Paper Bag Popcorn

All you need are corn kernels and a paper bag. 


Popcorn, without the oil and salt, is a great snack. It’s crunchy, filling, nutritious, easy on your pocketbook, and a cinch to make. Oh yes, and rock bottom on the calorie chart.  One cup of corn kernels is only 31 calories.

Admittedly, popcorn without oil and salt is bland, and that’s where this recipe steps in to help.

But, first, let’s be up-front with the negative. Diet popcorn will never be rich with oil. If it were, it would no longer fit in our diets. Hence it will never taste like movie popcorn, bagged popcorn, or DIY-in-the-microwave boxed popcorn bags.

Rather, you can give paper bag popcorn a sweet or savoury adornment, depending on your taste buds. The popcorn will be dry and crunchy; the flavouring, mild but satisfying.

And it will be good for you. According to, popcorn without oil and salt “is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber and Manganese.”

All you need is an open mind about what popcorn is and how it should taste.

In this recipe, I’m going to give you my recipe for sweet cinnamon popcorn. (Yep, the darned sweet tooth insisted.) If you have any terrific flavourings, please let me know, and I’ll add them to this post.

Note: The photo of the finished popcorn is one that is without seasonings. When I add the spice mixture, the popcorn is speckled with cinnamon.

Makes about 4-5 cups


  • ¼ cup corn kernels
  • 1 tbsp. sweetener (I use erythritol because it has the same crunchy texture as sugar.)
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 paper lunch bag


  1. Pour kernels into paper bag.
  2. Fold opening as shown in photo and puff out sides to give the kernels more room to pop.
  3. Microwave for 2 minutes or so, depending on your machine. (My popcorn is ready in 2 minutes, 10 seconds. If I go any longer, the popcorn starts to burn.)
  4. While microwaving, mix sweetener and cinnamon.
  5. When popcorn is finished in the microwave, remove and open top of bag. (Popcorn will be hot and steamy.)
  6. Pour cinnamon mixture into the bag.
  7. Close top of bag and shake.
  8. Pour into a bowl or eat out of the bag.

Confession: I like to pour my popcorn into a bowl, eat it, and then lick my fingers and pick up the leftover sweetener on my finger tips and lick again—perfectly justifiable as part of a wholesome waste-not, want-not philosophy.

For Weight Watchers: 4 cups equals 1 point. If you don’t mind adding 1 more point you could use regular sugar, or you could use Splenda’s brown sugar blend for ½ point.

12 thoughts on “Paper Bag Popcorn

    • Thanks, Becky. I was a little thrown by the class bowl, given your educational leanings, but then I realized “glass” bowl. I think though that you would’t get the same spread of seasonings as you would by shaking inside a steamy bag since it’s the steam that makes the spice adhere. Any thoughts?

    • Yes, that’s all it takes. It’s amazing how food manufacturers would have us believe we can’t do things. My granddaughter was astonished that I made iced tea from scratch. She thought you could only get iced tea in cans or drink boxes!

  1. Great post! Don’t own a microwave, but have an air popper!
    Here’s another spice idea that I have loved on popcorn: a little crushed dried dill, onion salt and celery seed. Sounds odd but it’s actually good. Cheers!

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