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Why Do Popcorn Bags Tell You Not to Use the Popcorn Button?


    One might assume that using the popcorn setting on your microwave is a straightforward task – just press the button, and your popcorn will be perfectly done. However, it’s essential to recognize that the popcorn feature in numerous microwaves functions merely as a timer, lacking a humidity sensor. Consequently, the microwave cannot discern if the contents are burning. Moreover, various popcorn brands or bags come with distinct weights and humidity levels, necessitating varied cooking times for optimal results. This underscores the importance of understanding the nuances of popcorn preparation to ensure that your microwave settings align with the specific characteristics of the popcorn you’re about to enjoy.

    Certain microwaves are equipped with an internal sensor capable of gauging moisture levels, ensuring optimal functionality. In contrast, other microwaves rely solely on predetermined time settings, leading to issues like burnt popcorn. Advising against using such microwaves simplifies the process. Nevertheless, microwaves featuring a sensor generally perform admirably. I personally leverage this feature, consistently achieving nearly perfect popcorn with each use.

    Lots of microwave ovens come with a dedicated button for popping microwave popcorn, yet on nearly every bag of microwave popcorn sold in a store you’ll find a rather stern warning making it clear in no uncertain terms that that button is forbidden. Do NOT use the popcorn button. This might make you question “Why do we even have that button?” and you know what? That’s a great question.

    But lots of microwaves still have a moisture sensor….When using that feature, a microwave oven analyzes the rise in detected moisture over time. …A bag of microwave popcorn will stay sealed when it begins to pop. Since it’s sealed, the moisture sensor can’t detect anything at first. But once the pressure in the bag builds past a certain point, the bag will either go “boof” or possibly “pfft” and let out a big ol’ cloud of steam. The microwave will easily detect that.