Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Popcorn Method of Doom

When it comes to things going wrong in the kitchen we usually can expect things like smoke, spills, nasty flavors, gooey messes, and flipping through the phone book to order a pizza when dinner flops. Rarely do we expect flying shards of glass. That's just not conducive to one's health and it should be avoided. What can cause flying shards of glass in the kitchen? Well, for two of our submitters, this pin was the start of their kitchen of doom:

The Original Pin
According to the website, "Glass bowl + ceramic plate + popcorn kernels = perfectly popped popcorn in the microwave." According to our submitters though, "Glass bowl + ceramic plate + popcorn kernels = near death." 

The Pinstrosities
The stove. Perfectly situated to be easy to stand and cook at...and to have flying glass shards enter your abdomen. Yikes!
Tiffany said, "I normally make microwave popcorn in brown bags but I saw this pin and thought I would save the bag and pop it in the same bowl.  Upon reading the directions I was curious about the time 2 mins 45 secs.  Normally with a brown bag I only cook it for 2 mins or less.  But I tried it. It did take at least 3 mins to cook and the bowl and plate were both VERY hot just like the pin said.  Then I tried their suggestion of recooking the left over corn - cause there was quite a bit.  Once again I had to cook it for quite awhile before getting the popcorn to pop. After 3 mins I gave up because the popcorn that had popped smelled like it was burning.  So I pulled it out and right after setting it down on the stove top it sounded like a gun went off and the pyerx bowl exploded all over my kitchen! My guess is that the microwave is warming up the bowl and plate more than the popcorn.  I'll just stick with my brown bags!"

The microwave turned jack-in-the-box-of-death. 
Angela said, "I was super excited to try the microwave popcorn in a mixing bowl covered with a plate. I've actually had luck with the popcorn in a brown paper bag but thought this would be less wasteful. I was hearing pleasant popping and then heard a loud CRACK and opened my microwave to this. As I was not excited to eat glass shards, I would rate this a GCT of 5."

Thankfully neither lady was hurt. I have awful images in my head of opening the microwave just at the moment the bowl blew up and having a glass shard fly into a face. Or the shattering bowl on the stove/counter sending a glass spearhead into someone's stomach. These could have been bad. 

When objects heat up, they expand. Glass does not expand well, especially if there is even the tiniest flaw in it anywhere. We've had a Pyrex dish explode in our kitchen, but that was because we were idiots and didn't realize we'd left a burner on and pulled out dinner out of the oven and set it on the burner. A few minutes later it got way too hot and exploded. Don't leave burners on. Don't set anything down on burners unless you are actively cooking on them. And now we learn, don't put a glass bowl in the microwave for too long (in this case too long really isn't that long at all). Just because of the danger level with this one, I know I won't be trying this method here at home. 


  1. Yeah, I'll stick with the brown paper bag for popping popcorn, thanks! Like you, I can't see this as ever being worth the effort.

  2. The problem might also have been with the Pyrex bowls. The newer Pyrex isn't as heat tolerant as old, vintage Pyrex is.

    Then again, it might happen with any glass bowls you use too. Like you, we won't be trying this one at home either. There's just too many unknowns that could be extremely dangerous.

    1. I've never tried to use this method to make popcorn but I can confirm the new Pyrex issue. The formula used to make the glass has changed. I was given a set of Pyrex as a housewarming gift and went to make something in the oven that I've done countless times with my mother's Pyrex. Well, it shattered IN THE OVEN. I use Pampered Chef stoneware now for my oven-related baking.

    2. They've switched to soda-lime glass. It's obviously still treated, but it's no longer boro-silicate. (I obviously get why they'd do that, but I'd like the option for super-heat tolerant, not just "more heat tolerant than your drinking glasses.")

  3. I have had a glass pot explode when I pulled it off the burner and set it in the cold sink. Looks like the same thing happened with the stove situation.

  4. I use my Pampered chef mixing bowl that came with a plastic lid (it's basically the only Pampered chef thing I own and now I wish I had 2 more of them) and it works great.

    It also almost worked with a glass pie plate over a regular microwaveable bowl, nothing broke or burnt, but after like 10 minutes only two kernels had popped.

    I suspect that what's shattering these bowls might be the impacts from light plates being bounced up by the popcorn.

  5. Oh, and I do it for 5 minutes.

    But then I'm using a bowl I've used for microwaved rice which takes 15 minutes, so I already knew it was okay for longer heating times.

  6. Oh my goodness!!!!!! That's so scary and dangerous. My mom had a pyrex explode when she put it on a hot burner. There was a piece that embedded itself in her old linoleum floor and melted it!! I would imagine that, without the ability to vent out the heat and steam in the microwave, an explosion would be inevitable. Ever microwave food without cutting a slit in the plastic covering first?

  7. That looks so dangerous! What's wrong with using good old paper bags that people have to try this instead?

  8. I have used this method plenty of times and never had an issue. Sorry these ladies didn't have success. :/

  9. This was our standard way of making popcorn after school back in the 80's. We never had a problem. The previous comments about Pyrex changing the glass certainly seems to be a valid explanation. The bowl does get really hot. One time my sister carried the bowl in to the living room with a dish towel and put it on the arm of the couch. It left a melted bowl ring imprint on the fabric. My parents were NOT pleased.

  10. Oh boy, that is terrifying. My husband had a great idea. He thought he would be cleaver and put two of our large pyrex dishes in the oven and then turned the whole thing on to self clean mode, thinking that the stains on the dishes would come off as well. Genius!. Somehow they did not explode and they cooled down in the oven and he eventually put them away. Then a while later, when we had guests over of course, he made dinner in one of them, put it in the oven and mysteriously it fractured into pieces. He had basically re-anealed the glass, which is not a good idea. What a mess. My guess is that the little kernels of un-popped popcorn got really hot and concentrated the heat in one place on the glass differentially to other places on the glass dish. Glass does not like this.

  11. yipes! Never even thought of this happening. I've done the glass bowl popcorn in the microwave quite a few times now with no problems. Of course, I bought this brown glass bowl at a used furniture store (so I'm guessing it's an older style pyrex). I might have to start buying brown paper bags, just to avoid any possibilities of exploding glass in my small microwave.

  12. A closed paper bag with tape works will too and has not risk of shattered anything! Just don't seal the bag with staples and you are good.


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