Perfectly seasoned, home-cooked popcorn takes snacking to another level, and it’s easy with the right popcorn maker. The best stovetop popcorn poppers are made from ultra-durable stainless steel with an aluminum core for even heat distribution. That said, if you’re shopping on a budget or looking to add the most toppings, aluminum might be a better bet.
All stovetop popcorn makers have a crank in the lid that stirs the kernels in the pot, moving them around to prevent burning, distribute the oil evenly, and help the majority of pieces pop. They’re easy to clean by wiping down with a towel, and some are even dishwasher safe. But when it comes to material, you have a choice between stainless steel and aluminum.
Stainless steel is very durable, and some will be compatible with induction stovetops. However, food can stick to stainless steel cookware and it offers poor heat distribution unless it has an encapsulated aluminum base or core that helps it heat evenly. On the other hand, an all-aluminum pick will have excellent heat conductivity but it does not work on induction stovetops and it can warp and scratch over time. And if you love toppings like sugar or caramel, the aluminum popper with a nonstick coating allows you to thoroughly mix in your favorite flavors, and it’s dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
Scroll on for the best stovetop popcorn poppers that make hot, puffy kernels in minutes.
1. The Overall Best Popcorn Popper
- Capacity: 6.5 quarts
This stainless steel popcorn maker is a fan favorite on Amazon, boasting more than 2,000 perfect five-star reviews. It features an encapsulated aluminum base for even heat distribution, and there’s a wooden safety handle for easy stirring. The easy-pour lid has steam vents to help keep your popcorn crunchy. However, this popcorn maker does not work on induction stovetops (for that, keep scrolling) and it’s not dishwasher safe — but it is easy to clean by wiping down with a paper towel.
One enthusiastic review: “Popcorn has been elevated to a whole new dimension in our house! We love it! Easy to use, no burnt popcorn and no unzipped kernels!”
2. The Best On A Budget
- Capacity: 6 quarts
This aluminum popper is a no-frills choice that still makes great popcorn. The side crank handle is made of wood to protect your hand from heat, and the aluminum lid has steam vents and lid locks to keep it in place. As with the previous choice, this option does not work on induction stovetops. To clean, you’ll want to wipe it down with a cloth or a paper towel.
One enthusiastic review: “Easy to use, good construction, good quality. This thing rocks. The gears are metal not plastic like the cheap versions of these. This [thing] been used easily 100 times since we bought it. Still works the same as the first time we used it. Easy to clean and sturdy.”
3. The Best Nonstick Popper
- Capacity: 5.5 quarts
Not only is this aluminum popcorn popper the only dishwasher safe option, but it also has a nonstick coating and unique mixing mechanism that lets you thoroughly stir in your favorite toppings. The rotating paddles leave unpopped kernels untouched while you stir, helping to prevent hard kernels from getting mixed in. And to make mixing even easier, the tempered glass lid has a small silicone-covered port where you can add seasonings. The lid also has ventilation holes and silicone rim stops for a snug fit. The metal crank is on top of the lid, which some may find more convenient than a side crank, and reviewers say it does not get warm when the pot’s on the stove. There’s also a soft-touch Bakelite handle. But because this popper is made from aluminum, it is not induction-compatible. It’s also available in black, red, and black marble, and a recipe book is included.
One enthusiastic review: “This product is easy to clean, easy to use and you can make any kind of popcorn you want with it! My favorite so far is kettle corn.”
4. The Best For Induction Stoves
- Capacity: 6 quarts
This stainless steel popcorn maker has earned a 4.7 overall rating after hundreds of popcorn enthusiasts had their say on Amazon. The pan has an encapsulated aluminum bottom that helps improve heat distribution. The crank’s handle is covered in wood, so won’t heat up as you're turning, and the lid has ventilation holes to help popcorn stay crisp. It works with induction stovetops, and though it’s not dishwasher safe, it’s easy to wipe clean with a paper towel.
One enthusiastic review: “I have an induction cook top and have been burning popcorn in a regular pan that I couldn't shake. I found this induction-suitable popper with the rotating arm. I just made my first batch of popcorn in it and it worked beautifully. And none of the burning of the pan that I had become used to. It's a heavy, well-built, well-designed pan and the lid snaps on easily.”
You May Also Like: A Popcorn Popper Kit For Fire Pits & Campfires
- Capacity: 4 quarts
This popcorn popper kit includes everything you need to pop kernels over an open fire. The aluminum pan has a long, 27-inch handle so you can stay a safe distance away. It doesn’t have a crank, so you’ll need to shake the lightweight pan by the handle to get the most even coating. The lid has a locking mechanism to keep it secure and you’ll just need to wipe the inside with a paper towel to clean. In addition to the popper, the set includes five popcorn packs with kernels, oil, and salt, as well as a seasoning sampler pack and four paper popcorn tubs.
One enthusiastic review: “This item was a hit on a recent family and friends camping trip. [Very] easy to use and clean and so much fun for a night around the fire! The popcorn came out perfect, crunchy with just enough salt! We will definitely use it at home out back around our fire pit as well!”