The West Bend Stir Crazy 82306 has been a staple in American kitchens for quite a while, and with good reason. This reliable popcorn maker can make 24 cups or more of delicious popcorn in about five minutes. You don't end up with any burnt popcorn, although our tests showed that about one tablespoon of unpopped kernels remained.
The company states that this hot oil popcorn popper produces 24 cups of popcorn, but our tests showed it makes as much as 28 cups. This countertop popcorn machine is also easy to operate. The handles on either side are heat-resistant, so they are easy to touch, and you can use the dome lid as a serving bowl. If you want to add butter automatically, you can put some small chunks of it into the butter well on top and it will melt and drip onto the corn as it pops. The result is popcorn with just the right taste and texture.
Unlike the best popcorn makers, none of the parts of this popcorn maker can be cleaned in the dishwasher, so you will need to wash things by hand. Another drawback is that you do not get an on-off switch. That means you have to reach past the machine while it's hot to unplug the electrical cord from the wall, which could put your arm in uncomfortably close proximity to the device. This is unfortunate in a home popcorn maker.
The cord for this popcorn popper is 40 inches, which is not as short as some of the best popcorn makers' cords. However, it is a reasonable length for a kitchen appliance that sits on a counter. Long cords can pose hazards to curious children or when several people are walking around the kitchen. One benefit is that the cord is removable, which makes it easy for you to tuck your popcorn maker into a cupboard or onto a shelf for storage. If you want a shorter cord, check out the Cuisinart CPM-700 EasyPop Popcorn Maker that offers one that is only 25 inches long.
In case you want some variety with your popcorn treats, West Bend has some sweet and savory recipes in the user manual. There also is a downloadable version of the manual on its website in case you lose the original booklet. Besides regular popcorn or the traditional buttery popcorn, you can make such tasty treats as herb-infusion popcorn and lime fiesta popcorn. West Bend's cooks also present some recommendations to get your culinary imagination going, like adding cocoa powder, celery flakes, crushed red pepper or melted almond bark to your popcorn bowl.
West Bend offers some excellent customer support in case you encounter any problems with your popcorn popper. You can contact the company by email or phone and get a quick response. You also can check the user manual or the company's FAQs on its website. You do not get a demo video of how it works, however.
You get really good popcorn with the West Bend Stir Crazy 82306, although it does leave about a tablespoon of kernels behind. As a basic and quite functional electric popcorn maker, it does what it is supposed to do and does it well. However, it lacks some of the extras you find on the best popcorn poppers.