What Is the Healthiest Way to Cook Popcorn?


Popcorn is a whole grain food that, by itself, has very few calories, very low sodium, and no saturated fat or cholesterol. However, commercial popcorn products such as microwave popcorn and movie theater popcorn have a lot of things added that can make it much less healthy. The healthiest way to cook popcorn is without added fat or salt. Electric hot air popcorn poppers will make plain, healthy popcorn, but you don't need any special equipment to make air-popped popcorn at home.

Step 1

Add popcorn kernels to the paper bag. For a lunch-sized bag, add about three tablespoons of kernels.

Step 2

Fold the top over and secure with tape.

Step 3

Place in the microwave and cook on high with the time set for two minutes. Listen for the corn to pop. When there is about five seconds between pops, stop the microwave and wait about 30 seconds. Remove the bag and open carefully.

Step 4

Eat plain for the healthiest popcorn.

Tips and Warnings

  • The steam from the popped popcorn is very hot -- be careful opening the bag.

Things You'll Need

  • Unpopped popcorn kernels
  • Brown paper bag
  • Masking tape
  • Microwave


  • Chaos in the Kitchen: Homemade Air Popped Microwave Popcorn
  • Nutrition Dada: Popcorn, air popped

Who Can Help

  • Mayo Clinic: Whole Grains - Hearty Options for a Healthy Diet
Keywords: healthy popcorn, air popped microwave, homemade microwave popcorn

About this Author

Delaware-based Holly Cuinn has been writing professionally since 1997 when she landed the job of features editor for the local biweekly music paper, "Big Shout." She has been a staff writer for "What It Is!" and a contributor to online magazines, including Spinner and Slashfood. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from Tyler School of Art.

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