Last updated on November 18th, 2021
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Make popcorn the healthy snack it can be by popping your own corn at home. Whether you use a popper bowl in the microwave or an electric popping machine, you can add just whatever oil, butter and seasonings (or none) suit your lifestyle and eating habits.
My review of the Best Popcorn Makers looks at both microwave popping bowls and electric popcorn poppers and discusses each model’s pros, cons and best features before we make our recommendation.
Best Pick – Microwave Popcorn Maker
Best Pick – Electric Popcorn Maker
Best Popcorn Makers Reviews
Popcorn Makers for Microwaves
1. Original Salbree Microwave Popcorn Popper
Best Pick – Microwave Popcorn Maker
The Original Salbree Microwave Popcorn Popper, Silicone, has some useful upgrades that add to the convenience of popping popcorn in your microwave – and to your kitchen décor.
This food-grade silicone bowl comes in a wide choice of colours – hunter green, blue, clear blue, clear red, pink, ruby red and tan. It’s dishwasher safe so clean-up is easy. And it stores away easily too as the bowl folds down to almost flat to slot into a spare space in your kitchen cupboards.
A white silicone lid covers the kernels to stop the popped corn from flying out of the bowl. You know how many kernels to add by the measurement lines (50g and 100g of kernels) etched on the inside of the bowl – no more overfilling and getting unpopped corn or underfilling and ending up with not enough popcorn.
Another convenience is the handles at the top of the bowl. While they’re a great way to grab the bowl, they may heat up during the cooking process so wear oven mitts when handling the hot bowl just to be safe.
You do need to use just plain, uncoated, corn kernels in this Salbree microwave popcorn maker. The manufacturer states that you cannot add any oil or seasoning until after the popcorn is popped. But that’s healthier, anyway! And if you tip the popcorn into a separate bowl before adding flavourings, clean-up of the popcorn maker is easier.
- Silicon, food-grade, popcorn maker for the microwave in hunter green.
- Handles on each side at the top make it safer to remove the bowl from the microwave when it’s hot.
- Folds down when not in use to save you storage space.
- Measurement lines inside the bowl indicate how full to fill it with popcorn kernels.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Comes in a choice of eight colours.
- Dimensions: open 21.5cm (diameter) and 20.4cm (height); closed: 6cm (height).
- Collapses easily without popcorn in it.
The Original Salbree Microwave Popcorn Popper, Silicone does its job of popping corn kernals with style and convenience. Choose from eight colours to match your home décor; and use the measurement lines to fill it up with just the right amount of kernals. It folds almost flat for easy storage in a limited space and the handles make it safer to grab the hot bowl.
The Original Salbree Microwave Popcorn Popper, Silicone is our choice for Best Popcorn Maker for Microwaves.
2. The Original Hotpop Microwave Popcorn Popper
The Original Hotpop Microwave Popcorn Popper is a green, food-grade silicone popping bowl pops up to 15 bowls of popcorn at one time. Just pop-up the bowl that’s folded down (to 5cm) for storage, add the kernels, drop the lid down over them and put it in the microwave for two to four minutes. Put on oven gloves before removing the bowl as it does get quite hot.
You have to experiment for the best length of time and power setting as all microwaves cook differently. However, the manufacturer does give some guidelines: for microwaves, 1000W and above, use the power setting 8 as the highest setting may burn the popcorn. Note that you cannot use this popcorn maker in convection microwave ovens.
This popcorn maker is also available in transparent green.
- Heat resistant, food-grade -silicone popper for the microwave in an olive green colour.
- Pops up to 15 cups of popcorn at one time.
- Pops corn in two to four minutes in the microwave.
- Collapsible design to 5.6cm high for easy storage.
- Dishwasher safe or wash by hand.
- Dimensions: open: 24 cm (diameter at top) and 14.4cm (height); closed: 5.6cm (height).
- DO NOT use in convection microwave ovens
- Have to watch closely to see that it doesn’t burn.
The Original Hotpop Microwave Popcorn Popper is a food-grade silicone popcorn maker that takes two to four minutes to pop 15 cups of popcorn. as with most microwave poppers, it collapses down to around 5cm flat for easy storage. It doesn’t seem to have any measurements written on the bowl so you may need to read the instructions as to how many kernels to use. This is a good basic microwave popcorn popper.
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3. Joseph Joseph 45018 M-Cuisine Single-Serve Popcorn Maker, set of 2
The Joseph Joseph 45018 M-Cuisine Single-Serve Popcorn Maker is for those who don’t want or need to pop a huge bowl of air popcorn in their microwave at one time. You receive two single-serving containers, one in orange food grade silicone and one in dark grey, each of which makes a serving of 30g of popcorn. Use one or both depending on your appetite or whether you have a companion to provide snacks for.
These microwave popcorn maker cups are easy to use. Fill them with the required amount of kernels (there’s a mark inside the cup) and then fold over the two-part flap top to serve as the lid. Some online reviewers remark that the lid doesn’t stay closed during the popping process. However, other reviewers remark that this problem doesn’t occur if you close the side of the lid with the writing on first.
These popcorn maker cups are dishwasher safe for easy clean-up. But the manufacturer does advise against putting on any oil or seasoning until after the corn is popped.
- Single serve popcorn maker for the microwave comes in a pack of two in dark grey and orange.
- Made of heat-resistant, food-grade silicon.
- Top of cup folds in, in two parts, to form the lid.
- Cooks popcorn without oil or butter – air popped.
- Each popcorn maker makes a single serving of 30g.
- Measuring guide inside the cup so you know how many corn kernels to add.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Dimensions: 15cm (height) and 10cm (width).
- Top doesn’t always stay closed during the popping process.
If you’re craving popcorn but don’t want to be faced with an enormous bowl of it, the Joseph Joseph 45018 M-Cuisine Single-Serve Popcorn Maker is your answer. These single serve popcorn maker cups direct you as to how many kernels to add for a single 30g serving of popcorn. These individual popcorn makers are also a good idea to give kids their own popcorn containers so they don’t fight over a large bowl, and to limit how much anyone eats of this moreish snack.
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Electric Popcorn Makers reviews
4. Yabano Popcorn Machine for Home, 5L
Best Pick – Electric Popcorn Maker
The Yabano Popcorn Machine for Home, 5L gives you cinema-style popcorn (but with your choice of flavourings) right in your own home. This electric dome popcorn maker, in a smart red and black design, has a 5L capacity. That’s 24 cups of fully popped popcorn in just a few minutes, enough for any movie night. And this model comes with some unique technology that ensures that your popcorn is evenly flavoured, cooked and popped.
First up is the heating plate. This is removable for cleaning and it needs to be as this is where you put all your seasonings and butter/oil along with the kernels. Yes, you can flavour your corn before it pops, coating all the kernels with the same mouth-watering goodness. But please note that you don’t have to – this maker also pops corn without anything added at all.
The motorised stir rod attached to the heating plate is the key to evenly cooked corn. This is a rod that rotates horizontally first clockwise and then anticlockwise, stirring the kernels as they heat up. This stops them from becoming stuck to the plate and thus burning, and from becoming stuck to each other and forming a clump.
And once all the popcorn is popped and is up in the transparent dome of this Yabano maker, you can add yet more butter to it. Just pour melted butter or oil through the small ventilation holes in the lid, grab the hot pot by the heat-resistant handles and give it all a shake. But take note that there’s no cooking timer on this popcorn maker, so you have to monitor the popping process and stop it yourself when you judge that the popcorn’s ready.
To serve your popcorn, just grab the handles, flip the transparent bowl and the (cooled) heating plate that becomes the serving bowl and the lid. Clean-up is relatively easy. You do need to wipe the heating tray by hand, but the dome goes into the dishwasher.
A similar model but without the mixing system is available for less cost.
- Dome air popcorn popper in red and black with a 5L capacity, that’s 24 cups of popcorn..
- Pops 5L of popcorn in three minutes, using its 800W of power.
- Motorised stirrer turns the kernels on the non-stick heating plate for even heating.
- Automatic reversing of the stirring process stops the kernals from becoming stuck to the plate.
- Heat-resistant handles let you carry the hot pot safely.
- Transparent dome lid acts as a serving bowl if you flip the popped corn into it.
- Pour melted butter or oil through the opening in the lid to distribute it over the popping corn.
- Non-stick (Teflon) heating tray lets you add butter, oil and spices safely before you pop the kernels.
- Dome is dishwasher safe; clean the heating tray by hand.
- CE certified; unit also has overheating protection.
- Two-year warranty.
- Plastic lid deforms slightly after a few washes in hot-ish water.
- Have to monitor the cooking process yourself.
The Yabano Popcorn Machine for Home, 5L is our Best Pick for an Electric Popcorn maker.
The Yabano Popcorn Machine doesn’t just produce popcorn with any butter, oil or seasonings you choose, it does so in a manner that avoids burned or clumped corn. Delivering 24 cups of your favourite popcorn in just three minutes lets you turn this popcorn maker on when the movie opening credits start rolling and have popcorn by the first action scene. Clean-up is easy and quick. Plus the two-year warranty and the overheating protection within the unit help your peace of mind.
5. Sensio Home Popcorn Maker, 1200W
The Sensio Home Popcorn Maker, 1200W, is billed as a retro, American-style, popcorn maker. And indeed its bright red, tower-like structure does evoke nostalgic images of movie marathons. This is a hot-air popper and you shouldn’t add anything (butter, oil, seasonings) to the corn kernels you use in it.
Your air-popped corn is pushed up the tower and out of the chute at the front of the transparent lid. Be sure to have a bowl underneath to catch it as it does go flying down. But it is entertaining to watch. Once the popcorn is out of the machine you can flavour it any way you choose, if at all. Try spritzing on oil or melted butter for flavour but fewer calories.
This Sensio home popcorn maker is straightforward to operate. There’s one switch, easily seen, that you use to turn the machine on and off. Fill the (included) scoop with kernels, put it into the unit, turn it on and three to five minutes later, your healthy popcorn is all popped. There doesn’t seem to be an automatic stop function when all the kernels have popped, so you need to monitor this popcorn maker and turn it off yourself.
Cleaning this maker is simple – just wipe it down.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t track down how much popcorn this unit makes at one time. Even the manufacturer’s website neglects to mention the weight of corn kernels to use or the number of cups of popcorn delivered.
- Bright red air popper with 1200W of power in a retro American design.
- Doesn’t need any oil or butter so truly air popped popcorn.
- Transparent rectangular dome at the top of the unit fires out popped corn through the wide mouth chute at the front.
- Pops a full load of kernels in three to five minutes.
- One button to turn the machine on and off.
- Comes with kernel measuring scoop.
- Dimensions: 25cm (height) and 14.4cm (width and depth). maybe
Despite not knowing how much popcorn it produces, we like the Sensio Home Popcorn Maker, 1200W, for its quick delivery of healthy air-popped popcorn. You can add butter or oil, and flavours once the popcorn is ready if you want. Its retro style fits into any décor and the straightforward, one-button, use makes it easy for supervised kids to make their own popcorn.
6. Cuisinart CPM-28 Classic-Style Popcorn Maker
The Cuisinart CPM-28 Classic-Style Popcorn Maker really does bring cinema-style popcorn to your movie nights – in the same style popcorn maker as you see at the cinema, although not as large.
This electric rectangular popcorn maker has the clear Plexiglas sides, a full opening door and the popcorn kettle that you expect to see. The top is made of shiny red ABS plastic for that marquee feel and the bottom is an equally shiny black. The stainless steel, round, lidded bowl/kettle in the middle is where the kernels are spun, heated and popped. They spill out into the bottom of the popcorn maker after cooking evenly.
You access the popped corn through the side opening, tilted door, using the (included) scoop. You need to provide your own popcorn bags or bowls as none are included. For those popcorn eaters who don’t want just plain popcorn, now’s the time to add the melted butter, salt and other seasonings.
The Cuisinart CPM-28 pops up to 10 cups of popcorn at one time. Knowing what to add to the machine is made easy with the (included) kernel measuring cup and the oil measuring spoon. You also receive a recipe book so you can try new popcorn flavours each movie night.
The non-stick kettle and the door are removable for clean-up. You do need to wipe around the inside of the Plexiglas walls to clean them down though.
- Cinema-style electric popcorn maker that doesn’t require any warm-up time.
- Round stainless steel bowl/kettle to put the kernels in spins for even cooking.
- Popped kernels spill out of the top of the bowl onto the base of the unit below.
- Pop up to 10 cups of popcorn at once.
- Access the popped corn through the plexiglass door at the front.
- Comes with scoop, kernel measuring cup and oil measuring spoon, along with a recipe book.
- Non-stick kettle and door are removable for easy clean up.
- Dimensions: 55.6cm (height); 29.8cm (width); and 29.8cm (depth).
- Lot of parts to clean.
- Plastic and lightweight.
Although the Cuisinart CPM-28 isn’t the largest electric popcorn maker we review (see our Best Pick – Electric) we do like the vibe it adds to movie nights. You do need to use some oil when popping corn so it’s not air-popped. But if you’re OK with that, this is a practical and fun addition to your home.
In our review, we’ve covered popcorn makers for the microwave and also stand-alone electric models. Our Buyer’s Guide reviews the top issues for each of these types.
Microwave popcorn makers
It gets hot
Although microwave popcorn makers are made of food-grade, heat resistant silicone, they do heat up in the microwave. And we’re all about safety. Always put on oven gloves before touching the hot bowl. Stand back when taking off the lid as steam will come out. And put the bowl on a heat-resistant surface or pour the popcorn into another, cooler, container.
Popcorn can burn
If you add oil/butter or seasoning to the kernels before popping them, they may burn, especially if your microwave power setting is too high. The key to great microwave popcorn is to experiment a bit with the power setting and the time you pop the corn for.
In addition, your microwave may have “hot spots” in some places so watch out for those.
The most common complaint we found from online reviewers of microwave popcorn makers (burned popcorn came in second) was of unpopped corn. This may be because of overcrowding the popcorn maker, so be sure to add only the amount of kernels specified in the instructions. Some reviewers suggested pre-heating the microwave with a cup of water for one minute; it may be worth a try.
The problem may also be the brand of popcorn you’re using or whether it has any coatings on it. Another suggestion (which we also haven’t tried) is to add a few drops of water in with the kernels to provide some extra steam to help with the popping.
Popcorn is without flavour and dry
This is also a common complaint from reviewers who are obviously used to butter-soaked and salted popcorn. Microwave popcorn is air popped and is pure popcorn until you add the flavour afterwards. But it’s never going to taste the same or be as crispy as popcorn from electric poppers in which you can coat the kernels before popping.
Electric popcorn makers
Popcorn is still without flavour and dry
This is probably because you (a) have an electric popper that uses air to pop the corn; or (b) you haven’t added any flavourings upfront when you can.
Our Best Pick – Electric model lets you add butter, oil and seasonings to the kernels before popping and the same afterwards to the popped corn; however, our second selection in that section air pops the corn and you can’t add anything to it upfront.
There’s no timer
None of the electric models in our review have a timer or an automatic stop function when all the popcorn has popped. You have to stand and watch it and then turn the machine off. This isn’t a big deal as popping corn takes just a matter of minutes.
Unpopped kernels are also a problem in this type of popcorn makes. This is especially so when the kernels aren’t mechanically moved around and they just sit at the bottom of the unit, waiting to be heated up enough to pop. Our Best Pick in this section has a rotating arm that moves all the grain around in two different directions so it has more chance of fluffing out.
Healthy (or at least healthier) popcorn is now within your reach with the Best Popcorn Makers in our review. No matter how many people you’re making popcorn for, or how large their appetites are for this delicious snack, there’s a popcorn maker here to suit. Choose a corn popper for the microwave or an electric air popper, whichever suits your lifestyle and popcorn preference. Just remember that healthier popcorn won’t taste the same as that covered with oil and salt, but your waistline and your health will benefit.
Our Best Pick for a Microwave Popper is the Original Salbree Microwave Popcorn Maker. This model is stylish in a choice of eight colours and measurement lines in the bowl that tell you how many kernels to add.
The Yabano Popcorn Machine for Home is our Best Pick for Electric Popcorn Poppers. This model stirs your kernels (back and forth) as they pop to stop them from sticking and burning and to evenly distribute any butter and seasonings.
If cold beverages, along with the popcorn, are a staple of your movie watching ritual, check out our review of the Best Ice Makers.
Last update on 2021-11-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API