When it comes to movie night, the first snack I reach for is microwave popcorn. If I’m trying to be healthy, I go for the salted type, but on other nights or when the kids fancy a treat, there are so many good varieties available. Of course, some are better than others and a bad snack can put a dampener on the whole evening. This is why I created this list of the 10 best microwave popcorns.
There is something for all tastes, but only the better popcorn brands have made it. Whether you prefer savoury or sweet, crunchier or fluffier, it doesn’t matter, the following list covers all bases.
My Picks for The 8 Best Microwave Popcorns
#8 Orville Redenbacher’s SmartPop! Butter Microwave Popcorn
From the popular brand in the niche comes their 94% fat-free popcorn. For healthy eaters, popcorn has always been a wise choice of snack, but this butter flavoured popcorn allows anyone to enjoy the flavour with fewer calories. They are the only major brand to use real butter and when popped, each of these 12 bags makes popcorn that is around 15 calories per cup. With no artificial flavours, dyes, or preservatives, this is a gluten-free popcorn contains 0 g trans fat with every serving. Every ingredient is from a natural source.
Only 15 calories per cup
#7 ASS KICKIN’ Kettle Corn Microwave Popcorn
They make it sound like this popcorn is for the more daring, but this sweet and salty flavour has a special recipe, they say it is the sweetest popcorn around. This six-pack might go fast, but only because you will be tempted to keep going back for more. A gourmet kettle popcorn that will be a favourite for young mouthes, it has the right balance between sweet and salty but then there are other flavours to try as well. For the more adventurous, there is the habanero, and even chili and lime. If you just want to sit and enjoy a quality bowl without the heat, stay in your lane with this flavour.
#6 Act II Butter Lovers Microwave Popcorn
A big value pack with 30 included, this simple to make microwave popcorn has a signature buttery taste where all the kernels pop, filling the bag nicely. Only partially natural in flavour, they are still a bargain at the price. To stock up your cupboards with quality popcorn, Act II is always a reliable choice. It contains citric acid for freshness and can be thrown in the microwave for a quick, and easy snack the family will enjoy. The added salt creates a savoury, buttery flavour that makes this such a popular treat.
#5 Butterkist Salted Microwave Popcorn Pack of 2
A famous brand which all but guarantees perfect microwave popcorn every time. This salted flavour has the right savoury balance and provides big pieces for you to crunch on. With no artificial flavours, this is up there with some of the most popular at-home popcorn brands for a reason. Each bag makes around 60g of popcorn, and you get six in total, that’s more than enough to see you through the next set of movie nights. High in fibre, and with no artificial colours, it is made from their secret recipe that they are keeping close to their chests. It’s hard to blame them, Butterkist is too good to share.
Great salty taste
#4 Pop Secret Popcorn, Movie Theater Butter
A star name that makes a theatre-style butter popcorn, one for the savoury lovers. Easy to make, it creates huge popcorn that is made from 100% whole grain cornels. The corn used is non-GMO so you know it is responsibly sourced and it is even kosher certified. This massive 30-pack sized box gives you plenty of movie nights worth. What is good about this popcorn is that it is flavoured with Paprika and Annatto and made without artificial preservatives or flavours. If you like a sweeter style of butter popcorn, then this is a must-have for your household. You’ll get a great crunch, and a big portion every time.
Whole grain cornels
No artificial flavours
#3 Orville Redenbacher’s Movie Theater Butter Microwave Popcorn
Some name’s you know you can trust, and that’s exactly what we have here. The convenience of having multiple bags means you are less likely to find yourself short in the spare of the moment and have to take a trip to the local store. Let’s start with the quality, Orville Redenbacher’s is one of the few brands that actually use real butter – that explains why it tastes so good! There are no artificial flavours or dyes, and it takes no time to make a huge bowl of brilliantly buttery popcorn. Since 1952, this reliable brand has been making consistently good popcorn that you can enjoy at home.
No artificial flavours
#2 Kirkland Signature Microwave Popcorn
With enough popcorn to get you through the year, this 44 pack of butter flavour popcorn is one of the most popular for those buying in bulk. It’s no surprise though, the gluten-free corns are given that movie-type of savoury flavour that is hard to resist. With no additional ingredients, and made from 100% whole grain they pop to a large size and have the perfect crunch that keeps your hand going back for more. Can be added as party bags thanks to the numerous packs, they are simple to get right and offer great value for money.
44 pack for good value
No additional ingredients
#1 Jolly Time Simply Popped Butter Microwave Popcorn
Simply popped offer a popcorn that is exactly how it sounds, simply flavoured, but also tastes great. With 0 grams of sugar or trans fats, it is a great snack for anyone on a health kick and is approximately 35 calories per cup. It is non-GMO which is always a plus point, but the simple ingredient also impress. Made of only butter, popcorn, oil, and sea salt it manages to maintain a great flavour, whilst remaining a snack you can have regularly. Gluten-free, and available in packs of 4, Jolly Time has created a delicious popcorn that gets the flavour balance just right.
0 trans fats
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Microwave Popcorn Buyer’s Guide
If you’ve reached the stage of life where you want to go in-depth with every purchase to make sure you are getting the best quality, then welcome to the club! I need to know as much as possible, especially when it comes to snacking and microwave popcorn can vary more than you might think.
This is why I have created the following buyer’s guide. I’ve detailed everything there is to know about the popular products on the market, so you can make a tasty purchase for you and your family.
What To Look For In Microwave Popcorn
Of course, everyone wants great-tasting microwave popcorn, but I’m talking about the variety that is out there. A matter of personal preference but certain crowd-pleasers never fail to impress such as movie theatre butter or sweet cinnamon.
Unfortunately, these are. harder to come by with many brands including a mix of natural and artificial. It is best to get as close to natural as possible, and with plenty of brands out there offering this, there is no reason why you have to compromise if you’d rather not.
Ther is nothing worse than running out of microwave popcorn on movie night, or having people over only to have to share a single bag. This is where the value packs are such a good idea. As convenient as they are, having 30 at your disposal is even better. This is also good from a price perspective as it spreads the cost for a better deal.
Although popcorn, in general, is one of the healthiest snacks one could hope for, I do have to admit that I keep an eye on the calorie content of some microwave popcorns. This is especially the case when they are lathered in creamy salty butter and some are better in this area than others.
Somewhere between crunchy and fluffy is my ideal preference for microwave popcorn, but everyone is different. Some brands are known for popping kernels into a crunchier texture whilst others may lean towards the fluffy side. Check what the brand is saying before making a purchase.
Make that 100% whole grains. The benefit is that you are getting the whole kernel, but also this is what can help to prevent certain diseases. Anything that can help reduce the risk of cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity among other things is always a good idea.
Zero Trans Fats
Because there are plenty of brands that produce popcorn without trans fats, there is no reason to settle for one that does. This means the popcorn is less likely to raise bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and at the same time lower to good (HDL) ones. Sometimes known as unsaturated fats they are bad news that can easily be avoided in microwave popcorn.
Another way of ensuring this often healthy snack is exactly that, or just not as bad as it sometimes can be, is by purchasing a non-GMO product. This means there are no toxic chemicals used, the produce is generally fresher, and there are more nutrients among other benefits.
Does Microwave Popcorn Expire?
Although the popcorn itself doesn’t generally expire, the other ingredients used to flavor it can. They can go stale, so popped popcorn will have a shelf life that and opened popcorn can last around one to two weeks in general. If there is an expiry date on the side of the box or packet, stick to it. Expired food can go moldy and will make the consumer ill.
Can You Store Popped Popcorn In The Freezer?
I’m not on to waste food where it can be avoided, but since popcorn is so easy and cheap to make, I have to be honest and say I wouldn’t usually store popped popcorn. This being said, it is possible to store it in the freezer. This will ensure it is edible for what can be up to a couple of weeks.
When in a sealed bag, it does not freeze and will be fin to eat for a while after.
What Is The Best Microwave Popcorn?
This is a matter of hot debate in our house, and we’ve enjoyed all of the above brands at different times. However, I’ve settled on Jolly Time Simply Popped Butter Microwave Popcorn for a reason. There are only 35 calories per cup, and there are zero trans fats in this non-GMO microwave popcorn. The 4 ingredients are simple, just butter, popcorn, oil, and sea salt making it an even more enticing popcorn.
Why Is Movie Popcorn So Good?
Although the taste of movie popcorn is hard to beat, the unnatural flavors make it a bittersweet snack. It is a buttery flavored oil most of the time but few can argue that it tastes great. This is why a lot of microwave popcorn brands are reproducing the great taste but with better ingredients, making it a great alternative for a home movie night.
Consider the fact that a large popcorn at the movies can contain well over 1,000 calories and you get a sense of what I mean.
What Is The Difference Between Microwave Popcorn and Regular Popcorn?
One of the main differences is the amount of oil used, as well as the type. Sometimes microwave popcorn can contain unnatural flavors which is why it is important to check the label. One of the best things about microwave popcorn is that it is warm and has a bit of a crunch to it, not to mention the smell as the pops start going off.
Why Is Popcorn Such A Popular Snack?
One of the main reasons popcorn is so popular is because it has a relatively low-calorie content. Compare this to some of the other options and the statistics speak for themselves. A cup of microwave popcorn may have 60 calories for example, but 100 grams of chocolate can contain over. 500 calories, depending on the bar.
Popcorn is also pretty filling making it a great snack between meals, which means it doesn’t have to be saved for movie night.