I have been making popcorn in the microwave by putting popping corn in an ordinary brown paper bag, folding it closed, and cooking on full heat for 2 minutes or until popping stops, whichever comes sooner. It works pretty well, although sometimes the popcorn gets burnt or a hole is burned through the bag. My microwave does not have a popcorn setting.

I have seen microwave poppers offered for sale, to good reviews. They are typically made of plastic or silicon and are basically containers with lids. Would these give better results than a paper bag, or should I save my money and stick with bags? I prefer not to use oil or butter when popping.

While I could buy an air popper, I prefer to minimize the number of appliances I have, for space and cleaning.

  • Do you specifically want to use your microwave? Classic hot air poppers are relatively inexpensive and it's nearly impossible to urn if you follow the directions. This is the one we have, for example.
    – Catija
    Dec 5, 2016 at 0:53
  • @Catija Good question. I edited my question to answer your question. Dec 5, 2016 at 1:05
  • If space & cleaning are a concern, a microwave popper would be a problem, too. They work. We had one with our Radarange growing up. It was huge (sized to take up almost the whole microwave) because you need lots of space for the popcorn to expand. It actually took up more space than my air popper does. (and I love my air popper, as I can set it up, go and do something else, and there's no chance of burning it)
    – Joe
    Dec 5, 2016 at 20:01
  • @Joe I hadn't realized they were huge. I figured I could store them with other containers, perhaps nesting them. Dec 5, 2016 at 22:26
  • 2
    @espertus : they're typically 10 to 15 cups (5/8ths of a gallon to 15/16ths). In seaching, I did manage to find some 4 cup ones ... and even a one cup (which just seems useless to me, as that's just a tease).
    – Joe
    Dec 6, 2016 at 3:27

1 Answer 1


I have used some of the poppers which use "concentration disks" made by several sources, and will say I have had much better results with them than paper bags. Popping time tends to be fairly consistent with much fewer unpopped kernels than a dry paper bag. It only takes a couple batches to know what the popping time is for your microwave. If time starts to increase or yield goes down with more unpopped or under-popped kernels, time for a new disk or your corn has gone stale. It does cost more than paper sandwich bags, but with not burning batches and less loss and trouble, I personally found it worth it and probably a push on price. And you need to make sure you keep a supply of the disks. Usually it seemed 8-10 batches per disk before they would start to tear and need replaced.

I have not tried the ones which do not use the disks so cannot compare them.

  • We used one when I was a kid and it did a good job but I don't remember if you could use it without oil. I know my dad always used oil. Are you able to address this part of the question?
    – Catija
    Dec 5, 2016 at 14:39
  • @Catija Yes, I always have used without oil. If I choose to use butter or something, I add it after. I think original directions said you could use oils and flavorings, but when I tried, just made a mess and disks became one use only.
    – dlb
    Dec 5, 2016 at 16:21

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