The Best And Worst Microwave Popcorn To Buy At The Grocery Store

It's hard not to love buttery movie theatre popcorn, but sometimes you just need something convenient and fast at home. This is where microwave popcorn shines, despite the potential health risks if you eat way too much of the snack. Though it seems like a snack that should be straight forward enough, it can actually be pretty tricky to find which brands are the best microwavable popcorn.

Microwave popcorn needs to pass several checkpoints before it can really be deemed one of the best brands. The bag should consistently deliver most – if not every – kernel popped and a rich, buttery flavor. You might want a bag that delivers just enough saltiness, too. But there are some great options that are lighter and lower in calories than the butter-heavy options. Basically, you just want to avoid anything that's going to sound like a rainstick after it's been popped or that adds tons of additives, sugar, or other ingredients that are less-than-good for you.

The best kinds of microwave popcorn

There are plenty of brands of microwave popcorn that you probably won't be mad about should you pick it up and give it a try. However, some of the best-tasting brands are also some of the biggest name brands you probably already know and love. The first, for example, is Pop Secret Premium Popcorn in Movie Theater Butter flavor, according to My Recipes. It was highly praised for its flavor straight out of the bag and for simultaneously not being too greasy. It was also lower in sodium than several other brands without giving up its salty flavor.

Another brand to stick to for an admittedly indulgent treat is Jolly Time Popcorn in Black 'O Butter Ultimate Theater Style. Yes, it isn't a healthy option according to Eat This, Not That!, but if you're only after a super buttery flavor, this is it. Delish describes it as "lick-your-fingers-it's-so-good popcorn." Other than a higher sodium content, it's pretty similar to Pop Secret's Movie Theater Butter flavor.

Finally, Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn in Movie Theater Butter is another great choice. It's a classic for a reason. It's a good value, and the popcorn is very buttery, if greasy. Those looking for decent low-calorie options should try Skinny Pop Popcorn in Butter flavor, O Organics Organic Popcorn in Butter flavor, or Act II in Butter Lovers. All provide a good flavor without the added calories of very buttery popcorn. 

The worst kinds of microwave popcorn

My Recipes declared Angie's Boom Chicka Pop Popcorn in Real Butter as one to pass, which might be a controversial opinion. If you are someone who absolutely loves to snack on the pre-popped bags of Angie's Boom Chicka Pop Popcorn, then Delish suggests you'll love the fresh popcorn. The major factor here is that this popcorn really lacks the butter flavor and mainly tastes salty. So butter lovers should definitely steer clear.

Another option to pass on unless you are really worried about the potential harm that the microwaveable bag and lining's chemicals might inflict is Quinn Snacks Microwave Popcorn in Real Butter and Sea Salt. It's described as being "different," but it doesn't have any chemicals or plastic lining inside the bag. Finally, if you are even remotely looking for a healthy snack, stay clear of the kinds of popcorn that pile on additional flavors or include additives. Think microwave popcorn with cheese flavor or caramel sauce that is poured over the top. Some brands of microwave kettle corn also pack more sugar than necessary, according to Eat This, Not That!.

So, make your choice according to what you want from the flavor and calorie count of your popcorn. Ultimately, stick to the big brands for a delicious snack.