Microwave Monday: Popcorn

By Lauren Sharkey

Welcome back, Seawolves!  We at the Stony Brook Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services sure did miss you…especially me, The Savvy Student!  Since the Super Bowl is fast approaching, I thought we would kick-off (you see what I did there?) the Spring 2014 semester’s Microwave Monday with a classic party snack – popcorn!

Popcorn makes an excellent movie snack, but is also great for parties…especially since there are so many flavor combinations!  Unfortunately, microwave popcorn like PopSecret, Orville Redenbacher’s, etc. can get expensive.  Not to mention that the pre-made, bagged popcorn you find in the chip aisle is high in calories and low in flavor.  Making popcorn at home is actually quick, easy, inexpensive and healthier than the artificially buttered stuff.

Here’s what you’ll need:

popcorn supplies

Popcorn kernels
Canola Oil
Microwave safe bowl (Available at Stop and Shop, Target, or Amazon.  Pyrex glass is the best since it can withstand the heat.)
Microwave cover (Available at Stop and Shop, Target, or Amazon)


1.  Place 1 cup of kernels in microwave safe bowl.

2.  Add ⅓ cup of canola oil, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, and mix well.

3.  Place microwave cover over bowl and place in microwave.  Microwave for 7 minutes (you will begin to hear and see popcorn popping after 2 ½ minutes.).  You will not need to cook popcorn the whole seven minutes – keep an eye on popcorn and wait until most of the kernels are popped until removing from microwave.

photo (2)

4.  Remove bowl from microwave carefully – that bowl is going to be hot!  Let cool for a few moments then enjoy!

photo 1


Cost Breakdown:

Popcorn kernels:  $3.49
Canola Oil:  $3.39
Salt:  $3.00

The total cost of groceries for this recipe is about $11.  The above recipe makes about 4 cups of popcorn.  However, if you were to use all the ingredients, you would be able to make 120 cups of popcorn with canola oil and salt to spare!  That puts each cup of popcorn at 10 cents – a great bargain if I do say so myself.  If you have a little extra green, try picking up some of these special ingredients to add a little something to this classic!

The above recipe is for classic popcorn.  But, as I said earlier, sometimes it’s good to dress your popcorn up!  So, whether you’re planning a party, or just having some friends over, try some of these recipes on for size!  Just be sure to mix in a tablespoon of the SPECIAL INGREDIENT before you coat your kernels, and enjoy!


Special Ingredient: Taco Seasoning

Cinnamon Sugar

Special Ingredient: Cinnamon Sugar and three drops of vanilla extract.

Garlic Parmesan

Special Ingredient: ½ tablespoon of garlic powder; sprinkle as much grated Parmesan as you want when done!

Indian Spice

Special Ingredient: Curry powder with a pinch of garlic powder.


Special Ingredient: AFTER CLASSIC POPCORN IS POPPED, sprinkle cocoa powder over popcorn generously!  You can even add vanilla and cinnamon if you like 🙂

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