Customer Reviews: West Bend 82306 Stir Crazy 6-Quart Electric Popcorn Popper
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on May 9, 2006
May 9 2006 - Finally took a big step away from microwave popcorn due to health concerns (cancerous chemicals, dangerous chemicals used to coat the inside of the bag) and began looking for an alternative as I am an avid popcorn lover. I was walking through Walmart a week ago and saw this item on the shelves but decided to read up on it before spending $40.

So I came to Amazon and read over 300 reviews (I am a glutton for punishment) and it was so interesting reading what everybody said about this popper. First, 80% of the reviews are extremely positive, which was a good sign. Second, those who were not positive generally had the same complaints: turning arm grinds against the non-stick ridge and chips off the non-stick coating.

Today I bought one of these devices and must say I am very impressed, and I also learned a few things after reading 300 reviews that saved me lots of wasted time and gave me terrific results. If you decide to buy one of these for the EXCELLENT tasting popcorn, here are a few tips. 1) plug in the popper before first use to see if the rotating arm grinds against the edges. If it does, as mine did, do two things. First, loosen the centre bold holding down the arm, it is on too tight. Second, bend the arms until they no longer rub/grind the surface. Problem solved. Once I bent the arms, the popper worked terrific, and never once did it get stuck and need to turn the opposite way while cooking the popcorn. 2) Reduce the amount of oil used; I found that 2 tablespoons was more than sufficient for 4 quarts...three tablespoons is overkill. 3) Do not put butter in the top of the lid to melt on the popcorn while it is cooking; it creates WAY TOO MUCH moisture inside the cooker and ruins the popcorn by making it soggy. Instead, melt a few tablespoons of butter on the hot surface with the oil. The butter flavour will cook directly into the popcorn and you then only need to add salt, or a salt substitute. 3) Don't leave the cooker unattended; the moment the last kernel pops, unplug the popper and flip the popcorn into the lid or you will burn/scorch your popcorn.

If the three steps above are followed, you will have terrific results and this popper will last you for a long time.

I must say, I had one of these years ago and owning one again brings back terrific memories. It is fun to watch the popcorn pop! I plan to try the kettle corn recipe left by another reviewer on my next batch - looking forward to that!

Hope this review helps - this is a terrific product, and although the non-stick coating looks fairly cheap, it should last just fine if you take good care of the cooker. This product is nowhere near as flimsy or cheap as I had expected it to be based upon some other reviewers.

Buy one now! Happy Popping!
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on November 5, 2001
I'm on my second one of these, having lost one in a move many years ago.
I've had a number of popcorn poppers 'cause I'm a true fan, whether unadorned popcorn or 'fancied up'. When the hot air poppers came out about 20 years ago I bought a couple of them, but they always seem to make chewy popcorn that'll stick in the back of your throat. I've got a mint-condition Mirro aluminum electric popper from the sixties and it'll burn corn in the bottom before you can turn around.
West Bend used to make this same type popper but without the stirrer. I had that one also, and it still left a fair number of kernels at the bottom.
The stirring rod is what makes the difference with this popper. Not only will it pop more kernels in ANY brand of popcorn, but it will pop far more with the less expensive brands like Jolly Time. It's typical to get no more than a tablespoon or less of unpopped kernels. The popcorn turns out perfectly done, from the earliest to the last popped. If you look at the photo, the disc on the top is a removable cover; under there is an indention with multiple holes. You can take butter or margarine and spread it around when you set the machine up. Then, as the machine starts popping, the steam melts the butter and it goes on the corn! Or, if you prefer buttering later, just leave the lid on. When the corn is popped, you simply flip the appliance over and the large dome becomes the serving bowl.
The dome and the disc on top have been through my dishwasher dozens of times without any problem. If I hand-wash it, it always feels a little greasy. The bottom, heating part of the appliance is nonstick; you simply wipe it out with a soapy dishrag or paper towel. Couldn't be easier.
This appliance is light in weight and fits fine in one of my overhead cabinets. For only a small amount of oil, it'll make six quarts of the best popcorn you can find! Plus, its tolerance to less-expensive non-gourmet corns means you'll spend less money. Highly recommended!
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on March 4, 2005
I also had an original MADE IN THE USA model that lasted for 20 years. Yes 20 years. (it replaced The Joe Namath stir crazy popper that had a cracked dome)The reason I had to replace my 20 yr old model, is the motor finally went out. I bought a new stir crazy, it was made in china of course and the motor in it went out in 9 months! Assuming I just got unlucky I bought a new one and its still running. Regardless there is no finer popper for home use!

Let me tell you a WestBend Stir crazy secret. To pop almost all the kernels and have non-greasy popcorn follow these instructions. First put the oil in your popper and plug it in without putting on the dome lid. Sprinkle 2 0r 3 kernels in the popper. Have your corn for consumption in a measuring cup ready to go. Once the oil has reached temperature and the sprinkled kernels pop. Pour in you kernels from the measuring cup. By doing this the oil heats up faster and the kernels absorb less grease. Thus more popped kernels and less oil absorbed!! It also pops in less time because the oil heats up quicker without the mass of kernel in the oil at startup.
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Tried air poppers; blech, styrofoam pellets would taste about as good. Microwave corn; too much salt and "butter" in the packets, plus they cost a lot. Popping in a saucepan on the stove; horrible to clean afterwards and it burns. Microwave poppers; don't get me started.

THIS is the one. The first one I had was in the dorm in college (one with the yellow bowl.) I think we bought it together for the whole floor. And this is still the best popper on the market, decades later.

It does make a difference if you use GOOD popcorn (you know the one I mean, Mr. R's best) and at least FRESH popcorn. And the touch of oil used in the popping makes the popcorn taste wonderful. We sometimes use olive oil for a special taste treat. Anyway you pop it, this is a great device.
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on May 5, 2006
I have used (and killed) several of these poppers. One thing they all do is make great popcorn. The newer models have a baked on finish that does NOT flake off anymore. So if your ead some earlier reviews and were worried, don't be.


1) don't skimp on the oil. about a 1/4 cup of oil will get you a better crunch and more flavor.

2) don't use the butter on top trick they mention in the documentation. If you wanna get decadent with the butter, the new anti-stick finsih can handle this trick instead - drop the butter in on the kernels with the oil. the butter will melt and mix with the oil and give you a fine coating on EVERY kernel. A couple of tablespoons should work. also instea dof one big lump of butter a couple of smaller slices will melt faster. the smell will drive you crazy too.

3) use good kernels. a simple trick is mixing redinbacher yellow and the jolly time organtic white. If you wanna get real fancy, try [...] - they do custom popcorn blends for the reds and black kernels and are afforable and amazing.

4) "movie theater" butter. If you check around you can find movie theater oil. Don't cook the kernels in it, it is a waste of the stuff and the flavor doesn't transmit. Use a 1/4 cup of the stuff after you cook it up and mix in while stirring the bowl with a butter knife. You can get different kinds of movie theater buttery oil, so check the calorie differences so it is not TOO terrible for the waistline.

5) popcorn cooking oil. I highly recommend canola oil. Vegtable and corn oils are "heavy" and the popcorn seems less crisp. Olive oils, even the lightest of them, are way too strong a flavor. I have found canola is light enough and doesn't make the popcorn 'soggy'. I suspect some of the negative reviews were from using heavy vegtable oil.

6) the lid can be washed in the top rack of the dishwasher. I have more failures due to the power plug shorting out the base than the lid. Then again, as a popcorn fanatic I -KNOW- i use them too much and kill them. It's a trade I accept because for me popcorn is a food group :)

Use these tricks and you can make popcorn that will have NO EQUAL in any theater!
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on November 14, 2000
Best popper in the world! We LOVED it... that is until our 3 year old pushed it off the counter this week. Ours was a family heirloom passed down a generation - same exact version of the above product but with a yellow plastic lid (from the 80's). It survived through MY childhood & then almost through my daughter's. So, needless to say, we will be getting a new one soon now that we've given "Old Yeller" a proper burial.
Quite durable (except for counter to floor contact) & well worth the few extra bucks you spend instead of going for an air popper. Air poppers just don't cut it when it comes to flavor, unless you like the taste of styrofoam or paper.
Adjust the amount of oil you use to your taste - a little goes a LONG way in this popper. A dash of salt & you're good to go! The "swisher" bar helps evenly distribute the oil & the popcorn for maximum popping.
The ONLY complaint I have is clean up. It can be a bit messy & you cannot immerse the black base so you have to sponge clean it above the sink. Would be nice to have a removeable metal tray. The only removeable parts are the bar & the black bar attachment.
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on May 27, 2003
I have owned my Stir Crazy for 10 years. I owned air poppers before and I was distinctly less than impressed. The Stir Crazy makes the tastiest, best popcorn EVER.
To those complaining about the stir rod scraping the surface -- don't screw the rod on so tight! Mine has never scraped so much as a molecule off the surface.
Other advice -- don't use the butter well -- it really isn't the best feature. But do REMOVE THE PLASTIC LID while popping -- this allows the steam to escape and prevents soggy popcorn.
I don't have the automatic switch off feature -- I watch and wait (drooling in anticipation) as the popcorn pops (really cool to watch BTW) and count 5 seconds after the last audible pop before unplugging. Never had a scorched kernel.
Replace the plastic lid and turn the unit over. Carefully (as it is hot) remove the base and transfer the popcorn into a hefty ceramic or glass bowl. The plastic dome can be used as a bowl -- but I prefer to use a heavier bowl.
My perfect vegan popcorn recipe:
2 tablespoons of organic olive oil
2/3 cup of organic popcorn
Pop according to Stir Crazy instructions (and follow hints listed above).
Sprinkle popped kernels with a half teaspoon of sea salt and a tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast.
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on February 19, 2005
Having owned one of these poppers for some time, I was 'brand loyal' when it came time to buy a replacement. The bowl on the newer model seemed more durable than the old style, and this was good, but the overall quality of these Chinese imports (my old one was made in the U.S.)seems shoddy to say the least. The new popper wouldn't rest on all four 'feet' simultaneously, rocking slightly. It dripped oil from beneath the unit onto the countertop, and worst of all, the heat element lasted no more than six months, after which time it wouldn't heat the corn to popping temperature. Consider buying another brand!
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on May 28, 2000
The Stir Crazy does such an excellent job! Air popped popcorn lacks "soul". If you use only 1 Tablespoon of canola oil to make 6 quarts of popcorn, and use butter salt or cheese salt with no added butter, you will have a negligible amount of fat, but lots of flavor. And every kernel pops!
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on December 9, 2007
ARGHHH- after reading so many great reviews about this machine I bought one the other day. Well only after eating a big bowl of popcorn did I come back to the machine to find that the teflon was rubbed off in a "circular" pattern. It was from either the metal stirring rod or a piece of popcorn that got stuck under the rod. Yuck, I must have ingested some of that teflon. I took the machine back to the store thinking I had a faulty machine. I made a batch of popcorn on the new machine, and although the scraping isn't as bad-- it's still there. The teflon is coming up after just ONE USE. C'mon man that is not reasonable. This machine is going back. I don't know how so many people are raving about this machine unless I got mine from a bad batch. I really wanted to like this popcorn popper, but it's flawed and it's going back tomorrow.
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