have some corn

We eat a lot of popcorn at our house. I was watching “Good Eats” one evening and saw Alton Brown cook his corn in a brown bag. I tried it myself and it works great. I am sure not all microwaves will work the same, but here’s how I do it.

I use brown lunch bags, 1/4 cup of loose popcorn, and a stapler or a chip clip to close the bag.

an easy way to make corn

A quarter cup of popcorn is the perfect amount for this size bag. No need to add oil. I have read online that some people like to add some sugar to get “kettle corn,” but I haven’t tried that myself.

1/4 c. corn kernels

I used to staple the bags, but now I use a chip clip that is entirely made of plastic. No metal parts or springs. I popped two bags in a row with the clip once and the clip got too hot and started to warp. I do have two of the same kind of clip, so now I alternate them. I like the clips better than the staples, though they work well, too.

I’ve done some online searching of this method and some people warn that the staple may cause the bag to catch fire. I have never had that problem. I also saw a few sites that recommend merely folding the top of the bag down two or three times, but when I did that, it opened and I ended up with popcorn all over the microwave.

staple or clip

Pop the bag into the microwave.

pop it in the microwave

In my microwave, it takes one minute and fifty seconds to pop a bag of corn. You will have to experiment with your own microwave to figure out the perfect setting for your machine to make a bag of corn. It doesn’t take but a few extra seconds to burn the corn. If you do burn it, open the bag outside or don’t open it at all. Stinky!

1:50 at 100% power

Full bag…done.


I like the clip better because it allows me open the bag without tearing it. Then I’m able to add olive oil and salt to my corn, close the bag and shake it to coat evenly.

one bag's worth

If you use staples (which are so small they work fine in the microwave, BTW) the bag should be opened by tearing it down the middle from the top. If you try to take the staple out, it can come loose and might fall into the popcorn. I speak from experience.

stapled bag

Doesn’t that look good? Easy to make, and healthier and cheaper than the microwave bags you get at the store.

ready to eat

PS…I’m editing this to note that I no longer use a staple. I just make a “paper staple.” Fold the top of the bag over twice. Crease well. Tear through the folds in two places, near the middle of the fold, about an inch apart. Fold the small part between the tears down and crease well. Voila! A paper staple.

making a "paper staple" making a "paper staple" a paper staple

Editing this again to say I now use a piece of tape to close the bag. Fold the top over twice, crease, and tape. Easy.


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