cream popcorn popper filled with popcorn beside boxes of Oh Sooo Buttery Popcorn and Classic Kettle Popcorn

Stovetop Popcorn or Air Popped Popcorn: What Reigns Supreme?

What are the differences between stovetop popcorn and air popped popcorn? Do they really matter? You be the judge.

We’ve previously compared stovetop popcorn and microwave popcorn. Now it’s time to do the same for stovetop and air popped popcorn! We’re going to take a look at four things: preparation, taste, nutritional value, and overall value. 

Let’s get started:


man turns crank of a cobalt popcorn popper to make stovetop popcorn

Like microwave popcorn, air popped popcorn is more convenient to make than stovetop popcorn. It’s pretty much a set-it-and-forget-it situation — just pour your kernels into an air popper, set a bowl below the release spout, turn the machine on, and wait for the popcorn to pop. No oil needed.

Stovetop popcorn demands your full attention. You have to figure out the right oil-to-kernel ratio, keep a close eye on the kernels so they don’t burn, and shake the pot like your life depends on it. 

But with a stovetop popcorn popper like the Popsmith, the process becomes a breeze. The Popper's stainless steel body and multi-layer metal bottom ensure fast and even heat distribution, eliminating the need for constant shaking. You don’t even need to turn the crank the entire time since the device does the bulk of the work for you. Here’s how to use it to make the best popcorn you’ve ever tasted.


woman tries popcorn while holding a small bowl

While you need to be more hands-on with stovetop popcorn, it beats the taste of the air popped kind any day. We’re not saying air popped popcorn tastes awful, but it’s just not as flavorful — even if you season it. 

Making popcorn on the stovetop with oil gives you a snack with a richer taste profile and a satisfying crunch, and that’s already when it’s plain. It’s double the goodness when you add your favorite mix-ins and seasonings.

Nutritional Value

woman reads label of a box of Oh Sooo Buttery Popcorn

At its core, popcorn is a healthy snack. It’s low in calories, and being a whole grain, is a great source of fiber. But how you prepare your popcorn will affect its nutritional value. 

Check it out:

Air Popped Popcorn

Since air poppers don’t need oil to pop kernels (just high heat), air popped popcorn is definitely the healthier option. A single cup is only about 30 calories, though it obviously will have more if you season it. 

Stovetop Popcorn

How nutritious your stovetop popcorn is depends on you — you’re the chef, after all. You can make it healthy by popping it with a low-calorie oil and using toppings like oregano, lime, or curry powder. Or you can also turn it into a sweet treat. The choice is yours! 

PRO TIP: Our Oh Sooo Buttery Popcorn and  Classic Kettle Popcorn may be pre-measured, but you’re still in control of the final product. Each ingredient has a separate portion, giving you the flexibility to adjust things to your liking.

Overall Value

the contents of a Popsmith starter set include a popper, one box of Oh Sooo Buttery Popcorn, and one box of Classic Kettle Popcorn

There’s no denying that an air popper is more affordable than a stainless steel popcorn popper. You also just have to buy kernels and seasoning, while you need oil for stovetop popcorn. 

But we’re talking about overall value here, and that’s where the Popper really shines. It’s built to last, makes delicious popcorn in minutes, and turns the popping process into an entire experience. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe and very easy on the eyes!

And the Winner Is…

When you’re looking for a healthy yet filling snack, you can’t go wrong with air popped popcorn. It’s super convenient to prepare and is naturally low in calories.

Cooking popcorn on the stovetop is the way to go, though, if your goal is to replicate movie theater popcorn at home (or experiment and make your own recipes). The texture and flavor are unmatched, plus it’s a fun activity you can do with your loved ones.

Upgrade your snacking game now by ordering a Popsmith Starter Set!

Featured Products

  • Floating yellow popper and popcorn kits on a cream background with two boxes of popcorn kits in buttery and kettle corn flavor. [42751631294657]

    The Starter Set

    Original Price: $242.00 Current Price: $229.00