Nothing’s more satisfying than making a fresh bowl of popcorn right at home for a movie night or a delicious snack. Microwave popcorn is one of the easiest ways to have a warm bowl ready to eat in just a few quick minutes without making a mess in your kitchen.
However, suppose you don’t have a microwave, or your microwave isn’t working, and you have a bunch of popcorn packets in your pantry? Can you safely put microwave popcorn in the oven to prepare it?
In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about putting microwave popcorn in the oven and whether you can safely prepare microwave popcorn without a microwave.
- Can You Safely Pop Microwave Popcorn In The Oven?
- Is Microwave Popcorn Any Different Than Other Types Of Popcorn?
- How To Prepare Microwave Popcorn In The Oven?
- Other Ways To Prepare Microwave Popcorn Without A Microwave
- Tips And Tricks For Cooking The Best Popcorn
- Final Thoughts On Preparing Microwave Popcorn In The Oven
[this article features Amazon and Ebay affiliate links]
Can You Safely Pop Microwave Popcorn In The Oven?
It’s a little-known fact, but you can actually prepare microwave popcorn in the oven. It just takes a little more patience and caution. Since the oven is not the recommended method for cooking microwave popcorn, you must ensure you take specific precautions and handle it carefully throughout the cooking process.
However, this fact is good news for someone who does not have a microwave and wants to enjoy this delicious type of popcorn.
Is Microwave Popcorn Any Different Than Other Types Of Popcorn?
There’s no real difference between the corn kernels used in microwave popcorn and other types. However, a few differences exist in how they are prepared for sale. Because of how microwave popcorn cooks, the package must contain oil (and sometimes seasoning), whereas air-popped corn does not require oil for the kernels to pop. The kernels are also optimized during their drying process to retain moisture, which makes them pop better in the microwave environment (which basically steams them open).
Finally, the added oils and buttery flavoring that microwave popcorn often includes make it higher in calories than popcorn popped another way. However, with so many different varieties, it’s possible to find microwaved popcorn that’s low-calorie or doesn’t include any artificial flavoring.
How To Prepare Microwave Popcorn In The Oven?
Now, back to the main question, we’re discussing—how exactly do you prepare microwave popcorn in the oven? Do you just stick it right in there in the bag? Here’s everything you need to know about preparing your microwave popcorn using the oven.
First, never put the entire microwave popcorn bag in the oven. Although the bag that contains the kernels is safe for use in the microwave, the higher temperature of the oven will cause it to melt and burn and could cause a potentially dangerous situation or become a fire hazard.
If you’re trying to cook microwave popcorn in the oven, you must first remove the kernels from the bag.
Cook It On A Baking Sheet
This method is the most basic way to cook microwave popcorn. Before placing the popcorn kernels in the oven, you remove them from the bag first. You also preheat the oven first for this method.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C.
- Spread the popcorn kernels out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Put the baking sheet with the popcorn kernels into the preheated oven.
- Bake the popcorn until the kernels have popped (usually about 3-4 minutes)
- Remove the popcorn from the oven and serve it when it’s still hot.
Important note: As the kernels pop in the oven, the popcorn could potentially leave the baking sheet and pop around the inside of the oven. Therefore, this method may not be the neatest way to cook microwave popcorn. The oven-safe dish method (below) is a bit neater.
Cook It In An Oven-Safe Dish
This method is similar to the baking sheet method but instead uses an oven-safe baking dish. You still need to preheat the oven before placing the popcorn inside.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C.
- Spread the kernels in a single layer on the bottom of an oven-safe dish.
- Cover the dish with cooking foil and place it in the oven.
- Bake until the kernels stop popping.
- Remove the popcorn and serve it when it’s still hot.
Other Ways To Prepare Microwave Popcorn Without A Microwave
Here’s a look at some of the other great ways to safely prepare microwave popcorn without a microwave. You can also use these methods for any other types of popcorn kernels.
Use The Stovetop
The stovetop is actually one of the best ways to cook your microwave popcorn if you don’t have access to the microwave. To cook microwave popcorn on the stovetop, complete the following steps:
- Open the paper popcorn bag that contains the kernels.
- Empty the kernels into a large pot over the stove.
- Turn on your stove’s burner and set it to medium heat.
- Stir the kernels with a wooden spoon to separate them and help the butter melt (if using buttered popcorn).
- Continue to stir the kernels as they cook to prevent them from burning.
- Once the kernels start to pop, put a cover on the pot and shake it.
- Keep shaking the covered pot until the kernels go more than 30 seconds without popping.
- Remove the pot from the stove and serve the popcorn immediately.
Use A Toaster Oven
This method uses a toaster oven to cook the microwave popcorn. Keep in mind this must be an “oven” toaster and not the type with slots for slices of bread. The method for cooking your microwave popcorn this way is similar to the oven cooking method.
Note that you must remove the popcorn kernels from the bag to cook them in the toaster oven. Never place the kernel bag into the toaster, as it is a fire hazard.
Here is how to prepare popcorn in a toaster oven:
- Preheat your toaster oven to 400°F / 200°C.
- Remove the kernels from the bag and place them in an oven-safe shallow dish or bowl.
- Securely cover the bowl with aluminum foil.
- Put the covered container inside the toaster oven.
- Leave it in the toaster until it finishes popping.
- Take it out of the toaster oven and let it cool for a few minutes before removing the foil.
Use An Air Fryer
An air fryer is another alternative way that you can cook microwave popcorn. Again, you don’t want to place the bag in the air fryer, just the kernels. To use the air fryer for microwave popcorn, perform the following steps:
- Place the popcorn kernels in the basket of the air fryer.
- Set the air fryer temperature to 400°F / 200° (temperature may vary by air fryer model).
- Cook the popcorn kernels for about 5 minutes or until the popcorn has finished popping.
- Remove the popcorn from the air fryer and serve it immediately.
First note: If your air fryer has its fan positioned very low and directly above the cooking chamber without any additional protection don’t attempt this method. The popping kernels might go high enough to disrupt the the fan’s operation and cause a hazard or damage to your appliance.
Second note: If you want to put the popcorn in two layers in your air fryer basket, separate the layers of kernels with a piece of parchment paper that you sprayed with cooking oil. Place the second layer of popcorn on top of the parchment.
Tips And Tricks For Cooking The Best Popcorn
Here are some quick tips to help you get the best-tasting popcorn if you cook it in the oven.
- Shake the container if possible during the cooking process (use an oven mitt to grab the sides safely). Shaking the container will result in fewer unopened kernels.
- Add some salt or seasonings on top of the unopened kernels of corn before you put them in the oven to cook. This step will help with the texture and add flavoring as they cook. Of course, you can skip this step if your popcorn is pre-flavored or seasoned.
- Please don’t add extra oil to the popcorn when cooking it in the oven or the toaster oven. Remember, microwave popcorn already has the oil on it because it was designed to be cooked in the bag.
- Always be careful handling the popcorn after it’s finished popping. The popcorn and foil covering it (if you used foil) will be extremely hot. Let the popcorn sit for a few minutes to cool down before eating it.
Final Thoughts On Preparing Microwave Popcorn In The Oven
The ideal way to prepare microwave popcorn is, of course, in the microwave. The kernels in the bag are designed to pop best with the microwave’s heat. However, if you find yourself with some microwave popcorn bags and don’t have access to a microwave, you can make the kernels pop using various other methods we mentioned.
When making popcorn (even in the microwave), always stay close by as the popcorn pops. Make sure to remove it from the heat source as soon as the popping slows down. If you wait too long to remove it from the heat, you likely will burn the popcorn.
Also, remember never to put the microwavable paper bag inside any appliance other than the microwave. This bag is only designed to withstand microwave temperatures and could cause a potential fire or safety hazard when placed in the oven or other heat source.
Another fun tip is that you don’t need special microwave popcorn to make this delicious snack in the microwave. Regular kernels made for an air popper can also be cooked in the microwave if you wish.
Enjoy making your microwave popcorn, whatever method you choose!