How To Make Microwave Popcorn Without Burning It – 10 Tips to Popcorn Perfection

Are you sick of ruining your popcorn by burning it in the microwave? Well, look no further, because today I’m going to teach you how to make microwave popcorn without burning it. This foolproof method will guarantee perfectly popped corn in the microwave every time.

Here’s the story: 

When I was in college, one of my favorite snacks was microwave popcorn. But, like most people, I would often end up burning it. It was frustrating because I loved the taste of popcorn but didn’t want to waste all that money on something that I always seemed to screw up.

One day, I decided to do some research online to see if there was a way to make microwave popcorn without burning it. And as it turns out, there is! All you need is the right microwave settings and timing.

So, the next time I made popcorn, I tried this method, and it worked like a charm. I was so happy! Not only did I not have to deal with burnt popcorn, but I also saved a ton of money since I no longer wasted popcorn nor had to buy it when I went out.

With this knowledge, you’ll be able to perfectly make your own microwaved popcorn without burning it ever again.

How to Microwave Popcorn Without Burning?

Make sure your popcorn doesn’t burn by paying attention to the power and time settings. Set your microwave to use the high power setting and cook for 2 to 4 minutes in a microwave. While the popcorn is popping, you’ll need to pay attention to it so that it doesn’t burn.

If you follow the power and time settings, most times, you’ll be able to make delicious microwave popcorn without burning it.

However, watching out for burning is the most foolproof way to prevent it from happening. You’ll be able to tell when the popcorn is might start burning by listening for when you don’t hear them pop every 2-3 seconds. Once this happens, you’ll need to stop the microwave and remove the popcorn immediately.

One of the reasons why this method is so foolproof is because the popping frequency is the only tried and proven way to tell when popcorn is done cooking.

When making popcorn in a microwave, too many factors, such as your microwaves’ wattage, popcorn age, moisture, and heating time, come into play.

So, once the frequency falls below every 3 seconds, most of the corn is done popping. Heating it for any longer will cause them to burn.

Also, remember that the moisture content in the popcorn grain will differ based on how old they are and the quantity you’re using.

So some kernels may not pop as effectively as others, so it’s best to use fresh kernels for your microwave popcorn rather than older ones sitting on the shelf for a while.

What causes microwave popcorn to burn?

The most common reason that causes microwave popcorn to burn is that some kernels do not get heated evenly. This uneven heating causes some to pop while others do not. By the time the entire batch of popcorn pops, the already popped grains get too hot and start to burn.

Good popcorn grains typically have a moisture content of at most 20%. When the kernels are heated to 375°F, this moisture turns into steam and expand. Then, the corn grain pops once the expansion reaches a certain point.

However, not all grains will have the same moisture content. Nor will they be heated to the same temperature at the same time. So some kernels pop while others do not. That’s why catching them before they start burning is key to preventing your microwaved popcorn from burning up.

The other reasons why some packs of microwave popcorn burn are due to either the packaging material, microwave heat settings, age of the grains, timing, and the container used.

So, now that we know the most common reason why microwave popcorn burns, let’s take a look at how to prevent this from happening.

How do you stop popcorn from burning?

Experiment with the power level and cooking time to prevent popcorn from burning. Stop the microwave and shake the corn to redistribute the heat and unpopped grains before resuming for 30-second intervals when the popping rate has slowed to two or three seconds between pops.

Some more modern microwaves like this one offer a feature that can monitor the popping rate and make adjustments if necessary. It might even be able to end the time once they are done. Unfortunately, however, very few microwaves come equipped with these sensors.

That’s why the best way to ensure you don’t overcook your corn is to do a little trial-and-error in your kitchen for your specific microwave. I

You could also try microwaving the corn in intervals after shaking the package to redistribute the grains. Or you could try microwaving popcorn in a glass bowl instead to see the actual progress of the cooking.

Otherwise, you’ll be left to just listen out for the “pop” rate reduction as it’s hard to tell if there are any old stale grains in a popcorn bag.

What to do if the popcorn is old or expired?

If you suspect that the grains are old or the popcorn bag says it is past the expiration date, you might be able to fix it by rehydrating the grains. To do this, place the grains in the freezer for about 1 hour. After one hour, your fridge will refresh the popcorn’s moisture.

Or you could boil some water in the microwave first, then immediately put the popcorn in before the steam and moisture evaporate. This method will get the inside of the microwave humid enough to prevent the popcorn from burning.

How long do you microwave popcorn without burning it?

The perfect time to microwave popcorn without burning it is about 2 to 4 minutes. However, the ideal time may vary depending on the wattage of your microwave.

A 1000 watt microwave may take about 3 minutes, while a 700-watt microwave may need about 5 minutes or more. Keep in mind that there are other variables involved that may influence the time it takes. So always listen out for the frequency of the popping sounds.

If your popcorn is still popping a lot with 10 seconds left in the cooking time, you should add a few more seconds. I recommend doing it in intervals of 30 seconds after the initial time recommended by the package.

What wattage microwave is needed for popcorn?

A microwave with at least 700 watts of power is needed to make perfect popcorn without burning it. A higher wattage gets the job done quicker, while lower wattage takes longer.

Does the power of a microwave affect how well it makes popcorn?

Yes, the power of the microwave affects how well it makes popcorn. A higher wattage microwave will make popcorn quicker but is easier to cause your popcorn to burn up than a lower wattage microwave.

Will an 800-watt microwave pop popcorn?

An 800-watt microwave should pop popcorn without burning it if you follow the instructions and best practices given above. However, it can still burn the popcorn if you leave it in the microwave longer than it needs to be.

Can you pop popcorn in a 700-watt microwave?

Yes, a 700-watt microwave can pop popcorn. It will just take a little longer than the time recommended on the package for popping because of the lower wattage.

Tips To Microwave Popcorn Without Burning

Here are some tips to avoid burning your popcorn while microwaving it:

  • Listen for the popping sounds and remove the popcorn when it has stopped popping.
  • If there is still popcorn popping after the initial time, add 30 seconds intervals until it has stopped.
  • Do not leave the popcorn unattended in the microwave, as it may burn when you aren’t listening.
  • Shake or stir the popcorn halfway through cooking to make sure that all of your kernels are cooked evenly and at the same time.
  • Use fresh popcorn packages to ensure that they all pop evenly.
  • If your popcorn is expired, you can refresh them using the refrigerator.
  • Boiling water in your microwave may prevent your popcorn from burning up.
  • Microwave only one bag of popcorn at a time.
  • Use a microwave-safe container with a high edge or a plate instead of the popcorn bag to help contain the popped corn.
  • Make sure the popcorn is evenly distributed in the bowl or on the plate.


Despite the many challenges, there are ways to make microwaving popcorn without burning it. The key is to adjust your power levels and nuke the popcorn in intervals of 30 seconds until you hear no more popping sounds.

If this still doesn’t work, try boiling water inside for a few minutes before adding your kernels and covering with the lid. With these tips under your belt, you should be able to enjoy fresh popcorn without any being burnt anytime!

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