Campfire popcorn in a sieve

June 20, 2018

Wonder at all the science conversations and questions that will be stimulated watching these tasty little explosions.

holding sieve popcorn cooker over embers in double firebox with unpopped kernels
Author: Muddy Faces

Age Range: 6+

Duration: 1-2 hours

Location: anywhere

Time Of Day: any time

Season: any

Tags: campfire cooking, cooking, food, food prep, popcorn

Category: bushcraft & survival food outdoors


Cooking popcorn kernels over a campfire using sieves is a fascinating cooking activity. You can see the individual kernels burst open and the sieves start to fill up. Think about all the science conversations and questions that will be stimulated watching these little explosions.
The resulting flavour is usually a little smoky which adds to the experience. If you are after flavour rather than a visual and sound experience try cooking the kernels in a pan. This method is also better if you wish to add flavourings.

Environmental considerations

Consider the environmental impact of: preparing for, carrying out and finishing the activity. Could this impact be reduced? A few considerations specific to this activity are:

  • ‘leave no trace’ double fire box use

Health & safety considerations

Follow your usual operating procedures and carry out appropriate risk benefit assessments. A few considerations particular to this activity are:

  • fire safety
  • hot food/equipment


You will need:

popcorn sieve cooker, firegloves, steel bowl, plastic beakers, popcorn kernels, plastic container

Step 1

Pour the corn kernels into your popcorn maker and fasten it shut.

Use approximately the amount shown in the picture as this will fill half the sieve when popped.

open sieves of sieve popcorn cooker with corn kernels in

Step 2

Close the second sieve over the top and secure it with wire or an ‘O’ ring.

sieve popcorn cooker unused with corn kernels inside

Step 3

Hold the sieve popcorn maker over the embers of the fire. Give the pole a gentle shake to move the kernels around and wait for the popping to start – when this happens will depend on the heat of the embers!

If nothing is happening after a couple of minutes you may need to create some warmer embers.

Take the popcorn maker off when the popping slows down and it looks like most kernels have popped.

sieve popcorn cooker held over embers of double firebox

If you can’t resist putting some extra heat into the popcorn by cooking it over flames, this may be the result!

popcorn on fire in sieve popcorn cooker held by a boy