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9 Popcorn Machines To Celebrate National Popcorn Day In 2023

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National Popcorn Day is Jan. 19, and what better way to celebrate than with a fresh, hot, buttery bucket of popcorn? But don’t think you have to head to the movie theater to enjoy your favorite crunchy cinematic treat. You can create theater-worthy popcorn at home, no microwave required. 

Intrigued? Here are nine popcorn machines to add to your kitchen countertop appliance arsenal for the perfect bite every time. 

Our Favorite Popcorn Machines:

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1. Presto Orville Redenbacher’s Hot Air Popcorn Popper


Presto Orville Redenbacher’s Hot Air Popcorn Popper

2. Presto Poplite Hot Air Popper

Presto Poplite Hot Air Popper

3. Cuisinart CPM-100 EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn Maker

Cuisinart CPM-100 EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn Maker

Cuisinart CPM-700 EasyPop Popcorn Maker

Cuisinart CPM-700 EasyPop Popcorn Maker

Hamilton Beach Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Maker

Hamilton Beach Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Maker

West Bend Stir Crazy Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Machine

West Bend Stir Crazy Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Machine

7. Cornrush Movie Theatre Style Popcorn Machine

Cornrush Movie Theatre Style Popcorn Machine

3. Cuisinart CPM-28 Classic-Style Popcorn Maker


Cuisinart CPM-28 Classic-Style Popcorn Maker

Nostalgia Concession Vintage Popcorn Cart

Nostalgia Concession Vintage Popcorn Cart

What to Consider When Shopping for a Popcorn Machine

But before you start shopping, you’ll want to consider a few things to ensure you only pick the perfect popcorn machine for your family. 

Type of Popcorn Machine

There are a few different types of popcorn machines that you can purchase. 

For our purposes, we’re not including stovetop popcorn poppers; while these traditional, stainless steel or aluminum popcorn makers come with lots of benefits, they’re not really what you’d consider a “machine.” You still have to stand around babysitting the popcorn despite the handy dandy stirring rod, shaking and monitoring it to guarantee you won’t end up with a pot of burnt kernels. 

We’re also not including microwave poppers. We’re only looking at popcorn machines that can truly be considered “machines” in that they’ll pop your popcorn all on their own, with no extra appliances or heat sources required.

So, when we get into these types of popcorn makers, you really have three options: air poppers, hot oil poppers and theater-style popcorn poppers.  

An air popper is butter and oil-free; instead, it uses hot air to circulate around the kernels, causing them to pop. 

Hot oil poppers do require the use of oil to work. The kernels are placed on an electric plate with oil in order to pop them, and they often have an agitator on the bottom to keep them from burning.

Theater-style popcorn poppers also use oil and butter but use a kettle to heat the kernels and oil until the popcorn pops, at which point the popcorn falls out of the receptacle and typically into a heated warming tray. 

For the most traditional popcorn flavor, you might want to go with a theater-style popcorn popper. If, though, you want the option of cooking without any oil, an air popper might be the way to go.

Capacity

Capacity is an important factor in your decision and possibly even more important than you think. Buy a popcorn maker that’s too small, and you end up having to make endless rounds of popcorn for your family. No one wants that, especially on movie night. Buy a popcorn maker that’s too big, and you might end up making far too much popcorn every time, leading to unnecessary waste.

Cooking Speed

How long do you have to wait for your popcorn? If you want popcorn fast, look for makers with fast cooking speeds as you shop around. If you don’t mind waiting a few minutes for your popcorn, then there are no worries; you can simply go with any maker.

Warming Decks and Lights

You may want to consider prioritizing a few extra features as you shop for a popcorn maker, one of which is either a warming deck or a light. Warming decks and lights are a popular feature with larger, high-quantity popcorn machines. They help keep your popcorn at the right temperature and texture, for longer, in case you’re not going to eat all of that popcorn right away. 

Ease of Use

And lastly, you want to look at the ease of use. This includes, possibly most importantly, ease of cleaning. Some cinema-style popcorn machines include lots of little parts and hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, making it difficult to keep your machine clean (and, thus, safe to use). You want a machine that’s either easy to clean by hand or a machine with a cooking receptacle that comes apart and can be washed in your dishwasher. 

Remember, the best popcorn makers are the ones you actually use! 

So now that you know a little bit about what you should be looking for in a popcorn machine, here are 9 of our favorite options. These are sure to level up birthday parties, movie nights, and healthy snacks after school! 

To make your shopping even easier, we’ve broken them down into air poppers, oil poppers and movie style machines.

Hot Air Poppers

These machines require no oil or butter to make your popcorn, making it both crisp and healthy.

1. Presto Orville Redenbacher’s Hot Air Popcorn Popper

Presto Orville Redenbacher's Hot Air Popcorn Popper

If you can trust anyone with your popcorn, it’s got to be Orville Redenbacher’s. This brand has been churning out delicious popcorn and popcorn-related products for decades. 

The Presto air popper requires zero oil or fat, though you can use an included butter melter and measuring cup to heat up some butter for drizzling after the popping is finished. (And one great thing about air poppers that use no oil? There’s no oily, greasy mess to clean up.)

This electric popcorn machine can pop up to 18 cups of popcorn in fewer than 3 minutes. We also like that this upright model is still compact enough to be stored in a kitchen cabinet. 

Just be aware that this machine has no on/off switch and begins to heat when you plug it in. But for the overall quality and ease of use, this is definitely not a deal breaker. 

2. Presto Poplite Hot Air Popper

Presto Poplite Hot Air Popper

Looking for a machine to match your decor? Although not the official Orville Redenbacher version, Presto also makes another model of the Poplite machine that comes in three different colors: yellow and white, aqua and red (though you will pay a bit extra for aqua). 

And not to worry, this little baby still churns out 18 cups of nice, crisp popcorn in under three minutes without the need for oil and butter. But if you want to indulge, it still includes a butter-melting tray that doubles as a measuring cup. 

Like the Orville Redenbacher version above, this machine also has a plug-in start and features no on/off switch.

Related: The 35 Best Kitchen Gadgets For Your Home [Buyer’s Guide]

3. Cuisinart CPM-100 EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn Maker

Cuisinart CPM-100 EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn Maker

If you’re looking to splurge a little on a hot air popper, you may want to consider this model from Cuisinart. So what extras do you get for your money? Beyond the expected quality from this trustworthy brand, all the parts that come into contact with food on this model are BPA free. 

The removable parts of this machine are also dishwasher safe, and this popper does feature an on/off button in contrast to a plug-in start. 

Just be aware that this popcorn machine only makes 10 cups per batch. And while it does feature a measuring cup that doubles as a butter melt, some clients noted that the butter is a little slow to melt. Tip: turn off the machine when the kernels finish popping and leave the butter in the cup a little extra time. 

Hot Oil Popcorn Makers

Prefer to make your popcorn with butter or oil? Then check out these options.

4. Cuisinart CPM-700 EasyPop Popcorn Maker

Cuisinart CPM-700 EasyPop Popcorn Maker

This Cuisinart popcorn machine is unique, as it pops all of your popcorn up into a large dome, and then the dome snaps off of the maker for use as a handy bowl. Since this isn’t a hot air popcorn maker, you’ll add your butter or oil and salt directly into the non-stick base of the maker, along with your kernels, and then wait for the magic to happen. 

A rotating arm on the base keeps things moving for fewer burnt kernels. For easy cleaning, just remove all of the dirty parts and throw them in the dishwasher. 

This machine makes up to 16 cups of popcorn in a single batch and also comes with a 3-year warranty. 

5. Hamilton Beach Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Maker

Hamilton Beach Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Maker

Okay, so let’s say you don’t need quite that much popcorn, but you do need more than the 10 to 18 cups that the brands above offer, and you’d like to pop your popcorn actually in some oil or butter. If that’s the case, look no further than this popcorn machine from Hamilton Beach. It can pop 24 cups of popcorn in each batch and features a large, removable lid that acts as your snacking bowl when you’re done. Plus, a butter well allows you to add in extra popcorn flavorings and seasonings during the popping process.

The only downside? This option is a little heavier and larger than the others, meaning it’s going to take up more space in your pantry.

6. West Bend Stir Crazy Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Machine

West Bend Stir Crazy Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Machine

Another good option in the hot oil popcorn maker category is this model from West Bend. This 24-cup machine also has a built-in agitator to stir the kernels and keep them from burning, and the top can be used as a bowl, as with the other models on this list.

The non-stick popping plate also wipes clean easily, and the nesting design of the unit makes it a little easier to store. 

Just be aware that this machine does require a bit more oil to ensure that all of the kernels get popped. 

Movie Style Popcorn Machines

Want a truly authentic, cinema style experience? These machines make movie night fun and delicious!

7. Cornrush Movie Theatre Style Popcorn Machine

Cornrush Movie Theatre Style Popcorn Machine

If you’re looking for a kettle popcorn maker similar to a Great Northern to complete your screening room or game room, this large-scale, theatre style machine will definitely give you that authentic, cinema style experience. 

This baby can churn out 12 quarts of popcorn in just five minutes while your family and guests watch through the (heat and break-resistant) glass doors. How fun is that?

We love that the LED lights on the top of the machine give it a little extra pizazz. This popper also features a removable kettle for easy cleaning and an insulation plate at the bottom to keep the popcorn fresh and warm. It also comes with its own scooper and three plastic cups.

Of course, you will pay a pretty good price for all that authenticity and need a good bit of counter space to place it on. But if you’re looking for a movie-like experience, this machine definitely delivers. 

8. Cuisinart CPM-Classic-Style Popcorn Maker

Cuisinart CPM-Classic-Style Popcorn Maker

For a classic, cinema-style popcorn maker on a smaller scale, look to this option from Cuisinart that makes 10 cups of popcorn. The tall, rectangular maker is just like what you’d see at the concessions counter at your favorite theater. 

Add your kernels and oil or butter to the elevated cooking receptacle. As the kernels pop, they fill the receptacle, and the cooked pieces spill out over the side and into the base of the cooker. To retrieve your popcorn, just open up the door and reach inside. 

It also features a removable, non-stick kettle and includes a scoop, measuring cup and measuring spoon.

The one downside to this style of machine is that there’s no detachable bowl that you can use for eating. You’ll have to supply that yourself. Still, you can’t beat the vintage appeal, especially if you’re looking for a unique addition to your home theater or game room.

9. Nostalgia Concession Vintage Popcorn Cart

Nostalgia Concession Vintage Popcorn Cart

But for even more retro fun, you can upgrade further to this popcorn cart with a built-in popcorn maker. While the tabletop Cuisinart variant above requires some counter space, this free-standing popcorn cart on wheels features the same cooking mechanisms but on a larger scale. Plus, rather than forcing you to open a small door and reach inside to retrieve your fresh popcorn, the cart features a door that folds outward toward the floor for easier scooping (with an included scoop!). 

Sure, it’s a bit of a splurge and definitely not something you’d use every day, but if you frequently host parties or groups of kids or if you’re looking for a fun addition to your office, this popcorn cart is the way to go. It can hold up to 32 cups of popcorn to keep everyone happy! 

Related: The 109 Best Super Bowl Snacks For Game Day

 A Note on Microwave and Stovetop Poppers

We understand that not everyone will want an extra countertop kitchen appliance. If you don’t eat popcorn that often, or if you don’t have a lot of space in your kitchen or room in your budget, the above-listed electric popcorn machines might just not work for you. 

So, if you do want a microwave popcorn maker, we recommend the very affordable Cuisinart Pop and Serve. The 10-cup, BPA-free, silicone bowl allows you to pop your popcorn in either a bit of oil or just straight, no oil required, and the result is a bowl of popcorn in about 4 minutes, straight from the microwave, no unpronounceable microwave popcorn ingredients required. 

If you have your heart set on an old-fashioned stovetop popper, you can’t go wrong with the Original Whirley Pop, which is also very affordable and as easy to use as it comes. Just throw in your oil and a few kernels before placing the maker on your stove. When the kernels pop, you know your oil is heated, so you can add the rest of your kernels. Turn the handle to keep your kernels from burning as things really start popping. 

What’s the Best Popcorn-Making Method for Me?

Depending on what you want most, you may want to pick one type of popcorn-making method over another. For example, if you just want convenience, easy cleaning and a fast process, and you’re not as concerned about taste, quantity or kernel quality, you might want to go with a dishwasher-safe microwave popcorn popper. 

If, on the other hand, you want the healthiest popcorn possible, you’re going to want to go with an electric air popper; these are really the only popcorn machines that allow you to make large quantities of popcorn with no oil whatsoever required.

If you want the best-tasting popcorn with the fewest unpopped popcorn kernels, and you don’t mind working or waiting for it, the stovetop version might be exactly what you need.

However, if you want a large quantity of traditional popcorn with lots of buttery, salty goodness, and you want it conveniently, with less work on your end, you’ll likely want to go with a cinema-style popcorn machine. 

What’s Next? Toppings, of Course!

Whatever method you end up using for making your popcorn, whatever popcorn maker machine you opt for, don’t be afraid to get a little creative with your toppings. Sure, everyone loves butter and salt on their popcorn, but if you eat popcorn regularly, try to mix things up every once in a while. 

Add nutritional yeast to your popcorn butter for cheesy popcorn without the cheese. Add a mixture of cocoa powder, sugar, and cinnamon to coconut oil rather than butter for a sweet treat. Try adding Parmesan and pepper to your popcorn or garlic powder and chili powder for a little international flair. Don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty? Try a few teaspoons of peanut butter and honey, tossing to coat your popcorn (just make sure to let it dry a bit before you chow down). 

Want something flavorful but super simple? Try adding a little olive oil and sea salt to your machine as you pop popcorn instead of the traditional butter. 

There’s Never a Bad Time for Popcorn

Really. When have you ever turned down a fresh bowl of popcorn, after all? (We’re betting it’s never.) Level up your popcorn game this year and dump those bags of microwave popcorn in the trash where they belong. 

Making your own popcorn with one of our nine favorite popcorn popper machines guarantees a better pop every time.

You might also be interested in: The 20 Best Extra-Deep Couches For Your Home

The Best Popcorn Makers: 

  1. Presto Orville Redenbacher’s Hot Air Popcorn Popper
  2. Presto Poplite Hot Air Popper
  3. Cuisinart CPM-100 EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn Maker
  4. Cuisinart CPM-700 EasyPop Popcorn Maker
  5. Hamilton Beach Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Maker
  6. West Bend Stir Crazy Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Machine
  7. Cornrush Movie Theatre Style Popcorn Machine
  8. Cuisinart CPM-Classic-Style Popcorn Maker
  9. Nostalgia Concession Vintage Popcorn Cart
  10. Cuisinart Pop and Serve
  11. Original Whirley Pop

Holly Riddle

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