Pre-packaged microwave popcorn can be
loaded with fat, salt, and additives, which turn this otherwise
nutritious whole-grain snack into an unhealthy one. Using a popcorn
maker is just as easy, and it's a simple way to keep popcorn healthy
and a chance to customize it with your favorite toppings and seasonings
for a better-tasting snack than what comes in a pre-packaged bag. It
will also save you money in the long run. Here are the best popcorn
makers you can buy.
Our favorite popcorn maker, the Cuisinart Easypop, is the best air popper that makes up to 10 cups of the fluffiest and largest popcorn in under three minutes. The best part? You don’t need to add any oil, so it’s also the healthiest option. Add up to half a cup of popcorn kernels into the fun and bright red base (use the handy measuring cup that also triples as the lid and butter melting cup) where very hot air heats them up. The popcorn jumps through the plastic chute, which is removable and dishwasher-safe, and into your bowl. It functions with a simple on and off switch. Replacement parts for the chute and lid are available for purchase. For the best performance, we suggest adding only up to the recommended amount of popcorn kernels to prevent the machine from overheating. Also, make sure to empty out the base so that any unpopped kernels don’t stick around and burn the next time you use it.
If you want a fast and easy way to make homemade popcorn, but don’t have kitchen space for yet another gadget, this popcorn maker is for you. It features a collapsible silicone bowl that is perfect for storing and is dishwasher-safe. It yields up to 15 cups of popcorn.
Take note: Microwave power settings vary, so the amount of time it takes to pop popcorn may range. No matter what, don’t use the popcorn pre-set function as it is meant for pre-packaged microwave popcorn bags.
The Nordic Ware brand is known to make sturdy and long-lasting kitchen products since the 1940s and its microwave popcorn popper is no different. This BPA and melamine-free plastic bowl pops up to 12 cups of popcorn. All it takes is two to three minutes in the microwave with or without oil. You can serve the popcorn right in the same bowl, which is available in white or red. We recommend experimenting with your microwave since cook times may vary — start with two minutes at the highest power setting and add 30 seconds until the popping slows down. The resulting popcorn won’t be as large and fluffy as the air popped kind, but still as crunchy and delicious with very few unpopped kernels. Reviewers have noted that the lid gets very hot in the microwave (take care and use kitchen mitts!). Replacement lids are available for purchase.
Technically you could make popcorn in a lidded pot that you already own, but it would require you to shake it while blistering hot oil and kernels hop around in the pot. If this sounds too risky, then this machine is for you. It features a hand-cranked mechanism on the handle that stirs the kernels and oil in the bottom of the pan so that they don’t burn. The pot is made of aluminum, which heats up very quickly with an even distribution of heat so that the kernels pop evenly without burning. Best of all, the popcorn is crunchier and tastier than any other type.
The West Bend Stir Crazy is named appropriately — a motorized rod on the base rotates to prevent the kernels from burning and the clear dome-shaped plastic cover lets you watch the exciting popping action. It is controlled with an easy on and off switch. You can make up to six quarts of popcorn with just kernels and a little oil. The cover is top-rack dishwasher safe and the stirring rod is removable for hand-washing. Storage is also a breeze: Simply nest the base inside the cover to make it more compact. Some reviewers indicated that the popcorn does not turn out crisp. We recommend allowing the steam to escape as soon as the popcorn is done popping. Firmly grasp the heat-resistant handles and turn the popper upside down. Lift the base away (the lid is now the bowl!) allowing the steam out.
We can think of many reasons why you’d need to make a lot of popcorn quickly. Birthday parties! Large family gatherings! Game night with friends! The Great Northern Popcorn Foundation has all the benefits of a commercial-grade popcorn maker (a kettle that heats up quickly, the ability to hold popcorn under a built-in warming light, and a vintage-style design), but it was built for in-home use. Small enough to comfortably fit on your kitchen counter (it’s not that much bigger than the Cuisinart EasyPop), the stainless steel kettle makes 16 cups of popcorn at a time using an automatic heating and stirring mechanism. The most unique feature of the Great Northern Popcorn Foundation is that it can hold about 45 quarts (about 180 cups!) of popcorn warm within its glass enclosure until you are ready to serve it. To clean, you can simply wipe it down with a damp cloth.