 seconds to 1 minute 15 seconds in an 1100 watt microwave.
Times may vary so listen carefully for the pops. You may need more time for lower wattage microwaves. If you start to smell the popcorn, stop it immediately as it will burn if you overdo it.
Allow the popcorn to cool slightly before removing it from the microwave. Then carefully open the bag so you don’t end up with a steam burn.
Now simply pour the popcorn into your favorite cereal bowl and enjoy!
If desired, you can also melt some real butter to add to your popcorn. I like just a smidge of butter then a dash of Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning.
Increasing Paper Bag Portions of Popcorn
If like me, you also share half of your popcorn with a greedy dachshund, you can increase the amount popcorn you make. I’ve found that, in addition to dachshunds being total popcorn fiends, they are also more stubborn than anyone’s ex-husband in the history of ever. Therefore, saying no (as you’re likely aware) is not an option. If you own a dachshund, I implore you to take the easy route and don’t disappoint these four-legged darling monsters.
To resize the amount of popcorn to a family size bag, simply use 1/3 Cup popcorn kernels and increase the cook time to between 1 minute 30 seconds and 2 minutes 30 seconds.
Alternative Method to Making Microwave Popcorn in a Paper Bag
There is a drawback to this popcorn hack if you only use popcorn kernels without the addition of an oil or fat. Basically, I found that you end up with a number of unpopped kernels unless you practically burn the centers. However, if you lightly toss your popcorn kernels in melted butter or a light oil, such as sunflower oil, you will find that most all, if not every, popcorn kernel will indeed pop in a paper bag.
As no one wants to waste food, especially if money is tight, I wanted to see if I could still pop my unpopped kernels from my popped bag of popcorn. As it turned out, I was able to do this. I went back and place my unpopped popcorn kernels, that were lightly coated in butter and seasoning from the bottom of my bowl, back into the brown paper bag. I then repopped the popcorn as I had the first time and discovered that every popcorn kernel popped as a result.
Of course, you don’t have to wait to have unpopped kernels before trying this alternate method. Simply start with popcorn kernels lightly tossed in oil to make popcorn in a paper bag from the start.
If you like my easy microwave popcorn hack on how to make popcorn in a paper bag, then also be sure to check out this cornbread recipe hack. Or learn how you can use overripe produce from your garden to make soap to make avocado soap, pumpkin soap and even tomato soap!