Now if you’re one of those fancy big city types who only gets their popcorn at from them theaters that’s got the talking pictures and such, then whoopdeedoo, fancy big city type! The rest of us? See, we like a little thing called Freedom—the freedom to make our popcorn when and where we want. If I want to crunch away on my popcorn while watching talking pictures on my 48” LCD flatscreen with a 5.1 digital bass boost surround sound system, then that’s what I’m-a gonna do!
Today, we’re breaking down the what’s-what of the 5 best brands of DIY popcorn. There have been some exciting things happening recently in the world of pre-popped, bagged popcorns, so we invite you to try those as well (if you actually believe that anything related to pre-popped bagged popcorn is exciting, though, I’ll bet you’re way ahead of me already) but we here are still purists for that good old popcorn you make right there in the kitchen (And which you will at every now and then invariably undercook, ending up with too many tooth-destroying brown kernels, or overcook into blackened, smoky ruin. Sigh).
5 Pop Secret
Let’s bring it all home with a 90s staple, you knew it was coming, you just wondered when… it’s… Pop Secret! Perhaps the most processed tasting of the popcorns on our list, it is also possessed of a taste we of a certain age range grew up with and love. This is the popcorn whose greasy bag stained the coffee table while you were watching Raiders of the Lost Ark on VHS. This is the one with all those commercials that as I vaguely recall were kinda weird, weren’t they? This is the popcorn of your childhood, basically, unless Orville Redenbacher was the popcorn of your childhood. Try the Extra Butter flavor. You shan’t regret it.
4 Jiffy Pop
Taking a bit ol’ school for #4… Jiffy Pop! The stovetop popcorn! Now, as long as you make this popcorn under intense, unimpaired adult supervision, you are going to end up with a fine classic make-at-home snack. Are we a bit terrified of it exploding, possibly into a giant fireball? Yes. A bit. Is that our problem and not an inherent flaw in the design of Jiffy Pop? Yes, it is our problem. I suppose the only legitimate complaint here is that stovetop is not quite as convenient as microwave popcorn, but you end up with a very similar tasting product, and then extra modicum off effort required is a fine definition of a Western Problem.
3 Smart Balance’s Light Butter
Smart Balance’s Light Butter flavored microwave popcorn will necessitate you eating a hellofalot of it to feel satisfied, but the flip side of that coin is that it’s actually pretty healthy, so go right ahead! No trans fats. Yes, whole grain fiber. No partially hydrogenated oils. Yes seal of approval from the AHA right there on the box. So if the American Heart Association’s seal of approval helps you out your seal of approval on… things…. Look, this is a plenty tasty popcorn and it’s by far the most health conscious on the list, if not the tastiest.
2 Orville Redenbacher
Number 2? C’mon, we gotta give it to Orville Redenbacher. I mean, he just looks so nice! And the name, such a ridiculous name to have worked its way so deeply into our society. Did you even bat an eye when you just read Or-Ville Red-En-Bach-Er? It just rolls off the tongue. And in a handy segue, speaking of tongues, Mr. Redenbacher’s Movie Theater Butter flavor of microwave popcorn may not be the best you could ever find, but it is the standard bearer. This is the popcorn you were thinking of when you started reading this article and realized that you were suddenly thinking of popcorn. Kind of a meta-loop there, huh?
1 Newman’s Own
Newman’s Own wins the race, folks! This brand, created by the late, great actor of the same name. Newman’s Own products tend to be more focused than most on being made from pronounceable ingredients, i.e. not processed and preserved into fallout shelter gourmet. This popcorn tastes buttery and sweet (in fact, the specific flavor we’re thinking of here? Oh yeah: butter) but without that kind of sickly-sweet flavoring some of the more, shall we say, artificially enhanced entries pack into their popped kernels.
You can’t ask for a much easier snack than microwave popcorn, and you can’t ask for a finer rundown of your options, all you can do is gather up a few ones and nickels and head to the store. You’ll be just 2 minutes 35 (or 45 or maybe just do 3 minutes but that may be too long so keep listening) from deliciousness!