Stovetop Popcorn

Planning your next movie night? This easy stovetop popcorn recipe is exactly what you need! Crispy and flavorful, it's an irresistible salty snack.


What’s a good movie night without a bowl of freshly popped popcorn?! With the Oscars coming up this weekend, I thought I’d share a recipe for the stovetop popcorn that Jack and I love to make at home.

Heads up – this stuff is seriously addictive. Salty, crunchy, and tossed with a savory sprinkle of nutritional yeast, it’ll ruin you for bagged popcorn forever. It’s crispier, it’s more flavorful, and it’s so simple to make that buying pre-popped popcorn is hardly easier. Seriously! You’re just 5 ingredients and 15 minutes away from a delectable salty snack.

Unpopped kernels, oil, and salt

How to Make Popcorn on the Stove

To make popcorn on the stove, you’ll start with 2 basic ingredients:

  • Popcorn kernels – Any variety! Shoutout to Kite String Cantina in Chicago for these gorgeous red kernels.
  • And sunflower oil – Or any neutral oil with a high smoking point. Avocado oil or safflower oil would work nicely too.

Last but not least, you’ll need a large pot or skillet with a lid. Let’s cook!

Popcorn in a pan

Starting by warming the cooking oil over medium heat. Add a few of the corn kernels. As soon as they start to pop, add the rest of the kernels and remove the pan from the heat for 30 seconds. This step gently brings all the kernels to the same temperature.

Partially cover the pan and return it to the heat. At this point, the kernels should be popping steadily. As they do, shake the pan continuously to avoid burning. While you work, keep the pan partially covered to allow some of the steam inside to escape. Too much steam in the pan will make the popcorn soggy.

Bowl of popcorn

When the popping slows down, transfer the popcorn to a large bowl. Season it up (read on for my seasoning suggestions…), and enjoy!

Nutritional yeast, melted butter, and salt

Stovetop Popcorn Seasoning Suggestions

The secret to great stovetop popcorn? Great seasoning! These ingredients are my go-to topping:

  • Melted butter – For rich, buttery flavor. If you’re vegan, substitute vegan butter.
  • Sea salt – If you’re using vegan butter, start with less (or no) salt and add more to taste. Most vegan butter is already salted, so you may not need to add much.
  • And nutritional yeast – For cheesy, savory flavor. If your nooch has large flakes, you may want to pulse it in a blender or food processor before tossing it with the popcorn. This step is totally optional, but it will help the nooch coat the popcorn more evenly.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below. 

Seasoning stovetop popcorn with melted butter

Drizzle the popcorn with the melted butter…

Hand pouring bowl of nutritional yeast over homemade popcorn

And toss it with the nooch and salt! Is anyone else getting hungry? 🙂

Of course, there are tons more seasoning options out there, so have fun experimenting! Replace the nooch with a few tablespoons of za’atar or everything bagel seasoning, or spice up your popcorn with a sprinkle of cayenne or Old Bay. You can’t go wrong with plain ol’ salt and butter either!

Stovetop popcorn recipe

More Favorite Salty Snacks

If you love this recipe, try one of these tasty snacks next:

Stovetop Popcorn

rate this recipe:
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves 4
Learn how to make perfect homemade popcorn on the stove! Crispy and flavorful, it's a delicious snack. Gluten-free.


  • ¼ cup sunflower oil, or any neutral oil
  • ½ cup popcorn kernels


  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • cup nutritional yeast flakes, optional*


  • In a large pot with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add a few of the corn kernels. As soon as they start to pop, add the rest of the kernels and remove the pot from the heat for 30 seconds, so that all the kernels gently come to the same temperature.
  • Put the pot back on the heat with the lid on, but just partially off center, venting so that some of the steam can escape. (Too much steam can make the popcorn soggy.) Shake the pan as the popcorn pops so that it doesn't burn on the bottom. Once the popping slows down, transfer the popcorn to a large bowl.
  • Drizzle the butter over the popcorn, sprinkle with salt, and toss. Add the nutritional yeast flakes, if desired.


*For a less flaky coating, pulse the nutritional yeast flakes in a blender until powdery before tossing with the popcorn.


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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Toni Spencer

    I never stopped making popcorn. I tried microwave twice – that was it. Real popcorn has always been and always will be a favorite at my house.

  2. Keti from

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe! Gosh, I’d forgotten all about actually making popcorn without a microwave involved!😅

  3. Yvonne

    I was so excited to see this post as I have been making a slightly different version for many years.
    It consists of non gmo popcorn cooked in coconut oil. Then add nutritional yeast, organic butter, truffle sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper. The BEST popcorn ever!

  4. Robbi Lowe

    5 stars
    Stovetop popcorn.

    I’ve been making stovetop popcorn all my life. For subtle textural (and kernel size) differences, I blend 3 different types of seeds – yellow, red, and white). For toppings I use Butter Buds (dehydrated butter) and unflavored popcorn salt. I apply both immediately after pouring into the bowl so they adhere better to the popped corn.

    Butter Buds provides a nice buttery taste without the mess and calories of melted butter. I save the melted butter for days when I want a really special treat.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.