7 great popcorn poppers for movie night
Enhance your home cinema experience with these popcorn poppers
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While nothing beats the taste and simplicity of making fresh popcorn using a regular old pot, if popping popcorn is something you do every week for movie night, a faster and simpler method is probably a smart idea. Microwave popcorn is an option, but who needs fake butter and chemical-coated paper when it's just as easy to have the real thing?
To find out the best alternatives to the pot-on-a-stove method, we tested seven popular popcorn makers available in Canada to determine which one you should buy.
1. Cuisinart Pop and Serve
This microwavable popcorn popper from Cuisinart might not look like anything special, but it consistently produced the best popcorn in the least time of all the products on this list. The Pop and Serve’s cheerful, cherry red silicone bowl is collapsible for easy storage, but unlike the other collapsible bowls I tested, it's thick and sturdy enough to hold its shape as a serving bowl. Its small handles are handy for removing from the microwave, too, when the base is still hot to the touch.
I was also impressed by the Pop and Serve’s wide, flat-bottomed construction that prevents kernels from piling up on top of each other, which can lead to unevenly popped popcorn. And unlike the lids that sit low in other microwavable poppers and have the potential to get vacuum-sealed shut, the Cuisinart's scalloped venting lid attaches directly on top, giving the popcorn plenty of room to pop. The popper worked well with and without oil, producing crunchier popcorn than the air popcorn poppers I tested—which makes it great for both health-conscious snackers and those who want to indulge.
If you like to make popcorn on the regular and want a quick, no-mess, no-fuss alternative to your stovetop method, we’re confident the Pop and Serve will serve you well. It’s dishwasher safe, too! Get the Cuisinart Pop and Serve from Amazon Canada for $27.99
2. Hotpop Silicone Microwave Popcorn Maker
With a construction similar to so many other microwave poppers, the Hotpop is another collapsible silicone bowl that can pop popcorn quickly and is easy to clean. It comes in various colours, has the same small handles as the Pop and Serve for safe removal from the microwave, and has a clear lid that rises as the popcorn pops. So why the lower score than the Pop and Serve? The bowl was too hot after each use for too long to comfortably hold or place in my lap, so I doubt I would ever use it as a serving bowl. The bowl is also made of a thin silicone that collapses readily, reducing some of its functionality. The Hotpop consistently makes good popcorn, but its design is keeping it from the top spot. Get the from Hotpop Silicone Microwave Popcorn Maker Amazon Canada for $18.25
3. Great Northern Popcorn Company Original Stovetop Popcorn Popper
While I found these old-fashioned popcorn makers too bulky to keep around my own kitchen, they can be a good novelty purchase for popcorn addicts or families who enjoy the process of making popcorn, not just eating it. They can also be used over a campfire, although there are also campfire-specific poppers sold with longer handles. While this popper still produced some excellent, flavorful popcorn, it was inconsistent between batches compared with other makers we tested, and after accidentally leaving it on the stove for a minute without anything in it, I burned the bottom so badly it was nearly impossible to clean. Get the Great Northern Popcorn Company Original Stovetop Popcorn Popper from Amazon Canada for $56.99
4. Cuisinart CPM-100MR Hot Air Popcorn Maker
This electric air popper from Cuisinart produces some of the biggest, fluffiest kernels of popcorn I’ve ever seen—but that’s not necessarily a good thing. In testing, this air-popped popcorn lacked the crispness and satisfying crunch of popcorn made via other methods. And although it popped basically every kernel I gave it, it made a loud whirring noise and spread a lot of hot air into the room while doing so. Considering all this, plus its awkward shape and size for storage, I would choose other methods over this air popcorn popper almost every time. Get the Cuisinart CPM-100EC Easypop Hot Air Popcorn Maker from Amazon Canada for $54.69
5. Nordic Ware Microwave Popcorn Popper
This extremely fast, extremely ugly microwavable popper from Nordic Ware forgoes the popular collapsible silicone design in favour of a hard, plastic-like bowl. While this popcorn machine popped each batch quickly and without burning, the bowl was quite hot coming out of the microwave, with no separate handles for safe handling. The bowl’s shape is also not conducive to pouring if you want to move the popcorn into another container to mix or serve. Get the Nordic Ware Microwave Popcorn Popper from Amazon Canada $27.39
6. Presto 04821 Orville Redenbacher's Hot Air Popper
While this Orville Redenbacher-branded hot air popper from Presto produces kernels on par with the Cuisinart model, Presto’s design leaves much to be desired. Namely, this popper completely lacks an on/off switch, meaning it needs to be unplugged to be shut off. This is a huge inconvenience for some people, and I found it incredibly irritating to deal with throughout the testing. It’s as loud as other air poppers and gave off a chemical smell during my first use. The only highlights are its speed and efficiency in popping kernels. Get the Presto 04821 Orville Redenbacher's Hot Air Popper from Amazon Canada for $59.99
7. Lekue Microwave Popcorn Popper
Despite looking just like the other silicone microwavable models, this popper had issues with consistency—some batches with oil had burnt areas, and some dry runs had lots of unpopped kernels. The Lekue also lacks the small handles that make it easy to take the other models out of the microwave. Combined with the collapsing and overheating issues of its thin silicone bowl, these inconsistencies knocked the Lekue popper far down our list. Get the Lekue Microwave Popcorn Popper from Amazon Canada for $21.97
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.