First, be sure your bag of popcorn isn't past the sell-by date. Old, dried-out kernels won't pop.
Before microwaving the popcorn, place 1 cup of water in the microwave and run for one minute (then throw the now-hot water in the sink). The added moisture from the steam you made will allow for the most efficient and complete popping of the bag of popcorn.
Cook the bag of popcorn according to package directions -- but stay right there at the microwave so you can shut it off as soon as the pops slow down (less than about 2 seconds between pops), even if that means you're only popping for about 2/3 of the suggested cooking time.
Once the corn is popped, shake the bag well before opening, so all of the salt and oil is evenly distributed onto the kernels.
Carefully open the bag so you don't get burned by the steam.
Pour the popcorn into a large bowl (so that you don't get greasy up to your elbow from digging around in the bag).
For more information on popcorn, check out:
Popcorn: A healthy hit or a miss?
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