Many people prefer to use an electric popcorn popper when popping popcorn. These can be much easier to use than making popcorn on the stovetop but the electric popcorn tastes very similar since both poppers use oil to pop the corn. Most aren't very expensive and last for years.
The design of the electric popcorn popper today is much better than the ones made years ago. Most of the poppers have an automatic stirrer placed in the bottom of the popper. This spins continuously so that all of the kernels pop, making it very economical. The stirrer also ensures that the popcorn doesn't stick to the bottom of the popper and burn. That nasty, burnt popcorn smell is a thing of the past when you make electric popcorn.
The following is our recommendation for the best way to make popcorn using an electric popcorn popper. For additional useful information on this method continue reading after the recommendation.
We suggest the following steps when popping popcorn in an electric popcorn popper:
- Measure out the amount of popcorn kernels you plan to make - Most poppers recommend 1/2 cup of kernels which will make about 4 quarts of popped popcorn. Be sure to follow the manufacture's instructions on the maximum the popper can handle. Put the kernels aside for the moment.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to the popper - The exact amount depends on how oily you like your popcorn. At a minimum there needs to be enough oil to coat the kernels when they're added to the popper.
- Plug the popper into an outlet -This will start the stirrer rotating and the popper to heat up.
- Drop three kernels into the popper and place the cover on the base - Once these kernels pop you can move on to the next step. This assures the oil has been heated to a temperature suitable for efficient popping.
- Remove the cover and add all of the kernels you measured earlier - The stirrer will start pushing the kernels around. If needed, spread the kernels evenly over popping surface. Replace the cover and be sure the cover fits securely on the base. There's no need to shake the popper during the popping cycle. The cover on most electric poppers doubles as a serving bowl. During the popping cycle, when the "bowl" is upside down, it's important that the vents at the top of the cover are open so the stream can escape.
- Unplug the cord from the wall outlet - Do this once the popping slows down significantly. Some electric poppers will turn off automatically. If you have one of these wait for the popper to stop before unplugging it.
- Empty the popper - Do this by first closing off the vent holes on the top of the cover with the cap that came with the popper. Then grasp handles firmly and turn the popper upside down, turning the popper away from you. Lift the popper base away from the cover, being careful of escaping steam.
Other Electric Popcorn Popper Features
In addition to the stirrer rod another great feature is that many of these products require less oil than needed for other popping methods. This results in a healthier snack with less calories, fat and sodium. That is unless you add butter and salt after the corn has been popped. Naturally, adding anything to the popcorn increases the calories and fat content of the food.
Some electric popcorn poppers today may even have a butter melting feature. You simply put some butter into the tray and the popper melts the butter for you. As the popcorn pops the butter melts and drops down onto the popped corn. Some people feel that this makes the popcorn soggy. It is also often reported that the butter doesn't fully melt leaving a bit of a mess at the top of the popper. As with all "Automatic Buttering Schemes", we strong discourage their use in favor of simpye melting the butter in the microwave.
Most electric popcorn poppers nowadays have heat-free handles. In the past, people needed to use potholders just to open the vessel. The new design makes the products much safer to handle because you won't get burned.
Many of the electric popcorn poppers available today have attached popcorn bowls. The lid actually doubles as a serving bowl. You simply turn the popper over and the electric popcorn fills the bowl with your tasty snack. It's quite an ingenious feature that will also cut down on your clean up time.
Finally, a common electric popcorn popper feature is an automatic shutoff. As soon as the popcorn has popped, the machine turns itself off. This is a great feature which makes these products much safer than they were in the past.