Popcorn is widely available in stores, however making your own at home is enjoyable, and popcorn makers or poppers make popping and flavouring corn a quick and easy task. Popcorn is the perfect healthy snack for movie nights at home or for birthday celebrations and treats.
From microwave poppers to electric models and nostalgic machines, whether you’re making popcorn just for the family or hosting a party for a larger crowd, we have listed a variety of available models to help you find which fits your needs.
List of best popcorn makers
- Best for microwave – Salbree Original Microwave Popcorn Popper
- Best stovetop – Wabash Valley Farms Stainless Steel Whirley-Pop Popcorn Popper
- Best electric – West Bend Stir Crazy Electric Popcorn Popper Machine
- Best budget – Ecolution Patented Microwave Micro-Pop Popcorn Popper
- Best professional – Nostalgia Popcorn Maker Professional Cart
Things to consider before buying
The model chosen will depend on how many people you’ll be serving. There are large cookers that make big batches at once or you can choose a smaller cooker that is easy to reload, and there are even models designed to make as little as one individual serving. Larger capacity popcorn makers will logically require more space.
The cooking method is the heating mechanism used to pop the corn. Stovetop, microwave, or countertop appliances all have their own advantages. Hot air cookers allow oil-free cooking whereas stovetop models allow you to melt butter or add oil and coat the popcorn with chosen flavours.
As with all kitchen appliances, spending a long time cleaning after cooking is not fun. Models made of stainless steel, glass or silicone and smaller models are usually dishwasher-safe, while larger models should have removable parts that are equally easy to fit into the dishwasher.
Types of popcorn makers
Stovetop makers are the most classic option. Add a drizzle of oil and use the hand crank attached to constantly stir the rod on the inside of the pot to keep kernels from burning.
Electric models are increasingly popular since they produce popcorn with just the push of a button. Electric machines are often air poppers without oil, resulting in a healthier version of popcorn. There are also models that automate the stirring of the stovetop models. These are without doubt more expensive and will require extra storage space.
Hot air popcorn makers are powered with hot air in a vertical shaft and cooking oil is not required. It is quite the showstopper when the air propels the pieces out of the machine and into a serving bowl.
Microwave popcorn makers are the most convenient, and easy to store. You can eat straight from the container which is often collapsible and takes up minimum storage space.
Overview of best popcorn makers
Best for microwave – Salbree Original Microwave Popcorn Popper
This funky looking silicone popper is available in 22 attractive colours and is super easy to use. Best results are achieved when filling the bowl with ¼ cup of kernels and it is advised to leave a short time between batches as the silicone might heat during popping and will need to cool.
The collapsible space saving design allows you to ‘fold’ the popcorn maker which asks for minimum storage space. Built in handles make it easy and safe to remove the popper from the microwave. It is also dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
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Best stovetop – Wabash Valley Farms Stainless Steel Whirley-Pop Popcorn Popper
This popcorn maker has a retro look, is interactive and looks like an old-school cooking pot, but it can make up to 24 cups of popcorn in just three minutes by just spinning the handle. A few Amazon users report difficulties with the hand crank mechanism, but this model pops 98% of the kernels. Once you’re done making popcorn, cleaning up is a breeze as the removable lid comes off easily due to the quick release clips; just wipe with a paper towel and store for later use.
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Best electric – West Bend Stir Crazy Electric Popcorn Popper Machine
This popcorn maker simply needs to just be plugged in. The large bowl can hold up to a 6-quart capacity of popped corn. The kernels are stirred automatically with a built-in stir rod for maximum popping. The inside is made of non-stick coating for easy clean up and storage is compact with a cord that wraps under the unit and a convenient nesting lid. Note that you might need to use a little more oil than for a microwave popper
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Best budget – Ecolution Patented Microwave Micro-Pop Popcorn Popper
This budget model is made of durable temperature safe borosilicate glass. No oil or butter needed, and hot air circulates preventing burning. The device is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. Simply use the dual-function lid to measure the desired serving size, pour into the Micro-Pop and place in the microwave for about 3 minutes. Note that it can only be used in microwaves with turntables and fresh popcorn kernels should always be used.
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Best professional – Nostalgia Popcorn Maker Professional Cart
This ultimate vintage movie theatre popcorn machine with interior light not only makes perfect popcorn but it is a real attraction at any party! 16 cups of movie theatre popcorn are popped per batch and work well with all Nostalgia popcorn kits that are available to buy separately. A built-in kernel stirring system and dual-hinged lid to easily empty popcorn works well, and the kettle can be removed for easy cleaning.
This vintage cart has tempered glass windows that are scratch and heat resistant. The top is easily removable so you can use it as a countertop too. A convenient side shelf can hold seasonings and toppings before devouring, and a small storage compartment in the base of the unit hides popcorn kernels, oils, seasonings, and other popcorn serving accessories. Bicycle-style rubber wheels and a pull handle make it easy to manoeuvre the unit.