What Is The Best Stove Top Popcorn Maker

Updated for 2021!

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.

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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.

Popcorn is really an affordable snack. You don’t even have to have a popcorn popper. You can pop corn the old fashioned way by shaking a covered pot on top of the stove, but we like the convenience of a stove top popcorn maker.

We were huge fans of the Zippy Pop Popcorn Makers. Unfortunately, it looks like the company stopped making them. You can still find models on eBay and in some stores, but they are becoming harder to find. Hopefully, this popper will be back someday. You still can’t go wrong with the original Whirly-Pop Popcorn Popper models.

Whirley-Pop Color Changing Popcorn Popper with Metal Gears

Whirley-Pop Popcorn Popper - Metal Gear - Color Changing

This is a super cool option. It’s the original Whirley-Pop, but it changes color as it heats. This one has the metal gears which we like, because they break less often, but there is also a nylon gear option. I guess the advantage to the nylon gears would be no rusting.

Wabash family farms products are hand assembled for quality control. This popper is great, because it pops fast with just a small amount of oil. The lid vents the steam so that the popcorn doesn’t get soggy.

It’s also fun to use. Just add a tablespoon or so of popcorn oil and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of popcorn on medium heat. Sometimes using less popcorn is a good idea to prevent the popper from getting too full and to eliminate unpopped kernels.

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The ZippyPOP (if you can find it) comes with a non-stick coating, so you can add sugar for kettle corn, butter, chocolate or whatever you can dream up and not ruin the popper. You can see exactly what is going on with the clear glass lid.

There is also a large silicone stopper that can be removed to add butter or other ingredients while still popping. This ensures that everything gets mixed and evenly coated. It also has rotating paddles that really pop almost all of the kernels. We have dental work, so this is important.

This popper even comes with recipes, so you can get the most out this unique design. In our test the pot is super easy to clean. We washed in soap and water, but it was so clean just wiping could work. The lid and paddles needed soap and water because they had some oil and butter on them.

Overall, we love this popper. Especially if you are going to experiment with added ingredients. It also comes in cool colors like black, black marble, and red. There is also a more expensive stainless steel model available.

Whirly Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper

This was our original first recommendation and it’s still a solid choice. This is affordable and makes great popcorn. It does have nylon gears which wear out or break over time, but it’s a good entry level option.

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.

  • Makes 6 quarts of popcorn in about 3 minutes
  • Stirring mechanism prevents sticking and burning
  • Easy clean up: Just wipe with a paper towel
  • 25 year warranty on all moving parts

Whirley Pop Stovetop 6 Quart Popcorn Popper Color: Red

Whirley-Pop Popcorn Popper Kit - Nylon Gear - Red - 1 Real Theater All Inclusive Popping Kit

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.

Easy Kettle Corn Recipe

  • 1/2 cup popcorn
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • salt before serving

Great Northern Popcorn Original Spinner Stovetop 6-1/2-Quart Popcorn Popper

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.

  • Makes 5 Quarts of Popcorn in Minutes
  • Spinning Stirrer Prevents Burning
  • Real Wood Knobs and Handles
  • Easy Clean Up – Just Wipe and Go
  • Lightweight Aluminum

Great Northern Popcorn Original Stainless Steel Stove Top 6-1/2-Quart Popcorn Popper

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.

  • 61/2 Quart popper makes about 5 quarts of popcorn
  • Stainless Steel Pot
  • Metal Gears
  • Wood Handles
  • Easy clean, wipe and go

Another Kettle Corn Variation

  • 2 Tablespoons Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 Corn Kernels
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • Heat everything until hot, then add popcorn kernels.
  • Turn the handle and stir when popping starts.
  • Enjoy!

Additional Stovetop Popcorn Popper Options

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