The first time I saw a tutorial for DIY microwave popcorn, it really blew my mind. Yes, you actually can tape your own popcorn into a paper lunch bag and pop it, and that will work just fine. The funny thing, though, is that you don't really need the bag at all. You can learn how to make microwave popcorn in a bowl, and save yourself the extra step.
I'm not saying that microwave popcorn is particularly healthy, mind you. I have a microwave, but I try to use it as infrequently as possible just in case it's killing me. I do use it pretty often for popcorn, though, because it's so quick and easy, and popcorn itself is a pretty healthy whole-grain gluten-free snack (even with the butter). Also, kids will eat it, and it's cheap. What's not to love?
How to Make Microwave Popcorn in a Bowl
So, just get a big microwave-safe ceramic or pyrex container, like a casserole or mixing bowl. Put about a quarter cup of popcorn kernels in it and cover with the lid or some kind of plate. Put it in the microwave and set it for five minutes. Listen closely. At first, you'll hear nothing, then occasional pops, then lots of pops. When the pops slow down significantly, start counting after each pop. If you can count about five seconds between pops, turn the microwave off. That's it!
Cooking times for different strains of popcorn (and even the same popcorn when it's sat in your cupboard a while) can vary. If you find that not much has popped after five minutes, you may need to put it in for longer. On the other hand, you may find that you are stopping your popcorn predictably early. Personally I find that five minutes is very close to the perfect time in most cases, and sometimes I just set the timer and forget about it.
I think you can do worse than putting butter on your popcorn. If you don't want to do that, I recommend coconut oil or olive oil. Olive oil has a savory flavor that might take a little getting used to, but I think it's yummy.
If you want to use butter or coconut oil, you can put a tablespoon or so in a teacup or other small dish, and stick it on top of the lid while your popcorn is popping. When you take the popcorn out, stir well while slowly pouring the oil on.
Then you can add dry toppings. With olive oil I really like a combination of nutritional yeast, chili powder and salt. With butter or coconut oil, I might just stick with salt. You can also make or buy cheese powders, which are yummy and definitely beat the nutritional value of most pre-made cheesy snack foods.