Popcorn has been around since the first Pilgrims came to America. Back then they popped the corn kernels soaked in lard in a large cast iron kettle over an open fire. Although we pop it differently in modern times, it tasted just as good then as it does now.
One of the main issues with all popcorn makers is that the kernels need to be stirred or shaken constantly or they would stick to the bottom and burn. Theater popcorn makers use a little arm connected to a motor that always keeps the kernels moving so that none of them stick. Of course no one will deny that popcorn in movie theaters is some of the lightest and fluffiest popcorn you can get, but for those watching their weight, it’s not the healthiest and it’s definitely not cheap! Popcorn that you get in packets to be popped in the microwave is unhealthier, so having an alternative way to do it at home is probably a good idea.
That same function of the theater style popcorn maker is behind the design of the West Bend Stir Crazy Electric Popcorn Popper but you can make popcorn at home and eliminate all those obstacles.
One thing to first note is that there are other varieties of popcorn poppers designed for home use and we cover some of the best here. Some use only hot air and air great for those on a diet and you can even get a decent manual popper to use on the stove. For those who want healthy and inexpensive popcorn at home without doing any manual stirring or creating wastage of kernels, but want a bit of oil or fat for flavor, a hot oil popper is the way to go, which is what the Stir Crazy is.
Read on to find out how it works and whether it’s a gadget you would like to have in your kitchen.
The Easy Way to make Popcorn
The West Bend Stir Crazy Popper almost revolutionized home popcorn making. It has a non-stick surface that you place both your oil and the popcorn kernels onto, and you can use virtually all types of popcorn, from yellow to white, red to dark blue or any gourmet kind, and you’ll get deliciously popped popcorn in minutes.
The cord is short, so you’ll need to be within 18 inches of a power outlet, but this unit is a kid magnet if there ever was one. The see-through popping chamber, which doubles as a serving bowl, lets anyone watch exactly how the corn pops, and as each kernel explodes into fluffy goodness, you’ll get to see it all right before your eyes.
Once you have poured in the oil in the base, and there will be a little trial and error with exactly how much to use, you add the popcorn, plug it in and place the cover on. There is a top mounted plastic bowl lid that must be removed during the popping process to let the steam out or the popping effectiveness will be compromised.
There is a depressed ring on the top of the bowl that is the butter well. If you want a real buttery flavor, this is where you can place a few small tabs of butter and it’ll slowly melt with the rising steam and drip into the bowl while the kernels are popping.
When no more kernels are being noticeably popped and the clear bowl will show you the progress, unplug the unit, place the top plastic lid back in place and while holding the handles, turn the entire machine over. The popcorn will fall into the bowl and you can add your own spices or whatever else you’d like to flavor your popcorn.
Check out our demo of how the West Bend Stir Crazy Electric Popcorn Popper 82306 works!
Design and Features
- Sealed motor and gearing to rotate the stirring rod.
- Rated 1000 watts of power.
- Non-stick popping surface that eliminates burned and sticking kernels and can be damp wiped clean.
- There is a butter well on the outer top of the bowl if you want to use some for flavor.
- The 6 quart serving bowl and upper lid are dishwasher safe.
- Big heat-resistant side handles for ease in lifting or turning the unit over to transfer the popped corn into the bowl.
- The stirring rod and cap that holds it in place come off for easy cleaning.
For Best Results
Virtually any oil will work, but dedicated popcorn oil will give you the best results overall, particularly with gourmet popcorn blends. Watch the popping action carefully so that when it comes to a stop, you can unplug the machine and keep any kernels from burning.
- Very easy to make high quality popcorn on your table or counter top.
- Kids will absolutely love this machine. They’ll want to make several batches of popcorn just to watch it pop.
- Fast popcorn popping. It heats up fast and popping begins in a matter of minutes. You can get 6 quarts in 5 minutes.
- The base neatly nests into the upturned bowl cover for easy storage.
- There is no on or off switch, so once it is plugged in the popping surface begins to heat up.
- Always add oil in before it is plugged in or you risk damaging the non-stick surface.
- If you add too much popcorn, the cover will literally lift off and you’ll have popcorn all over.
- The unit gets hot to the touch, and the escaping steam at the very top can burn.
- You cannot immerse the lower unit that contains the motor and heating elements directly into water. It must be hand washed only.
- The upper butter compartment makes more of a mess than is worth using.
To Sum It Up
The Westbend Stir Crazy takes popcorn making to a new and easy level. No more standing over a stove shaking or stirring popcorn kernels, and since this unit only uses 1000 watts of power, it is a more energy efficient way to make popcorn than on your stove.
If you love popcorn and don’t want a hassle every time you make it, the Stir Crazy should be your go-to machine.