Let’s All Go to the Lobby
Since the goal is to re-create the local cineplex in your living room, you might as well go the whole nine yards and include concessions. What’s a movie-going experience without popcorn? And we’re not talking about the kind you drop in the microwave or shake over an open flame till it expands. We mean the authentic, buttery goodness that is often devoured before the first preview rolls. And there’s an added bonus to popping kernels in the privacy of your home theater: You can always press pause when you need a refill. Here are a few of the best popcorn makers on the market.
If you’re looking for a low-calorie alternative, the Toastess TCP713 Hot-Air Popcorn Popper uses hot air to cook kernels instead of oil. Its unique airflow design pops kernels faster than other methods and leaves popcorn puffier, with fewer unpopped kernels. The removable measuring cup can also be used to melt butter. A transparent chute up top directs popcorn into a serving bowl. $30
The Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper offers a more hands-on approach to making kernels dance. Simply coat the pan with a tablespoon of oil, add half a cup of popcorn and 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil, and shut the lid. Crank the handle until the sound of popping starts to slow. The hand-crank mechanism continuously stirs the corn to evenly distribute the oil and prevent burning. The Whirley Pop can produce 6 quarts (24 cups) of crispy popcorn in three minutes. To clean, pop off the lid and wipe the inside with a paper towel. $30
You’ll feel truly transported to the movies with WestBend’s Stir Crazy Theater Popper. Complete with a tilting 2.5-ounce kettle, the Stir Crazy pops up to 8 cups of popcorn in four minutes (its cabinet holds up to 24 cups of popped popcorn). Also included are measuring cups and a serving tray. The kettle is removable for fast, easy cleaning, and the durable cabinet lights up. $120
Cuisinart’s EasyPop Popcorn Maker helps you put the crunch back into homemade popcorn with its vented popping bowl, which lets moisture escape to keep popcorn crisp. The popping plate’s base is made of aluminum, ensuring even heat distribution. Just add oil (Cuisinart suggests 2 tablespoons) and half a cup of kernels, and the EasyPop takes it from there, popping up to 10 cups in less than five minutes. Attach the lid, and the elegant popping bowl doubles as a serving bowl. The base is brushed stainless steel, and the bowl, bowl cover, and popping plate are removable and dishwasher safe. $60