When we think of popcorn we think of fun. Popcorn is synonymous with movie nights, family fun and parties. It is also a fiber filled, gluten free, whole grain snack, and recent studies even tout popcorn as an antioxidant rich food.
Popcorn is also economical, you can feed a lot of kids with a batch or two of popcorn. Making homemade popcorn with a stove top popcorn maker is healthy, inexpensive, and delicious. You may remember your grandma using a whirlybird popcorn popper, which has a crank that turns and keeps the popcorn from burning.
In case you are wondering how to use a stovetop popcorn popper, just set your burner to low heat, add oil and 1/2 cup of popcorn then let it pop. They are also easy to clean, just wipe out with a paper towel. You can also add butter and other seasonings in with the unpopped kernels for extra flavor.
Here are 4 great options for choosing the best stove top or whirly popcorn popper.
This six quart aluminum pan has a wooden hand crank that turns the stainless steel stirring system, which keeps the popcorn moving across the bottom of the pan. This provides even distribution of heat and oil. The lid clips on and is vented to let the steam escape to keep the popcorn crisp and dry.
This is the original whirly-pop stovetop popcorn maker. It is economical and easy to use and clean. Making delicious buttered popcorn in this is a given, but there is no limit to what flavored popcorn treats you can create with this popper. People have even been known to use it for roasting coffee beans. Some even think this is the best popcorn popper for coffee, just be sure to roast the beans outside so that you don’t smoke up your house.
This popcorn popper is similar to the original whirly pop stove top popcorn maker, except that this whirly pop popcorn popper has the fancy red color. The pan is still aluminum and holds 6 quarts. Like the original it is lightweight and easy to use. Cleaning is as simple as wiping the whirly popcorn popper with a paper towel.
You can pop the corn with a bit of oil or you can get fancy and add butter and salt right to the pan. For a healthier version, you can use organic popcorn, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter. For a delicious treat try making homemade kettle corn.
Great Northern also makes a quality spinning stove top popcorn maker. This one is aluminum and the container is 6 1/2 quarts, which should make batches of 5 quarts of popcorn at a time. With the non-burning spinning mechanism, it is easy to churn out batch after batch of homemade popped corn within minutes.
The Wabash popcorn poppers have plastic gears, which should hold up fine with gentle use. Some of the Great Northern makers have plastic gears, some have metal. If you are concerned with longevity or think your popcorn maker will get rough use, try to find the sturdier metal gear models.
If you are looking for a better quality popper or are worried about the adverse health effects of cooking with aluminum, this stainless steel option is a good choice. This Great Northern popper is similar to the previous popper except that it is made of stainless steel and has metal instead of plastic gears.
Stainless steel is heavier than the aluminum. It can also stick more, but with the oil and the stirring spinner that shouldn’t be an issue with this popper. Some customer recommended popping tips on this model are to use medium or medium high heat, but try not to get it too hot. Use a small amount of oil and cover the bottom of the pan with kernels. If you use too much popping corn the pot will get too full and the stirrer won’t turn.
If you want to go a little more high end with your stainless steel stove top popcorn popper, it’s hard to go wrong with this 6 quart popper from Lindy’s. This pan is made from heavy gauge 304 stainless steel, with a capsulated bottom for even heat distribution.
It has a hand operated paddle which keeps the popcorn from burning. The vented lid allows moisture to escape so your popcorn remains crispy and crunchy. This popper is Amish designed for durability and long lasting luxury. To keep it working smoothly, lightly oil gears and handle with cooking oil. No matter which one you choose, stove top popcorn poppers make great popcorn and are loads of fun.