Ever since I can remember, my dad has had a bowl of Orville Redenbacher white stove-popped popcorn every single night. And after using the same pot every night for years, it's entirely burnt. My dog and I would always hide behind the kitchen island waiting for the violent popping to stop. It felt like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs as loose popcorn flew out of the pot across the kitchen. My dog loved this time of the night because my dad would always make a little too much to fit in the pot and some would fall onto the floor.

I, however, never understood why my dad swore by stovetop popcorn when the microwave is so much simpler and faster until I went to college. The smell of popcorn will always be something that makes me think of home. I'm constantly disappointed by the Skinny Pop that my roommates and I eat during movie nights. I guess you can say my dad's popcorn habits have made me a bit of a popcorn snob, and I've made it a point to learn how to make stovetop popcorn, sans rogue kernels, and step up my roomie movie nights next year. Read on to learn the popcorn skills you never knew you needed. 

Stovetop Popcorn

  • Prep Time:5 mins
  • Cook Time:10 mins
  • Total Time:15 mins
  • Servings:1
  • Easy


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • Butter - optional
  • Salt - optional
Barbara Heidkamp
  • Step 1

    Add 3 tablespoons of oil to a pot and turn the stove to medium heat.

    Barbara Heidkamp
  • Step 2

    Pour 1/2 cup of kernels in the oil.

    Barbara Heidkamp
  • Step 3

    Cover the pot with a lid and wait for a minute or two for the popping to begin.

    Barbara Heidkamp
  • Step 4

    Wait until popping noise stops to remove the pot from the stove top.

    Barbara Heidkamp
  • Step 5

    Pour the hot popcorn into a bowl and add melted butter, salt, or other toppings as you see fit.

    Barbara Heidkamp

#SpoonTip: From truffled sea salt and Parmesan to classic Sno-Caps candy, the possibilities for fun popcorn toppings are endless. 

It sounds a bit silly, but stovetop popcorn has taught me a thing or two over the years. My dad is a man who is patient. He puts 110% effort into everything he does. He understands that good things take time and that a little extra work makes a big difference in the end. Not only did he share his popcorn with me all those years, but he also shared a pinch of his wisdom. Who would have thought a movie snack could be twisted into a life lesson that I think about daily? So the next time you want to opt for the microwavable imposter, go the extra mile, and you won't regret it.