Updated: June 8, 2015

Best Kettle Corn Makers - Kettlecorn Popcorn

Making kettle corn at home - finding the right popper!
Is there a snack more popular in North American than popcorn? It's a fairly versatile food. Consider that when you are at home, it's probably your selection for a nice, cheap snack which is also marginally on the healthy side (depending of course on what you put on it and in it). On the other hand, thousands of American shell out big money each week at the movie theatre for the same snack. That's how much we love our popcorn; the obvious discrepancy in price does not seem to phase us. Still, making great popcorn and great kettle corn at home is the preferred way to enjoy this snack, and you need the right equipment to do it. Let's see who makes the best kettlecorn poppers out there.

kettle corn maker


Retaining the Flavor in a Kettle corn Maker

Now when it comes to flavor, popcorn purists will always swear by kettle corn and kettle corn makers. Kettle corn takes quite a bit longer to make up than microwave or hot air popped corn, but that slow time marinated in oil means that these little white buds have a lot more pop for the tastebuds than either of the other two types of popcorn. And when it comes to the best kettle corn maker, you will see one name come up again and again on every popcorn maker review site from ConsumerSearch to Popcorn Popper Reviews, and that is the Whirley-Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper (at just $25, a real steal). Put your kernels and some oil into this stainless steel, saucepan style popper and stir it using the convenient handle and you'll have about four quarts of flavor in a little over four minutes. Keep in mind of course that this is about double the time of the average commercial break, so if the urge to snack seizes you mid-show you will have to be willing to miss a little bit of it. Also, the Whirly Pop has been noted by Cook's Illustrated magazine as having a stir stick that is a little bit too sharp for comfort ("extremely" was the word used over and over again) and it can be a real pain to wash. If you're looking for a kettle corn maker that's a bit more modern looking, reviews such as epinions.com say that you can't go wrong with the West Bend Kettle Krazy Popcorn Popper (about $40). It looks like a modern appliance and runs off electricity; it's easier to clean and it works a bit faster too. And we should mention, you can also roast nuts in it to either add to your delicious kettle corn, or to have as an alternative snack all on their own.

Bringing the Fun of Kettle Popcorn Home

The Whirly Pop seems to be at the top of the list on nearly every review site, but there are dozens of varieties of kettle popcorn poppers out there. For some people, it doesn't matter too much if their popcorn pops in under two minutes or four minutes, it's still pretty quick. Most popcorn poppers will put out around the same capacity, and sometimes you want a popper that will make people's eyes pop out a little bit. The Nostalgia Electrics Old Fashioned Red Kettle Corn Popper is an excellent example of a popper modeled on the old fashioned popcorn cart which makes great popcorn and adds to the overall decor of a house as well.

Some Kettle Popcorn Troubleshooting

One of the great things about kettle corn and kettle corn makers is that you rarely have the problem of unpopped kernels, as you do with hot air popcorn poppers. However, as noted above there are some problems with kettle corn in that the poppers can be a bit hard to clean up, and stir sticks can also be a bit sharp as mentioned with the Whirly Pop. They can also be labor intensive (again, note the stir stick!). One way to avoid many of these problems is through a model such as the West Bend Krazy Kettle Corn popper. It's made of plastic so it's a lot easier to clean. You can cut down on the labor of making the kettle corn too because there's no manual handle. On the other hand, Popcorn Reviews notes that you do end up with more unpopped kernels without the manual effort. If you don't mind a lot of cleaning the Nostalgia ornamental kettle make a lot of popcorn quickly, without manual effort.

Try out Different Kettle Corn Recipes

Finally, one of the great things about kettle corn is that you can try a variety of different recipes to get just the taste you are looking for. While traditionally a mix of oil or butter and some salt is used, you can liven things up a bit with a few additional ingredients. Add some sweet to your kettle corn by putting some white or brown sugar with the oil; if you like popcorn balls, you'll love the taste of the white sugar, and caramel corn lovers will salivate over kettle corn popped with brown sugar. Stir in the sugar (equal amounts with the oil, about half of the amount of popcorn kernels you are making) with the kernels after you get the oil nice and hot, and it will work nicely. To mix things up from treat to treat, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and even ketchup can also be used. A lot of people also just like to get their kettle corn glazes and powders pre-mixed. Back to Basics makes a whole line of flavorings and seasonings, from cinnamon to caramel to nut. It's a great way to add some zip to your kettle corn, so you can enjoy it as a salty snack or a sweet dessert!