Avoid PFOA Lined Microwave Popcorn Bags and Make Perfectly Popped Popcorn on Your Stovetop

by Chrystal Johnson on January 30, 2014

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perfectly-popped-popcornWe haven’t had a microwave in years, so one thing I really missed is a bag of warm popcorn while watching a movie. I never really liked the idea of eating popcorn that came from a bag lined with plastic, even before I actually knew what the lining was made from or how microwaves change the structure of food.

Did you know that many microwave popcorn bags are actually lined with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), an industrial nonstick chemical most commonly referred to as teflon? PFOA is used in microwave popcorn bags to both prevent the popcorn from sticking to the bag and to prevent grease from leaking through the bag.

Unfortunately, PFOA has been linked to cancer in animals. Even though there haven’t yet been studies done to show PFOA directly causes cancer in humans, it has been found in the blood of 95% of people in the US. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in January 2012 showed that nonstick chemicals in popcorn bags significantly damage the immune system, which can cause a wide range of other health problems.

Another 2012 study done around a chemical plant where PFOA was manufactured showed there was likely an association between PFOA exposure and 6 negative health outcomes: kidney cancer, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, hypercholesterolemia and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

So, if you’ve made an effort to get teflon coated pans out of your kitchen, it’s also time to re-evaluate eating microwave popcorn. Just because you want to avoid the chemicals found in microwave popcorn doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy freshly popped popcorn while you watch a movie! You can make perfectly popped popcorn on your stovetop, and you may already have everything you need to get started!

Perfectly Popped Popcorn on Your Stovetop



  1. Put the popcorn kernels and palm shortening into a 5-quart cast iron dutch oven. Alternatively, you can use a pan like this that is designed for popping corn.


  2. Put the lid on the dutch oven and turn the stove on high (it must be on high or the kernels won’t pop completely).
  3. Carefully shake the dutch oven every 10-15 seconds, then place back on the burner. I like to lift the lid for a couple seconds every time I set it back down to let some of the steam escape. Continue doing this until the popping stops.
  4. As soon as it’s done, turn the burner off and pour your perfectly popped popcorn into a large bowl and sprinkle Real Salt or your favorite topping on the popcorn.

Another way to safely make popcorn is with a hot air popper. As long as you have space in your kitchen for another gadget, they’re very affordable! And they’re fun for kids because you can watch the popcorn popping.

What is your favorite topping to put on popcorn?

About Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal, publisher of Happy Mothering, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former marketing manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life. She enjoys sharing those discoveries with anyone who's willing to listen.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jonathan (EcoDad) January 30, 2014 at 10:20 am

While I’m more than happy to make popcorn on the stove (not that I know how), I’m not ready for my 9 year old kids to. Luckily, we got this awesome glass microwave popcorn popper for Christmas that my son is more than happy to make his own popcorn with.

I’m going to have to write a blog post about it one of these days when I find some more time.
Jonathan (EcoDad) recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – Appreciating Snow


2 Chrystal Johnson January 30, 2014 at 11:51 am

Awesome! We don’t even own a microwave, so I am the popcorn maker in our house :-)


3 Jaime @ Slightly Steady January 30, 2014 at 10:53 am

I love how much better stovetop popcorn tastes! I didn’t even know about the chemicals (the specifics, anyway – I stopped using microwave popcorn years ago, but that was more about the hydrogenated oils) – that’s scary that so many of us have that in our bloodstream!
Jaime @ Slightly Steady recently posted..I Didn’t Bond With My Newborns


4 Chrystal Johnson January 30, 2014 at 11:52 am

It does taste so much better, doesn’t it? It’s scary what is in most packaged foods.


5 Kim @ 2justByou February 3, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Air popped popcorn is so much fun (and so much better)! I need to get an air popper.
Kim @ 2justByou recently posted..Pixel Love {Pixelia Creations GIVEAWAY}


6 Diatta @ Femme Fitale Fit Club March 30, 2014 at 7:44 am

Looks like it is time to go back old school. Thanks for sharing the information.
Diatta @ Femme Fitale Fit Club recently posted..Friday Five: Favorite Fitness Activities


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