Best Popcorn Machine Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals 2020: If you are considering buying a home popcorn machine, there are several options and an assortment of models available for you to have a look at. A lot of home models are simply popcorn makers built specifically for home and other non-commercial uses. These come in reduced dimensions in comparison with industrial equipment, making it a lot easier to maintain and use, nevertheless their best aspect certainly is the potential to copy the taste of movie-style popcorn.
When you mention the popcorn machine, most people think of those you see at the movie theater or at a concession stand. You can buy these commercial models, but there are lots of home popcorn machines available that are very popular. They are there for those of us that want that special movie popcorn taste, as an accessory for our home theatre.
These are the Best Popcorn Machine Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals 2020:
How A Popcorn Machine Works
When Charles Creator invented and continued to popularize the popcorn machine, significant to the development was how the popcorn, oil, and seasonings were all added to a kettle at the same time. As the oil was heated allowing the popcorn to pop, an agitator was also continually stirring the ingredients – this gave more consistent taste and popping results, along with keeping the popcorn from burning.
As the ingredients inside the kettle continue to get hotter, the heat from the oil will take the water that is inside those kernels and turn it into steam. The process completes as the kernels expand and then explode into big fluffy pieces of popcorn.
The finished popcorn will fill up the kettle and overflow into the glass cabinet of the popper, where there is a warming element to help keep the popcorn warm and fresh without getting soggy. Listen for the end of the cycle, and when you can’t hear kernels popping anymore, be sure to turn off the elements inside of the kettle and empty the rest of the popcorn into the cabinet. Don’t wait too long, because you will get burnt popcorn if you do.
And here is another trick – as soon as the popcorn is done popping, be sure to open door to the popcorn machine. This will let the steam out and keep it from absorbing the moisture, which is a big cause for popcorn becoming chewy.
Popcorn Machine Buying Guide
The basic principles for how a popcorn machine works will essentially be the same between different types. However, there are a number of things that you will want to consider when making your purchase decision.
Most home popcorn machines will be between four and eight ounces. One ounce of kernels will give one quart of finished popcorn, so use that ratio to decide what size machine you need. You can always cook less in a bigger machine, and the four-ounce machines usually don’t have a warming tray – so you may want to at least get a six-ounce machine.
Does the machine have a kernel reject tray, and old-maid drawer – you want that separated from your finished popcorn.
You will find home popcorn machines with 300 watts to 800 watts. With all else being equal, get the machine with the higher wattage because that will cook the popcorn faster.
This is critical to the longevity of the machine, and for successful cooking results. This really isn’t that difficult, especially depending on the materials that it was made with. You want a kettle made of anodized aluminum because besides getting the best heat transfer that is available, this is also a relatively easy material to clean. Also, you want the sides of the machine to be tempered glass instead of Plexiglas. It is easier to clean, and it also won’t scratch.
You definitely want a machine that has this if you are going to make popcorn that you are going to eat throughout the evening, instead of right after it is made.
You will be able to control the kettle heating element, kettle mixing element, and the warming light. You would want a machine that has a separate switch for each one of these functions, instead of one that combines the heater and mixer into one. This will keep you from having to listen to the noise while the machine is preheating before popping.
Do you have room to ‘work’ inside the cabinet? Keep in mind that the kettle will get very hot. You will want to be sure that you have easy access to the handle that flips the kettle when the popcorn is done. And since you will preheat the kettle before putting in the kernels and the oil, you also want to be sure that you have room to do this.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does it matter what size popcorn machine you buy?
The simple answer is yes it does matter. Really it depends on how many people you need to make popcorn for. For smaller numbers, a 4 ounce (110 grams) capacity popcorn machine should be okay. However, for larger groups it’s easier to buy a six-ounce (180 gram) or eight-ounce (220 gram) capacity popcorn machine to avoid having to make multiple batches. The other benefit of a larger popcorn machine is that you can still make smaller amounts if you want.
How long does the popcorn take to cook?
This depends on the type of popcorn machine you have, but once your machine has heated up (on the stove for stovetops, or by plugging into the mains for electric machines) the popcorn will only take 3-4 minutes to cook. Once you have the oil in the machine, and it is correctly heated, it’s a good idea to test with a few kernels. As soon as these pop, put in the rest and close the lid. Then it is up to the popcorn machine to do the rest – simple as that. You will start to hear popping pretty soon. Stovetop popcorn machines cook popcorn more quickly than electric machines, but we are only taking a minute or two. Read the manufacturer’s guidance on this point, and always follow the particular instructions given. You’ll soon hear things getting rather excited in your popcorn machine and then the popping will start to slow around the 3-4 four minute mark. Then you are done. Enjoy.
What oil should you use to cook the popcorn?
The key point to make here is that the oil you use will affect the taste of your popcorn, so choosing the right one to suit your taste is important. A big favorite with many is coconut oil because it burns the cleanest, and, arguably, tastes the best. However, the health conscious may wish to opt for canola oil (which has lower fat and cholesterol). Other oils available are sunflower, peanut, and soy. Under no circumstances should you use vegetable oil: it will not appreciate the heat and will in all likelihood catch on fire! The only way you are really going to know which oil is best for you is to try them all and see.
Is there any assembly required with popcorn machines?
None, unless you buy a cart. Popcorn machine units are pre-assembled, but the carts will not be. If you don’t buy a cart, then an electric machine can just sit on any flat surface. Stovetops obviously sit on the stove when in use. The hottest part of an electric popcorn machine is the kettle, which is always at the top of the machine. The base of an electric popcorn machine remains cool enough to sit on any flat surface. With stovetops, the heat comes from the cooker and so the base will be the hottest part of the machine, all pretty obvious really.
Are hard-coated anodized aluminum kettles better?
There are two issues here: heat transfer and ease of cleaning. Aluminum gives the best heat transfer to the popcorn which gives a better result. Once the aluminum is anodized is has a smooth, easy to clean surface, and it is very hard-wearing.
What’s the best way to clean a popcorn machine?
You can clean popcorn machine surfaces using standard dish cleaning products and water. Let the machine cool then wipe it with a damp cloth. Stovetops can be cleaned just like any other cooking pan. With electric popcorn machines, you’ll find that after a while your ‘kettle’ will blacken through carbonization, and when this happens you will need to use a special cleaning kit (ask your supplier for one). Under no circumstances should you submerge an electric popcorn machine in any type of liquid because its electrical components will short out, as may you if you still have the thing plugged in!
Why does popcorn explode?
Now we come to the interesting science of the matter. A popcorn kernel is made up of hard starch with a small amount of water locked inside. As the temperature around the kernel rises, the water inside the kernel turns to steam and expands. The pressure inside the kernel rises until the kernel can no longer hold in the steam and it explodes. Popcorn kernels will dry out with age, so make sure that your kernels are fresh so that they go off with the required pop. Never store your kernels in a refrigerator or freezer, since this will dry them out. Neither should you store them in a moist place, since they will become chewy? The moisture level needs to be just right to get a good pop and the right taste. The best place to keep your kernels is in a sealed container at room temperature, below 90°F. Don’t expect your kernels to have a shelf life of more than 12-18 months.