How to Use a Popcorn Maker to Create an Ideal Movie Snack

Last Updated on April 14, 2021
Doug Stephen

A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.  

Doug is a hardcore barbeque enthusiast and connoisseur. While he spends most of his time on editing and research,
he sometimes moonlights as a product tester for particularly interesting things he comes across.

making-and-eating-popcorn

There’s nothing better than sitting down to watch a movie on your flat screen, high-resolution TV, surrounded by your friends and family, and tucking into a large bowl of freshly made, seasoned popcorn.

Many people buy pre-packaged popcorn that contains a host of different fats, sugars, and artificial additives. You’ll find that investing in a popcorn maker is a more cost-effective and healthy option.

Let’s look at the 5 major types of popcorn makers available on the market, comparing their strengths and weaknesses before explaining how you use each model to create a tasty movie snack that’s the ideal accompaniment to your favorite movie or binge-worthy TV series.

Read also: Best Affordable Popcorn Makers.

What are the 5 Main Types of Popcorn Makers?

Before looking at how to use a popcorn maker, you need to determine which kind of popcorn maker to purchase.

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1. Air popper popcorn maker

Hot air popper machines are easy to use, and they produce popcorn that’s healthy to eat. That’s because the popcorn machine doesn’t add any extra oil to the kernels before they pop, resulting in light and fluffy popcorn.

This type of popcorn maker is easy to clean and maintain. There’s no need to wipe or scrub away a sticky layer of surplus oil from the main chamber as you do with other models. 

2. Electric stirring popcorn maker machine

You’ll often find that electric stirring popcorn makers have a retro look that complement a transitional or contemporary-style kitchen. You plug this type of unit into an outlet behind your kitchen counter, and its integrated hot base plate heats the kernels, causing them to pop. While this happens, the built-in stirrer moves the freshly popped kernels around the chamber to prevent them from becoming too charred or oily.

3. Stovetop popcorn maker

A stovetop popcorn maker is the most durable option, with a stainless steel or sturdy aluminum construction and a wide circular base that ensures heat travels evenly around the container.

This model allows you to control the cooking process manually. You choose the temperature you want to cook the kernels at, and you can turn up the heat if you want to speed things up. You also won’t ever have to worry about the burned popcorn you get when you leave the kernels in the microwave for 20 seconds longer than you should have: use the stovetop method to cook the kernels at a low, slow heat.

4. Commercial-style popcorn maker machine

Commercial-style units tend to be much more expensive than the other options, and you should only really invest in one if you’re hosting a large family event or movie screening.

However, once you’ve purchased one of these hefty, slightly cumbersome units, you’ll find that it’s straightforward to use. It can also produce a much greater amount of popcorn than the other popcorn makers, making it ideal for themed parties or events.

5. Microwave popcorn maker

This type of popcorn maker is cheap and simple to use. It’s normally made from microwavable glass or plastic, and it takes up far less space in your kitchen than a stovetop or commercial-style unit.

You’ll be able to produce fresh, warm popcorn in 2-5 minutes when you fill this container up and put it in the microwave.

How Do You Use Each Type of Popcorn Maker?

To make a well-seasoned and tasty movie snack, you’ll need to know how to use a popcorn maker. Here’s a run-down of how to get the most out of each type of machine.

Best Kitchen Mats

1. Air popper popcorn maker

Make sure you have a large plastic bowl ready before you use this type of maker. The machine has a built-in fan and circulation system that pops the kernels and forces them out the top of the chute at the side of the unit. If you place a bowl under this chute, you’ll catch the freshly made popcorn.

Once you’ve positioned this bowl by the side of your air popper, you should plug the unit into a nearby electrical outlet. Use a cup to measure out a suitable number of unpopped kernels. If you’re making popcorn for two people, start by filling up ½ cup. You don’t want to be left with more freshly produced popcorn than you can eat.

Pour these kernels into the popping chamber, then pick how much butter you’d like to add to the mixture. Certain air popper units even contain an integrated heating container that melts the butter for you. You don’t need to add any butter to your popcorn if you don’t want to.

After the kernels have been popping for between 2-4 minutes, you can switch the unit off and pour your melted butter over the top of the popcorn in the chamber.

2. Electric stirring popcorn maker machine

These models normally have a heat-resistant metallic base container with a nonstick, ergonomic surface. This container also has integrated stirring rods.

When you set up this popcorn maker, make sure this metal or ceramic unit is standing feet down on your kitchen counter. Then secure the plastic serving bowl container to the top of this metallic base by turning it upside down and twisting it until it clicks into place.

Add the kernels and some vegetable oil to the base plate through the detachable lid in the roof of the unit, then plug the popcorn maker into an electrical outlet and switch it on. Wait a few minutes, or until the popping stops, and unplug.

3. Stovetop popcorn maker

A stovetop unit works like a large saucepan or casserole dish. You just put this stainless steel or aluminum unit on top of your stove and set the heat at a low level. You then add a couple of tablespoons of coconut or canola oil to the bottom of the maker before measuring out a suitable amount of kernels and pouring these in.

Let the kernels pop, stirring the corn periodically. You can add some butter and seasoning to the mixture as it cooks. Try not to turn the heat up too high, as this can burn the corn that’s already popped while you’re waiting for the rest of the kernels to burst.

4. Commercial-style popcorn maker machine

Pour 2 or 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into the unit’s hopper, then wait for a couple of minutes while this oil heats up. Then you’ll need to measure out your unpopped kernels and pour these down the hopper as well.

The boiling oil heats these kernels and causes them to pop. After a few minutes, the popcorn will start to spill over the brim of the hopper and fill up the base of the unit. When you think that the popping’s stopped, turn off the machine and open the door at the bottom of the container to collect your delicious popcorn.

5. Microwave popcorn maker

This type of popcorn maker is very simple to use. Fill the heat-proof cup with kernels, then place the container in the microwave for 2-4 minutes. Many microwave popcorn makers have an integrated butter reservoir in their lid. Place the butter in this compartment if you want to flavor your popcorn while it cooks.

Doug Stephen

Doug Stephen

Learn How to Use a Popcorn Maker and Host Fun Movie Nights

There are several different types of popcorn makers, and each one has its strengths and weaknesses when it comes to price, functionality, and size. However, all these options are relatively simple to use. Once you’ve figured out how to burst kernels and add flavor your popcorn quickly and effectively, you’ll be able to impress your friends and family with this perfectly seasoned and freshly made movie snack.

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