Popcorn Makers: What are they?
Popcorn makers are devices used to cook popcorn into delicious treats. They come in many shapes and sizes, but all of them have one thing in common; they’re designed to create a nice crunchy exterior with a soft center. There’s no need for oil or butter when making popcorn, which means less calories and fat!
There are several types of popcorn makers available today, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Some are made from stainless steel while others use plastic. Stainless steel ones tend to last longer than other kinds, but there are some drawbacks to using them too.
If you want to save money, you might consider buying a cheap model instead. You’ll get better results if you buy a microwaveable kind rather than one that requires heating up first before popping it into your mouth (which will take forever).
Popcorn Makers: Which One Should I Buy?
The choice between different brands of popcorn makers is quite difficult because they all work differently. The main advantage to any type of popcorn maker depends on how much time you plan to spend cooking and how much money you have to spend. To make things easier, here are some general guidelines:
Stainless Steel Popcorn Maker – These are the most popular models available today. They are made from stainless steel and will last for years. You can heat the oil and butter on the stove for better results, but you can also use electric heat if you prefer.
The popping process tends to be faster than other kinds which is another advantage because you’ll eat your delicious hot-buttered popcorn sooner!
Plastic Popcorn Maker – These devices are less expensive than the stainless steel models. They don’t last as long, but they are still fairly durable and will work for most people. You don’t need to heat the oil or butter before popping either, which saves time.
These devices typically have a transparent cover so you can easily watch the corn pop. For safety reasons, you should always make sure children aren’t near the maker while in use.
Microwaveable Popcorn Maker – This type is also made from plastic and is perfect for people who want quick results. It only takes a few minutes to heat the oil or butter before you start popping your corn. As you can guess, the results aren’t as good as other models, but it’s great if you need to fix something quickly.
The choice is ultimately yours, but just keep in mind that cheaper models aren’t always the best option. It’s better to pay a little more for a good model that will last for many years rather than buy the cheapest one you can find. In addition, it’s always a good idea to read up on any model you might be interested in buying before placing your order.
Questions To Ask Yourself
There are many different kinds of popcorn makers available. Some are built for home use, but others can be used in a commercial setting. It all depends on how much popcorn you need to make and where you plan on using it.
Here is a list of things you should consider before buying a maker:
How much space do I have available?
If you live in a small apartment or dorm room, a big machine probably isn’t for you. Some models are more compact than others, so you have that option.
What is my budget?
The price for a good popcorn maker starts around $70 and goes up from there. Do a little research to find a suitable model within your price range.
What features do I need?
There are many different features to take into consideration.
Do you need it to have a spinning tray or is a static one fine? What about the heating element; gas, electric, or oil?
These are all things you should think about before buying.
Do I plan on using it a lot?
If you need a popcorn maker for commercial purposes, choose a sturdy and reliable model such as an Dynamic or Warring machine. These are designed to be used several times a day without breaking down.
A Word About Oil And Butter
When people think of making popcorn, they typically think of using oil and butter. While you certainly can use these ingredients, there are also healthier alternatives you can try. For example, you can use coconut oil to make your popcorn “butter.” Just a small amount gives the same rich flavor without all the extra calories.
If you’re concerned about the health risks of using oil at all, try using a popcorn maker that doesn’t require any such as the Whirley Pop. This maker cooks the popcorn using hot air instead of oil. These are great for people who need to follow a stricter diet since you can use it to cook other things such as eggs, bacon, and even pancakes.
Clean Up And Maintenance
One of the biggest complaints most people have about buying a new popcorn maker is having to clean it after using it. Most of these appliances are fairly easy to take apart and clean, but some are better than others.
For instance, you’ll need to scrub the parts of the Whirley Pop by hand since it doesn’t have any nooks or crannies that allow water to get inside. In fact, most of the appliance is dishwasher safe, so you can put everything but the electric motor in there.
The West Bend 83005 is a little more high maintenance since you will need to wash certain parts by hand. The lid and the heating chamber can be placed in the dishwasher, but you’ll need to scrub the bowl and handle by hand.
The Great Northern Popcorn Red Jacket is about as easy to clean as they come. Everything is either made out of glass or stainless steel, which means it can all go into the dishwasher. If you don’t feel like pulling out your dishwasher, you can easily hand wash these parts instead.
Tips For Making The Best tasting Popcorn
While the quality of the popcorn you’re starting with will have a big effect on the final product, there are a few additional tips and tricks you can use to ensure you’re making great tasting popcorn every time.
Here are a few of our best tips:
Purchase the right kind of popcorn: As we’ve mentioned, not all popcorn is created equal (just like people!); much like with people, you’re going to find certain types of popcorn are just better than others. We recommend using either “Robust” or “Sturdy” varieties as these are going to have a higher oil content and less hull per kernel.
You can find out which types are best for your particular popper by doing a little research before you make your purchase. Don’t forget the Salt: Salt is really important when it comes to flavoring your food. Don’t be afraid to add a healthy does of salt to your popcorn while its cooking. This will help bring out the flavor in the popcorn, rather than hide it. Use Oil that has a high burning point: While most people think that using just about any oil will do, this really isn’t true. Different oils have different burning points, which means some oils burn or even catch fire at lower temperatures. This is really bad for making popcorn, as the oil starts to burn before the popcorn does, giving it an unpleasant flavor and a much different texture than you’re probably expecting. Instead of using vegetable, canola, peanut or most other oils you’ll find at your local grocery store, we highly recommend using coconut oil. It may be slightly more expensive, but it is able to withstand much higher heats without burning and has a delicious flavor that will compliment the taste of the popcorn. Don’t forget the Microwave: While stovetop poppers are great for the full movie theater experience, not everyone has the time to stand around and wait for their popcorn to finish. If you find yourself needing your popcorn quicker than the stovetop can provide it, a microwave is a great alternative. However, you should only use a microwave to pop the corn and then immediately transfer it to the stovetop popper. This helps to insure that you don’t end up with a soggy batch of popcorn due to all of the moisture coming from the inside of the microwave. If you’re looking for a stovetop popper that works great in the microwave, we highly recommend the Cuisinart EasyPop Popcorn Maker.
The first step is to measure out your oil. While one or two tbsp should be enough for most people, feel free to add more if you want really fluffy popcorn.
Add your oil to the bottom of the pan, just like you would with any of the other kinds of popcorn makers. The next step is to add the kernels. You can use as little as 1/4 cup of corn kernels, but most people like their popcorn a little bit heavy on the crunch, so you can use up to 1 cup.
Just make sure you keep the oil and the corn at about the same level.
You’re now ready to start cooking! Turn the burner on high and wait for the oil to start popping. As soon as you hear several kernels pop, turn the heat down to about half way between high and medium.
This is important because you don’t want the popcorn burning or getting too dark.
So now you wait. The timing of this step is going to vary depending on the temperature of your burner, but most microwave popcorn one tablespoon of oil in about 2 1/2 minutes. Once the popping starts to slow down, turn off the stove completely.
You want to make sure that all of the corn has finished popping before you move on to the next step, otherwise you may end up burning it or worse, undercooking it.
After the popping has slowed down considerably (about a second between pops), take the pan off of the heat source. If you’re using a stovetop popper with a handle, simply lift the pan off of the heat source. If you’re using an electric stove top, lift the pan off of the heat source and then remove it from the pan itself.
The next step is to quickly transfer the popcorn from the hot pan into a large bowl. Since the bottom of the pan should be metal, it can be rather difficult to pour everything out without burning yourself.
You can use any large bowl for this step, but a clear one works best so that you can see if you got all of the unpopped kernels. Just use the spoon to scoop everything out.
If you’re interested in using flavored popcorn oils or caramel topping, now is the time to add them. At this point you can also season your popcorn with anything you desire.
Now it’s time to step back and enjoy your healthy snack!
This is, by far, the simplest method of making microwave popcorn. These bags are specially designed to allow the moisture to escape while the kernels pop. It’s really just as easy as adding some popcorn and oil to the bag, sealing it up, and then popping it in the microwave.
Most bags have a special fold at the top that you can seal with instead of using tape or another kind of fastener.
Once the bag is prepared, add in your popcorn and oil. You only want to use a little bit of oil in order to get the same amount of flavor. Too much oil and it can make the popcorn taste strange.
The next step is to fold the top of the bag over a few times (this depends on the brand of microwave bag you’re using) and then seal it shut with the tape strip or fold.
Use the table below to determine how long to microwave your bag, based on how many cups of popcorn you added. Once the time is up, stop the microwave, take the bag out of the microwave and then wait for a few minutes. The bag will keep cooking the popcorn even after you take it out of the microwave, so you want to let it cool for a few minutes before digging in.
For every cup of un-buttered popcorn you add, use 1/2 teaspoon of butter-flavored vegetable oil.
Now you’re ready to eat! Enjoy your tasty, butter-free popcorn.
You can still enjoy this snack just by using salt instead of butter, but there is one major setback: it can be quite bland. This is where cheese powder and other seasonings come in. Try different seasonings to find the taste that you like best.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
You can find many different kinds of flavored popcorn on the market today. This is a great way to enjoy this tasty treat while still following the diet. Many of these products will also be “low fat”, which just means that they have fewer calories.
Usually, you can find these flavored varieties alongside the regular, unbuttered popcorn in most grocery and convenience stores.
Most of these pre-flavored popcorn products are going to be “microwaveable”. This means that you can heat them in the microwave right in the bag they come in. Just follow the instructions on the packaging.
For every cup of pre-flavored, flavored popcorn you add, use 1/2 teaspoon of butter-flavored vegetable oil.
Sources & references used in this article:
Open source column: Mozilla popcorn by B Richter, B Moskowitz – ACM SIGMultimedia Records, 2012 – dl.acm.org
Membership by I Australia, SP Islands – search.informit.com.au
Popcorn maker by D Carlson, DA McCullough – US Patent 9,795,158, 2017 – Google Patents
Popcorn popper by A Shore – US Patent App. 11/205,512, 2006 – Google Patents
Popcorn dispenser by E Landau, B Lies – 2010 – Charlesbridge
Popcorn machine by G Bond, EE Boughton III, R Houston – US Patent 9,713,826, 2017 – Google Patents
Popcorn popping and coating apparatus by M Gagnon, J Coblentz, HUM Wilson – US Patent App. 14/495,049, 2015 – Google Patents