Popcorn is a fantastic snack everyone can enjoy. Whether you are on a low-carb diet, trying to stay away from gluten, or if you are just looking for a salty treat, popcorn is your answer. It is the universal snack food.
We know that there are so many popcorn brands to choose from. It can be a little overwhelming to decide which is the best popcorn brand. Grocery stores typically carry microwavable popcorn, popcorn kernels, and ready-to-eat popcorn. But which type of popcorn is best and what are the best popcorn brands? We wanted to find out.
With this guide, you can discover the best popcorn brands on the market and head to your grocery store with confidence. You will soon have a perfect snack food that is great for any occasion.
Best Popcorn Kernels
Buying popcorn kernels is the best way to customize your popcorn snack. When you start with raw kernels, you can completely control how you cook the popcorn and the popcorn flavor. You can choose to pop the popcorn in an air fryer, making it healthy and simple. Or, you can go all out, sautéing popcorn kernels in butter or oil and making a decadent flavored popcorn.
Popcorn kernels are one of our favorite popcorn products due to the extreme snacking possibilities you get when you start with just kernels. Here are our favorite popcorn kernel brands.
Best Gourmet: Franklin’s Gourmet Popcorn
Franklin’s Gourmet Popcorn makes all-around great popcorn kernels that you can buy. They have a classic, buttery taste and can be quickly popped on the stovetop or in an air popper. This is the best choice of popcorn kernels to try if you are looking for that classic, movie theater-type popcorn.
The gourmet popcorn kernels pop up big and fluffy. They consistently pop at about the same time, giving you few kernels left in the pan unpopped. Choose your seasonings and toppings to add to the popped Franklin’s Gourmet Popcorn and you will easily be able to create a perfect snack.
Best for Health: Black Jewell: Crimson Jewell
All popcorn kernels come from different types of corn. They can also be processed in various ways, creating kernels that are unique and great for all types of popcorn experiences.
If you are looking for popcorn kernels that are healthy, the Crimson Jewell flavor is what you need to try. This popcorn brand claims to have more protective antioxidants than regular white or yellow popcorn kernels. It is also classified as a hulless popcorn, with the hulls of the kernels being extra small and soft. Hulless popcorn is less likely to get stuck in your teeth and also tends to be tender. That makes this brand of Black Jewell popcorn a true winner.
Best Microwave Popcorn Brands
Microwave popcorn is the most popular type of popcorn to make at home. It is convenient, and easy and is a snack staple for many families. The quality of microwavable popcorn is not usually up to par with homemade kernel popcorn, but there are some good microwave popcorn brands out there that you should try.
You can find microwave popcorn in a variety of flavors. Buttered popcorn and kettle corn are the most popular microwaveable popcorn flavors but you can find others, too. Here is a quick look at our favorite microwave popcorn brands.
Best Butter Taste: Orville Redenbacher’s Butter
Orville Redenbacher is one of the biggest popcorn brands on the market. It has been around since 1952 and is still extremely popular. The popcorn brand began when Orville Redenbacher himself started working with farmers to grow exclusive popcorn kernels just for him. These special kernels are still used today.
Orville Redenbacher uses real butter to get the delicious butter popcorn taste. The brand uses no artificial flavors, dyes, or artificial preservatives, unlike other microwave popcorn brands. It is a very good choice if you want a salty, buttery popcorn snack.
Best for Movie Night: Act II
Act II Popcorn is an American classic. Families have been enjoying this popcorn for years. It is a movie night staple in many households and the microwavable bags of Act II are convenient and tasty.
Act II has a great flavor but what we love the most is how the whole bag of popcorn kernels pops perfectly. There are very few kernels left unpopped in the bottom of the bag which means you get the most for your money. That is one reason why this popcorn company has been part of movie night for decades.
Best for Movie Night Runner-Up: Pop-Secret
Pop-Secret is another big popcorn brand that many people know and love. It is very close in flavor to Act II popcorn and has been on the market just as long. It is a great movie night choice since it is easy to make and has a tasty butter flavor.
There are several different varieties of Pop-Secret that you may want to try for your next movie night. The mild, homestyle butter flavor is a good standard while the bold Double Butter tastes like true movie-theater popcorn. No matter which type you choose, the brand definitely lives up to its promise to “make the moment pop.”.
Best for Unique Flavor: Quinn Parmesan & Rosemary
If you are looking for flavored microwavable popcorn, this is the one to get. The Quinn brand makes some very exciting flavors of popcorn that you won’t find in other microwavable options. The parmesan and rosemary flavor is so unique and tasty that it is hard to believe it is not freshly seasoned kernels.
Quinn popcorn is also one of the healthiest microwavable options available. The popcorn bags contain no chemical or plastic coatings, unlike other brands that often line the bags with such harsh ingredients. While Quinn popcorns are far from the traditional butter and salt popcorn, the fun flavors may just turn into your new favorite snack.
While these popcorn brands didn't quite make our top spots, we thought they were still pretty good and needed to be mentioned. Jolly Time Butter Blast is one microwavable popcorn that is definitely pretty good. It has a great butter flavor and would be perfect for movie night.
Newman’s Own popcorn is also pretty tasty and easy to find in most grocery stores. It is light and airy without too much seasoning. These microwavable popcorn brands are solid choices.
Best Ready-to-Eat Popcorn
Ready-to-eat popcorn has become more and more popular over the years. It popcorn is even easier than microwave popcorn. Ready-to-eat popcorn is super convenient since all you need to do is open the bag and eat.
There are many types of low-calorie ready-to-eat popcorn which makes it a perfect, quick healthy snack. There are also lots of sweet versions like caramel corn or chocolate popcorn. Ready-to-eat popcorn is a great sweet or salty snack that you can find in your local grocery store or even on Amazon.
Best for Gifts: Angie’s BoomChickaPop
Angie’s BoomChickaPop not only has a really fun name, but it is also a great low-calorie popcorn. It is made with simple ingredients like sea salt and sunflower oil We love popcorn that you can eat and enjoy without worrying about overdoing it.
BoomChickaPop comes in large, family-sized bags or small individual snack bags. These are perfect for portion control or for giving out on Halloween. Even kids would be happy to get this tasty popcorn.
Best Low-Calorie Option: Skinny Pop Original
Many people are familiar with the Skinny Pop brand. It is in grocery stores across the country and is one of the lowest-calorie popcorns on the market. With just 39 calories per cup of popcorn, many people have claimed Skinny Pop helped them lose weight.
Skinny Pop does come in a variety of ready-to eat flavors. We like the original flavor which is perfectly salty and crunchy.
Best Organic: Trader Joe’s Organic Popcorn
Trader Joe’s organic popcorn is by far our favorite organic brand. We love that the popcorn is made with olive oil rather than sunflower oil. This gives the popcorn a unique taste that is unlike any other ready-to-eat popcorn we have tried.
The brand is also committed to quality and offering customers unique products. All of Trader Joe's foods go through extensive testing and tasting. Only the best foods make it onto Trader Joe’s shelves. So you can rest assured that this organic popcorn really is the top of the line.
Best Cheese Flavor: Smartfood White Cheddar
Smartfood is one of the original ready-to-eat popcorn brands. It has been around for quite some time and continues to be a family favorite. The white cheddar cheese seasoning makes it stand out amongst the rest and is completely cravable.
Despite all that cheese flavor, Smartfood is still quite healthy. It has 14 grams of whole grains per serving. The popcorn is air-popped, making fluffy popcorn without needing any oil. You can find Smartfood in almost any store in all different-sized bags. We recommend getting the biggest bag, though. You will want it.
Best Ingredients: Lesser Evil Himalayan Pink Salt Popcorn
The Lesser Evil brand is popcorn at its purest state. It has very few ingredients, especially for ready-to-eat popcorn. The Himalayan pink sea salt popcorn is made with just organic popcorn kernels, extra virgin coconut oil, and Himalayan salt. That’s it.
You will feel good about eating Lesser Evil popcorn. It even comes in earth-friendly packaging. It may be a little harder to find this brand in the store but we think it is going to become quite popular in the next few years.
Popping to Find More Snacking Advice?
There is so much more to popcorn than you could ever imagine. Hopefully, you learned a lot about our favorite popcorn brands in this article but we hope you also check out some of the other popcorn recipes, educational insights, and snacking inspiration we have explored.
Popsmith is constantly researching, writing, and learning about popcorn. We want you to come along for the ride. Check back soon for more snack inspiration. Now, go grab a bowl of popcorn and enjoy everyone's favorite snack.