I got a Nordic Ware "microwave popcorn bowl" for Christmas, that my dad and sister had been raving about. I usually make stovetop popcorn in my Whirley Pop popper, which does a great job, but wanted to give the microwave one a try.

Unfortunately, my 1100 W microwave seems far too powerful and tends to end up with either burned popcorn, or having to stop the process with a LOT of unpopped kernels. I was going to give up on the thing but tried it at a vacation house we rented where the microwave was a lot less powerful. It produced amazing popcorn!! Absolutely delicious, tasted more flavorful even though I used way less coconut oil.

I've tried using reduced power setting on my microwave but it doesn't seem to help, the fact that reducing power just makes it shut off for brief periods (see this question) seems to mess up the popping.

Is there something else I can try, like maybe putting a glass or two of water in the microwave with the popcorn? That might help absorb some of the microwave energy. Perhaps I will experiment...


A glass of water in the microwave will result in less microwave energy reaching the popcorn. I use a large glass of water (8 - 12 oz.) when I'm softening butter because I want the water to absorb most of the energy. For popcorn, you may get by with 2-4 ounces of water.

I've also found that the amount of oil makes a huge difference. I sometimes pop popcorn in a paper lunch bag. If I don't use any oil, I get the combination of burnt and unpopped you described. With a teaspoon of oil added to 1/3 cup of popcorn, results are a lot better. Perhaps you just need a little more oil to get great popcorn.

  • 1
    I had tried using more oil but it didn't seem to help much. However, a very small glass of water (guessing I used about 3T or 1.5 oz) worked very well! Almost the equivalent of the lower power microwave. I still used some oil of course (for flavour, and it probably helps prevent burning too). – Michael Lucas Jan 20 '16 at 13:54
  • I'm really glad that worked. Thanks for sharing the result! – mrog Jan 20 '16 at 15:00
  • 1
    Just don't let the water boil away! I mistakenly used a bit less water in one of my batches yesterday and it popped great until the very end when the water finally all boiled away, then some of the popped corn got burned! – Michael Lucas Jan 21 '16 at 15:06

I experiment a lot with microwave recipes including popcorn and my suggestion is to stop the microwave before any burning starts, remove the popped kernels from the dish and and put the unpopped kernels back in the microwave for some more popping. This will prevent the already popped corn from scorching.

  • 2
    Will, welcome to the site! Please note that all Stack Exchange sites work differently from most forums you might be familiar with. (Start with taking the tour and visit our help center!) I edited your post to keep the advice and remove the "visit my blog" part. You may of course link to your blog on your profile page... – Stephie Feb 10 '16 at 9:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.