How to Make Popcorn on a Cob

How to make popcorn from a cob | a TinkerLab® Experiment

How to Make Popcorn on a Cob

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This is a fun activity in the fall months when dry corncobs are abundant. We recently visited a local farm and after actually milling dried corn into animal feed they sent home with organic cobs of dried corn to make into popcorn. Did you know that it’s perfect for popping? I didn’t, so for us this was a true, yummy experiment.

If you don’t have a source for dried corn cobs like we did, Sur la Table makes a cob that you can buy online.

Supplies for Making Popcorn from a Cob

Dried corn cob like the Sur La Table Farmer’s Popcorn Cob

Paper Bags


Before you start

Begin by asking some questions about popcorn and how it’s made.

What happens when we put dried popcorn and oil on the stovetop?

What happens if we put dried popcorn in the microwave?

What do you think will happen if we microwave this dried corn cob?

Make Popcorn with a Dried Corn Cob

Place the cob in a brown paper lunch bag.

Fold the bag up a couple times to keep the steam in

Cook the cob in the microwave. Set it to a popcorn setting if you have that.

My little one (with face paint) was so excited when it started popping in the microwave. We cooked it on the popcorn setting, which is about two and half minutes long. As with any other popcorn, open the microwave door when the popping sounds slow down.

We opened it up for a peek, and it was gorgeous.

Marvel at how much popcorn came off of one little cob!

The ends of this ear didn’t pop off and actually singed up a bit.  My daughter loved the whole process, right on down to eating the corn.

The Popcorn Book and Popcorn Breakfast

To extend this into a fun literacy moment, read The Popcorn Book by Tomie de Paola. It’s funny, and an instant childhood favorite. My kids love it.

When we read the book we learned that “The Colonists like it [popcorn] so much that they served popcorn for breakfast with cream poured on it.” Try turning your popcorn into an old fashioned breakfast treat with Popcorn Cereal. 

Corncob Popcorn Experiment. All you need is a corncob, paper bag, and a microwave. So fun!

More Fall Ideas for Kids

Make Leaf Critters

Check out this “bucket list” of ideas to try this Autumn

Paint coffee filter suncatchers, shaped like leaves.

Make this beautiful fall lantern from crayons.

Preserve your leaves in glycerin.


  1. says

    My grandsons and I tried throwing left over kernels into the campfire. I can’t wait to share this with them. Now…to find a place to get the popcorn on the cob.

  2. says

    I am cracking up at her painted face! I don’t know how many times I’ve taken photos of Michael and he’s all painted up for no reason except that it’s fun. Thanks for sharing your cool experiment!

  3. says

    how cool is that?!?! i didn’t know you could do that either and now will have to try it out! i’m a popcorn junkie!

  4. says

    Wow, I never knew! Ok, knowing how much my son loves corn on the cob and popcorn, I can’t wait to do this with him – popcorn on the cob! Of course, over here we’re just starting to get fresh sweet corn, so will have to wait a few months. Thank you so much for this post!

  5. says

    What fun! I love this idea. It almost makes me want to go out and buy a microwave to try it. Alternatively, we’ll have to borrow our neighbors! 🙂

  6. says

    I have always wondered if this really worked. Now I know it does and I will not have to waste those corncobs as decorations, I will be able to eat them too! You know I am all for eating, anything yummy and organic that is!
    Thanks for sharing this eatable experiment.