The One Microwave Button You Should Never Use

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

When you glance at your microwave and see that button that says “popcorn,” you may think that’s the one and only answer when cooking up a bag of the crowd-pleasing snack. I am here to tell you that it’s not.

While it may look simple and innocent, it just doesn’t produce the ultimate bag of popcorn. Depending on your microwave, the button can either rely on sensor heat or simply have a preset cooking time. Also, the power level really isn’t that controlled.

All of these variants from machine to machine make it nearly impossible to get perfectly popped corn. Either the resulting bag is burnt or half of the kernels are left unpopped at the bottom of the bag.

Instead, follow the instructions that have long been stamped on the back of microwave popcorn bags: Microwave on high for four minutes. Start really listening to the popcorn after two minutes; depending on your microwave, it could only take this long to cook. Your popcorn is done when the time between pops slows down to about two seconds.

You also don’t even need to buy those pre-packaged bags at the store. It’s actually just as easy (and a whole lot better-tasting) to make the bags yourself using brown paper lunch bags and corn kernels. Learn how to do it below!