When I want something sweet or my kids are asking for snacks, I love popping homemade, natural paper bag popcorn in the microwave. We’ve all heard the unhealthy horrors of how bad microwave popcorn is for you, so I set out to make real food paper bag popcorn so that it’s both a good, healthy source of fiber and a yummy snack.

It’s got some coconut sugar and butter (and you can certainly opt out of those) and it’s gluten-free, doesn’t have additives, and has enough fiber I feel comfortable calling it a semi-healthy snack.

I admit I like it better cooked in coconut oil on the stove, but sometimes I don’t have that kind of time and/or I have kids who want 4 different flavors so the paper bag is just easier. (If you like it cooked in oil and just want to use our topping recipe, I totally recommend you cook Elise Bauer’s recipe  on the stovetop; she’s got it down to a perfect science).

I’m giving you my coconut sugar variation because that’s our favorite, but there are so many toppings and infinite combinations. If coconut sugar and butter isn’t your thing, try Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, cayenne, turmeric, balsamic vinegar, cumin, chili powder, maple syrup, cocoa, nutritional yeast, or any combination that strikes you. Just mix it in with the butter or oil first (and we LOVE coconut oil here, too) and you’re good to go.

Always use 1/4 cup of popcorn per microwave paper bag, and be super safe handling it coming out of the microwave. There will be steam and heat. Use mitts, and open the paper bag away from your face.

A word about ingredients, because some of you asked (these are affiliate links). When it comes to popcorn, Orville Redenbacher Original pops far better than anything else we’ve tried. I also prefer the flavor and texture to others. As to butter, it’s Kerrygold or Plugra which I use for everything but baking, both salted and unsalted. When I can find it, Plugra is my go-to; if not, I go with Kerrygold. We use sea salt and Madhava coconut sugar.

Microwave Popcorn In Paper Bag folded over on towel - Paper bag popcorn

Homemade Microwave Paper Bag Popcorn Recipe

1/4 cup popcorn kernels
Lunch-size plain brown paper bags
1 pinch fine salt (optional, to taste)
1 tbs. coconut sugar (substitute any sugar/spice you like)
1 tbs. melted butter (or any fat you like)

Stir all spices and toppings into melted butter or oil.

Place popcorn kernels in bag, fold over twice to seal.

Lay flat in the microwave and pop on high until there are 2-3 seconds between each pop. In our microwave, that comes out to exactly 2 minutes almost every time. Listen closely.

VERY CAREFULLY remove the bag with oven mitts, set it on its bottom and open away from your face. Add melted butter or oil, close the top and shake carefully. Roll the bag down carefully and serve. Again, the contents are hot, especially any unpopped kernels.

Paper Bag Popcorn finished product sitting up on towel with paper bag top folded over ready to serve

Note – My resident popcorn expert says when we double the sugar and butter, it turns from snack to dessert; that’s what my kids always ask for.

Hope you enjoy this paper bag popcorn as much as we do. It goes great with our fruit smoothies (the combo keeps teenage boys fueled for at least a few hours). 🙂

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