If, like me, you think popcorn is one of the best possible snacks, especially for movie night, you’ve probably got a favorite way to cook it. Some people are big fans of home popcorn poppers, while others like the classic stovetop method. Still, if you’re in a hurry and don’t want to fiddle with added flavorings, a bag of microwave popcorn always hits the spot. But what if you’ve got a small kitchen, can you make popcorn with a 700-watt microwave?
A 700-watt microwave has enough power to pop a bag of popcorn, although it will likely take longer than the recommended cook time on the packaging. Set the timer for 5:00 and pull the bag when pops slow to once every 2-3 seconds. If your microwave is very small (.7 cu ft), you may need to purchase the smaller size bags so there’s room for it to rotate.
Keep reading to find out more about making popcorn in a 700-watt microwave.
Can you make popcorn in a 700-watt microwave?
Popcorn is a fun snack, and can even be part of a balanced diet when prepared properly, but is it possible to make popcorn in a small microwave?
A 700-watt microwave has enough power to pop most bags of popcorn, however, you will also need to ensure that the fully inflated bag isn’t too large to move freely inside the microwave.
Popcorn will pop when exposed to as little as 500 watts, although there is a risk of burning popped kernels before others explode if the bag is too large.
Most 700-watt microwaves come in two sizes: .7 cu ft or .9 cu ft. Cubic feet is the measurement of the volume of the interior of the appliance.
Most .9 cu ft microwaves will be able to pop a standard bag of microwave popcorn, although you may want to test your specific model.
Many .7cu ft microwaves do not have the capacity for a larger bag of popcorn, although they will be able to fit the smaller 1.5 oz mini bags.
If you prefer to make your own microwave popcorn, opt for a smaller paper bag and limit yourself to the recommended serving of 2 tablespoons of unpopped kernels.
How long does it take to cook popcorn in the microwave
All microwave popcorn brands recommend you cook your popcorn in a clean microwave and remove the popcorn when it “sounds” done, which is when the pops slow to every 2-3 seconds.
The expected cook time for a bag of popcorn is 2-4 minutes, although this will vary based on a wide variety of factors. The cook time in your particular microwave is likely to be more stable than the average, but will still vary.
This general guideline is because there are too many variables to recommend a consistent cook time for all situations and devices. Variables that may change the time it takes to pop a bag of popcorn include:
- Cleanliness of the microwave
- Freshness of the popcorn
- Power of the microwave
- Temperature of the popcorn
How long does it take to cook popcorn in a 500-watt microwave
While it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, most 500-watt microwaves are going to be quite small, which means you probably won’t be able to fit a full-size bag of popcorn, although mini bags should still work just fine.
To cook a mini bag of popcorn in a 500-watt microwave, set the timer to 3:00 and cook at full power. Remove the popcorn when there is 2-3 seconds between the pops.
Five hundred watts is the lowest power that you can expect to cook popcorn with any consistency.
How long does it take to cook popcorn in a 700-watt microwave
Seven hundred-watt microwaves tend to be on the smaller side and are more likely in small kitchens, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fresh, buttery popcorn!
To cook a mini bag of popcorn in a 700-watt microwave, set the timer to 3:00 and cook at full power. Remove the popcorn when there is 2-3 seconds between the pops.
Depending on the size of your microwave, you may have better luck opting for a mini bag rather than the full size.
How long does it take to cook popcorn in an 800-watt microwave
Most home microwaves fall into the 800-1000 watt range, so it’s reasonable to assume that the preparation instructions for most bags of microwave popcorn take that into account. This is also the size that you’re likely to start seeing a ‘popcorn’ setting on your microwave.
To cook a bag of popcorn in an 800-watt microwave, set the timer to 2:45 and cook at full power. Remove the popcorn when there is 2-3 seconds between the pops.
If that doesn’t cut it, feel free to increase your cook time to 3:00, but most reviews I read noted that 800-watt microwaves cooked their popcorn in about two and a half minutes.
How long does it take to cook popcorn in a 900-watt microwave
You can cook a bag of popcorn in a 900-watt microwave, but you’re running into an problem of the microwave actually being too overpowered to produce a really good bag of popcorn.
To cook a bag of popcorn in a 900-watt microwave, set the timer to 2:15 and cook at full power. Remove the popcorn when there is 2-3 seconds between the pops, although you may have up to 20% of the kernels remaining unpopped.
Another option is to use the microwave’s popcorn setting, which will cook the bag for longer, but vary the amount of power being used during the cook time. This doesn’t always work as intended, but will give you a great bag of popcorn when the situation is right.
How long does it take to cook popcorn in a 1000-watt microwave
It’s possible to cook a bag of popcorn in a 1000-watt microwave, but at that point, you’re at twice the necessary wattage and are about as likely to get blackened popcorn than you are warm, buttery kernels.
To cook a bag of popcorn in a 1000-watt microwave, your best bet is to use the pre-programmed button. This setting will vary the power level in order to pop the best bag of popcorn.
Some more advanced microwaves even include humidity sensors that allow the microwave to adapt during the cook cycle.
Why is my microwave burning popcorn?
Fresh, buttery popcorn may be one of the best smells in the world. Unfortunately, burned popcorn is just as pervasive but much less pleasant.
If your microwave is burning popcorn, it may be because of one of the following reasons:
- The microwave needs to be cleaned. A microwave works by bouncing electromagnetic waves within the confines of the appliance. If the interior is dirty, the waves won’t bounce predictably and may not cook your food consistently.
- The popcorn is not turning properly. Most microwaves have a turntable that rotates throughout the cooking time. This helps ensure the food is exposed to microwaves consistently and helps reduce the likelihood of hot spots.
- The popcorn is cooking for too long. Stick to the recommended popcorn maker’s cooking times. Listen to the sound of popping and you may have to adjust the cooking time slightly if the kernels are still popping vigorously.
- The bag isn’t appropriate for microwave use. Homemade popcorn is a lot of fun and lends itself to a greater variety of flavors, but it’s best to save those experiments for stovetop or popcorn popper popcorn. You’re better of using the specially-designed microwave popcorn bags in the microwave.
- Your expectations are too high. I know it’s disappointing to find a bunch of unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bag, but you’re better off letting the last ones go instead of trying to wait out every one of them.
Why is my microwave not popping popcorn?
Conversely, some people may have trouble with their microwave not popping corn at all.
If your microwave is burning popcorn, it may be because of one of the following reasons:
- The microwave needs to be cleaned. Just like how a dirty microwave could be burning your popcorn, it could also be causing a bag not to cook at all because the waves are being absorbed or misdirected.
- The popcorn is not cooking for long enough. The first 1-2 minutes of your cook time may seem uneventful as there may be no popping sounds emanating from your microwave. Unless you’re already sitting at 4-5 minutes, you may just not be giving the kernels long enough.
- The microwave is underpowered. Popcorn requires at least 500 watts to burst through the hard kernel. If you’re microwave doesn’t reach that, the popcorn may pop at all.
- The popcorn is old. The longer popcorn kernels are kept in storage, the more they dry out. Old popcorn simply won’t pop – it may not have anything to do with your microwave at all!
Is your problem with more than just popcorn? Check out these seven reasons your microwave is taking a long time to heat.
Summary of cooking popcorn in a 700-watt microwave
While about 800-1000 watts is the sweet spot for microwave popcorn, you can still make a great bag of popcorn in a 700-watt microwave.
To get the best popcorn out of your 700-watt microwave:
- Ensure the full bag has enough space to move freely on the turntable. This may mean opting for a mini bag instead of the regular one.
- Keep the microwave clean. A dirty microwave is an inconsistent, underpowered microwave.
- Follow the directions. Check the manufacturer’s cooking instructions and adapt them to fit your specific circumstances.
- Pull the popcorn when it’s done. It doesn’t matter if the cooking time is up, take the bag out of the microwave when the popping slows down to every 2 seconds.
- Make sure the bag is fresh. Check the expiration date on your popcorn. Old popcorn won’t pop well.
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