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Best Microwave Popcorn Poppers

By: Angela Stringfellow on July 10, 2017

Microwave poppers churn out popcorn easily without the extra chemicals

Two microwave popcorn poppers stand out: the Lékué Microwave Popcorn Popper (Est. $20) and the Nordic Ware Microwave Popcorn Popper (Est. $8) are lauded for the great-tasting, fluffy popcorn that they make. The Lékué Microwave Popcorn Popper receives high ratings in more than 1,000 owner-written reviews at Amazon.com, and it earns accolades in several professional reviews, including YourBestDigs.com, Moo.Review, SurLaTable.com and Leelalicious.com.

It's the top pick at YourBestDigs.com, where editors pit it against four other popcorn makers in head-to-head testing, and editors at Moo.Review name it the best microwave popcorn popper. Editors praise its simple and innovative design as well as its quality, durable materials and versatility – all at an affordable price. It's made of BPA-free silicone, and it's easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher (top-rack only). The Lékué also boasts easy storage thanks to its collapsible design, which folds down to just two inches tall to fit easily in a kitchen drawer or cabinet; when expanded, it stands five inches tall and is eight inches in diameter.

The 10-cup Lékué Microwave Popcorn Popper earns major points for convenience from owners, as well, who say it makes great-tasting popcorn with or without oil. At Amazon.com, reviewers share recipes and tips for creating the perfect popcorn with the Lékué, and some even suggest the bowl is also useful for steaming vegetables. It has a suction lid to prevent popcorn from overflowing from the bowl, and it produces a full batch of delicious popcorn in just three minutes. However, experts warn that you should be prepared to remove the lid immediately after it's finished popping as the lid doesn't have built-in vents, which could allow the trapped steam to dampen your popcorn.

Finally, measurements are marked directly on the bowl itself, so there's no need to dirty a measuring cup or spoon to measure oil or unpopped kernels during preparation. In tests, it leaves few kernels unpopped. Editors at YourBestDigs.com say this popcorn popper popped all but 10 kernels in just under two and a half minutes, about the same amount of time as the Presto PopLite Hot Air Corn Popper 04820 (Est. $25), profiled in our discussion of electric popcorn poppers. The Lékué is backed by a 10-year warranty.

If you're looking for a microwave popcorn popper with a larger capacity, the 3-quart (12-cup) Nordic Ware Microwave Popcorn Popper also receives positive reviews, although it takes a bit longer (about four minutes compared to the two- to three-minute cook time for the Lékué) to make a batch of popcorn. Editors at Moo.Review say it takes a bit of trial and error to find the right cooking time, and points out that there are no measurement lines on the bowl, meaning that you'll need to measure out the kernels separately before putting them in the bowl. The Nordic Ware Microwave Popcorn Popper is versatile, editors say, with a perfectly rounded base that makes it useful for storing and reheating other foods.

Several thousand owners review this microwave popper at Amazon.com, where it earns average-to-high ratings from most. Owners of the Nordic Ware Microwave Popcorn Popper admit that there is a high rate of unpopped kernels in every batch, but it's a price they are willing to pay for great-tasting popcorn. Experts say longer cooking times may result in fewer unpopped kernels but also burnt popcorn, recommending that users turn their microwaves off just before the one-pop-per-second suggested in the user manual. While Nordic Ware instructs owners not to cook with oil, several owners do so in order to get a better tasting snack. Owners also warn that the bowl is extremely hot out of the microwave and should be handled carefully. On the plus side, the bowl is unbreakable and chip-proof.

Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine give good marks to the Nordic Ware Microwave Popcorn Popper. Editors praise the simplicity of the Nordic Ware's design, requiring only three simple steps (add plain corn kernels, put the lid on, and place it in the microwave) for a bowl full of great-tasting popcorn. They do note that while it's dishwasher-safe, hand-washing is recommended, but with two easy-to-clean parts, it's not a big deal to wash it by hand. Some owners warn that it may crack or discolor after frequent use, and the lid may warp over time.

It's also an excellent value. Editors at Heavy.com name the Nordic Ware one of the top five popcorn poppers, noting that it's uncommon to find a gadget that performs so well at such a low price point. The Nordic Ware Microwave Popcorn Popper comes in red or white and is backed by a five-year warranty.

The Salbree Microwave Popcorn Popper (Est. $17) is similar in design to the Best Reviewed Lékué Microwave Popcorn Popper, but with one standout feature: the bowl has built-in handles, so you can remove it from the microwave without the need for hot pads (although the handles may be warm, so caution is recommended). It's BPA-free and dishwasher-safe, and like the Lékué, it's collapsible, from its 5.7-inch expanded height to 2.25 inches when collapsed.

One reason that we can't elevate this popcorn popper to Best Reviewed status is that we were unable to find a credible expert review. However, this microwave popcorn popper earns a near-perfect rating in several thousand owner-written reviews at Amazon.com. Owners posting there say they love being able to choose whether to use oil (which isn't required, but can be used if desired) or opt for healthier fats, such as a light spray with canola oil. Most owners say it's easy to use and leaves few unpopped kernels.

The Salbree Microwave Popcorn Popper has built-in measurements on the bowl, with the bottom line equal to ¼ cup and the top line equal to ½ cup. However, the Salbee's user manual recommends adding only up to 1/3 cup of kernels and says ¼ cup is found to be the most efficient. It can pop 12 to 14 cups of popcorn in two to four minutes; using 1/3 cup of kernels will produce about four cups of popcorn. This microwave popcorn popper comes in an array of colors, too. It's covered by a 90 day money back satisfaction guarantee.

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