We Tested the Best Popcorn Makers to Satisfy Salty Snack Cravings
Whether you're watching a movie or simply craving something salty, there's no better snack to reach for than popcorn. And thanks to popcorn makers, you can easily make theater-worthy batches of buttery kernels at home. There are models of various materials, sizes, and price points, so you can surely find one that fits your needs.
To help you choose a popcorn maker worth adding to your kitchen, we highlighted our favorite options after evaluating their durability, capacity, ease of use, and of course, flavor and crispness of the resulting snacks. Read on to see why we nominated Cuisinart's EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn Maker as our top pick and the rest of the best popcorn makers on our list.
- Best Overall: Cuisinart EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn Maker
- Best Microwave: Salbree Original Microwave Popcorn Popper
- Best Stovetop: Wabash Valley Farms The Original Whirley Pop
- Best for Families: West Bend Stir Crazy Popcorn Machine
- Best for Solo Snacking: Ecolution Microwave Popcorn Popper
- Best Novelty: Great Northern Little Bambino Popcorn Popper
Our best overall pick, Cuisinart's EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn Maker, stood out from the other models because of its generous 15-cup capacity, easy-to-operate electric design, and quick cooking time. Plus, this model looks sleek left out on countertops.
How to Pick the Right Popcorn Maker
Stovetop: Stovetop makers, the most traditional option, produce old-timey kettle corn flavor that many people adore. On the downside, they can be difficult to store and clean.
Electric: Electric versions have become very popular, quickly producing popcorn with the push of a button. Many are even air poppers, meaning they use hot air instead of oil to make the kernels—a much healthier option. Electric popcorn makers can be difficult to store and more expensive compared to other models.
Microwave: Microwave popcorn makers are convenient, simple, and easy to store. After it's done popping in the microwave, you can eat it straight from the container. If collapsible, they take up minimum storage space. As a drawback, some models, like silicone ones, can retain smells and flavors.
Stovetop popcorn poppers are made from stainless steel, while microwave poppers are generally glass or silicone. The materials make a difference when it comes to the final popcorn product. Steel has improved heat distribution, while silicone is lightweight, inexpensive, and practically impenetrable. Glass can be tricky to store and is prone to breakage but doesn't retain off flavors or odors.
It's important to consider how many people you want it to serve. There are popcorn makers that can produce 24 cups in one batch as well as models designed for solo snacking. Larger capacity poppers generally take up more space, which is something to consider if you don't have extra room in your kitchen.
Depending on how you like your popcorn, look out for additional features, like butter melting trays. For those who like their popcorn plain, consider a popcorn maker that uses hot air instead of butter or oil.
About Our Tests
Our editors selected the best popcorn makers on the market after hours of careful research and consideration of each model's material, capacity, and features. We then tested them side by side in our kitchen, rating them on a number of factors including ease of use and cleaning, as well as the texture and flavor of the final product. Since we know every home cook is different, we worked hard to recommend a range of options, from microwave to stovetop, that would work for different households.
Are popcorn makers worth it?
Yes. Compared to store-bought microwave popcorn, popcorn makers work just as quickly but forgo artificial ingredients to give you that drool-worthy movie theater taste. Popcorn makers are great for producing large batches of popcorn and are overall healthier than eating packaged microwave popcorn.
How much do popcorn makers cost?
Popcorn makers for residential use start at $12 and can go up to $100+, depending on their size and style. Small countertop popcorn makers usually cost around $20.
Why Take Our Word for It?
Allrecipes is a community-driven brand that shares insights on kitchen products, recipes, and all things food. Sarah Zorn, the author of this piece, is a food editor, cookbook author, and recipe tester who used her own expertise and performed preliminary research to write this roundup. Following our tests, Bridget Degnan, our Associate Editor specializing in kitchen products, updated this list with our findings.