Microwave or Stovetop Popcorn; Which One Is Better At Making Popcorn?

  • By: Kuu
  • Date: June 14, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Popcorn has been around humans for thousands of years. People have used corn to make varieties of dishes, and it has never let them down. One of the ways that corn has kept people entertained is through popcorn. 

Yes, people of all age groups love to munch on these delicious treats. Popcorn is so popular that an average US citizen consumes more than 200 bowls of popcorn every year.

The two most common ways of making popcorn are using the stove or a microwave. Apart from preparation, are there any differences between the two methods? If yes, which method should you choose? 

Read on to gather the essential differences between the two forms of preparing popcorn and decide which one works best for you.

How Does The Stovetop Help In Making Popcorn?

Popcorn is mostly about warming the corn, and on a cooktop, all of the heat comes from the bottom. Gas stoves or electric coils will heat the bottom of the pan. When the kernels are sufficiently heated, they will pop and bounce up, allowing more seeds to fall. 

Grains don’t have as much room to ‘jump’ as they get closer to the finish. This puts them in danger of staying too long at the heated bottom.

Preparing popcorn on the stovetop is difficult since the energy comes from the bottom.

For this reason, you should shake it often to guarantee that no corn clings to the bottom or remains there for an extended period.

The second issue is temperature regulation. If your stove’s heat is too low, the corn will take very long to pop or may not pop at all.

If the temperature is high, the butter and corn will fry before they can pop.

It’s simple to regulate after you get the hang of it and understand how your cooktop operates best.


How Does The Microwave Work In Making Popcorn?

The heat in a microwave does not originate from the bottom. Instead, a microwave heats food by sending waves through popcorn and oil. These waves are very effective in supplying heat. 

Since these waves go through food and most microwaves rotate the food during cooking, the heat is more evenly distributed.

The chances of burning the popcorn are relatively less. Therefore, making popcorn in the microwave is quite convenient. If you like the idea of making popcorn in a microwave then you would like to read our blog post about the best microwaves for making popcorn.

Stovetop vs. Microwave Popcorn: What’s The Difference?

Preparation Time And Quantity:

While microwave popcorn is popular for being quick and easy, the truth is that stovetop popcorn produces twice as much popcorn in half the time. You can prepare 6-8 quarts of delicious popcorn in about three minutes. 

You can fill the popper halfway with popcorn seeds, add 1 to 3 teaspoons of oil, and then set it on moderate flame. Turn the crank gently for approximately three minutes, or until the popping ceases or the lever becomes difficult to turn.

Microwaves don’t have enough space to fill a tremendous amount of kernels. Moreover, if any seeds fail to pop in a microwave, you cannot wiggle the microwave to make them pop.

Therefore, if you need to make popcorn in batches, the stovetop method is preferable. But if it is one or two people, you can use a microwave to make delicious popcorn.


When cooking on the stove, each kernel is roasted to the precise temperature at which it pops. And then smaller, more solid, unpopped seeds fall to the base to be cooked subsequently.

The popped kernels get plenty of space to float in the pan, and they’re kept off of direct heat, so they remain smooth and soft.

Since heat enters a microwave from all sides and not only from the bottom, getting to the top does not limit the amount of heat the popped kernels get.

So, while you linger for the bubbling to stop, they keep cooking pretty vigorously.

Moreover, commercial popcorn comes in bags that reduce their mobility even further.

As a result, only the last kernels that burst precisely before you take the bag out are adequately cooked.

But the remaining grains are overcooked, including those that burst initially.

Popcorn in an oven


Preparing popcorn over the stove gives you the flexibility of adding more ingredients to your corn. This is a privilege that microwave popcorn lacks. For instance, maybe you believe that melting white chocolate and adding it to the corn will improve the flavour. 

Or you’d like to see what happens when you drop M&Ms into a hot popper of recently popped corn. You can do all these experiments when making popcorn using a stovetop and not in a microwave.

With microwaves, you have to be at the mercy of brands. Only a few brands offer varieties of popcorn that taste good.

Quick Comparison Guide:

Time And QuantityTake slightly more time to prepare. The quantity is much higher.Prepare quickly. It is not suitable for big batches of popcorn.
TasteHas a better taste due to more room and bottom heating.Has a possibility of overcooking due to even and uniform cooking.
CustomizationLots of customization options.You have to be dependent on popcorn brands for customization.


Can I Make Tasty Popcorn With The Use Of Oil?

An air popper can be the simplest way to make fat-free popcorn without using oil and butter. This device uses hot air to pop kernels. It is helpful if you are on a strict no-fat diet but don’t want to sacrifice the taste.

Is Popcorn Nutritious?

Popcorn is abundant in minerals, nutrients, and polyphenol antioxidants, among other components. It’s also really flavorful and one of the most significant sources of fibre for your body.

How Many Calories Are There In Microwave Popcorns?

The calories in a microwave popcorn package vary by brand. It also depends on what’s been contributed to the container. A 100-gram pack of microwave popcorn can have 424 calories, 9.5 grams of fat, and 14.2 grams of fibre.

What’s The Verdict?

Both the popcorn preparation methods are suitable, and you can use either process at your convenience to prepare a delicious bowl of popcorn.

If you like to experiment, the stovetop methods would be more suitable. But if you want to keep things simple, go for the microwave method!