Between the numerous kinds of popcorn (from trendy air-popped to the classic microwavable to tricky homemade stovetop) and the hundreds of popcorn brands within each category, it's easy to find yourself in a kernel crisis–too much popcorn and not enough time.

So, as the self-proclaimed popcorn queen, I took it upon myself to narrow the playing field. You should spend your valuable time munching away on popcorn, not frantically searching the grocery store shelves for the popcorn of your dreams.

Next time (read: in ten minutes) you get that craving for the corn, whether it's air-popped, microwaved, or slow-cooked over a warm stovetop, you'll know which one is the perfect popcorn brand for you.


sweet, milk, candy, corn
Jenna Thomas

1. Skinny Pop

milk, dairy product, sweet, yogurt
Jenna Thomas

Pros: Light and airy, lots of flavor considering there is virtually no butter or salt included.

Cons: Expensive and not a lot in the bag. It has an entirely different taste than stovetop or microwave (that special air-popped taste), so it might not be the perfect choice for the classic popcorn lover.


milk, dairy product, cheese, butter, sweet, margarine, dairy, spread
Jenna Thomas

Pros: More substance to each piece and lots of flavor (some argue even more than Skinny Pop). The one has a closer texture and flavor to original stovetop or microwave popcorn.

Cons: Has an "organic" or "natural" taste that will turn off lovers of traditional, denser pieces of popcorn (like you might get in a movie theater bag).

3. Cape Cod Seaside Pop

milk, sweet, dairy, cereal, dairy product, corn, yogurt, cream
Jenna Thomas

Pros: The same density and taste as microwave or stovetop popcorn. The sea salt actually adds a lot of flavor, without making the snack feel heavy or taste overly salty.

Cons: Not the brand for you if you prefer the lightness of Skinny Pop—this one actually fills you up if you eat the whole bag.

Microwave Popcorn

corn, popcorn, cereal, sweet, wheat, milk, kettle corn, butter
Jenna Thomas

1. Orville Redenbacher's 

popcorn, corn, kettle corn, cereal, sweet, goody, butter, wheat
Jenna Thomas

Pros: Very easy to pop (while avoiding leaving any kernels un-popped) and a nice popcorn taste that is perfectly complemented by the butter. The pieces end up large and fluffy.

Cons: Some may say there is too much butter. I have to admit it was dripping down the bag, and the bottom pieces were slightly soggy by the time I got there.

2. Trader Joe's

milk, corn, cereal
Jenna Thomas

Pros: A nice taste of butter without being overpowering or gross. The popcorn still tasted healthy and light, similar to air-popped despite the fact that it's in a microwaveable bag. The pieces were firm and flavorful. 

Cons: It only comes in mini-sized bags, which can be difficult to pop without burning—and will leave you with less than the ideal amount of popcorn in the end.


corn, popcorn, cereal, milk, butter, sweet
Jenna Thomas

Pros: None (sorry, not sorry).

Cons: Only half the kernels popped, the pieces had no flavor, the butter was not evenly distributed, and even the pieces with butter were bland.

Popcorn Kernels (for stovetop)

coffee, tea
Jenna Thomas

1. Orville Redenbacher's

Jenna Thomas

Pros: Large, fluffy and light pieces.

Cons: Slight oil taste because the pieces are so light and airy that they seem to absorb whatever oil you use.

2. Trader Joe's

corn, popcorn, vegetable, sweet, candy
Jenna Thomas
Pros: Nice average-sized popcorn pieces that are light with no oil taste. Cons: A little bit bland and sometimes difficult to pop without burning a few pieces or leaving other pieces un-popped.

3. Schnuck's (a St. Louis grocery store)

sweet, corn
Jenna Thomas

Pros: Most flavorful results of the three with no oil taste and denser pieces.

Cons: None! I was surprised that a generic store variety did so well in the ranking against national brands.

Whether you prefer an air-popped taste, large and fluffy pieces or a cute mini bag, this list of popcorn brands offers up something good for every kind of popcorn lover.