Which version is best? Out of the
top three types on the market, one
really popped.

Advertisement
popcorn
Photography by Alamy
| Credit: Photography by Alamy

Winner!

whole kernels
Credit: Photography by Peter Ardito

Whole kernels

8¢ cup popped popcorn 
4 mins prep

This old-school option is  the cheapest, the least  processed and the  tastiest—so picking a  winner was easy. Quinn  Popcorn Kernels' sweet  flavor (and its eco-friendly  cred) impressed testers.

microwave popcorn
Credit: Photography by Peter Ardito

Microwave 

24¢ per cup popped
3 mins prep

Sure, it's satisfying to  watch the bag puff in the  microwave, but you pay way more for packaging  and mystery ingredients.  (TBHQ? No thank you!)  BYO brown bag and  kernels for a cleaner snack.

pre-popped
Credit: Photography by Peter Ardito

Pre-popped

34¢ per cup popped
 0 mins prep

If you're all about  convenience or love  wacky flavors, grab a bag. (Rach digs the cheesy  kind—try her Chicago-Style Sweet & Salty snack mix.) But it'll never taste as fresh as the just-popped stuff.

 Nuke Your Whole Kernels

In a small paper bag with the  top rolled down or in a large bowl covered with a paper plate, microwave  1/4 cup kernels on high until the popping slows, about 1 minute 30 seconds  in the bag or 1 minute 45 seconds in the bowl. Makes 6 cups.