We Tried 10 Popular Microwave Popcorns, and This Was the Best

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True to its name, the popped kernels in Tiny But Mighty's popcorn are, well, tiny. According to the packaging, this is so it's "easy to digest" and less likely to get stuck in one's teeth, a common issue with popcorn. However, in a blind taste test, this feature threw us off. While one taster thought the mini kernels were "cute," most found them "sad," "pale" and "weird." The lack of an artificial yellow color and flavor was the only highlight of this brand. Generally, Tiny But Mighty was found to be dry and flavorless.

Score: 2.7/10

Kathleen Collins / The Daily Meal

#9 Act II

If you want to have a butter-flavored popcorn but don't like a particularly strong salty or fake butter element, then Act II may just be right for you. One taster described this popcorn best by noting that it had "an OK texture and good kernel size, but it's barely buttery or salty." While most tasters didn't like that, two appreciated the flavor that others called bland. "Not salty at all, but I like that," one noted.

Score: 4.4/10

Kathleen Collins / The Daily Meal

#8 Skinny Pop

While the vast majority of microwave popcorn brands come in bags, Skinny Pop is unique in that it comes in boxes, which can be handy because it eliminates the need for a bowl. That seems to be the best feature or Skinny Pop, which several tasters noted had a "slightly sweet" flavor and an off-putting aftertaste.

Score: 4.4/10

Kathleen Collins / The Daily Meal

#7 Quinn

Quinn's Real Butter & Sea Salt flavor is markedly different than other popcorn brands. Instead of having the butter and salt infused in the bag and kernels, you pop the popcorn, add in oil and then add in the butter and sea salt flavorings, which come in packets. Despite shaking the seasonings and oil in thoroughly while making it, this process left pockets of seasoning that tasted less like butter and sea salt and more like "cheddar" to a vast majority of our tasters. "This is good, but not if you want butter popcorn," one tester wrote. And despite the all-natural ingredients and organic kernels, one taster said this brand was "clearly artificial."Score: 5.1/10

Kathleen Collins / The Daily Meal

#6 Pop Secret

Pop Secret has a massively buttery popcorn without actually being an extra butter popcorn. "Woah! So much butter flavor. Greasy fingers for days," one taster noted. Others thought this brand had elements of the much-beloved (and ridiculously unhealthy) movie theatre popcorn. All of this buttery flavor made Pop Secret a divisive choice. Other notable features of Pop Secret included a light, fluffy texture and big kernels, which make for easy snacking - assuming you have plenty of napkins handy.

Score: 5.4/10

Kathleen Collins / The Daily Meal

#5 Newman's Own

It would make sense that our No. 5 popcorn, Newman's Own, would be reviewed as middle-of-the-road by most of our tasters. "Fine? This has a pretty balanced salt-to-butter ratio, but it's nothing to write home about," one tester remarked. "Nothing special" was the comment du jour for this brand, with cries for more butter being the most common criticism.

Score: 5.7/10

Kathleen Collins / The Daily Meal

#4 Orville Redenbacher

Perhaps the most iconic popcorn brand in our taste test, Orville Redenbacher clocked in at No. 4 overall. Comments such as "nice, big kernels" and "good color" hinted at this brand's reputation as the standard. But perhaps standard here was too typical for our tasters, one of whom described this popcorn as "B A S I C." The other common comment was that this brand tasted like artificial butter, but this is microwave popcorn we're talking about here. That's a good thing for our tasters.

Score: 5.7/10

Kathleen Collins / The Daily Meal

#3 Jolly Time

A good butter popcorn, whether or not it's microwavable, needs balance, and that's something our staff found with Jolly Time. "Feels light, but it's still flavorful," one taster commented. Most tasters found this classic popcorn company had the right amount of butter, a "nice kernel size" and the iconic light yellow color one looks for in popcorn.

Score: 6.2/10

Kathleen Collins / The Daily Meal

#2 Market Pantry

There are a lot of groceries you should buy at Target, and perhaps popcorn is one of them! We popped in to this cult favorite retailer for some of their Market Pantry branded microwave popcorn and were pleasantly surprised. "The buttery flavor of this one is perfect!" one tester noted. Several popcorn aficionados distinctly called this brand out for being artificial tasting and having a slightly off texture, but that isn't always a bad thing for a microwave popcorn. "A classic artificial butter flavor!" one exclaimed.

Score: 7.4/10

Kathleen Collins / The Daily Meal

#1 Stop & Shop

Call us #basic all you want, but our top brand surprised even us. Stop & Shop, the Northeastern supermarket chain, had our favorite bag of microwave popcorn. Maybe it's because we're all broke journalists who buy store brands, but this popcorn was "the gold standard" for one tester. Others appreciated the butter-to-salt ratio, big kernel size and how this popcorn just "melts in your mouth." As it turns out, you really can skip the name brand and just go generic with your popcorn. While you're at it, maybe buy these other foods generic too.

Score: 7.5/10

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Kathleen Collins / The Daily Meal
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