Kitchn Love Letters

My Mom Gave Me This Old-School Popcorn Maker and Now I Can’t Live Without It

published Feb 23, 2022
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Credit: Lauren Volo

After recently visiting my mom, who uses her Whirley Pop almost every evening for a healthy snack, I became hooked on the flavor of freshly popped popcorn. I love a good bowl of crunchy popcorn while curling up for a movie, but have never been a fan of the microwave packs, making it difficult to enjoy the snack at home — until I received the Whirley Pop Popcorn Maker as a gift. It makes the best popcorn I’ve ever had, beating store bought bags and microwave versions, which often come with additives and higher price tags. Plus, it’s quick and easy to use. It also allows me to flavor my popcorn the way I like, giving me the ability to control the amount of butter, oil, and salt I use.

I received the Movie Theater Combo Pack which is perfect for gifting, and it has everything you need (minus the oil) to pop your first batch. Included is the 6-quart popper, 13 ounces of gourmet kernels, and a buttery seasoning. It’s easy and only takes a a few minutes. Simply pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil to coat your pan, heat for about 20 seconds until the oil is hot, remove from heat, and once cool, wipe out with a paper towel.

Once the pan is seasoned, you’re ready to have a bowl of popcorn in just about three minutes! The popper can make a total of 24 cups of popcorn during one use, which is great for feeding a group. The instructions will give you a guide on how much popping corn and oil to use for your intended batch size, but the key is to make sure oil covers the bottom of the pan to keep the kernels from burning. An oil with a high smoke point is recommended, such as coconut or canola oil. As you hold the wooden handle in one hand, you slowly turn the crank with the other, and continue to do so as the kernels pop. Make sure to remove the pan from heat quickly to avoid burning!

Once popped, you can lift one of the lid flaps to easily pour into your bowl. I always use an extra large bowl to allow for mixing in all of my toppings. The included movie theater butter seasoning is great, but I also play around with other seasonings and oils, like the divine mixture of salt and pepper with a drizzle of TRUFF Black Truffle Oil. What I love most is experimenting and finding new flavor combos, whether I’m in the mood for a buttery and salty indulgence, something cheesy, or unique.

What makes the Whirley Pop even better is that you don’t have to wash it after every use. If you use it regularly (like every week), it’s recommended to simply wipe the inside with a paper towel. After less frequent use, it can be washed in warm, soapy water — but let’s be honest, it’s going to be used a lot.

Buy: Whirley Pop Popcorn Maker Movie Theater Combo Pack, $34.99