Stovetop Popcorn

20131219_215550Ron makes the best damn popcorn outside of Sudbury where he surrenders that title to his mother, his popcorn mentor.

People often wonder how Ron and I do so much and still have energy.  The answer is pretty simple: we eat really, really well, we exercise pretty much every day, we each go outside every day (thanks dogs!). We set goals and keep our eyes on them, and we love what we do both professionally and personally. Most importantly, we take the time to rest and relax. It’s all about balance after all.

And while R-n-R means yoga, recreational reading, and the occasional nap,  we sometimes put on an episode of our favourite show (right now it’s Breaking Bad) or a ‘dark-independent drama’ movie (well that is what Netflix tells us we like) … and well, eat copious amount of popcorn!

Pop(corn) Quiz Facts

  • Did you know that popcorn is actually a special type of corn and not just dried regular corn?
  • Popcorn is non-GMO but you should still buy organic since conventional popcorn can still be terribly pesticide heavy.
  • During the Great Depression, popcorn was fairly inexpensive at 5–10 cents a bag and became popular. Thus, while other businesses failed, the popcorn business thrived and became a source of income for many struggling farmers. (Wikipedia)
  • Popcorn as a breakfast cereal was consumed by Americans in the 1800s and generally consisted of popcorn with milk and a sweetener. (Wikipedia)

Popcorn, popcorn, popcorn!

It’s a crunchy, low-calorie snack that we don’t feel guilty about eating. We decided long ago to forgo microwave popcorn, buying organic, and making it ourselves. That stuff is nasty for so many reasons. Besides, Ron is a stovetop star and lucky for us he has gladly agreed to share his ‘expertise’ in this week’s blog post.


  • Stainless steel or aluminum pot. It is quite important to use a thicker, high quality pot so you get more even heat distribution.
  • A lid that has ventilation holes or is slightly larger than the pot (we explain why later)


Always choose local and/or organic if available and you can afford it.

  • Popcorn
  • Vegetable or canola oil
  • Seasoning (optional, to taste)
    • Salt (we love pink salt or sea salt)
    • Nutritional yeast
    • Butter, margarine, olive oil, coconut oil
    • Infused vinegar


  1. Have your serving bowl(s) ready and accessible.
  2. Put your pot on the stove and turn it on high.
  3. IMPORTANT! – Let it warm up but not all the way.
  4. Coat the bottom of a stainless tell pan with the oil of your pot about 2mm thick.
  5. Add a 3-5 popcorn kernels to as testing kernels. Cover with lid.
    Heating Up the Oil
  6. When the ‘test’ kernels begin to pop, add enough popcorn kernels so there is one layer covering the bottom of the pot.
    Add Popcorn
  7. Now toss it around so the oil coats the kernels. Let it sit for a few seconds seconds on the element but keep shaking it around.Cover with slightly larger lid
  8. Give it a shake, and let it sit again. Keep doing this until popping begins!
    When we say shake we actually mean stir. But when we say stir we mean shake whole pot in a circular and/or back and forth motion while keeping the bottom on the element. Think Karate Kid “wax on wax off”.
    Cover and Shake
  9. Keep shaking/stirring as it pops.
  10. See the steam in the picture below? Let the steam out.
    If the steam drips in or stays in the pot, your popcorn will get chewy.
    That is why we use a lid with vents or an the over-sized lid that won’t drip in. By letting the steam out, the popcorn stays super crisp and fluffy.
    Steam Escaping
  11. Keep shaking/stirring until there is 2-4 seconds between popping.
  12. Quickly remove the popcorn from the element and pour into a bowl as soon as the popcorn stops popping. The popcorn should all pop really quickly (about 30 seconds), but it does depend on the quality of popcorn you use and temperature.
  13. Put the lid back on and set aside somewhere safe. Don’t put it back on the hot element and keep the lid on to avoid the rest of the oil from smoking.
  14. Top with your favourite popcorn topping (ok, this could be a blog post on its own). We usually keep it simple with salt and nutritional yeast (which is super good for you), but sometimes spice things up with powered kelp and/or ground pepper.
    Some folks even like to spritz vinegars on them so why not try an infused vinegar you’ve made yourself.
Add Nutritional Yeast
Forgive the bad lighting but your popcorn should turn out nice and white regardless of the amount of nutritional yeast you put on it.

Do you have a favourite popcorn topping? Share it in the comments  below!

Advanced popcorn techniques

Remember, popcorn is dirt cheap and can even grow your own in our climate. It is fast and easy to make so don’t sweat it if you burn a batch or ruin it with an experimental topping. If you mess it up just clear the air so that smoke alarm shuts up. Throw it in the compost and it will love you for it.

  • Once you get the hang of it, you can start adding a bit of other oils into the mix to add some flavour. Sometimes we will add a bit of butter or coconut oil.
  • While your popcorn is just about through popping but not quite done, toss in your salt and seasoning..

Stock up and get popping!

You can buy popcorn in bulk for really cheap so stop wasting your money and time with trips to the store. Making your own will also avoid trashing all that packaging or possibly jeopardizing your health with toxins. Pop just the amount you want and create your own flavours. Snack away and don’t forget to floss.

2 Responses

  1. Janet St.Louis

    Nice article on making popcorn, Ron and Corrie. Popcorn is especially good and even better at camp, with family and friends. From your popcorn mentor, the mama. xo

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