Popcorn alternatives to microwave

OK, with the big furor over butter flavor in microwave popcorn, I’m looking at alternatives again. There was a thread a while ago where someone recommended a special popper that has a crank handle. This substitutes (more efficiently and comfortably) for shaking the pot while popping. Can anyone remind me or find that thread?

Are there other, more convenient, safer, alternatives? Like one that a person could use at the office?

I used to own a microwave popper which was just a plastic container you put the kernels in, with enough ribbing to keep anything from flying out. I also have an air popper, pretty small, which you can plug in - you just need a big enough bowl to catch the popcorn as it flies out.

You can melt butter in the microwave and apply if you want it. It’s more steps than a bag, but it’s cheaper, and nothing you can’t do at work.

I have the crank popper. It works just fine. It’s a Back to Basics Stove Top Popper.

Can you not just put the popcorn in the micro in a big bowl with a lid on it? That’s what I used to do.

I posted this less than a week ago for a request about popping it in a microwave without the prepackaged stuff.

And that’s pretty much the routine I posted in the other thread. I use tape to hold the bag shut because the bag always unfolds on me.

There are varieties of microwaver popcorn without the artificial butter flavor. I actually prefer those, as the smell of the fake butter literally drives me from the room. I bought some once by mistake, and even opening the plastic overwrap made me ill. I wound up throwing away the rest of the boxful.

Air-popped is a great alternative, though you don’t get quite the same taste experience. And it’s cheaper :slight_smile:

Staples work even better. Just fold the bag over and place a couple in the top to keep it shut.

The bags are taller than the microwave I use, so they can’t unfold when placed upright in the unit. They never open on me during popping. Are you laying it sideways?

I have one of those Presto poppers and it works really well.

Yeah, it didn’t even occur to me to try to stand the bag upright. Hmm…

I had a crank handled pot for popcorn once, and it was a piece of garbage that didn’t even come close to doing what it was supposed to do.

Here’s my secret recipe for awesome stove-top popcorn. . .

Put about 1 tablespoon of good oil in the bottom of a medium-large pot. Turn the heat to medium-high and place 3 kernels of corn in the pot and put the lid on it. Have your popcorn bowl ready, and 1/3 cup kernels measured out and ready to pour in. When you’ve heard all 3 kernels pop, open the lid and spoon them out into the bowl. Then quickly dump in the rest of the kernels and briefly shake the pot to evenly layer them on the bottom, and put the lid back on. The kernels will begin popping almost immediately because now your oil is heated to the exact right temperature, and it will be done popping in less than a minute, with almost no unpopped kernels. Perfect popcorn every time.

That is almost my exact technique but what I do is put in the amount of popcorn I want and then add just enough canola oil to coat the kernels. Then I keep shaking the pot to keep the contact with the heat even. It only takes about three or four minutes regardless.

I have tried adding popcorn salt in the popping process like movie theaters do but I’ve been unhappy with the results. I’m also very careful not to overbutter; half a tablespoon is more than enough for a third of a cup of kernels.

Anybody using the hot oil and a pan method, should know that a thick pan is needed to do it right. A thin metal pan will burn the popcorn. The same pan made popcorn in my parents house for almost thirty five years. Dad mad the stuff almost nightly.
35x365= about 12,775 times. We made it sometimes too. He ate the whole pan by himself. That’s a lot of use for one pan. It was used as a dog pan after it was retired.

Following Shayna and Just Some Guy

It takes about five to ten minutes to make unbelievably great popcorn. While it may seem crazy to those who default to the microwave, the miniscule effort makes comparing stovetop popcorn to microwave popcorn similar to real maple syrup to Log Cabin. Two completely different galaxies.

Few things:
Start with a heavy pot if you can, something that will take time to heat up and will retain it once it’s hot – this will keep the oil at a nice, even temperature.

If you want an amazing popcorn experience, especially if you’re over thirty and remember when “movie popcorn” meant something, get yourself some coconut oil. Decide for yourself if it’s a health risk, or just use it occasionally, but use it once and you will be taken to new heights of snackuliciousness.

Shayna is right about using kernels to gauge temperature, but I prefer to wait about thirty seconds or so after they pop to add the rest–this allows for the drop in temperature from the addition of the kernels.

Crack the lid of the pot, enough so the steam can escape. Small step, but easily overlooked – do you really want those freshly popped kernels soaking up moisture?

DO NOT TOUCH THE POT They sell machines with paddles and cranks inside in order to sell more machines. Granted, if you were making an industrial amount of popcorn it might come into play, but for a half cup or so moving the kernels around is not necessary. The popping naturally separates the popped from the unpopped, and ensures things are in the right place. Moving the pot around, while fun, while tradition, pretty much only serves to lose heat. I know it takes a leap of faith to follow such blasphemous advice on an anonymous message board (I could be part of the microwave oven cabal), but try it once and you’ll understand. Just remember that it’s more unforgiving of too little oil and not taking it out of the pot right away, but you’ll have fewer unpopped kernels, and a more consistent pop.

While it’s popping, you should be getting the bowl and your butter ready. Have the butter melted and next to the bowl.

This is where I may go a wee bit over the deep end, but I think the extra minute is worth it. I drop the popped corn in a bowl, then take a spoon and drizzle a bit of butter over the top, add salt, mix well, and repeat until all the butter is used. Perfectly even buttering, perfect salting, and though it looks like it takes a lot more than microwaving, it’s really a minimal effort

And, well, that’s my take on popcorn. If anyone’s seen any of my nachos postings, you’ll know there are a few picayune things I take mightily seriously.