A bowl of freshly popped popcorn is always a welcome snack whenever you want to watch a movie. Nowadays, making your own movie popcorn is made easy with the availability of a popcorn machine. A popcorn machine is a nifty kitchen gadget to have in your home since it provides you fresh popcorn in just minutes.
A variety of popcorn machines are available on the market today. The choice usually boils down to personal preference. But basically, all of them share the same principle in cooking popcorn kernels: They keep the kernels moving around, the machines heat up and the popcorn kernels get popped.
There are several methods to make popcorn depending on the type of popcorn machine you own. Here’s a step-by-step guide on the different ways on how to make popcorn in a popcorn machine.
This is the most popular type of popcorn machine found in most households. This machine consists of a circular tray that’s electrically heated on the inside and has a stirring metal arm. It has a dome-shaped lid that also doubles as a serving bowl.
Attach the dome-shaped lid. Turn over the lid and cover the base or the circular tray. Make sure that it is properly secured. Lids have locking systems depending on the machine’s model. Some lids may require the use of either screws or fasteners to lock it in place.
Add the ingredients. Most popcorn machines are designed with a hatch at the center of the lid where you can put the kernels and oil in. Oil poppers require little oil, about 2-3 tablespoons are usually enough.
Add butter (optional). Most oil poppers have a slot on the lid where butter can be placed. Thin slices of butter can be placed here where the heat will melt it slowly while evenly coating the popcorn inside. If your popcorn machine does not have this, you can add melted butter when you season the popcorn.
Turn it on. Again, depending on the model of your popcorn machine, you can manually turn it on using a switch, or just plug it in and it will heat up automatically. Once on, you will see the stirring arms rotate and stir the popcorn as it cooks.
Listen to the popping sounds. Most models take about 3 minutes to finish popping. However, as a rule of thumb, listening to the popping sounds is still the best way to go. Initially, you will hear a few popping sounds as the tray heats up and it will continue to increase thereafter. If you hear any scraping sound, this means that some kernels may have been caught under the stirring arm, this is ok and not in any case damaging to your machine.
Switch the popcorn machine off. Turn the device off when you hear the popping sounds slowly die out. This will keep your popcorn from getting burnt.
Season and serve. Turn over the machine to get everything into the lid, you can serve your popcorn using the lid if you like. While the popcorn is hot, you may now add the seasonings. Now is also the time to add butter if your machine does not have the slotted area on top of the lid to melt butter in.
Clean the machine. Most popcorn machines can be wiped clean after use. You can also use non-toxic cleaners if you prefer, but be sure to wipe it off with a damp cloth after.
Hot air poppers
If you like to cook popcorn without using any oil, this machine is for you. This makes the popcorn a very low calorie snack provided that you also don’t use high calorie seasonings. Hot air poppers produce airy and fluffy popped corns.
Prepare your equipment and ingredients. For this, you will need your hot air popper, a serving bowl, and a measuring spoon or cup. You will also need popcorn kernels, salt and butter for seasoning. Again, seasonings are optional and will depend on personal preference.
Put the ingredients in the popper. Measure out your popcorn kernels according to the recommended amount; pour the popcorn kernels into the popper from the top and tightly secure the plastic guard. Some models are designed with the lid doubling as a measuring cup, if your model works like that, make sure to cover the opening with the cup before switching it on.
Also place a bowl at the end of the spout to catch the popcorn. Some models also use the removable lid/measuring cup as a slot for the butter to melt. Otherwise, melt the butter separately and mix it after the popcorn is cooked.
Turn on the popper. There are slight variations in operating different models of hot air poppers, consult your manual. Wait for the popcorn kernels to start popping. You will hear the popping sounds quickly increase and then die out gradually. Turn off the device. When the popping sounds have died out, turn off the popcorn machine to avoid burning the popcorn. Season and Serve. Season with salt or any seasoning you want to add.