Making your own popcorn at home for a movie or game night is the best way to save more. The key task here is choosing the best popcorn kernels that are suitable for your budget, quantity needs, health conditions, and more.
Don’t worry, all these elements will be presented in this article in addition to the 20 top picks based on my experience. Read on!
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Top 20 Best Popcorn Kernel Reviews In 2020
4110 Great Northern Popcorn Kernels
Start with my most favorite popcorn kernel brand – Great Northern Popcorn Company, which is also renowned for its wonderful homemade popcorn makers, according to consumer reports.
If you are new in theater-like tasted popcorn kernels, this is worth a try.
GNP company begins with the premium-grade kernel that after harvested, will be properly kept in specially-designed storage bins and processed with the most advanced method. It is also added with extra-fine buttery flavors, exclusive low-melt oil, and seasoned salt for better tasting.
To ensure the highest customer satisfaction as well as meet the government’s standards, it will then be test-popped.
The price is a bit pricey in my opinion, however, its flavorful tasting is worth every single penny counted. And I highly recommend trying this at least once. There are four size options to choose from, the more you buy, the cheaper.
- Reliable – made by Great Northern Popcorn Company, a well-known brand in the kernel popcorn industry
- High-quality – made from premium-grade kernel processed with the most advanced method
- Flavorful and tasteful – added with extra-fine buttery flavors, exclusive low-melt oil, and seasoned salt
- Flexible – four size options to choose from
- A bit pricey
|What’s Included||Corn, extra-fine seasoned salt and our buttery flavored, low-melt oil|
|Highlight Features||Numerous size options; made by a reliable brand; premium-grade kernel processed with the most advanced technology|
4105 Great Northern Popcorn Kernels
Another bestseller of GNP company is this 4105 case, including 24 packs – 6 ounces/unit. It is a more budget-friendly option with no compromises of quality.
It is made from the same popcorn sold to Vendors, Movie Theaters, and Major League Baseball Stadiums, which is the premium-quality kernel with high volume, a bit buttery and salty taste after popped.
The best thing is its additional seasoned salt contains no diacetyl – a substance commonly found in yeast but in high content, it probably causes a headache, restrains metabolism, and has an uncomfortable smell.
This product provides you with 5 size options to choose from – the 12-ounce portion pack, the 8-ounce, the 6-ounce, the 4-ounce, and the 2.5-ounce.
- Flexible and affordable – priced under $30 & include 5 size options
- Quality & safe to use – contains no diacetyl
- Instructions aren’t really helpful
- Flavors and aroma would be decreased if you don’t pop it in a commercial air popper
|What’s Included||Corn, extra-fine diacetyl free seasoned salt and our buttery flavored, low-melt oil|
|Highlight Features||Various size options; made from the same popcorn sold to Vendors, Movie Theaters, and Major League Baseball Stadiums; using extra-fine diacetyl free seasoned salt|
Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn Kernels
If you prefer the taste of fresh-popped popcorn with no salt or buttery flavors added, I highly recommend trying Orville Redenbacher’s.
This is a reputable kernel brand in the world for their 100% organic popcorn that is Non-GMO product verified, which means no artificial, preservatives, dyes, and flavors. Besides, it’s free from all the pesticides as well as other chemicals regularly used on crops.
So while enjoying your delicious, fluffy popcorn kernel at home, just worry-free about obesity or other health-relating problems.
I also like the packaging design which is a portable compact bottle with a lid that you can take the amount of kernel needed to pop and store the rest securely. This design is also easy to refill or reuse, which helps limit plastic waste.
For a merely 5-pound bottle, it is priced under $20, which is rather affordable.
- Safe and reliable to use – Non-GMO Project Verified & made from 100% organic kernel
- Taste fresh and healthy – gluten-free
- The packaging is easy to refill and reuse
- The bottle is prone to break under strong impact
- The popping process isn’t as convenient and quick as the bag-in-the-microwave popcorn
|What’s Included||100% natural, Non-GMO Project Verified whole-grain and gluten-free original popcorn kernels|
|Weight||5 lb, 12 oz|
|Highlight Features||100% whole-grain, gluten-free popcorn; 100% natural, Non-GMO Project Verified;|
Snappy White Popcorn Kernels
The Snappy White Popcorn Kernels are a perfect choice for people who love eating popcorn but also want it to be low-carb and healthy.
It is made by Snappy Popcorn – an OG in the kernel industry which was founded in 1940, in Iowa. Their products are guaranteed to be 100% whole-grain, low-calorie, and high-fiber.
The sole ingredient is white popping corn that’s grown, processed, and packaged there, under strict examination to ensure the government’s highest standards.
The reusable 4-pound jar with a portable, grippy design is a big bonus because once you can refill or reuse it. Snappy Popcorn also sells separately refill bags for this, which is very convenient and eco-friendly.
- Healthy – made from low-calorie, 100% whole-grain, high-fiber healthy popcorn snack
- Safe to use and trustworthy – non-GMO, gluten-free
- Eco-friendly – the reusable jar that can be used with refill bags
- A bit chewy
- Pop a bit smaller than yellow popcorn
|What’s Included||100% whole-grain, high-fiber healthy popcorn|
|Highlight Features||low-calorie, 100% whole-grain, high-fiber healthy popcorn snack; non-GMO, gluten-free; reusable jar|
Snappy Yellow Popcorn Kernels
Aside from the White version, I found the Yellow was very worth trying.
It is mainly similar to the previous sibling – made of 100% whole-grain, reusable jar with hand-grip design, Non-GMO verification, and more. The 4-pound capacity is huge enough to never run out.
In comparison, the yellow version seems to pop more completely than the white and it is much bigger, giving a more satisfying feel to chew.
- The popped kernels are lighter and bigger, giving a more satisfying feel to chew
- Have a higher rating of kernels pop
|What’s Included||100% whole-grain|
|Size||Pack of 6|
|Highlight Features||Pop bigger and lighter, high popping rating|
Bob’s Red Mill Popcorn Kernels
One more popular popcorn brand is Bob’s Red Mill, which was established in 1978.
It has been a leader in the organic, nutritious, stone-ground, and gluten-free foods with no salt or chemicals added – just plainly and freshly tasted popcorn so it’s very low calories.
The whole producing process is in-house under strict quality control protocols and gluten tested by a separate laboratory. In the market, it’s one of the most trustworthy sources for healthy-friendly gluten-free kernels.
Not to say that this snack is rich in dietary fiber. Per serving, it gives you 3 grams of protein, 27 grams of whole grains, and 100 calories.
It is also very easy to make so don’t worry if you don’t have a popcorn machine, these bags can be popped in a microwave or stovetop.
- Easy to make whether on the popcorn machine, stovetop, or microwave
- Provide excellent content of fiber while containing low calories
- Extremely safe to eat – No added preservatives, salt, or oil, non-GMO, & USDA Organic-labeled
- The smell isn’t as delightful as the Great Northern
|What’s Included||100% Whole Grain|
|Size||Case of Four, 27 oz. bags|
|Highlight Features||Microwaveable; Excellent source of fiber; No added oil, salt or preservatives; 100% Whole Grain;|
Pop Secret Popcorn Kernels
Proudly made in the USA with Kosher certification, no strange when the Pop Secret Popcorn Microwave Pack is #1 bestseller on Amazon.
You’ll receive 30 count boxes of three-ounce bags in each set and they’re all non-GMO popping corn made virtually from whole grain.
Like GNP company, Pop Secret adds a bit salt and buttery flavor to their product so when making it, your house will be full of a delightful smell. The taste is wonderful! It gives you melt-in-mouth experience in each airy bite.
One thing that I personally like in this option is fewer kernels leftover and hulls. Actually, I didn’t pick hulls out of my teeth from this.
If you have been a fan of Great Northern Popcorn, this is worth the next try.
- Deliver melt-in-mouth experience with each airy bite
- Virtually safe, healthy, and trustful – no high-fructose corn syrup, no TBHQ, No added color/color from a natural source, no trans-fat, and Non-GMO
- Highly value – come in jumbo size
- Not vegan
- A bit tricky to pop
- Some customers said it was salty in their tasting preference
|What’s Included||100% whole grain|
|Size||30 count box of 3 oz. bags|
|Highlight Features||Made in the USA, Kosher certified; 100% whole grain; Made with non-GMO corn|
Franklin’s Popcorn Kernels
If “dairy-free and gluten-free” are your biggest concerns when looking for the best popcorn kernel to enjoy at home, Franklin’s Gourmet is a shining contender.
While made from vegan popping corn with non-GMO and Kosher certification, it is known for the uniquely interesting flavors. This popcorn gives a delightful fragrance spreading but it’s not buttery. It is from coconut oil so accordingly, the taste is very extraordinary and nice.
Don’t worry if you find the oil is hard when opening the bags. This is a common issue of most coconut oiled popcorns and once popping, it will be melted into the kernels.
I like the concept that all additional spices, including coconut oil and salt, has its own compartment in the package, which means you can adjust the flavors and tastes to your preference.
- Dairy-free and gluten-free
- High-quality and heath-friendly – non-GMO and Kosher certification
- You can adjust the flavors and tastes to your preference
- Not pop up as fluffily and largely as the basic popcorn
- The oil is hard which is a bit tricky to squeeze to plop into a popper
|What’s Included||Organic Popping Corn, 100% Coconut Oil, Seasoning Salt|
|Size||Pack of 24
Pack of 10
|Highlight Features||dairy-free and gluten-free; coconut oil and salt are placed in a separate compartment|
Hoosier Hill Farm Popcorn Kernels
You’ll never want to go back to the commercial popcorn once trying this product.
It is from Hoosier Hill Farm – an American kernel brand founded in 1999 in northeast Indiana. What makes them outstanding are the good, old-fashioned values and all ingredients are guaranteed fresh, 100% high-quality, and nice texture.
While containing high antioxidants and fiber, the popping corn is Non-GMO. Hoosier Hill Farm also produces it with different flavors.
Note that sizes are different among flavors.
For example, ladyfinger is the smallest that you can scoop to eat with a spoon while the big mushroom is extremely large for people who love full-mouth feel.
- Sleek design and the bag is sealable
- Various choices of flavors to choose from with different sizes
- The big mushroom popcorn still has 20% butterfly kernels
|What’s Included||Premium Non-GMO popcorn|
|Highlight Features||many specialty varieties of mouthwatering gourmet popcorn; Non-GMO; High in fiber and antioxidants; sealable bag design|
TruPop Mushroom Popcorn Kernels
TruPop Mushroom Kernels are the best choice for people who try to make popcorn like the one bought at the state fair.
It is less tricky to pop huge as there is a detail instruction sheet included in the package and the most important thing is very digestion-friendly. The hulls of big mushrooms are much easier to fall off than the butterfly so it doesn’t cause you to any digestive issues.
The popcorn is also non-GMO, gluten-free, and allergen-free (which means it doesn’t contain soybean, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, crustacean shellfish, fish, eggs, and milk).
The ingredient source is 100% grown and packaged in America, which ensures quality. Above all, tasting is super-delicious.
- Hulls are easily fallen off – digestion-friendly
- Easy to make your own gourmet-style popcorn treats, such as chocolate popcorn, kettle corn, caramel corn, and more.
- Some kernels aren’t still big mushroom but that ratio is very small
|What’s Included||100% natural popcorn|
|Highlight Features||Allergen Free, Gluten Free & non-GMO; go through an additional air-wash cleaning process to remove dirt;|
Arrowhead Mills Popcorn Kernels
Arrowhead Mills is quite famous in popcorn freak community, especially these divine six 24-ounce white popcorn kernel bags.
They are organically certified by the USDA to be not genetically modified (Non-GMO project verification). Therefore, they don’t wreak havoc with your digestive system or give you a headache like when eating the non-organic popcorn that’s treated with chemicals.
With this, you can rest the heart to enjoy your favorite snack without worrying about negative side-effects. In addition, it achieves the Kosher certification and is gluten-free certified to 10ppm gluten.
Popping is very easy – either by stovetop or microwave – and they come out crispy, fluffy, and airy with no stale spongy tasting.
- Delicious and safe for your digestive system – organic certified by USDA to be not genetically modified
- 100% organic popcorn so no headache
- Out of stock quickly
- Some customers blamed for the packaging that easily came broken
|What’s Included||White Popcorn|
|Highlight Features||Certified Kosher; USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified; Gluten Free certified to 10 ppm gluten;|
Jolly Time Popcorn Kernels
Jolly Time is another American popcorn family-own manufacturer, founded in 1914, based in Iowa, and has been through 4 generations.
It is the longest continuous good housekeeping seal holder at the current.
This 10.5-ounce kit includes pre-measured medium-sized kernels, coconut oil, and seasoning salt that are kept in three separate compartments. When popping, you can adjust the oil and salt portion to your preference and personal diet requirements.
Kernels are made from 100% premium whole grain with non-GMO project verification and gluten-free for a consistent pop butter flavor every time.
In general, it is perfect for serving real movie-theater-styled butter popcorn in nursing homes, schools, office break rooms, corporate events, baseball parks, sports bars, or smaller theaters.
- Easy to eat – Medium-sized
- Allow you to adjust the salt and oil to the personal preference
- Deliver a consistent pop butter flavor every time
- Wish the packaging was changed to see the content of salt, oil, and kernels
|What’s Included||100% whole grain, Gluten-Free with Non-GMO yellow corn kernels; coconut oil and seasoning salt.|
|Size||Pack of 18
Pack of 24
Pack of 36
|Highlight Features||100% whole grain, Gluten-Free with Non-GMO yellow corn kernels; 3 PRE-MEASURED COMPARTMENTS; MEDIUM SIZE|
Amish Country Popcorn Medium White Popcorn Kernels
This is always in stock in my kitchen cupboard because I need something more affordable to pop daily. Of course, it must be health-friendly and delicious and this meets such requirements nicely.
Amish Country Popcorn is a long-standing American popcorn manufacturer, known for a variety of non-GMO vegan kernel lines without containing gluten or allergen substances, like dairy, lactose, peanut, and tree nut.
What I love the most about this product is kernels are almost popped virtually with a crispy texture and fresh tastes.
But if you prefer more flavorful tasting, Amish Country Popcorn still provides a bunch of recipes, such as organic coconut oil, clarified butter, and avocado oil. There are also many weight options, from 0.25 pounds to 50 pounds, in addition to a fantastic recipe guide – the “15 Amazing Popcorn Recipes” eBook.
- Non-GMO, gluten-free, and allergen-free
- The whole manufacturing process is in the USA
- Various weight and flavor options to choose from
- Convenient and highly valuable – including the “15 Amazing Popcorn Recipes” eBook
- Wish there was an airtight lid for better storing and maintaining
- Not organic
|What’s Included||100% natural popcorn|
|Size||Pack of 1
Pack of 2
Pack of 3
Pack of 10
Pack of 24
|Highlight Features||Grown, manufactured and packaged in the heart of the USA; Non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, tree nut and peanut-free, lactose and dairy-free; includes a fantastic recipe guide the “15 Amazing Popcorn Recipes” eBook|
Anthony’s Organic Yellow Popcorn Kernels
Anthony’s Organic Yellow Popcorn Kernels are specifically produced for popcorn eaters who have health issues.
The kernels are 100% grown and packaged in California – United States, and organic certified by USDA to be gluten-free and non-GMO.
Per serving, it provides up to 6 grams of fiber yet only 30 calories, meaning that you can add flavorings, salt, or butter but still have room to keep the calorie count low.
Importantly, each batch is strictly tested before releasing it.
I love how these popped kernels are perfectly crisp, fluffy, and large no matter you make it in the microwave, in a popcorn machine, or on the stove.
This pure snack is both delicious when tasted plain or with salt and butter or using other candied recipes if wanted.
- 100% organic – good for health
- Contain low calories
- Popped fluffily, crisply, and largely
- Out of stock fast
- Some customers said they were a bit chewy
|What’s Included||Organic UnPopped Yellow Popcorn Kernels|
|Highlight Features||All-Natural Plant-Based Snack; Non-GMO and Gluten-Free; 100% Grown and Packaged in the USA; USDA Certified|
Jiffy Pop Butter Popcorn Kernels
As beginners commonly find popping corn at home is tricky, Jiffy Pop provides an exclusive easy-pop basket in this package to give them help.
With it, you can easily enjoy popcorn at the beach or in a campfire with no need to bring a bowl. All instructions are included and they’re very easy to follow. Although the price is slightly pricey, this is a good option to buy once or twice for camping trips.
One thing to note: These popcorn kernels would taste a bit differently if cooked from the microwave – fresher and crispier.
For those who don’t know about this brand, Jiffy Pop has been in the market since 1959. It is known for premium yet affordable popcorn kernel lines with a rich buttery taste.
- Tasteful and flavorful – rich buttery aroma and tasting when popped
- Easy to pop
- A bit high calories – 140 calories/2 tablespoons unpopped kernels
|What’s Included||Popcorn and butter|
|Size||Pack of 3|
|Highlight Features||3 4.5 oz packages; Comes in its own easy-pop basket; Rich buttery taste|
Angie’s Boomchickapop Popcorn Kernels
I save these Angie’s Boomchickapop Sea Salt Microwave Popcorn Kernels a lot for game nights or movie nights because they provide really low calories – 35/cup with no trans-fat.
It tastes a bit salty so that I could finish a whole fresh-pop bowl till the last one without feeling bored. The kernels themselves are 100% organic with non-GMO to not cause you to wreak havoc in the digestion or feel headache.
It is also gluten-free to not make you fat if eating late at night or in huge quantities. Even, the rich content of fiber will help you get fuller and longer.
Take note that this Angie’s Boomchickapop is a bit tricky to pop on stovetop or campfire. I highly recommend using a microwave for the best results.
Regardless, I like the packaging. It’s great and simple to open/close.
- The packaging can be transformed into a fresh-pop bowl, which is convenient
- Low calories and no fat – great to add extra flavorings with no fears of getting fat
- Not taste as good as the kettle corn flavor
- The instructions aren’t really helpful
|What’s Included||Popcorn & Sea Salt|
|Size||Pack of 6|
|Highlight Features||whole-grain, non-GMO and gluten-free; contain 35 calories per cup popped and 0 grams trans-fat per serving; Convenient fresh-pop bowl|
Great Western Popcorn Kernels
This Great Western Premium America Bag includes 24 packs.
Each unit is plenty enough for a movie night or small party of a large family. Or, according to one customer, the whole package would be nice for 8 church movie nights for 25 plus hungry kids. So, it’s highly valuable!
Aside from kernels, the ingredients include salt and butter which tastes not too buttery or salty after popped. And don’t worry, it doesn’t leave heavy buildup or gets thick after making a couple of batches.
I’m also glad to find the percentage of kernels pop is really high.
- It is salty and buttery, which is interesting to eat more
- Not leave heavy buildup or gets thick after making a couple of batches
- The high percentage of the kernels pop
- Not suggest for people with health problems
|What’s Included||Popcorn, salt, and butter|
|Size||Pack of 24
Pack of 48
Pack of 72
Pack of 96
|Highlight Features||A high percentage of the kernels pop|
Popcorn Indiana Popcorn Kernels
Out of numerous popcorn kernel bags I have tried, this Popcorn Indiana offers the most flavorful tasting with super-delightful aroma when popped.
It’s no strange! Just look at the ingredients – non-GMO popcorn, vegetable oil, vanilla, soy lecithin, salt, whey, whole dry milk, palm oil, nonfat dry milk, cocoa, palm kernel oil, and cane sugar.
The bag contains no trans-fat, cholesterol, preservatives, colors, or artificial flavors. It is also gluten-free and Kosher verified for health safety to eat.
The biggest selling point is the Indiana black and white chocolate version, making it a perfect pick for chocolate lovers or people who love eating sweets. But while enjoying the tasteful snack, don’t forget about its high calories, which is also the reason I only save it for really important occasions.
- Uniquely delicious chocolate taste
- Affordable and convenient to in-stock
- Good for the digestive system
- Not work well on stovetop or microwave
|What’s Included||non-GMO popcorn, vegetable oil, vanilla, soy lecithin, salt, whey, whole dry milk, palm oil, nonfat dry milk, cocoa, palm kernel oil, and cane sugar|
|Highlight Features||Zero cholesterol and zero grams trans fats; No artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives; Kosher, gluten-free|
Benchmark 40006 Popcorn Kernels
After the first try, I was immediately convinced this Benchmark 40006 Popcorn Kernel Portion Pack gave the closest taste like the theater popcorn.
It is added with seasoning salt and coconut oil but after popped, it’s not too salty like other counterparts at this price range would be. Everything is blended just perfectly – light enough to eat more without feeling insanely thirsty but flavorful enough to not feel bored soon.
The bag design is also easy to use – just pour in the coconut oil and salt mixture, wait for it to melt and then add kernels. The rating of full popping is also very high – 90-95% in my opinion, which bangs for bucks.
- Give the closest taste like the theater popcorn
- Easy to pop with no mess
- Still have a few chewy pieces
- Wish it was a bit more flavor
|What’s Included||Pre-measured popcorn, coconut oil and seasoning salt|
|Size||Pack of 24|
|Highlight Features||No measuring, no mess; Pre-measured popcorn, coconut oil, and seasoning salt|
Amish Country Popcorn Kernels
This Amish Country pack is great for people who are in need of hull-less popcorn kernels.
It comes with 24 four-ounce bags, all are made from premium-grade kernels with no peanut, tree nut, and gluten. The entire pack is non-GMO, meaning that it would be a good idea for a healthy snack with low calories.
And more significantly, the popcorn offers a deliciously satisfying taste that you just want to eat more.
Like the previous sibling, this also includes the “15 Amazing Popcorn Recipes” eBook.
- Hulless and easy to eat
- Low calories and healthy
- A bit expensive
|What’s Included||baby white popping corn|
|Size||Pack of 24|
|Highlight Features||Non-GMO, gluten-free, tree nut and peanut-free; include the “15 Amazing Popcorn Recipes” eBook|
The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Best Popcorn Kernel In 2020
You should know that even if the popcorn isn’t added with preservatives, colorings, or chemicals during the manufacturing process, it still takes risks of containing pesticides.
From that point, when looking for popcorn kernel to make at home, organic ingredients are highly recommended. This is commonly shown through some certification and verification, such as the Non-GMO Project, USDA certification, and so on.
Besides, the kernels should not contain trans-fat, cholesterol, and gluten.
If there are coconut oils in the ingredients, make sure they are organic as well.
The more flavorings added (caramel, coconut oil, chocolate, and so on), the higher the calories.
Choose pure popcorn with no flavorings if you are on a diet or not allowed to eat high-carb food. For people who are allergic to dairy or milk-relating products, avoid those popcorns that contain eggs, soybean, fish, wheat, crustacean shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts.
Which popcorn kernels are best?
Here are my picks:
- 4110 Great Northern Popcorn Premium Kernels
- Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popcorn Kernels
- Snappy Popcorn Snappy White Popcorn Kernels
- Snappy Popcorn Snappy Yellow Popcorn Kernels
- Bob’s Red Mill Whole White Popcorn Kernels
Which popcorn kernels are the healthiest?
The healthiest popcorn kernels should be 100% organic and below are some of the top-notch options:
- Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popcorn Kernels
- Bob’s Red Mill Whole White Popcorn Kernels
- Franklin’s Gourmet Movie Theater Popcorn Organic Popping Corns
- Arrowhead Mills Organic White Popcorn Kernels
What is better – white or yellow popcorn kernels?
The yellow popcorn kernels are better in sweet and nutty tasting while the white popcorn is lighter in texture and subtler in flavors. The choice is yours.
What kind of popcorn kernels do movie theaters use?
Yellow popcorn kernels with Flavacol.
How much Flavacol do you put in popcorn?
What is the difference between popcorn salt and regular salt?
Popcorn salt is more finely grained to stick better into the crannies and nooks of the popcorn.
Although popcorn kernels are just a snack, it will sublimate your tasting if being chosen wisely. Not to say that not all types of kernels are suitable for each individual’s health conditions and preferences.
I hope the list of 20 best popcorn kernels above has given you a better ideal to enjoy this delicious snack more healthily. Thanks for reading!