How to Make Perfect Popcorn (and an Excuse to Eat More Butter and Salt)

A bowl of homemade popcorn and Dr. Danny Castellano? A perfect night.Whenever I'm trying to avoid the siren snack song of crisp, salty tortilla chips (which I can plow through a bag of myself, no problem), I turn to my old pal popcorn. Have you seen how much those 100-calorie microwave bags make? Enough to easily power a Mindy Project marathon (or, at least, an episode). But if your love of popcorn isn't something you're willing to die for this Saturday, National Popcorn Day, and if, frankly, you could care less about the health food aspects, allow us to suggest old-school stove-popped popcorn as 1) the world's best vehicle for butter and salt and 2) so much cheaper than store-bought. In other words: stop buying the microwave bags. Homemade tastes better (what is that orange stuff on the sides of the bags anyway?) and is nearly as easy as pressing the "popcorn" button on the microwave.

Related: Snacks for a Movie Marathon

Can't give up the microwave, no way, no how? Here's a trick: Pour 2 tablespoons of kernels into a paper lunch sack. Fold the top over once and tape closed. Place in the microwave, tape side down, and hit the popcorn button. Stay close and listen until the pops are three seconds apart. Insta-microwave popcorn, no oil, no popcorn lung, and no scary orange stuff. You don't have to stick to just salt...
Popcorn
Makes 2 quarts

2 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
salt to taste
2 tablespoons butter, melted (optional)

Heat the oil and salt in a large (at least 3-quart) pot over medium-high heat. Add the kernels and cover.

When the kernels begin to pop, move the lid so it is slightly ajar and steam can escape. Shake the pot gently but continuously over the burner by moving it back and forth.

Continue to shake the pot until popping slows. When there is 3-second lull between pops, remove from heat, uncover, and pour into a bowl. Add melted butter, if using, and toss the popcorn gently to distribute the butter throughout. Add additional salt to taste, if needed.

So beyond salt? Try these 5 flavorings:

Truffle & Parmesan
Top popped corn with finely grated parmesan cheese and truffle salt. Toss to combine.

Chile-Lime Popcorn
Top popped corn with lime zest, chile powder, and a sprinkle of cayenne. Toss to combine.

Sugar & Spice Popcorn
In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter with sugar and ground cinnamon. Cook, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour over popcorn and toss well to coat. homemadesimple.com

Parmesan & Black Pepper
Add a hearty glug of good quality olive oil to the melted butter. Drizzle the butter and olive oil mixture on popped corn. Add finely grated Parmesan cheese and fresh-cracked black pepper, and toss to combine. chow.com

Sriracha Sesame Ginger Popcorn
Add a glug of olive oil, a squirt of Sriracha, sesame seeds, garlic powder and ground ginger to the melted butter, and mix well. Pour over the popcorn and toss well to combine. bakeyourday.com



Related:
8 Totally Weird Ways to Use Your Microwave
Popcorn Has More Antioxidants Than Fruit
Turn a Pack of Ramen Noodles into a Healthy Snack
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