brown bag microwave popcorn

Did you know you can microwave popcorn simply in a brown paper lunch bag? This was making the rounds online ages ago, and I finally got around to trying it.

All you need is a standard brown lunch bag. They cost less than two cents each. I love that this package says “Packed with love“. I also love that I didn’t notice it until I looked at the photo I took.

I don’t think we’ve had these things in the house since Levi was little and we made puppets and birthday party loot bags out of them. Nostalgia.

With a little testing, I found 1/3 cup of kernels to be the magic number. Go up to 1/2 cup and you will either waste a lot of kernels or burst open the bag. With 1/3 cup the popcorn fits with a little room to spare.

Simply put the kernels in the bag. Some recipes call for oil or butter, but I wanted plain ol’ popcorn.

Fold twice at the top of the bag. Alton Brown uses staples, but doesn’t that go against the cardinal rule of microwave use? You don’t need staples. Put the bag upright in the microwave on high for 3 minutes. Listen as it pops, and just like store-bought microwave popcorn, you remove it when the popping slows to 2-3 seconds between pops. This could happen anywhere between 2 and 3 minutes.

I called Jess at work and said, “Why does anyone buy microwave popcorn?” My mind is blown. This is simple, cheap, and you can compost the brown paper bag when you’re done. It’s nice when the cheapest option is also healthier and better for the planet.

I can’t wait to share what we made with eighteen cups of that popcorn tomorrow.

brown bag microwave popcorn

Makes about 8 cups.

one standard brown paper lunch bag
1/3 cup popping corn

Unfold the paper bag and place the kernels inside. Fold the top of the bag over twice. Place upright in the microwave. Set the microwave to 3 minutes on high heat. Listen carefully, and stop when popping slows to 2 to 3 seconds between pops.


Filed under food, recipes

18 responses to “brown bag microwave popcorn

  1. I love everything that doesn’t involve creating garbage. We already have so much packaging; this is an excellent idea for reducing!! If your interested, give this a peak.
    Take care.

  2. I love this, and adore the photos! Popcorn is delicious.

  3. Kris Speakes

    I guess you probably can’t reuse the bag…Cooking it probably makes it lose something important.

    • misterkrista

      Oh, I should have said I did reuse the bag once. I probably wouldn’t keep the bag around to reuse if I wasn’t making popcorn frequently. I don’t know how many times it will hold up, but it could for awhile.

  4. WHAT. I feel like I’ve been fooled all along.

  5. cookingsomethingsimple

    I am to say the least astounded that its really that simple. I wish I could get the family on board with this. They have a penchant for “Store bought” anything.

  6. Karen D.

    I have been wanting to try this forever, and definitely will now that you have proven to me it is so easy and I don’t have to use oil. I like my popcorn plain.

  7. omg and now MY mind is blown. o__o i am so doing this tonight.

  8. Serena

    From someone who has been doing this for a few years: different paper bags have different levels of microwaveability. In general the thin, shiny, pale paper bags have a higher risk of burning before the popcorn is fully done popping. Thicker, more “old fashioned” bags are more likely to do the job w/out your having to check on them as frequently towards the end of the popping cycle. I have sometimes had these burn a little, too. This may vary by microwave, too.

  9. Serena

    BTW not saying don’t use the thin bags, just recommend frequent visual checks towards the last half of the popping period, until you’ve done this enough to know whether or not your microwave likes to do what mine sometimes does.

  10. Pingback: eggnog popcorn balls & a Hitchcock double feature | krista and jess

  11. I started doing this after I accidentally set a pan on fire making popcorn. (It was one of the most frightful experiences ever because it was really flaming and I was ready to leave it burning in the sink onto the cabinets and go get the cats in their carriers and warn my downstairs neighbors. Thankfully I finally put it out.)

    This past time I did use thinner bags and Earth’s Balance and I did notice that I had to keep an eye on it. It didn’t burn but the melted EB did totally wreck the bottom of the thin bag (thicker bags have absorbed less – the thinner bag drank up the melted EB).

    • It seems like the type of bag, the stuff you add and the temperament of your microwave can produce pretty variable results. But I get pretty variable results from the store-bought type as well, so maybe it’s just the sort of treat you need to keep an eye on.

      The image of you abandoning your apartment to the flaming popcorn is half funny, half scary!

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