Healthy Stovetop Popcorn

Looking for a healthy alternative to processed and boxed snacks? This Healthy Stovetop Popcorn is perfect in so many ways. It's frugal, easy to make, and of course so delicious!

Wishing you had something other than butter and salt to top your popcorn?  Or do you need some prodding to give up those artificially colored "cheeze flavored" topping mixes?

Well, I have some great solutions for you.

As I mentioned in my post on popcorn being a healthy snack for your budget, a homemade popcorn recipe can really help with your family food budget, and it can also be a lot of fun if you vary the toppings (make sure you check out the links at the bottom of this post for some of our family's favorites :-)!)

But it is also important to start with the right foundation -- the perfect popcorn.

First, You Need to Start with a Great Popper

Again, I mentioned the stainless steel hand crank popper in yesterday's post on how popcorn is a great boon for your budget. If you are really proficient in the shaking-the-pan-over-the-stove-burner method, then that is great too, but our family has gotten so much use out of this popper and I was never really successful at the shaking the pan method.  And with this popper, even our kids can do it.

We do, however, typically have them stand in an ultra-safe kids learning tower (our tower can support 500 pounds safely) while popping. That way there is no fear of them toppling off of a chair and getting injured.


coconut oil


  1. Put oil and popcorn into the popper over medium heat.
  2. Turn crank slowly at first and then quickly once the popping starts.
  3. Stop cranking when no more popping is heard.

Recipe Notes

  • We always use organic popcorn due to the proliferation of genetically modified corn on the market.  (According to this article in the Washington Post, in 2009, already 80 percent of corn was genetically modified.
  • The salt that we use and love is Real Salt which you can purchase in various locations. It is a wonderful, non-bleached, natural salt with no additives (did you know that regular table salt is bleached and has chemical additives to keep it from clumping -- and some brands even have added sugars!).  We get ours (and our organic popcorn) through our family's buying club with Country Life Natural Foods and I confess that I purchase the large 25 pound bag. Great price and salt doesn't spoil! And between all the popcorn and regular cooking and baking that I do, and our daily saline washes and the regular soaking of nuts and seeds, we use up salt very quickly!
  • Coconut oil is a wonderful choice for popping corn.  It has a high smoke point which means that it is fairly-stable cooking oil.  You do not want to use olive oil for your popcorn as its smoke point is too low.  Butter is also not a great choice but it is a fine topping option.  Basically, cook your popcorn at a temperature at which you do not produce a bunch of smoke, because the abundance of smoke indicates that you are damaging the fat.
  • I like to use 2 tablespoons oil for most batches. Plain popcorn has a fairly-high glycemic load so adding the extra fat tempers that a bit. Sometimes I use 3 tablespoons, but the resulting product might seem a bit heavy to you.  Try it and decide what amount you like.

More Healthy Popcorn Recipes

So, now that you have this easy homemade popcorn recipe that you are armed with one step towards more healthy snack eating, you can really serve up some fun, healthy snacks in the kitchen by trying our family's favorite popcorn recipes:


healthy stovetop popcorn

Healthy Stovetop Popcorn

This homemade popcorn recipe is a super quick treat that you can whip together in a flash. It is also very frugal, and you can top it however you like! Any time you would like an easy snack, skip the microwaved junk from the store and throw some popcorn in the popper instead.
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Course: Snack
Cuisine: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan
Keyword: healthy stovetop popcorn
Servings: 8 -10 cups
Calories: 54kcal



  • Put oil and popcorn into the popper over medium heat.
  • Turn crank slowly at first and then quickly once the popping starts.
  • Stop cranking when no more popping is heard.


Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 28mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg | Net Carbs: 7g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

That's it!

Do you have any favorite budget-friendly snacks in your home?

Any favorite popcorn flavors to share?

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  1. I have heard recently from Dr. Steven Masley, a functional doctor that coconut oil should not be used on high heat that it destroys the good part of the oil and makes it not so healthy. Have you heard about this? I have been using avacado oil but my husband really liked the coconut oil.

    1. I have heard that the smoke point is lower. I try to cook our popcorn on a lower heat. It does take longer, however.

    1. Yes, I have heard that too. I personally don't like to use the microwave, as I am concerned about the health effects on the food, but you can do it in a pinch or if you aren't concerned. Take care.

  2. Why do you say popcorn has a high glycemic load? It's actually low-to-moderate on the glycemic index (55) and definitely has a low glycemic load (<10)

    1. You know, I am not sure. I just saw that as well.....I guess I've been told it so many times. I just saw that it's 55 for air popped. I couldn't find info for what it is popped in oil. Any idea?

  3. Yes, Dr Mercola, who probably teaches more about the dangers of GMO than anyone, said in his blog that popcorn cannot be genetically modified ... and so I do not worry about that ONE problem when making popcorn. BTW, if you Google whirlypop, you can find everything you need to know about how to pop corn as well as find the popper.

  4. This is exactly the way I make popcorn and everyone loves it... I bought a whirlypop about 30 years ago and have used that for making popcorn ever since. When I could buy coconut oil, I began using that .. 5? years ago. All this makes for the very best popcorn and I eat it when I want a snack... I tell everyone to get this kind of popper... wonderful tool.

  5. There is (currently) no GMO popcorn in the world. I was told this by an exec at Jiffy Pop who sent me some info that I have since deleted. Are you aware of this fact? Thanks!

    1. I heard that. I do find it hard to believe b/c some of the popcorn I've tried tastes like cardboard. But for now I am happy to hear it.

  6. When using an air popper like we have, would you suggest adding some melted coconut oil to the finished popped corn before adding seasonings like your herbs de provence?

    1. Hi Torie. You will need to add something moist to the popcorn or the toppings won't stick. Coconut oil sounds great! I've heard natural palm oil is wonderful but I haven't tried it yet. Hope you enjoy it!

  7. I LOVE making popcorn. My favorite is a sugar-free, organic Kettle Korn. It's really fast, easy and super healthy. It doesn't get much better than that!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Angela. I'm OK with that. I know sharing links can be hard to discern - when it's OK and when it's not. I've flubbed myself. I look forward to trying your version!