There are several different ways to cook popcorn. You can cook it in the microwave, in an air fryer, in an air popper, or on the stovetop. People who cook popcorn on the stovetop often ask, “Can you pop popcorn in a skillet?” Although you can, it is much better to use a saucepan because you won’t be able to pop a lot of popcorn. Continue reading to learn all you need to know about cooking popcorn.
What Is a Skillet?
There are a lot of different types of pans for cooking, with a skillet being one of the most common. People are often surprised to find out that a skillet and a frying pan are the same thing. It is a pan that is shallow and has slanted sides. It works well for quick cooking where you need to move the ingredients around.
Although you can use one for cooking popcorn, if you have a lid you can cover it with, you will only be able to cook a little bit. The popcorn needs room to expand when it pops, and there isn’t a lot of room in a skillet. For this reason, it isn’t the ideal pan to use for popcorn.
What Kind of Pan Should You Use to Pop Popcorn?
If you are cooking popcorn on the stovetop, you will want to use a deep saucepan with a lid. This gives you room for the popcorn to expand, and it is less likely to spill out as it cooks. A saucepan might be made from the same materials as a skillet, but it has straight sides, it has more depth, and it works better for popcorn.
Using a lid will prevent the popcorn from exploding all over your kitchen when it starts to pop. Remember though, sometimes not all popcorn kernels will pop. The pot should also have good heat conductivity so the popcorn pops evenly. You can use a deep saucepan or a stockpot with a handle and a lid.
How to Cook Popcorn on a Stove Top with a skillet
Gather your ingredients and equipment
- 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels
- 2 tablespoons of oil (vegetable, canola, or coconut oil)
- Salt or seasoning (optional)
- Large skillet with a tight-fitting lid
Heat the skillet
- Place the skillet on the stovetop over medium heat.
- Add the oil and let it heat for a minute or two until it becomes hot.
- You’ll know it’s ready if when you add two kernels to the pan, they pop
Add the popcorn kernels.
- Remove the pan from the heat
- Pour the popcorn kernels into the hot oil in the skillet.
- Leave off the heat for one minute to prime the kernels
- Return the pan to the heat
Wait for the kernels to pop!
- Keep the lid a little tipped so you can smell any smoke
- If there is smoke your heat is too high, reduce it
- If popcorn overflows remove it to a bowl
- Listen for the popping sounds to slow down to about 2-3 seconds between pops. This indicates that most of the kernels have popped.
Season and enjoy
- Drizzle with olive oil or season with your favourite toppings
- Enjoy your popcorn
It is relatively simple to cook popcorn on your stovetop. First, you should grab your pot and its lid. You also need some vegetable oil, popcorn kernels, and whatever seasoning you want to add. Start by placing your pan on the stovetop, and put the olive oil in the pan.
Once the olive oil is in the pan, you can put the burner on medium heat. Place two popcorn kernels in the pan; when they pop, you will know that the oil is ready. Remove the pan from the heat and put the rest of the popcorn in the pan. Leave it off the heat for one minute to prime the kernels. Then, you can place it back on the heat and watch it pop.
You should keep the lid tipped so that you can smell any smoke. Smoke means that your heat is too high. If the popcorn starts to overflow, take the cooked popcorn and place it in a bowl as you wait for the rest to pop.
Once finished, you can drizzle some olive oil or another topper and enjoy it. You can store the leftovers in an airtight container in the pantry or a cupboard away from direct sunlight. You can also place it in the freezer, which will last three months or more.
Check our recommended stovetop popcorn makers.
What Kind of Popcorn Can You Cook in a Skillet?
You can either cook popcorn kernels on the stovetop or microwave popcorn in a skillet. If you choose microwave popcorn, you will cut it open and place it in the skillet. Microwave popcorn isn’t as healthy, but it is just popcorn, oil, and seasoning. You can open it up and cook it the same way as you would cook kernels.
However, popcorn kernels can be a lot healthier. You can choose organic popcorn, or there are many brands that are gluten-free, non GMO, and healthy. If you get any kind of popcorn kernels, you will be able to cook the popcorn on the stove top.
Some of the best choices are the following (Amazon links):
- Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popcorn Kernels
- Franklin’s Gourmet Popcorn
- Dutchman’s White popcorn
- Princeton Popcorn Mushroom Popcorn Kernels
- Snappy White Popcorn
- Amish Country Popcorn
What Kind of Oil Should You Use?
When you cook popcorn in a skillet, you need to use some kind of vegetable oil. Coconut oil is a popular option, but you can use olive oil, safflower oil, avocado oil, and more. Many of the popular popcorn brands make oils for popping corn. They have different types of flavors, and you have a lot of options.
Here are some of the best options (Amazon links):
- Franklin’s Gourmet Popcorn Coconut Oil
- Carrington Farms Coconut Oil
- Dutchman’s Popcorn Coconut Oil
- Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Lombardi Avocado Oil
Next check out Five Popcorn Poppers Perfect for Roasting Coffee.