Most of the world’s problems can be solved with one magical appliance: the microwave. But in cases when food was already cooked in the microwave, is it really safe to put it back in?

Popcorn can be reheated in the microwave, but only in short increments. Reheat it for very long and the popcorn might start to burn. The safest option is to reheat the popcorn in the oven, and it can still be eaten if it’s only a day or two old. 

So you still can reheat popcorn in the microwave, but there are other ways to get some use out of stale popcorn that doesn’t risk burning down your house.

How Do I Reheat Stale Popcorn?

The most convenient reheating service, the beloved microwave, isn’t the most convenient when it comes to popcorn. You already put kernels in there to cook in the first place, and putting them back in (long after they’ve popped) can be a fire hazard.

If that’s the only option you have, it can be done. But it must be done with care. To prepare the stale popcorn for reheating, put it all in a microwave-safe bowl, and cover the bowl top with a layer of damp paper towels. This will keep the air moist and prevent a fire from breaking out.

Do not leave the microwave unattended after you’ve put popcorn back in it. The paper towel will help prevent burnt popcorn, but it won’t help much if you’re not watching.

You should put the popcorn into the microwave and set the timer for ten seconds at a time. That will give it time to heat up, but not enough to burn. If your popcorn still isn’t heated up enough, put it back one to two more times until it reaches your desired temperature.

If you want to err even further on the side of caution, you can even change your microwave’s power setting. Most microwaves have options to change how much power they’re using to heat the food. If you set that to half of the full power, it’ll be easier to monitor your popcorn with less risk of burning.

Do NOT put popcorn in there for long periods of time (thirty seconds or more). Sustained heat over time is a surefire way to make your whole house smell like burnt popcorn. Or, in the worst-case scenario, it could even start a fire that spreads to the rest of the kitchen.

The best option to reheat popcorn is by using an oven. Ovens are better at reheating foods (and making them taste as good as they did before they were thrown in the fridge), but few people use them because they take a while to heat up.

Choosing between thirty seconds in the microwave, or thirty minutes in the oven is a no-brainer. Most people go with the microwave every time.

But, because ovens take their time, they’re the perfect option for reheating popcorn. Ovens take longer than microwaves to heat the food, which is good when you’re reheating food that’s prone to burning.

Put the stale popcorn on a baking tray in an even layer and pop that into the oven (at 250 degrees Fahrenheit) for five minutes to revive stale popcorn to its original perfection. And if you want your popcorn extra crispy, you can leave it in for an extra minute or so.

Just be careful. Popcorn won’t burn nearly as quickly as it does in the microwave, but it can still burn.

And, if you don’t want to have to deal with burnt popcorn, don’t worry, there are still plenty of ways you can use your stale popcorn.

Have you ever wondered if you can freeze popcorn? Read there article here

What Are Other Options for Stale Popcorn

Come on. Let’s admit it: stale popcorn still tastes delicious. And the best “solution” to get rid of stale popcorn is by just…eating it.

If you don’t eat old popcorn because it’s been sitting on the counter all night, trust us, you’re missing out. It’s not as fluffy or fresh, but it’s still drenched in plenty of butter and salt: more than enough to take your taste buds on a delectable flavor journey.

But if you don’t want to eat stale popcorn later, we get it. And we’ve got a multitude of solutions for you:


Popcorn seasonings aren’t new–they’ve been around for seventy years. And they’re a great way to take stale, blech popcorn to a whole new level. There are about a million options available, from white cheddar to chile lemon to milk chocolate caramel. For a quick, easy snack, try using seasonings that will give old popcorn a new zap of flavor.

Fun-Sized Deserts

Popcorn is the ideal salty food, so it goes great with sweet treats. There are about a million treats online that use popcorn, from marshmallow popcorn balls to chocolate and peanut-butter-covered kernels. Adding in other ingredients can help prevent popcorn from tasting old and stale. Here are some of our favorites:

And even if you can’t find a recipe online, the sky’s the limit. You’re only limited to your imagination (and budget). Maybe, if you’re going to reheat popcorn in the oven, you can scatter chocolate chips over the popcorn, making a beautiful melty mix of salty and sweet flavors.

Trail Mix

Trail mix can be made of anything you want–why not popcorn? You can make a trail mix recipe with M&M’s, peanut chips, pretzels, and leftover popcorn. Popcorn tastes good with a lot of other ingredients, so if you’ve got something in your pantry, you might as well throw it in the mix.

Wondering if you can compost popcorn? Read the article here

Treats for Animals

Popcorn is a favorite snack of our fowl little friends, and their sharp beaks make it so that they won’t choke on kernels. If you have a pet bird, you can feed it popcorn every once in a while for a little snack. Remember to only feed plain air popped popcorn to animals for digestive reasons.

Or you can take leftover popcorn to the park to feed the birds. Just be careful that you’re only feeding birds. Not every animal can break down and digest popcorn.

Try to stay away from lakes because turtles should not eat popcorn. It’s bad for their digestion, and they have a high chance of choking on kernels.

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