5 Best Stovetop Popcorn Brands

What are the best popcorn kernels? You better believe there’s a difference between stovetop popcorn brands. We popped up a bunch to find only the best kernels for popcorn. 

Why would anyone want to cook stovetop popcorn when microwave popcorn is so quick and easy? Well, apart from situations where a microwave might be inconvenient, like camping or the apocalypse, a lot of it comes down to flavor and texture. 

You see, microwave popcorn brands tend to use white popcorn, which cooks up as smaller, more tender “flakes” (the technical term for a popped piece of popcorn, who knew?). But stovetop popcorn favors yellow popcorn kernels, the same kind movie theaters use, which makes a larger flake with a more natural popcorn flavor. And while microwave popcorn tends to come slathered in its own oils and seasonings, stovetop popcorn typically has little or no added seasoning, allowing the natural popcorn flavor to shine through, until you decide to drown it in butter and salt. 

And while microwave popcorn may dominate the industry, there are still plenty of stovetop popcorn options to choose from. And that’s why we sampled a bunch of them, ranking them all on texture and taste. So, here are our picks for the best stovetop popcorn brands you’ll find at your local stores (or on Amazon). 

(Oh, and if you want to find the perfect seasoning to put on the best stovetop popcorn, check out our ranked list of the best popcorn seasoning.)


Kroger Popcorn Yellow

Best Store Brand Popcorn

Kroger Popcorn Yellow

If you’re looking for popcorn kernels that are free of all the “artificial butter flavor,” you get from microwave popcorn, this is a great place to start. It’s got a good-sized pop to it and a fresh, light popcorn flavor with nothing added. It’s also, probably, the cheapest popcorn option on this list, as a one-pound bag will only run you three or four bucks. These are the best popcorn kernels you can buy if you’re looking to save some scratch (and live near a Kroger or Kroger-owned store). 

Credit: Liv Averett / Ralphs

Rating:

6/10

Sporks

Pop Secret Jumbo Popping Corn

Best Big Popcorn

Pop Secret Jumbo Popping Corn

If you like big popcorn “flakes” (yeah, that still doesn’t sound right), Pop Secret’s blend of yellow popcorn kernels are the best popcorn kernels for you. They ended up a little bigger and fluffier than the other stovetop popcorn we tried. But this popcorn also has a good flavor, full of starchy goodness just crying out for butter. I’m not sure what the “secret” is, though. If it’s that they pop, they’re doing a terrible job of hiding it.

Credit: Liv Averett / Target

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Jiffy Pop Butter Flavored Popcorn

Best Nostalgic

Jiffy Pop Butter Flavored Popcorn

This is probably the only stovetop popcorn brand that people can recognize from a distance, with its iconic metal handle and foil top that expands as the kernels pop. It’s also the only flavored stovetop popcorn on this list, but the light, buttery taste never overpowers the basic popcorn flavor. But for me, Jiffy Pop earns a spot on the list of the best stovetop popcorn because of the nostalgia factor. There’s just something fun about toasting popcorn over a stove (or a campfire) the way it’s been done since 1959. It might be the most fun thing you can do with fire that won’t involve jail time.

Credit: Liv Averett / Walmart

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Orville Redenbacher’s Original Gourmet Popping Corn

Best Yellow Popcorn

Orville Redenbacher’s Original Gourmet Popping Corn

If you know popcorn, then you know the name and bowtie of Orville Redenbacher. And he doesn’t disappoint, making some of the best popcorn kernels you can buy. His yellow popcorn pops into a good sized pop and has just a hint of natural sweetness. There’s a reason this brand has stayed around this long, and it’s not because of the face looming out of the package like Colonel Sander’s nerdy little brother. 

Credit: Liv Averett / Walmart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

Bob’s Red Mill White Popcorn

Best of the Best

Bob’s Red Mill White Popcorn

Bob’s Red Mill is a company specializing in whole grain and gluten-free products, probably best known for their range of gluten free flours. So, I was a little surprised to discover they not only sell popcorn, but also the best stovetop popcorn on this list. As a white popcorn blend, it’s a little smaller and softer than the other brands, but this popcorn has a sweetness that reminds me of kettle corn, but without any sugar. It’s also the one I’d most like to just eat on its own, with no extra seasoning. This stovetop popcorn is just that good.

Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

Other stovetop popcorns we tried: Jolly Time Organic Pop Corn Yellow, Jolly Time White Pop Corn, Kroger Popcorn White, Market Pantry All Natural Popping Corn Yellow Kernels, Simple Truth 100% Whole Grain Purple Popcorn


About the Author

Jon Gutierrez

Jon is an L.A.-based comedy writer who's spent 95 percent of his life trying to decide which Ramen flavor to buy, only to go with "chicken." The other 5 percent? Mushroom.

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  • Good sensible information.

    Regards.

    Reply