How to Microwave Popcorn without Oil? 

It’s a long-awaited weekend and a new episode of your favorite show is up. In such a scenario, a bowl of popcorn, yes, please!

But you don’t want the inconvenience of popping them in a stove pan. Here’s some good news! You can easily microwave popcorn without oil. 

Simply fold the paper bag to close it completely and then microwave it for 2 to 3 minutes and voila! You’re all done!

Popcorn itself is a low-calorie snack but adding butter or oil to it instantly raises the calorie count. Buttered popcorn contains 42 calories which are approximately one-third more than the calorie count of popcorn with oil. 

Therefore, it is recommended to air pop your popcorn instead of adding butter or oil to it. And if it is for taste, there are various seasonings you can try. Start with table salt! 

Read this article further to know the correct way of microwaving popcorn without oil so you don’t burn them and ruin the entire vibe. 

Can You Pop Popcorn Without Oil?

Whether on a stove pan or in a microwave, it is pretty easy to pop popcorn without oil. There are various ways of cooking popcorn, but the microwave is a safer option since you don’t come in contact with heat at all. 

To lead a healthy lifestyle, you should restrict your calorie intake. And in such a case, a snack with a high-calorie count is a big no. 

Moreover, if you have a goal to achieve for your weight, you should limit to light snacks such as air-popped popcorn. 

Moreover, when it is so convenient to microwave popcorn, why would someone add a generous amount of butter or oil just to have an unnecessary calorie intake? You need to sit and think about it!

How To Microwave Popcorn Without Oil? 

Take one-third to one-quarter cup of popcorn kernels and either pour it into a paper bag or a microwave bowl. Then, you should put it in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, 2 minutes 30 seconds would generally do. 

Popcorn would start popping around 45 seconds and the popping will slow down when the time reaches 2 minutes. Your popcorn is done when the interval between popping is 2 seconds. 

While putting popcorn kernels in a paper bag, make sure you are not opting for one having a plastic or wax layer. This can be dangerous for health. 

Moreover, you need to avoid paper bags with non-sticking chemicals because they are not microwave friendly. 

In case, you can’t choose the right paper bag, you can always go for a glass bowl that is microwave friendly. However, don’t forget to cover it with a lid while putting it in the microwave. 

Moreover, don’t unfold the bag or uncover the bowl immediately after taking them out of a microwave. Waiting for some time would let all kernels pop as well. 

Now it is time to transfer the popcorn into a serving bowl. There can still be some unpopped kernels in the bag or microwave bowl. You can put them back into the microwave to pop them. 

You can give them additional time to recook and pop out into fluffy popcorns. 

Can You Microwave Popcorn Without Oil Safely?

You might be thinking that you would burn the popcorn if you don’t use oil to cook them. However, it is wrong. You can safely microwave popcorn without oil as well. 

You need to be vigilant while microwaving them and we suggest you don’t leave the microwave unattended so you can know when the popping interval reaches 2 seconds. That is the time when your popcorns are done. 

Also, be it a paper bag or a microwave bowl, make sure it is large enough to give kernels the required space to pop. You will have unpopped kernels if you miss this step. 

So, give the popcorn kernels sufficient space to pop fully to enjoy fluffy popcorn. You can add seasoning of your choice to have an enhanced taste. 

How Long Can You Microwave Popcorn Without Oil? 

The maximum time you can put your popcorn in the microwave without oil should be 3-4 minutes. However, the time between popping is the critical factor to determine if your popcorns are done. 

Once the popping interval reaches 2-3 seconds, stop cooking the popcorns further. 

The time for cooking popcorn varies from 2 to 4 minutes depending upon the container you are using. If the paper bag is thick or the microwave bowl is taking long to heat, you might have to give it more time. 

Nonetheless, you need to be particular about the time between the popping. That is your sign to catch to know if popcorns are cooked. 

Tips to Microwave Popcorn Without Oil

While it is true that you don’t need oil to make popcorn pop, you have to be attentive at the same time. It is because you don’t want to burn your popcorn just because you were not vigilant. 

Below are some tips to follow so you can avoid burning popcorns: 

  • Don’t leave popcorn unattended. While it is convenient to air pop popcorns you have to keep a track of time and see when the popping interval reaches 2 seconds. You need to stop cooking them once this happens. 
  • If you are opting for a bowl to pop the popcorn, you need to ensure it is microwave friendly and tempered. If you are careless about this, the bowl might break while heating. This can waste your popcorn kernels as well as it can affect the functioning of your microwave as well. 
  • The cover you are using to cover the bowl must be vented. If you aren’t allowing any air into the bowl, the popcorn won’t pop. 
  • The time for cooking popcorn in the microwave can vary from material to material so give it more time if there are still some kernels unpopped left. However, you need to check before putting it in for the extra time. 
  • Always go for bigger containers to let the popcorn consume the space they need to while popping. 

Paper Bag or Bowl – Which One is the Best? 

It is your choice which one to choose, but if you want to let go of the risk of breaking the bowl in the microwave, you should go paper bag. However, make sure it doesn’t have a plastic lining inside. 

  • Fold the paper bag several times so it is completely closed and can trap heat inside to cook. 
  • For one-third cup, a mid-sized bag would be sufficient. However, you can opt for a bigger bag as well but it is not necessarily needed.
  • Put the bag in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes while your microwave is on high heating. Let it cook while you are vigilant about the popping interval. 
  • Once the gap between popping reaches 2 to 3 seconds, take the bag out of the microwave. However, don’t unfold the bag until you stop hearing the popping sound. 
  • Empty the bag into the serving bowl and if there are any unpopped kernels left, you can put it again in the microwave. 

Final Thoughts 

You can always enjoy your snack and maintain healthy standards at the same time. Popcorn microwaved oil is one of the best examples in such a case. 

It is better to go for low-calorie popcorn on your movie night than to munch on heavy, buttered, and high-calorie popcorn. 

Moreover, microwaving popcorn without oil at home is super convenient. All effort it requires is to be attentive for 2 to 3 minutes. 

If you are particular about the popping gap and stay near the microwave, you shouldn’t be worried about them burning. 

Therefore, here is your chance to switch to fat-free and healthy popcorn without being guilty of having a midnight movie snack anymore. Happy healthy eating!


How can I make homemade microwave popcorn without using store-bought bags?

To make homemade microwave popcorn, you can use a brown paper bag and popcorn kernels. Simply add the kernels to the bag, fold it over twice, and microwave for 2-3 minutes until popping slows down. You can also use a glass bowl with a lid or a DIY microwave popcorn popper made from a heat-resistant bowl and plate.

What is the best oil to use when making homemade popcorn?

Olive oil is a great option for making healthy fat-free popcorn at home. Alternatively, you can skip the oil altogether and make oil-free popcorn by using nutritional yeast as seasoning instead.

Can I use melted butter on my homemade fresh popcorn?

Yes! Melted butter is an excellent topping for freshly popped homemade popcorn. However, if you’re looking for healthier options, consider using olive oil or nutritional yeast instead.

Is there gluten in microwaveable store-bought popcorn?

Some brands of store-bought microwaveable popcorn may contain gluten due to added flavorings or coatings. If you have celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten, it’s best to check the label carefully before purchasing.

What’s the difference between paper bag and glass bowl methods of making fresh popped corn?

The paper bag method involves placing unpopped kernels in a brown paper bag that is folded over twice before microwaving. The glass bowl method involves adding unpopped kernels to a heat-resistant glass bowl with a lid before microwaving. Both methods produce delicious fresh-popped corn but require different equipment and techniques.

How can I make popcorn at home using just a few ingredients?

To make your own popcorn, all you need are some fresh kernels and a brown paper bag. Simply pour the kernels into the appropriate size brown paper bag, fold over the top twice to seal it shut, and microwave for 2-3 minutes until popping slows down. Add some kosher salt or parmesan cheese for flavor.

What is the best way to season my homemade popcorn?

For a healthy twist on traditional buttered popcorn, try seasoning with dry ranch dressing mix or parmesan cheese instead of salt. You can also use naturally gluten-free popcorn salt for an extra burst of flavor.

Can I use any type of bowl to make microwave cuisine?

While you can technically use any microwave-safe bowl to cook your own popcorn in the microwave, it’s recommended that you stick with a brown lunch bag or specialized popcorn maker for best results. This will help ensure even cooking and prevent burning.

How do I cool my freshly made homemade popcorn?

After making your own healthy snacks at home, transfer them from the hot brown bags onto a wire cooling rack so they don’t get soggy. This will allow air to circulate around each kernel and keep them crispy.

Is making my own healthy snacks cheaper than buying pre-packaged options?

Yes! Making your own naturally gluten-free snacks like homemade popcorn is not only healthier but also more cost-effective than buying pre-packaged options from stores. Plus, you have complete control over what goes into your snack – no hidden additives or preservatives here!

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