Monday, August 13, 2012

Olive Oil Microwave Popcorn ($0.05 per serving)

$0.05 per serving     55% savings     save $10.72 yearly

I have a confession to make: pre-bagged microwave popcorn and I used to be like THIS (imagine me crossing my middle and pointer fingers together.) I ate the Orville Reddenbacher 94% fat free Kettle Korn nearly every night as my "healthy snack." I tried to ignore the odd coating of film in my mouth when I was done. It seemed a small price to pay for my go-to treat.

WELL. Things change, (thankfully) and I no longer need to worry about stuff like this in the pre-packaged microwave popcorn bags. I can do without all of the weird chemically mumbo-jumbo, thank you very much.

This homemade olive oil popcorn? SUPER healthy! The difference in price doesn't even begin to do justice to the true value of this perfect snack.

It's a snap to make, and has a lightly-salted taste I love! (Read: no foreign-tasting film coating your mouth.) To sweeten the deal, making it at home costs a fraction of the price, and you can make as much or as little as you want at a time. Don't want to use olive oil? No problem. Use a different oil, or butter, and the results will be delicious and even less expensive. 


Olive Oil Microwave Popcorn
Printable Version
 *equivalent to 1 regular-sized package - serves 4

(Note: Fresh kernels will pop better than kernels that have been sitting in your cupboard for years.)

6  tablespoons popcorn kernels
1  tablespoon olive oil
1/4 -1/2  tsp salt 

In a large microwave-safe glass bowl (a 2.5 quart mixing bowl or larger ) add olive oil and salt. Microwave for 20 seconds to help the salt dissolve. 

Remove from the microwave, stir oil and salt, then add the popcorn kernels. Stir the kernels until they are all coated with the olive oil. Press the kernels into a single layer on the bottom and sides of the bowl as best you can. (You end up with less un-popped kernels when they are in a single layer.)

Cover the bowl of kernels with a lid that allows for venting. I used a plastic pyrex lid set askew so that the top of the bowl wasn't totally covered, but the opening wasn't large enough to let any popcorn fly out. You could also cover the bowl in parchment paper, and tuck the ends underneath the bottom of the bowl, then poke holes in the paper on top.

Place the covered vented bowl back in the microwave and heat for about 3-4 minutes on high or until there is 2 seconds between pops. It may take less or more time depending on your microwave. Bowl will be hot. Toss the popcorn to evenly coat with the oil/salt.

Do a happy dance, pat yourself on the back, and enjoy your uber-healthy and super tasty popcorn!

*Un-popped kernels may be returned to the microwave for another go if you put the popped popcorn into a separate bowl. You can repeat (if needed) till all the kernels are popped.

~  Savings  ~

Cost Breakdown:
2 lb bag popcorn - $1.48 = 75 T = 0.020/T = $0.120
101 oz. Extra Virgin Olive Oil - $18.98 = 200 T = $0.095/T = $0.095
26 oz. salt - $0.42 = 122.75 tsp = $0.003/tsp = $0.0015
Total Recipe Cost: $0.22
Per serving (4 servings): $0.05
The Contender:
Pop-Secret Light Butter 10 pk: $4.88
Savings: 55% 

"Over a Year" scenario:
Make Olive Oil Microwave Popcorn 40 times = $8.80
Buy 4 boxes Pop Secret Light Butter 10-pk = $19.52
*Money Saved: $10.72


  1. Add a little sprinkle of sugar while cooking and it will give it a slight kettle corn taste.

  2. Adding the sugar is my favorite hands down! Unfortunately. I'm the only one in my family that feels that way, so salt it is. Occasionally, we'll spray the kernels with butter spray before cooking them as well.

  3. my daughter makes hers in brown paper bags that she recylces from purchases throughout the month

  4. I've done the brown paper bag trick with 1/4 cup of kernels but found many were unpopped at the bottom. Any suggestions?

    1. I don't know if you could do this with the paper bag method, but with the glass bowl method (in my post), you can return any un-popped kernels to the microwave for another go around and repeat if necessary to pop essentially ALL the kernels.

      I hope this helps! Good luck!

  5. I was so excited to try this tonight.I used a microwave safe glass pyrex bowl and covered it with a plate,it was popping very nicely when the bowl just broke into many peices.Wondering what I did wrong?And now I'm scared to try again.I think maybe it broke because the bowl was not vented properly.On a lighter note I really enjoy your blog and can't wait for new ideas.

    1. Oh my goodness, Robyn! How awful! I would have jumped a mile. I'm so sorry about your bowl... I really don't know why it would have shattered. The only thing I can think of is that it needed a bit of ventilation. I know when I've microwaved tupperware containers with their lids on (not what you're supposed to do, I know), the lids end up popping off and food explodes everywhere. Again, I'm so sorry that happened to you. If you do end up trying it again maybe make sure that air can escape. Good luck!

    2. I wonder if it was not venting, so the pressure built up and broke it?

  6. I just tried it and it is wonderful!! and healthy. but I tried it in a plastic bowl-DONT DO THAT!!! learn from my mistake, but it was really good and the boys loved it!! thank you

    1. Plastic, yikes! That popcorn gets super hot. :) I'm so happy you and your boys loved it!

    2. thought I'd update, I could save the lid from the plastic bowl-lol! The second, third and forth batch in a glass bowl was so yummy! a keeper-recipe , thank you!

  7. I'm reading this post after just finishing a bag of said- Orville REdenbacher popcorn, and that "filM' is rather noticeable.. I am definitely going to have to try this method. Have you tried popping it to keep on hand for snacks, or do you only pop it when you're ready to eat it?

    1. Hi Kim,

      I have popped it and stored it in snack-sized ziplock bags for the kids... but in all honesty, it never lasts long. They just eat it like crazy, so typically I just pop a huge bowl worth, and they eat on it till the next day. :)

  8. Made this it turned out amazing, I added a little melted butter and garlic salt after popping and im hooked, no more store bought microwave popcorn for me or my kids :)

  9. I'm so excited to try this. I use to eat popcorn by the case (act 2 butter lovers) and didn't like the mouth feel it left behind. Then I made it on the stove but that is loud and cumbersome (I usually want it when the little on is finally asleep). This will make my life easier. :)

  10. This is next on my list of things to make from your wonderful recipes! We bought a box of microwave popcorn a few weeks ago. It had been a long time since I had any and it was so gross. You are so right about that weird film it leaves behind. And my husband was seriously appalled at how expensive those silly bags of popcorn are, so he's very happy we'll be trying this way instead. :)

  11. I just tried this and it is so yummy! I am excited to have a new, easy, and cheap snack for the kids. Thanks!


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