Popcorn poppers and microwaveable bags are convenient, but they’re not necessary. Here’s how to get perfect results when you pop your own kernels.
On the Stove Top
Use a paper towel to spread 2 tsp. vegetable or olive oil over bottom of a medium or large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add 1/4 cup popcorn kernels, cover pan, and cook undisturbed over medium-low heat until popping becomes vigorous. Once popping starts to slow, give the pan a shake, and remove from heat. When popping has slowed to 2- to 3-second intervals between pops, transfer to serving bowl.
In the Microwave
Place 1/4 cup popcorn kernels in a flat-bottomed brown paper lunch bag, and seal the bag by folding the top lip over twice (do not staple). Place bag on its flat side in microwave, and heat 2 to 3 minutes on high power, or until popping slows to 2- to 3-second intervals between pops. Alternatively, place kernels in a medium microwave-safe bowl and set a microwave-safe plate on top to seal.
Got freshly popped kernels? Throw together one of these 5-ingredient gourmet popcorn combos (or try our readers' favorite popcorn toppings):
Toffee-Almond Popcorn (pictured)
Jalapeño-Lime Popcorn (pictured)