Make this Wicked Easy Homemade Microwave Popcorn for 12 Cents! It is just as easy as store bought popcorn and made in under two minutes using this thrifty method!
By making it yourself you can save 79% over the cost of store bought. Since we go through a fair amount of popcorn, I figured it was worth making our own to save money as well as make one of our favorite snacks even healthier.
In order for this to work, we needed to make it just as easy as grabbing a store-bought bag and popping it in the microwave. Now that we’ve done this several times I can confidently say that not only is this just as simple as making a bag of store bought popcorn, but it tastes better, is healthier and is way less expensive.
🍽️ Why This Recipe Works
Super Easy – Most people don’t realize how simple it is to make popcorn at home. Try it and you’ll see!
Inexpensive – Saving money is a must at my house, so it’s easy to do that when we use frugal ideas like this one.
Tastes Great – It’s just as addictive and drool-worthy as any other popcorn. YUM!
Brown lunch bags – I selected these as they are about the same size as the store-bought microwave popcorn bags and they fold extremely easily.
Popcorn kernels – I bought a two pound bag at the grocery store, but you could get it even cheaper with a run to Costco.
Step One: Place ¼ cup of popcorn kernels in a brown lunch sack.
Step Two: Fold the top of the bag over two or three times. This will trap the kernels so they don’t go spilling out.
Step Three: Place the bag in the microwave and microwave until the popping slows. We tend to get the best results by microwaving for 1 minute and 45 seconds, but time varies according to your microwave.
Note: Expect the bag to move around a little bit in the microwave as the kernels pop and force the bag to expand.
📌 Expert Tips
We like to store brown bags with kernels that are ready to go in a popcorn basket that we purchased at the Dollar Store. This makes it just as easy to grab as store-bought microwave popcorn. Even easier, actually, if you account for the time it takes you to wrestle with the plastic wrap off of the store bought popcorn.
We also use a tall tupperware container to store the remaining kernels and the measuring cup to make things super easy on ourselves. The brown bags are stored right next to the popcorn container.
Frugal Tip: Reuse the brown paper bags! We do all the time. After you microwave the popcorn, there will be a bit of oil on the bottom of the bag. That is completely normal. If we know we’re going to make more than one bag in a night (movie nights), we reuse the same bag two or three times.
💰 Cost Breakdown
The numbers below are based on purchasing two pounds of kernels for $1.88 and 50 brown lunch bags for $1. The price would be even lower if you account for using each brown bag at least twice. But for the sake of simplicity, we’ll just go with using each bag once.
Cost Per Bag
Total cost per serving: $0.12
Cheapest 3-pack Popcorn in Store: $0.56 per bag or $1.68/box
Price per Homemade Bag: $0.12
Savings per bag: $0.44 or 79%
Cost of store-bought popcorn per year, assuming you purchase one 3-bag box per week: $87.36
A year worth of popcorn if using homemade: $15.60
If you purchase one 3-pack of popcorn per week, your savings over the course of a year are: $71.76
Not bad. Not bad at all.
We are so happy that we made the switch to making our own. My husband thought I was crazy at first for trying this, but now he doesn’t notice a difference.
👩🍳 Recipe FAQs
While it’s not a good idea to head to the movies and eat a huge tub of buttery popcorn every day, this recipe should be okay. The biggest concern is based on how much butter and salt you add. If you keep it to a minimum you should be fine, but if you add lots then you might want to reach for some fruit or veggies instead.
Yes! These brown paper bags can be reused several times since we didn’t add any oil. Don’t throw them out!
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. You can also stay in touch with me through social media by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!
Homemade Microwave Popcorn
- Brown Lunch Bags
- ¼ cup Popcorn Kernels
- Pour ¼ cup of popcorn in to a brown lunch bag.
- Fold the bag over to lock the kernels in place.
- Microwave the bag for 1 minute and 45 seconds. Note: Every microwave is different, so adjust your time accordingly.
Maggie Hettinger says
Or you can do it in a covered Pyrex or microwaveable bowl.
I use a large silicone cover, set the microwave for 4:00 minutes. I don’t know whether the cover type matters. Small bowl seems better than large. The bowl WILL get hot. I use a little oil or butter or none at all.
I had a bowl crack (one I had used dozens of times previously) when I tried adding some spicy flavorings to the butter. Since the bowl cracked exactly at the point where there was a bit of the spice, I’ve avoided additions to the oil and have had no further problems.
Perfect for a single serving.
Maggie, I’ve never tried it in a Pyrex but I’m going to now! That is GENIUS!!! Thank you for taking the time to comment as I know that will help readers! Cheers! Ginny
#great idea will be trying soon?
Suppose to be meal planning… made this instead.
Turned out amazing! Shared it with my furry pets (bunnies, guinea pigs and gerbil) since it has no additives. Cats where not excited about it though lol!!! Thanks for posting. Making a batch of them for my kids.
Quick thought, you didn’t include salt or butter in your prices. Granted, it’s still quite a bit of savings, but it would be flavorless without!
As far as the “oil released by the kernel,” it’s literally minuscule and typically more is required for flavor.
Becky PS says
I love popcorn! Don’t always have time or want to make a full pot with my Whirly-pop Popper on the stove top. Happy to find this fab idea!!! Thank you
Jazmin Rode says
I hope you enjoy it. It really is super simple to make!
You stated that there will be some oil left over in the bag after it’s first use, but I didn’t find any use of oil in your instructions.
Jazmin Rode says
Hi Gena, I was referring to the natural oil the popcorn kernels produce once popped.
Sammi Sunshine says
I seriously had no idea we could make our own popcorn bags! Popcorn in my house is a must for movie night. Thanks for the awesome idea!
This is great! I didn’t realize that you could pop the kernels dry. I thought that the bag needed to have oil or butter or something to make the kernels pop and prevent burning. Cant wait to try this! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Jill of all Trades says
I started doing this more for the health aspect (storebought micro popcorn bags as well as many of the butter flavorings contain all kinds of unhealthy additives or chemicals. EW!) I’ve also had good luck reusing bags but, just like with storebought micro popcorn, you do have to watch out for scorching.
The only thing I don’t like is that you can only make small amounts at a time. If you regularly eat popcorn as a snack and serve more than 2 people, you might want to invest in an air popper which will make a healthier snack, still at a fraction of the price.
Web Girl says
i can’t wait to try this this weekend! thanks : )
Roberta Shay says
Make sure the bags are not made from recycled paper. The chemicals used in the recycling process are toxic and that type bag should not be used. Maybe cheaper but you will be exposing you & your loved ones to toxic chemicals.