No oil needed
Easy to clean
Folds flat for compact storage
Pop and serve in same bowl
Bowl gets very hot to the touch
Left a lot of kernels unpopped
We purchased the Cuisinart Pop and Serve Microwave Popcorn Maker so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
If you like plain popcorn or need to make a batch to use with a popcorn ball recipe, you might be considering a microwave popcorn maker. They’re affordable, easy to use, and won’t send popcorn flying across the kitchen as some air poppers do. Microwave popcorn makers don’t require any oil to pop the corn, which is a nice feature for anyone who prefers air-popped corn or just wants to eat a little healthier.
The Cuisinart Pop and Serve Microwave Popcorn Maker is made of silicone and collapses flat for convenient, out-of-sight storage. It comes with a vented lid so you can pop corn in your microwave and eat it out of the same bowl. As a big popcorn fan, I was excited to give it a try and dirty fewer dishes than I do with the old-fashioned stovetop method. Here's what I found.
Design: Bowl collapses
The standout feature of this popcorn maker is that the silicone bowl collapses flat so it takes up minimal space in storage. It can easily fit in a drawer, cabinet, stacked with dinnerware, or even stored vertically.
The silicone is BPA-free, and the bowl can hold up to 10 cups of popped corn, which is plenty for a couple or small family to enjoy together.
Unfortunately, the cooking guide doesn’t include recommendations for different microwave wattages, so you’re going to have to experiment to find the sweet spot.
Performance: Easy to use
I was testing this popcorn maker during the winter when I happened to be watching lots of holiday movies. A bowl of microwave popcorn seemed like the perfect quick, easy, and guilt-free snack to go with my family's favorite holiday specials.
I consulted the popping chart guide in the instruction manual for recommended cooking times. I started with 1/3 cup kernels, which should make an estimated 10 cups of popped corn—the maximum amount the bowl can hold.
The instructions said to spread the kernels evenly over the bottom of the bowl, which is a little hard to do since the bottom of the bowl has a raised center and isn’t perfectly flat. My microwave is mounted over the range, so I tried to be cautious about not tilting the bowl as I placed it into the microwave to keep the kernels in an even layer. The bowl fit easily into my microwave with plenty of clearance and room to spare.
The instructions warned not to use the popcorn cooking preset found on most microwaves, since it's designed for bags of packaged popcorn that contain oil. I used the recommended cooking time for 1/3 cup kernels, which is 4 minutes.
I heard the popcorn begin to pop after about 90 seconds, but the popping didn’t seem very plentiful, with only a couple of kernels popping every few seconds. As the end of 4 minutes approached, the time in between pops slowed further, and I worried the popcorn would burn, so I stopped it with about 15 seconds to spare.
Only about half the popcorn had popped, and some of the pieces were on the verge of burning. The bowl, especially the silicone, got pretty hot to the touch. I’d recommend using potholders to handle it, especially if kids are involved, or letting it cool off while you melt some butter or gather other toppings.
I tried scooping out the popped corn and returning the unpopped kernels to the microwave for another minute, but only a few more pieces ended up popping. I had the same results when I tried making smaller batches, following the recommendation to cook 2 tablespoons of kernels for 3 minutes.
It seemed like every attempt needed more cooking time to pop all the kernels, but if I upped the cooking time by an extra 30 seconds or minute, I ended up with partially popped corn that tasted smoky. For the record, my microwave is 1100 watts. I'm not the only one who ended up with partially popped and burnt corn, either: While a lot of other reviewers have success with it, it seems just as many have disappointing bowls of partially popped and/or burnt popcorn.
The best results are going to depend on your microwave. Unfortunately, the cooking guide doesn’t include recommendations for different microwave wattages, so you’re going to have to experiment to find the sweet spot. I was disappointed this just didn’t work well with my microwave.
If you have limited storage space and trust your microwave to turn out perfectly popped corn, you can’t beat the compact folding design or the low price point.
Cleaning: Dishwasher safe bowl
The silicone popping bowl is dishwasher safe, while the lid needs to be washed by hand. I found it easiest to just wash everything by hand. The bowl doesn’t get dirty enough to warrant the dishwasher unless you add melted butter or other flavorings to the popped corn.
I noticed just rinsing the bowl with warm water wasn’t enough to remove all the popcorn “dust” from the silicone, but washing it with a soapy sponge kept my popcorn maker looking like new.
Price: Very affordable
With a retail price of $13, the Cuisinart Pop and Serve Microwave Popcorn Maker is one of the most affordable popcorn makers you’ll come across. Similar microwave style popcorn makers cost $15 to $20.
The extra-low price makes sense when you consider your microwave will be doing all the work since this model is just a silicone bowl and not an actual electrical appliance. But if you have limited storage space and trust your microwave to turn out perfectly popped corn, you can’t beat the compact folding design or the low price point.
Cuisinart Pop and Serve Microwave Popcorn Maker vs. Cuisinart EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn Maker
If you’ve been shopping around for a popcorn maker that pops corn without any added oil, you’ve likely come across the Cuisinart EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn Maker, the brand’s electrical hot air popcorn maker. The EasyPop costs about three times as much as the microwave popcorn maker, retailing for around $40. It's also designed for countertop use and requires access to an outlet.
I tested both and found the EasyPop is foolproof to use: Just press the on/off switch and the machine does all the work. There’s even a built-in cup for measuring kernels and melting butter. In my tests, the EasyPop popped a batch of popcorn faster than the microwave model. I had a full bowl of popcorn in about 2 minutes and 30 seconds with significantly fewer unpopped kernels than I had with the microwave popcorn maker.
The EasyPop can hold enough kernels to pop up to 15 cups of corn per batch, while the microwave model can hold about 10 cups of popped corn per batch. I found the EasyPop even easier to clean than the microwave popcorn maker since only the chute measuring cup/butter dish needs to be cleaned.
The EasyPop takes up more room than the microwave popcorn maker. It’s a good idea to measure cabinet space to be sure it’ll fit if you don’t want to keep it stored on the countertop. It’s available in white and metallic red.
If you’re looking for a microwave popcorn maker to make air-popped corn, it’s worth giving the Cuisinart Pop and Serve Microwave Popcorn Maker a try. Getting a perfectly popped bowl of corn with this model depends on finding the popping time that’s most compatible with your microwave’s wattage, but a little experimentation in the kitchen is a small price to pay since this popcorn maker is inexpensive, easy to use and clean, and folds flat for storage.
- Product Name Pop and Serve Microwave Popcorn Maker
- Product Brand Cuisinart
- Price $13
- Weight 1.5 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 8.75 x 9.5 x 2.0 in.
- Color Red
- Warranty Lifetime
- What's Included Collapsible popping bowl, lid, and instruction/recipe book