Popcorn can be a great snack for kids but many of the pre-packaged popcorn and commercial microwave popcorns can contain added ingredients that we want to avoid serving our children. Homemade popcorn is so easy to make and gives you full control over what toppings/coatings you add.
My eldest is starting to notice more what other kids are having in their lunchbox and has recently been pointing out products at the supermarket that “everybody else gets to have in their lunchbox.” The other day he mentioned that a friend had popcorn and could he have some too. He was delighted when I made some for his lunchbox and although it was served plain, without any added flavours or toppings, he loved it.
Popcorn and Young Children / Babies
Popcorn is considered to be a choking hazard and there have been incidents where children have died from choking on popcorn. It is advised not to offer popcorn to children under the age of 4/5.
Take care when your child is eating popcorn, make sure they are sitting up and not running about and playing. Moving while eating can increase the choking potential considerably.
Popcorn – Take Care when Cooking!
I’m sharing two ways to make popcorn, both are very quick and easy but care does need to be taken. Do not leave your corn unattended while cooking it. When the popping starts to slow down, turn the microwave off or remove the pan from the heat. When making it in the microwave take particular care, it can go from popping to smoking very quickly.
Making Popcorn in the Microwave
This is probably the easiest way to make popcorn. You simply have to add your corn to a brown bag, fold over the top and then microwave. Mine took around 2 mins 15 seconds but it will vary depending on your microwave. Once the popping slows down, turn your microwave off.
I initially tried making half a cup worth of popcorn in the bag but found my bag exploded and the microwave was full of popcorn. Folding the top of the bag over 3 times and reducing the amount of popcorn kernels to 1/3 cup solved this. My bag was 26cm x 20cm so if your bag is bigger you may be able to add more.
Making Popcorn on the Stove Top
If you don’t like to use a microwave then using the stovetop is easy too. Although I usually make it in the microwave, my kids like me making it on the stovetop as they absolutely love watching it popping like crazy in the pan.
What Pan is Best for Making Popcorn?
You want to use a pan that is big enough to accommodate the popped corn or it will blow the lid. I like to use a large based shallow pan. Although the pan is shallow it is wide enough to fit all the popcorn in it. The pan I use has a glass lid, and although it is not required, it is nice to be able to see, as well as hear, the popcorn.
What Oil is Best for Making Popcorn?
I like to use avocado oil to make popcorn, it has a very high smoking point and can withstand the high heat needed to make popcorn. However, I have seen recipes using a range of different oils including coconut, vegetable, canola and olive oil. The oil you choose is up to you but I would recommend using one with a high smoking point.
How to Flavour Homemade Popcorn
My kids are actually happy to eat the popcorn plain but I often add a good shake of cinnamon or stir is some nutritional yeast. I find you are best to flavour the popcorn straight after cooking as this is when it will absorb the best.
To get your flavours to stick, you generally need some fat (oil or melted butter), around 1/3 cup for a large bowl. Mix in spices, herbs or curry powders to the fat and coat the popcorn with the mixture.
Feel free to add flavours of your choice but just remember that what you add to the popcorn can greatly affect the nutritional value. Often the popcorn can turn from a healthy snack into an indulgent treat.
How to Store Homemade Popcorn
Homemade popcorn should last around 4-5 days if you follow these tips.
- Do not add any flavourings before storing, even adding salt can draw out moisture and will affect the texture of the popcorn.
- Allow the popcorn to cool to room temperature before covering and storing
- Store in an airtight container
- Store in a dry and dark place (such as a cupboard/pantry)
Homemade Popcorn in the Microwave
Delicious popcorn made without any oil and ready in less than 3 minutes.
- 1/3 cup (70g) Popcorn Kernels
Place the popcorn in a brown paper bag. Fold over the top 2 times to seal. (SEE NOTE 1)
Place the bag in the microwave and cook on high for 3 minutes. Stay close to the microwave and listen to the popping. Once the popping slows down remove from the microwave. (Mine took 2 mins 15 seconds but this will vary depending on the microwave)
- My brown bag was 26cm x 20cm. You do not want your bag to be any smaller than this as the popcorn needs room to expand.
Nutritional information is a guide only, calculated using an online calculator. It does not include the addition of any toppings you may add.
Homemade Popcorn Using the Stovetop
Delicious popcorn made in minutes.
- 1/2 cup (105g) Popcorn Kernels
- 2 tbsp Oil (SEE NOTE 1)
Heat oil in a large based pan over a high heat. Put two kernels into the pan, cover and wait until they pop (SEE NOTE 2)
Take the pan off the heat and remove the two popped kernels. Add the remaining kernels, swirl the pan to ensure all the kernels are evenly coated, in the oil, and then return to the heat. The popcorn should start popping in a couple of minutes.
Occasionally shake the pan and continue to cook until the popping slows down, nearly to a stop. (1 pop in every 3 seconds)
Remove from the heat and place in a serving bowl.
- I used avocado oil. You can use any oil, preferably one with a high smoke point.
- I like to use a pan with a glass lid so that I can see what is happening. If you don't have a glass lid then you will have to listen for the popping.
Nutritional information is an ESTIMATE only and is calculated using an online nutrition calculator. The nutrition facts will vary depending on the type of oil used. I used avocado oil and based the facts on that. The facts do not include the addition of any toppings.