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There’s nothing better than sitting down to watch a movie with a bag of the best microwave popcorn in your hands. When you go to the grocery store, though, you have so many options in front of you. Which is the best brand and why? To find an answer to this great mystery, we rented all our favorite movies, bought a bunch of popcorn, and started chowing down. As we popped and ate the popcorn, we paid close attention to pop times, overall popping quality, and of course, how the popcorn tasted, paying close attention to saltiness and buttery flavor. Even the best microwaves cannot work miracles with a bag of popcorn but these movie snacks showed up in nearly every way.
Based on our experiments with the top microwave popcorn brands, the best microwave popcorn, and our #1 pick, is the Quinn Snacks Microwave Popcorn, winning thanks to overall taste and reliability, and the use of all-natural ingredients. Keep reading to learn more about our favorite popcorn snacks and why we chose them. We encourage you to try them out too! Get a movie rental, throw the bag in your built-in microwave, and sit down with one of these microwavable popcorn bags for the best time.
Award: Top Pick/Best Natural
WHY WE LIKE IT: Want to switch up the typical microwavable popcorn process? The Quinn Snacks microwavable popcorn does just that with all-natural ingredients and bags.
The Quinn Snacks microwavable popcorn is the most expensive option on our list when compared to how much popcorn you actually get in each package, but there’s a good reason for that. Instead of popping your popcorn in chemically coated bags, Quinn popcorn is uses what they call their “pure-pop” paper bag that’s sure to be healthier than anything else.
Related: If you’re trying to stay true to the Whirlpool brand then check out the best Whirlpool microwaves.
However, the popping process here takes a bit longer than the standard microwavable treat. First, you pop the popcorn, then you pour in the included oil and shake up the back. After that, you pour in the flavoring and shake up the bag again. Don’t let the long process scare you away though! Quinn Snacks popcorn tastes absolutely delicious and comes in a bunch of different flavors. And we didn’t feel too guilty eating it either, knowing everything was all natural. Use it with the best microwave.
Award: Honorable Mention/Best Butter
WHY WE LIKE IT: Looking for a much richer option than the others here? Check out Pop Secret’s easy and delicious movie theater style butter popcorn.
Maybe you’re on the other side of the spectrum when it comes to movie theater butter and you just want to enjoy some of the richest popcorn out there. More butter? Bring it on; let’s make things tasty. Pop Secret Movie Theater Butter popcorn doesn’t hold back on the flavor and gives you an amazing taste without all the grease for the perfect movie night.
Unfortunately, some bags are messier than others. Some of the bags we popped leaked butter into our microwave and you’ve probably already guessed by now that our fingers were messier than ever after eating this popcorn. All in all, this 100% whole grain microwavable theatre style popcorn hit the spot for our movie night munchies needs. You may want to read about the best countertop microwave as well.
Award: Best Value/Best Kernels
WHY WE LIKE IT: Orville Redenbacher’s is a tried and true brand name with tons of reliability and flavor.
It’s true that you just can’t go wrong with Orville Redenbacher’s microwavable popcorn. It’s one of the more consistent popcorn we’ve popped. Almost 100% of the bags we microwaved popped most of their kernels without using any kind of artificial preservatives or flavorings. Sure, some of the bags get messier than you would expect, but that isn’t a deal breaker by any means.
We loved the flavor of our Orville Redenbacher’s microwavable popcorn. It had just the right amount of butter and salt to make for the perfect treat while watching a movie or hanging out with friends and family. It will taste great made in the best over the range microwave.
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Award: Best Low Calories
WHY WE LIKE IT: Act II’s popcorn impressed us with its authentic taste and variety of purchase options.
Act II designs its popcorn for quick microwaving (dependably three minutes for most bags and medium-power microwaves) and taste. In this case, both features come through with winning style. If you want popcorn that’s as close to real movie popcorn as you can get, here’s where to start.
We also appreciated the many buying options Act II offers, from microwavable buckets to little snack bags. However, we found the butter flavoring to be a little inconsistent between bags. Too much in one bag and not enough in the next. Surprisingly, this Act II popcorn is vegan friendly and offers the lowest number of calories on the whole list. Also check out the best stainless steel microwave.
Award: Best Budget/Best Healthy
WHY WE LIKE IT: With no artificial ingredients or flavoring, this fluffy Jolly Time popcorn shouldn’t taste as good as it does.
Okay, maybe that delicious movie theater taste isn’t what you had in mind. Maybe your idea of the perfect microwavable popcorn is something different – a simpler style of popcorn that focuses on the corn flavor and quality and less on everything else. This is what the Jolly Time Simply Popped popcorn focuses on. With no artificial ingredients, you get a more nuanced taste without being blasted by butter flavoring.
We found this Jolly Time popcorn to be sweet and delicious, and thankfully it didn’t have that acrid popcorn odor that so many other microwavable bags have. Whether you’re watching calories or just like a simpler taste to your popcorn, this product does the job right. Perfect for the best small microwave.
It sounds pretty obvious, but we put the popcorn through its paces and then see what happens before we choose a microwave. Basically, we look at several different stages:
Today’s microwave popcorn uses more sophisticated ingredients and combinations of palm oil/corn oil to create healthier or more natural flavors. If you’ve tried microwave popcorn in the past and been a little disappointed, you should definitely give these newer versions a try. We’ve found a lot of variance in texture and flavor between brands and product lines – you may have just not found the right kind to try. These choices are an excellent place to start. And last, but most certainly not least, it’s the least laborious way to make popcorn, though it’s arguably not the healthiest.
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It’s never fun when you have a bag of popcorn rip or explode. If you need help cleaning up the grease in your microwave, then we’ve got tips on how to clean a microwave the easy way. If you want something that can handle much more than popcorn, think about an iChef Oven or a similar type of smaller automatic oven that can handle anything.
On the other hand, if you’re really tired of your work microwave smelling like popcorn all the time, you can find USB microwaves to plug in at your desk and heat your coffee too!