Gluten-Free Cooking For One

Celiac And The Single Girl, Or: How To Make Food That Does Not Suck For One Person {Although I Suppose You Could Feed Other People, Too}

Easy, Chemical-Free Microwave Popcorn


I was making this yesterday when I thought, “I should put this on the blog. Maybe not everyone knows this trick.” It’s easy, cheap, and — unlike commercial microwave popcorn bags, it doesn’t contain tons of chemicals (which usually give me a nasty headache).

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved popcorn and I’ve always hated setting up the airpopper. The sound of it drives me nuts… to me, it’s as though a velociraptor and a 747 had a baby, and it was screaming its head off in my kitchen. (shudder)

So when I saw this method, I danced a happy dance and ran right out for brown paper lunch bags.

What you need:

– plain popcorn (when I had $$, I bought Orville Redenbacher brand; now I buy the brand of whatever store I’m in, and it works just as well. Right now, it’s Nice from Walgreen’s)
– a brown paper lunch bag, like Dad used to pack his lunch in
– a measuring spoon

And that’s it. 😀

Put two or three tablespoons of unpopped corn in the brown paper bag. Roll the top of the bag down a few turns, to keep the corn from escaping as it’s popping (and burning to the floor of your microwave). Put the bag in the microwave, and put on the popcorn setting if you have one… if not, “high” should work as well; you just have to keep a close eye on it while it’s popping.

Now on to a depressing subject: scorched corn. I absolutely loathe the smell of burnt popcorn, so I’d rather take the bag out a little too early, when it’s nice and fluffy, and have extra unpopped kernels than wait until it’s brown and scorched. The rule of thumb I follow for popping corn is to listen, once it’s popping nicely, for a one or two second silence between pops. For me, this signals that it’s time to get the corn out.

Once you’ve removed the bag, beware the unpopped kernels that will have sunk to the bottom – they’re scorching hot for a while after coming out. Also, give it a couple of seconds to be sure all the kernels that are going to pop have done so.

One last tip, this time for separating out the unpopped kernels from the popped corn: if you don’t want to break your teeth on unpopped kernels, simply open the mouth of the bag juuuust a little bit, turn upside down, and shake. If you’ve made the opening small enough, the duds will fall out and the popped corn will be too big to make it out the opening. You’ll have a nice collection of duds in your bowl, and you can toss these and then put the popcorn in there. Here’s a video of this technique, in case you’re having trouble visualizing.

For toppings, often I’ll melt butter and go old school. However, if I’ve been glutened, sometimes I’m lactose intolerant and will use olive oil instead. It doesn’t taste like butter, but if you’ve a nice quality oil, it tastes good and will give the salt something to stick to. It’s a taste you can acquire, if you like a little drizzle of something on your corn and butter isn’t an option. :}

If I’m feeling particularly fancy, sometimes I’ll crumble up some fresh-cut parmesan cheese along with the oil and salt, and maybe even some herbs. Trust me, if you like parmesan, it’s delicious on fresh popcorn.

Mmmmmmmm. 😀 Enjoy!!

UPDATE: Just found this video of Alton Brown’s Good Eats, in which he makes “perfect popcorn”. I don’t have such a bowl, but if I did, I’d be very tempted to try it. :}


Author: Christine Na'imah

I am a pretty bubbly person. A dancer, a prancer, and sometimes a vixen. Romantic and striving for grace, but unfortunately the emphasis is on "antic"; occasionally lunatic, trying to be demure. Probably failing.

3 thoughts on “Easy, Chemical-Free Microwave Popcorn

  1. I love my air popper, but I admit, I did NOT know that one could do this without all the added oils, etc.

    • Yes! I love that it’s so minimal. And that it requires so little foofooraw in the setup, etc. :}

      I don’t know if foofooraw is a proper word, but I’ve used it three or four times in the last couple of days, so… um. There. lol

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