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How to Make Popcorn on the Stove Without Oil

How to Make Popcorn on the Stove Without Oil

Microwave popcorn has become a staple in snack food, but often this convenience food is loaded with salt and fat. If you wish to avoid the extra calories or are simply trying to reduce oils in your diet, we will show you how to make popcorn on the stove without oil. Once cooked, popcorn can be seasoned in various ways to add flavor without extra calories. One cup of air-popped popcorn is only 31 calories!


How to Make Popcorn on the Stove Without Oil



  • 2 tablespoons popcorn kernels
  • A heavy-bottomed nonstick pot with a lid
  • Salt
  • Other seasonings


Add the popcorn kernels to the heavy-bottomed nonstick pot and place the lid on the pot. Heat slowly over medium heat, making sure to stand close to the pot because you will need to hear when the kernels begin to pop. Gently shake the pot back and forth at regular intervals to keep the kernels from burning, and when they begin to pop steadily, shake the pot continuously. This ensures that the unpopped kernels fall to the bottom of the pan.

When the popping slows and becomes irregular, remove the pot from the heat and carefully remove the lid, as there will be hot steam escaping. Move the popped popcorn to a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and other seasonings (see below for seasoning ideas) and use your hands to toss the popcorn and evenly coat with the seasoning.


How to Make Popcorn on the Stove Without Oil Tips 

A nonstick pot is essential when popping popcorn without oil. You will want the kernels to be able to move freely in the pot without sticking as the pot heats up. Ensure that you purchase a high-quality nonstick pot, as over time the nonstick surface on cheaper pots and pans can wear down and flake off into the food you are preparing. A clear lid is another beneficial feature to have on your nonstick pot. It helps to be able to see when the popcorn begins to pop and when it has finished.


Alternate Popping Method

To air-pop popcorn kernels another way, you can also use the microwave. Place the popcorn kernels in a large microwave-safe bowl with a tight-fitting lid. Microwave the popcorn kernels on high for 3 to 5 minutes, until the popping becomes infrequent. Remove from the microwave and carefully lift the lid, avoiding the steam. Season and serve.


Seasoning Ideas

  • Classic salt alone makes for a tasty snack, and you can also buy flavored salts such as garlic salt, or smoked salt.
  • Try mixing cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkling on the popcorn to create a sweet treat.
  • Use a spice blend with some heat! Try BBQ spice blends, Old Bay Seasoning, or other such spice blends to pack a punch. Check if the spice blend contains salt before salting the popcorn.
  • Create a “cheese” flavored popcorn using nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt. This flaky yellow powder has the color and flavor of sharp cheese and is often used in cheese-flavored sauces and products. You can find nutritional yeast in health food stores, bulk grocery store bins, or online.


Serving Ideas

How to make popcorn on the stove without oil

Popcorn is an easy and cheap snack food for a crowd as well, especially if you’re having a movie night party. Pop lots ahead of time, and set up a serving bar with different types of seasonings. Let each guest fill their own bowl with popcorn and season with their favorite flavors.



Popped popcorn will store in an airtight container such as a plastic tub with a lid or a large zip-top bag for up to a week.

Nutrition Benefits of Popcorn

Popcorn contains a lot of fiber, as 3 cups of popcorn contain as much fiber as 1 cup of brown rice. Popcorn also contains many vitamins and minerals, such as iron, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and more. Air-popped popcorn also contains a moderate amount of protein, making it a snack that will fill you up. It contains antioxidants and only trace amounts of fat if the kernels are air-popped, making it a healthy snack choice.

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