Microwave popcorn is one of my favorite snacks. It’s quick, curbs my salty cravings with less calories than a bag of chips, and is the perfect accompaniment to my couch time with The Bachelor, The Real Housewives of Every County, and all my prime time guilty viewing pleasures. While I love the convenience of store-bought microwave popcorn, I don’t love its price. Fortunately, there’s an easy and cost-efficient way to make your own microwave popcorn using a simple brown paper bag and bulk popcorn kernels.
How to Make “Homemade” Microwave Popcorn
Things You’ll Need:
- Brown paper lunch bags (for example, Great Value Brown Lunch Bags,100ct at Walmart.com for $1.89)
- Bulk popcorn kernels (for example, 50lb. Bulk Bag of Vogel Medium Butterfly Popcorn Kernels at Amazon.com for $37.49)
- Measuring cup
- Insulated pot holder or oven glove
- Optional seasonings (for example, butter, salt, cinnamon, or Parmesan cheese)
- Put a half cup of bulk popcorn kernels in a brown paper lunch bag.
- Fold the top of the paper bag over twice. Each of your folds should be about an inch. Warning: do not use staples to secure the top of your bag as metal staples can cause an explosion in your microwave.
- Place the paper bag folded side up in the microwave. Microwave time will vary according to your type of microwave, but it is generally between one and three minutes.To make sure you don’t burn the popcorn (and stink up the entire house for a good week), I recommend standing near the microwave for the entire time the popcorn is cooking and listening to the popping kernels. Stop the microwave when the popping slows down to three seconds between pops or, of course, if you smell something burning.
- Carefully remove the bag from the microwave using an insulated pot holder or oven glove. Warning: don’t put your face or fingers anywhere near the bag’s opening as you could get a steam burn. Wait at least a minute before opening the bag.
- If you like, season the popcorn to taste using salt, melted butter, Parmesan cheese, cinnamon and sugar, or whatever else strikes your fancy. Enjoy!
Store-Bought Microwave Popcorn vs. “Homemade” Microwave Popcorn: A Cost-Savings Analysis
Store-Bought Microwave Popcorn (for example, Orville Redenbacher’s Natural Simply Salted Microwave Popcorn 6-Pack)
- Price: $3.68 at Walmart.com
- Serving size: 1 oz
- Servings per box: 18.52
- Price per serving: $0.19
“Homemade” Microwave Popcorn Using Bulk Popcorn Kernels and a Brown Paper Lunch Bag (for example, 50lb. Bulk Bag of Vogel Medium Butterfly Popcorn Kernels)
- Price: $37.49
- Serving Size: 1 oz.
- Servings per Bag: 960
- Price per serving: $.039
- Price per serving + price of 1 brown paper lunch bag (Great Value Brown Lunch Bags,100ct): $.039 + $.0189 = $.0579
The Bottom Line: Based on the examples above, store-bought microwave popcorn is 3.28 times more expensive than making your own microwave popcorn using bulk popcorn kernels and a brown paper lunch bag!