Orville Redenbacher’s Stirring Popper by Presto (05204) is the latest in a long line of oil poppers from the manufacturer. Does this model live up to Orville’s presumed standard for popcorn perfection?
The stirring popper includes a solid base with a non-stick heating surface and a stirring rod to agitate the kernels during the popping. This also helps to prevent the popped corn from scorching. There is no power switch, so the heating element is controlled by plugging the unit in. The popper includes a popping cover to contain the popped corn (up to 24 cups), which has a butter melter on the top. A snap on cover is included as well, so the dome can be used as bowl after popping completes.
We tested Orville Redenbacher’s Stirring Popper by Presto by adding 3/4 cup yellow popcorn kernels and 2 1/2 tablespoons of oil, per the instructions. After affixing the dome to the base and removing the “butter melter cover”, we plugged it in. Presto indicates that there is no need to pre-heat the popper.
The butter melter is a round area on the top of the popping cover which is perforated to allow melted butter to drip onto the popped corn. Per the instructions, the cover should be removed during popping to allow steam to escape regardless of whether any butter is being melted.
Popping started within 3 minutes, and continued for about 3 minutes before popping slowed to 2-3 seconds between pops. At this point, we unplugged the popper, replaced the butter melter cover, and flipped the entire unit over. Then, we lifted off the popper base to reveal 24 cups of fresh popped popcorn!
The popcorn was well popped, with only a few kernels remaining. In our first test, some popcorn was lightly over-cooked. In subsequent testing, stopping the popping process a little earlier avoided this. This is not difficult to do, but it does require practice and attention.
A more significant issue was the quality of the popped corn. Each time we tested Orville Redenbacher’s Stirring Popper by Presto, the resulting popcorn was somewhat tough and chewy. This was with the steam vent open, and no butter in the melter. We tested with yellow and white varieties of popcorn, and adjusted the oil amount within the range specified by Presto.
Clean up of the popper is a relatively simple, although manual, process. The stirring arm is attached to the base with a large knob. It easily unscrews, and both pieces can be washed with soap and water. The heating surface of the base is non-stick, and just needs to be wiped down. The popping cover/serving bowl must also be washed by hand, as none of the parts are dishwasher safe.
Presto includes an instruction manual with recipes, and a one-year warranty.
Orville Redenbacher’s Stirring Popper by Presto delivers 24 cups of popcorn quickly and easily. Cleanup is average among oil poppers. Our biggest concern is with the mouthfeel (is that a real word?) of the popcorn, as it was tough and chewy in every test.
In our house, the kids are often making the popcorn on movie night. The need to carefully attend the popping to ensure it doesn’t overcook, and the process of flipping the popper over when finished are two more issues we have with Orville Redenbacher’s Stirring Popper by Presto.