This simple stovetop popped popcorn is equally suited for after school snack time or family movie night. Skip the microwaved popcorn and give this tried and true method a chance.
Today I’m bringing you a simple recipe that I hadn’t thought to post because it’s just so easy. But then I had someone ask what one of our go-to after-school snacks was, and well, this is it! Other favorite snack ideas in our house include donut apples, pumpkin muffins, trail mix cookies, seedy cracker bread, and cocoa-coconut bliss balls.
I love that I can just buy kernels at the store instead of a big plastic bag of pre-popped popcorn–it’s more environmentally friendly and less processed. But don’t get me wrong, I sometimes buy pre-popped popcorn as well–after all, you have to mix it up and let a little convenience help you out in this busy, fast-paced life that we live. (In other words, I’m not going to make stovetop popped popcorn in the morning so that my kids can bring it to school for their snack!)
A Whole Grain Snack
Did you know that popcorn is considered a whole grain? Packed with healthy carbohydrates, it’s a great way to boost your family’s fiber intake. Pair it with sliced fruit and water for a healthy snack that you can feel good about. Protein is also gluten-free and vegan, making it suitable for a variety of diets.Stovetop-popped popcorn makes a perfect snack. High in fiber and full of flavor, it will bring smiles after school. Click To Tweet
A Dose of Healthy Fat
Don’t worry about cooking the popcorn in oil. A little fat is actually good for us and it will help make the snack more delicious and satisfying. Gone are the days of plain air-popped popcorn! And while there will certainly be more calories in oil-popped popcorn than air-popped, it’s still a lot less than movie-theater popcorn.
There are a variety of healthy oils you can use to cook popcorn on the stove. My favorites include avocado and grapeseed oil. But I know some people love the taste of popcorn cooked in coconut oil and I’ve also heard you can use extra-virgin olive oil–just don’t go above medium heat. And if you really want to make it a party, don’t be afraid to drizzle a couple of tablespoons of melted, grass-fed butter on before serving.
This may be the hardest part of eating popcorn. Perhaps because we often eat it while we are watching a movie, but also because it’s just so tasty that it’s hard to eat it slowly and thoughtfully. We tend to stuff handfuls in our mouth rather than just a couple of pieces at a time. Am I right?
But I encourage you to teach your kids to slow down and savor. Every now and then it’s fine to eat mindlessly in front of the TV–but if it’s an after-school snack, have them sit down at a table. And be sure to serve the popcorn alongside some fresh fruit and water. Make it a super-complete snack by adding some protein in the form of sliced cheese, yogurt, nuts, or hummus
Kids tend to naturally know when to stop eating. And for us adults, mindful eating can be the difference between eating just enough and 1 cup to0 much. I love to scoop a couple of cups of popcorn into a small bowl for myself–that way I remember to savor just the right amount.
The keys to this recipe include:
- Having a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a lid.
- Using fresh kernels–make sure they are stored in an air-tight container.
- Measuring the right amount of oil, about 2-3 T per 1/2 cup of kernels.
- Adding 3 testing kernels in and then adding the rest once they start popping.
- Cooking over medium-high heat. (I have a gas stove, and this works for me, but it may take a few tries for you to find the perfect temperature. You will know you have the perfect temperature when popcorn kernels are popping fast and there is no burnt oil smell.)
- Leaving the lid slightly ajar when cooking (to allow steam to escape so the popcorn doesn’t get soggy).
- Enjoying right away! Although you can save extra popcorn for later, this preservative-free treat is best enjoyed fresh.
- 2-3 tablespoons oil (avocado, grapeseed, coconut, olive oil)
- ½ cup organic popping kernels
- Sea salt to taste
- Place the pot on the stove and add the oil plus 3 testing kernels. Cover and cook over high or medium-high heat until the first kernel pops.
- Add the rest of the popcorn. Cook over medium-high heat, carefully shaking now and then. Once the kernels start popping, place the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape.
- When popping slows, turn off heat and remove from burner. Transfer the popcorn into a big bowl and add salt and additional toppings if desired. Enjoy!
Freshly ground pepper
Nutritional yeast (for a vegan cheesy flavor)
Garlic and/or onion powder
Cinnamon & sugar
Drizzled dark chocolate