How to Pop Popcorn on a Stove Top

by Kirsten O'Hara ; Updated September 28, 2017

Popcorn is a great snack for any gathering.

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Items you will need

  • Pan or skillet
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • Butter and salt to taste

Microwave popcorn makes it easy to prepare a snack for family movie night or just for watching television. However, making popcorn on a stove top brings back memories and adds flavor to this salty snack. It takes a few minutes longer to complete the cooking and serving process but the freshness of the corn kernels make the extra time worth it. When cooking popcorn on a stove, you need to exercise caution to prevent getting burned.

Step 1

Place the vegetable oil into the bottom of your pan. Avoid butter since it is more likely to burn. Place the pan on a burner set to medium heat.

Step 2

Test the oil to see if it is ready for your popcorn. Drop one or two kernels into the cooking oil. If it begins spinning or popping, then you may add up to 1/3 cup of kernels to the pan. This should be enough to cover the bottom of the pan. If not, add a few more kernels.

Step 3

Shake the pan around to mix the oil and kernels thoroughly and place the lid on the pan. Leave it slightly ajar so that steam can escape without the kernels jumping out.

Step 4

Remove the popcorn from the heat once the pops are about three seconds apart. Put your popcorn in a serving bowl and eat.


  • You can add butter or salt to the popcorn to your taste. You can also add melted cheese, caramel or other ingredients to add variety to your snack.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

About the Author

Kirsten O'Hara started freelance writing in 2010. She wrote for her university newspaper "Lion's Roar" and won several collegiate writing contests. O'Hara earned a Bachelor of Arts in speech communication and a minor in English from Southeastern Louisiana University.