Microwave popcorn popper advice please

So, I got a Lekue silicon popcorn popper to use in the microwave. It’s kinda cool because it collapses for storage. Website claims a 90% kernel popping rate after 2-3 minutes. YMAMMV (your microwave and mileage may vary).

Okay, I have a hoity toity Miele microwave (sore subject between myself and China wife). I do the popcorn on 900 watts for 4:10. Any longer and kernals start to burn. Problem is that maybe 2/3 of the kernals pop. I’m using Bob’s Red Mill White Popcorn (and have a couple of bags left). I can eat the popped popcorn and then re-microwave the leftovers and pop maybe half of those.

So, anyone ever really experimented with this? Do I need to pop at a lower power level? Use a different kind of popcorn? Something else to get towards a 90% or better kernel pop rate? Or just put up with the wastage?

I’ve tried several microwave popcorn poppers and they all had varying degrees of waste, but all were much too high for my liking. Regular old microwave popcorn in bag works better, but an air popper works best.

I use spray butter (like non-stick spray for cooking in pans) with Molly McButter and/or popcorn seasonings. The spray is just so the seasonings sticks to the popcorn.

My Lekue popper does pretty well, but I have a 1200 watt microwave. I don’t know if a 900 watt one will work as well. I put in oil up to the lower line and then kernels just about to the second line and it takes 2 3/4 minutes to pop most of them. I don’t have any more left unpopped than I’d find in a bag.

I only use the ready-made paper bags of microwave popcorn, but one thing I discovered that seems to help pop more kernels and burn fewer is to elevate the bag up off the floor of the oven. Instead of setting the bag right down on the glass tray, I set it on my microwave bacon fryer thingie, which raises it up about 3/4" to 1" or so. Fewer unpopped kernels and no burning. YMMV.

You mention you use 900 watts like it’s an option. If that’s the case, you need to be using 100% power, whatever that may be. Microwaves reduce power from 100% by cycling the magnetron off. Like putting it in a pot on the stove and then moving it on and off the heat. Doesn’t work right. Popcorn needs all the heat all the way through the popping time for maximum kernel explosion.

I have used a Presto popcorn popper for many years. I prefer them because they use oil for popping. I find very few kernals but there are always a few in each load. The main disadvantage with thest poppers it the need for a disposable paper cup to hold the oil. This adds extra cost. I just put the popper in the microwave and press the time and go; no special settings are used.



I have the same popper and use the same popcorn without problem. How much oil are you putting in (you need a tablespoon or so), and how much popcorn (1/3 cup max)?

Ahhh, I have not been using oil (so as to reduce the calories). Maybe that’s the issue? Or that my nuke only goes up to 900 watts (it’s a sore point that china wife insisted on a hoity toity Miele microwave along with the really expensive trim package to match the rest of the kitchen, and end up with something that you could buy at Walmart for $99).

I have usually been using a 1/4 cup (first line) or a bit more to 1/3 cup and no oil. Or when I use oil, it’s been just a dab of butter or tiny bit of infused olive oil (I use Mas Portell Pizzolio - tasty with a nice little spicy kick)

Will try with the oil next time my kid(s) want to share. Maybe even preheat the oil since I only have 900 watts max.

Side topic: Chefguy or anyone else, have you visited Bob’s Red Mill? They run a cafe I’d like to check out if I’m ever in the neighborhood (and it’s not so far from Seattle if we ever camp down the Oregon coast). How is the cafe?

I like Bob’s stuff, really like what he has accomplished, and it’s great he gave away the ranch to the employees. :wink:

Yes, the mother ship is probably a mile from my house and they do have a cafe. I don’t know how the food is, I’m afraid, but here is the breakfast and lunch menu. Looks pretty simple, so how bad could it be? I buy my popcorn and steel cut oatmeal there at bulk prices. I’m really picky about my popcorn; for my money, theirs is about the best you can buy. Added bonus: right across the road from Bob’s is the Dave’s Killer Bread bakery outlet.


The menu looks good to me - there’s gotta be something tasty there. :wink:

Amazon has a great price on Bob’s popcorn (the deal I got had 4 27 oz bags).

Chefguy - do you prefer Bob’s white or yellow popcorn? I like a good price performance product, but any other expensive brands you would recommend checking out?

I think I have yellow in the pantry at the moment, but either is fine. I used to buy Amish Country popcorn, as it has a good flavor and pops well. I prefer Bob’s, as it’s local and fresher. I’ve found that pretty much anything you buy in a supermarket (Jolly Time, etc.) is just crap and full of hulls, not to mention tough. I refuse to ever eat microwave popcorn again; life is too short.

Hmm, I just tried filling the popcorn to the second line (more like 1/2 or 2/3 cup), letting it pop at 900watts longer to 5+ minutes and the popping drops to less than a pop per second. Maybe there is less unpopped when I use more, and the final pop is pretty close to a full bowl in the popper.

I still repop the leftover kernals, and grind up any of those leftovers for the chickens.

Anyhoo, seems that it is what it is. Or there doesn’t seem to be any microwave magic bullet. Get some good microwave popcorn, and it only pops 70-80% of the kernals so suck it up bucko.

I’ve used one of the Nordic Ware ones for many, many years. Not too much wastage. It does seem to help to use a bit more corn to reduce % wastage, but then I end up with too much popped corn.

I think it also would help to use more butter, but I only like a little bit of it.

(So, ~1 TbSp of old maids per 1/3 cup of kernels is … wow, a lot higher % than I would have guessed.)