How to Make Popcorn in a Cast Iron Skillet


Popcorn is a healthy snack high in dietary fiber that also contributes some vitamins, minerals and protein. Manufacturers found that packing the popcorn in paper envelopes ready for the microwave was a highly successful venture, almost eliminating the method of making popcorn on the stove top in most households. However, loose popcorn kernels are still available, and you can pop them in a cast iron skillet successfully.

Step 1

Place the skillet over medium heat and have the lid ready. Add about three tablespoons of oil such as canola, soybean or peanut oil. These oils have a higher smoking point than other oils and shouldn't burn during the cooking process. Heat the oil until it is fragrant but not burning.

Step 2

Pour in the popcorn kernels and shake the pan slightly to coat each kernel with the hot oil. When the first kernel of popcorn pops, place the cover over the skillet. Leave the cover on loosely so any steam generated can escape, keeping the popped corn dry.

Step 3

Hold the skillet with the pot holder and vigorously shake it back and forth every 10 seconds or until the sound of the popping corn slows to one pop every two seconds. At first, it will start off slowly popping, and then most of the corn will pop almost simultaneously until a few seconds later it finishes.

Step 4

Quickly remove the pan from the heat and pour the popped corn into a heat-proof bowl, shielding your face from extra popping kernels by holding the cover just above the skillet as you are pouring out the corn.

Step 5

Pour on melted butter and a pinch or two of salt and mix well.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not be tempted to add more kernels to the skillet, it will overflow since the ratio of pan height to width is lower than a saucepan

Things You'll Need

  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • Cast iron skillet with cover
  • Pot holder
  • Large bowl
  • Butter and salt to taste


  • - Snacks, popcorn, oil-popped, white popcorn
  • - Popcorn: Conduction, Convection and Radiation
Keywords: popcorn skillet, cast iron, snack healthy

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.

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