Burnt Popcorn

Some people just absolutely love burnt popcorn. Everything about it! - The taste. The texture. The smell.

There's even dedicated "support groups" that have been formed solely for these obsessed "freaks of nature" on various social media platforms that post all about their weird ass crazy addiction. They speak out on their endless love, talk about their constant cravings, post pictures, and anything else related to acquiring their burning popcorn desires.

To each their own, right? (I don't even like that saying, but I just felt the need to insert that old adage statement here so that I don't come off as offensive for what others enjoy doing.)

I'm not judging. It's just not my cup of tea.

Burnt popcorn

Regardless of whether you love it or hate it, wouldn't you like to know more about it?

  • We will be going over the serious health risks involved with consuming overcooked foods, including where popcorn is ranked at among all foods overcooked and consumed.
  • Also, a few simple tips to get rid of that horrible odor of burned popcorn by implementing some of the most commonly available household products.

Quick links to skip down and learn more...

Health Risks   |   Prevent Burning Food   |   What Happened   |   Smoke Ventilation

5 Hacks To Eliminate Odors   |   Air Fresheners   |   Misc

Potential Health Risks Of Burnt Popcorn

Have you ever wondered if burnt popcorn is bad for you?

Well, we are about to find out.

First of all, it's important to know and understand that burning some foods will, in fact, create cancer-causing toxins.

As most foods are being cooked, it begins to brown and caramelize, and the amino acids and sugars are rearranged. This chemical reaction, known as the Maillard Reaction, is what provides food with their distinct savory flavors. However, when food is overcooked and blackens, the flavors tend to be quite bitter.

According to the National Cancer Institute, eating food that has been overcooked beyond a temperature of 248° F, including popcorn, may pose a health risk. Overly cooked and burned food can possibly form a probable human carcinogen known as acrylamide.

Popcorn is currently ranked as the 13th highest consumed burned food product in the United States.

Inhaling the smoke caused by burning food may also pose a health risk.

Prevent Burning Popcorn

Don't trust the manufacturers preset "popcorn" button on your microwave. Keep a close watch. And listen until the kernels have stopped popping no more than about 2-4 seconds between each pop.

If you're making popcorn on the stove or in a kettle, keep the heat to a medium-high temperature, continuously shake or stir the kernels, and remove them from the heat source once they're done.

Who's The Culprit That Burned The Popcorn

Burnt microwave popcorn and smoking.The microwave popcorn is burnt and now the crib is smoked out.

I'm sure that we've all burnt popcorn at some point in our lives. Or perhaps been around an environment where somebody else has screwed up their delicious snack.

You could have just been relaxing at home, hanging out at a family function, kicking back at a party at a friends house, minding your own business in the lunch room at the office during work, or some other special event wherever.

Who knows! It could have just happened to you right now, or maybe even last night. Which could be the very reason why you are here right now.

Regardless, it sucks!.. That nasty horrible smell of burnt popcorn just permeating in your microwave and throughout your house.

Maybe you are expecting house guests to show up. Or that one person that always shows up unannounced out of nowhere.

All in all, you just want that disgusting odor gone like right freaking now!

No need to worry. I got you. The following tips should do the trick.

Important note: If the popcorn was left completely unattended and burned beyond all recognition, then I could only imagine the amount of smoke that could have filled your house. Definitely not a suitable environment to be exposed to. My suggestion would be to make sure that all cooking equipment and vessels are shut off, and that you and your loved ones go outside until the smoke clears, and then return only if or when it is safe to.

Tips To Begin Disposing The Burnt Popcorn Smell

It's easy to burn the popcorn, but might seem tough to get rid of the smell. But it's actually not that difficult.

Ventilate To Dispel The Smoke

The first thing that you should do is ventilate your house to dispel of the smoke (remember that I stated above that inhaling smoke can potentially also be a health risk).

You can open up windows and any doors leading to the outside of your house (but keep bedroom and bathroom doors closed because you don't want any smoke traveling throughout the house any more that necessary).

Turn on the stove vent, and any other house fan to help assist with pushing the smoke out of the house as quickly as possible.

Once the smoke clears, toss the burnt popcorn into a bag and throw it out in your outside garbage bin.

Here are a few of my favorite methods for getting rid of that ridiculous smelling stench...

5 Easy Hacks On How To Eliminate Burnt Popcorn Odors

*FYI: When we are referring to using a bowl - it should be microwave safe and/or able to withstand moderately high temperatures.

Obviously, wiping everything down will help. But who really wants to go all out and do a thorough spring cleaning right now? Not me.

But if you do, then I'm sure you already know which household products to use to clean and disinfect.

Anyways, here are a few quick and easy hacks for removing that smell from your microwave, and to help get your house smelling more like home sweet home again.

I prefer this first concoction because it serves multiple purposes. Not only does it relinquish the rancid smell, but it also generates a much more appealing, delightfully fresh and citric scent.

1. Lemon (and/or Orange)
Lemons, orange, limes"Be Nice, The End."
  • Cut 1 lemon into halves, or quarters if you prefer.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl.
  • Also place the squeezed lemon slices into the bowl.
  • Add 1-2 cups of water.
  • Place the bowl of lemon water in the microwave and heat on high for 3 minutes.
  • Keep the microwave door closed for about 5 minutes to allow for steam to play it's course.
  • Once cooled, remove the bowl and wipe down the inside of the microwave with a lightly damp cleaning rag or sponge.

Additional Tip:

While you're at it, we might as well remove the rotating spinning dish (if your microwave is equipped with one). Clean that, as well as any debris that might have found it's way under it in there.

Whatever food particles that were inside your microwave prior to the popcorn mishap would most likely have absorbed that burnt food smell.

Wipe it, or scrub it if necessary. Continuously ring out your sponge or cloth while cleaning. Be sure to have a clean dry cloth for your final wipes.

2. Vinegar

Throughout my many years of installing tile, and then becoming a licensed tile contractor, I quickly learned immediately, basically from day one, about how important and versatile vinegar is - a multi-functional liquid serving as a superb cleaning product!

Needless to say, I use vinegar a lot.

Pro: Vinegar definitely does an amazing job at cleaning and disinfecting all sorts of hard and stubborn shizz.

Con: It's just that the smell of vinegar is what throws most people off kilter, even when it's diluted.

  • Use equal parts 1:1 or more diluted 1:2 of vinegar and water.
  • Place 1 cup of vinegar with 1-2 cups of water in a bowl.
  • Then follow the remaining steps from the lemon water instructions above.

Results: This vinegar and water solution may conquer the burnt food odors. However, don't be surprised with the lingering smell of vinegar for a couple days. Although it is initially unpleasant, it does become minute through evaporation.

Distilled white vinegar is a multi-use product and powerful cleaning chemical.White Vinegar

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda is amazing for absorbing and neutralizing odors. I usually always keep an open box inside my refrigerator and another in my food pantry to help keep everything as fresh as possible.

  • Prior to vacuuming, I often like to sprinkle some throughout the house. Allow it to settle in the carpet for about 5-10 minutes as it works it's magic, then vacuum.
  • For an air deodorizer, drop a couple tablespoons into small containers and distribute them around the house. Let them hang out for a few days while they do their thing to get rid of that burnt popcorn smell.
  • Baking soda is also great for cleaning up tough stains and messes, too. Add some to water and mix it into a paste. Apply it to the target areas such as your microwave or stove and simply rub it in and wash away. More stubborn areas may require a little elbow grease, so you'll need to scrub it until satisfied.

Arm & Hammer Baking SodaBaking Soda

To neutralize the odors in your microwave:

Perform the same tasks as explained for the lemon/orange hack as noted above. Just add a tablespoon of baking soda along with the lemon water.

Be aware that the baking soda will have a chemical reaction to the acids from the fruit and will fizz up. So, only heat it up for about a minute or until it begins to rise up. Then allow it to rest in the microwave for 5-10 minutes.


Not only should the lemon and/or orange get rid of that burnt popcorn smell, but the baking soda will deodorize the fan and every nook and cranny inside. This should help ensure that any food and liquids that you heat up won't become infused with that burnt food taste.

4. Coffee

Not all people enjoy coffee.

For example, my wife does not like it. Something about the taste of it really turns her off. No matter what special ingredients and flavorings are added to it, she can still taste the coffee through anything.

So, when she does need a caffeine boost, she goes to her favorite coffee spot and orders a chai tea. The owner knows her so well, that as soon as he spots her coming, he's already whipping one up for her.

I actually enjoy a big cup of coffee first thing in the morning. So much so that the aromas and taste is quite pleasant to me.

Anyways, there's basically a couple options with coffee that can be used for your microwave.

  • Add a few tablespoons of fresh coffee grounds to about a cup of water. Microwave for about 3 minutes. Let it stand and steam for about 15 minutes before removing.
  • You can also just leave a small container of fresh coffee grounds sitting in the microwave for a day.

Folgers Instant Coffee with Rubbermaid container.Folgers Instant Coffee

5. Baked Goodies

This is the most important task out of the five, in my opinion. lol ;-)

One of the best ways for getting rid of the smell of burnt popcorn is to cook more food. But not just any food.

Reeses peanut butter cups cake.Reeses Peanut Butter Cups Themed Cake

Bake some of your favorite smelling and tasting desserts. Something with sweet ingredients like cinnamon, sugar, ginger, nutmeg, brown sugar, and whatever other savory spices and seasonings that will permeate.

How about cookies, cinnamon rolls, dutch apple pies (one of my favorite desserts), peach cobbler, butter pecan cake, pumpkin pie, etc.

Baking our favorite goodies will most definitely fill the air and have the house wafting full of delicious aromas, am I right?

After all, you deserve to have your cake and eat it too. Cheers!

Air Fresheners And Disinfectant Odor Eliminators

Whether or not you cleaned your microwave, maybe you still don't feel that's enough, and/or want to take it a step further with an air freshener.

Not all air fresheners are created equal. Most just temporarily mask smells, while others actually diffuse the odor.

Air fresheners come in a variety of options:
  • sprays
  • plug ins
  • candles
  • bags
  • oils
  • gels
  • wax
Air FreshenersVariety of Air Fresheners

Create Homemade Air Fresheners:

You can make another batch of lemon water (or just make one large batch and reserve some off to the side). Pour some into a spray bottle and spritz it throughout your house.

This will have the whole joint smelling fresh and clean, at least for awhile. However, it won't necessarily disinfect odors, but rather, it masks them just the same as Febreze does.

You can also add a few drops of your favorite perfume. Maybe even a couple drops of vanilla extract.

Try steeping a few fabric softener dryer sheets, then strain the water into a spray bottle. You can even add a few drops of liquid fabric softener gel into the spray.

Music And Books

I've recently become aware of the fact that some folks are interested in music and book titles about Burnt Popcorn.

After a bit of research, here's what was discovered...

The lyrics, if any, in the songs titled Burnt Popcorn are not even about the subject. For whatever reason, they're just the name of the albums. I suppose that's all about the artists' discrepancy. I listened to a few samples from a handful of them. There's a couple funk music themes that I was grooving to for a minute.

That goes the same for this book called Burnt Popcorn and Cheap Perfume - I scanned through a sample of this 271 page book and read a few paragraphs. It was definitely humorous.

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Burnt Popcorn