If you are a fan of popcorn, there are several ways you can make it at home, giving you access to fresh and delicious popcorn whenever you like. Popcorn made at home can be customized in terms of flavor and nutritional value to suit your preferences, and making popcorn out of kernels rather than buying ready-made popcorn usually works out to be much more cost-effective.
If you want to make popcorn at home, you’ll need the right equipment. Here we look at the best pots to use for making your own popcorn, whether that be on the stovetop, in the microwave, or in a specifically designed appliance.
Stove Top Popcorn
Popcorn made on the stove is crispy, light, and full of flavor. Of all the methods for making popcorn at home, cooking popcorn on the stove is probably the most involved and time-consuming method, but if you want authentic tasting popcorn, you really can’t beat it.
Popcorn made on the stove isn’t difficult, but you will need to pay attention because it can burn quickly or overflow if you turn away for a second. This isn’t a good method of making popcorn to involve children because the pans get very hot, and it can get dangerous.
If you like to make popcorn on the stove, then you can do so with a large pot you probably already own. Your pan must have a lid, as this is essential when making popcorn to maintain a consistent temperature and prevent popcorn from spilling out onto the countertop. Ideally, use a four quart-sized pot because this will allow enough space for kernels to pop without overflowing.
A heavy-bottomed pan will be most suitable, for example, one which is made from stainless steel or cast iron. This is because heavy-bottomed pans heat more evenly compared with thin pans, which will help to ensure an even cooking process, resulting in more popped kernels and minimal burnt kernels.
A key benefit of using an ordinary pan or pot for cooking popcorn on the stovetop is that you will be able to use the pan for cooking many other foods, such as casseroles or pasta. A multifunctional pan that is versatile in its uses means that you won’t have a kitchen cabinet full of specific one-function pots or appliances. This is especially useful if you have minimal storage space or don’t like to buy non-essential items.
A dutch oven is a heavy-duty type of pot that will have a small handle on either side. These are typically made from cast iron but can also be made from aluminum. They are made with very thick materials, which will ensure that heat is evenly dispersed across the base of the pot, perfect for cooking popcorn without having burnt spots.
Like with a saucepan, ensure you have a lid on your dutch oven for cooking popcorn on the stove to trap steam and prevent popcorn from overflowing. A large dutch oven with a minimum size of four quartz will be ideal to allow enough space for the kernels to multiply in size.
Like using a saucepan for cooking popcorn, a dutch oven is a versatile piece of kitchen equipment allowing you to make your own stovetop popcorn without buying any additional items. You can also use a dutch oven on a campfire or a camping stove to make popcorn in your garden or while you’re on a camping trip.
The microwave provides a quick and easy way to enjoy fresh popcorn at home, and though it won’t result in the tastiest popcorn, it ranks highly in terms of convenience.
The popcorn bags you can buy at the grocery store are fairly inexpensive and are simple and easy to use. They come in pre-portioned paper bags with instructions to follow to tell you exactly how long to heat them for. Microwave popcorn bags are handy to have in your store cupboard to make a snack in a pinch, but they can contain a lot of artificial colors and flavors which aren’t good for health.
Even microwave popcorn bags which are intended to be healthy options, can carry risk factors because the bags are typically lined in the same toxic coating that covers Teflon pans, which is associated with cancer and other health risks. If you are making microwave popcorn in popcorn bags, allow them to cool slightly after they have finished popping before pouring into a bowl of your choice and serving.
A popper bowl is a neat way to make fresh and healthy popcorn at home if you love the convenience but try to avoid processed foods. This is an inexpensive bowl made from silicon with a plastic lid that slots inside the bowl. The collapsible feature of the bowl means that it can be stored in a compact size without taking up too much room in your cupboards.
To use a popper bowl, you simply fill kernels in the bowl to the advised level, set the lid on top of the kernels, and heat in the microwave. As the kernels pop and multiply in size, the lid will rise upwards to allow more space for the popcorn while keeping them from popping out of the bowl.
Popper bowls can be picked up for around $10 and can be reused over and over again. They present a convenient and healthy way to enjoy popcorn because you don’t need to use any oil and, therefore, can have a non-processed fresh whole-grain snack in a matter of seconds. You can also use the popper bowl to serve your popcorn to save on dirty dishes.
If you like to make an event out of popping popcorn, then a specially designed popcorn maker is a good choice. These can be a showstopper at a party or a home movie night and can be a good purchase if you frequently make popcorn at home. As they are specifically designed for making popcorn, these appliances generally make the process of cooking popcorn easier and will give more consistent results.
Stove Top Popper
A stovetop popper is a more convenient way of making popcorn on the stove, instead of using a regular saucepan or dutch oven. They vary in design, but the common aspect of all stovetop poppers is that they have a handle that can be rotated to ensure that the kernels in the pot are continually moving. This prevents any kernels from burning in hot spots in the pot and results in more even cooking for consistently crispy popcorn.
It will also allow more kernels to pop, preventing waste and saving you from having to repeat the cooking process. The lid on a stovetop popper will typically have vents to allow some steam to escape in order to ensure the popcorn gets a crispy texture. The lid may also be hinged, making it easier to get popcorn in and out of the pan.
The main drawback of a stovetop popper is that it will take up considerable space in a kitchen cupboard, though if you are a big fan of making popcorn, it may be worth your while to buy a popper because they make arguably the crispest and fluffy popcorn.
An air popper is great fun for kids because it features a window where you can watch the kernels explode and take shape as popcorn. These appliances are specifically designed for making popcorn and cannot be used for other purposes.
To use an air popper, you simply plug it into a power outlet and press a switch to turn it on. As it is safe and simple, you can involve your children in the popcorn-making process and allow them to pour the kernels into the machine and press the switch. Within a few minutes, you will have fresh popcorn, which spits out into a bowl when it is ready.
Air poppers are great healthwise because they don’t require that you use any oil or butter in the cooking process, making the resulting popcorn a wholesome snack. However, you can, of course, add flavoring after cooking to make the popcorn tastier if you wish.
An air popper will usually have a cover that can be removed to make the cleaning process easier. It provides a fool-proof way to make popcorn because the heating process will be timed by the appliance to prevent the burning that can occur when making stovetop popcorn if you let it cook for too long or at too high a temperature.
One issue with air popper machines is that they are quite sizable, so they will take up a lot of storage space in your kitchen. Many people also find that air-popped popcorn does not taste as crisp or authentic as stovetop popcorn, but it is definitely a healthier option if you want to cut calories.