Customer Reviews: West Bend 82306 Stir Crazy 6-Quart Electric Popcorn Popper
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Size: Stir Crazy Black|Style Name: Popcorn Popper|Change
Price:$27.87+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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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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I used the old West Bend popper for years, but like this new one better for several reasons. First of all it pops the same amount as the older model but has a smaller footprint. It seems to operate just the same as the older model but I find it's easier to turn over when popping is complete. I do transfer the popcorn to another bowl for eating since the steam that dots the popping lid/bowl would seem to make some popped pieces less crisp.

I like that this model has an on off switch where the other turned on when you plugged it in and you had to unplug it to turn it off, which in my small area, meant reaching across the hot surface. Now I can turn the popper off and wait for it to cool before unplugging it. That depends on where you plug it in however since the cord is relatively short and you still have to invert the unit to transfer the popped corn to the bowl so you have to have enough flexibility in the cord to do that.

This popper certainly looks smaller than the other one, but also holds six quarts and pops it all thoroughly and efficiently with almost no unpopped kernals. Because the popping 'well' is recessed (the other popper had a flat surface), it's easier for me to judge how much oil and corn to put in without measuring, another convenient feature.

When my old Stir Crazy popper gave out after many years, I wanted to save counter space and bought a stove top model popper. It took me one use to decide that I really didn't want to stand at the stove turning a crank for several minutes and that unit was hard to clean. You can wipe out this one very easily and if you don't use butter, either in the popping or the drip well above, that simple wipe-out cleaning is all you need time after time, year after year.

I was willing to give up the counter space again just to get the automatic pop and was extra delighted to find this newer model takes up much less space. I highly recommend this unit.
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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 August 19, 2014
Love this thing. Doesn't leave many uncooked kernels. The butter melting tray is a joke. We melt our own butter on the stove. The key to using butter on popcorn is to boil the water out of it. That way your popcorn isn't soggy.
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on September 19, 2014
Awesome popper and cleanup is a breeze. It pops most of the kernels and the bottom just needs a quick wipe with a damp towel to clean. I like the on off switch as well.
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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 March 12, 2016
I'm not the first buyer to review this product. Perhaps another seller exited. There was a poor review from another buyer that left me surprised with a photo of a melted top--that buyer must have stepped away and forgotten about it because I haven't had that experience and I've been using this popper DAILY since late January/early February. After trying several microwave models (trial and error--still bunches of burnt kernels) and a couple other air poppers (larger, longer time to pop, set off kitchen smoke alarm and still some burnt kernels), I finally tried this mini version, which I found at Target and gave it a try. (Plain, air popped popcorn was suggested by my doctor as an alternate low cal snack to satisfy my my snacking binges and increase my fiber intake.) Delicious popcorn! FASTer than a microwave. Gourmet kernels are an unnecessary expense. Market labeled (Kroger's) popcorn popped just as well as the more expensive brands. Not a single burnt kernel yet from gourmet or store labeled popcorn! Also, it has a SMALL FOOTPRINT so it doesn't take up much room on the kitchen counter and it doesn't set off my smoke alarm. P.S. If you buy this model, also purchase one or two "Snapware 7.3-Cup Rectangle Airtight Food Storage Container, Small"--currently available on Amazon --which I also reviewed favorably and it's a perfect fit receptacle and storage container for the popped corn.
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on September 24, 2014
My husband likes popcorn, and over the years we've had an air popper (okay) done way too much microwave (bad for your health and it's not green) and he's burned the interior of my stainless steel pots from time to time. While looking for alternatives, I noticed that the West Bend poppers (old and new versions) got rave reviews, so I decided to chance it. My husband looked at it, quite skeptically, and I just said, "Try it, please." Well, the first batch got mix reviews: It popped great, but the butter didn't melt and go all over it. So, I suggested that he forego the built in butter reservoir and melt some in the microwave, as he has been doing when popping corn in a pot. Then he was happy. Very happy.

The butter thing at the top might work for you, but it did not work for us. However, I would not downgrade my rating of this excellent device over that minor problem.
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