Although it has other designations, the month of October is National Popcorn Month, which makes it a perfect time to talk about one of my favorite new kitchen toys, Zippy Pop.
I love a good snack while binge watching television shows or just streaming a movie at home but when it comes to my snacks of choice, I have always been a DIY popcorn popper.
For the longest time I used an old Farberware 5.5-quart stainless steel stockpot for my corn popping needs, and while it did an OK job, there were limitations. As a result, every time I found myself in a kitchen shop or quality department store, I would stare longingly at the stovetop popcorn makers. It seemed like one brand always showed up on shelves, and even though they do pop corn better than a plain stockpot, they seemed one dimensional.
Last year a new product hit the market that, upon first glance, I thought was just another stovetop popcorn maker, but a closer examination proved me wrong.
Zippy Pop Details
Zippy Pop is – yes a popcorn maker – but designed to be more than that; it wants to be a total snack maker. In the few months I have been using one, it is fair to say Zippy accomplishes the intended goal.
Zippy Pop was created by the same people who designed the original Sur La Table branded stainless steel cookware, which most of you probably never heard about but I can attest was first rate stuff. The original Sur La Table lines were a lot better than the current iterations; the reason I mention this is that it speaks to the quality approach taken with Zippy Pop.
Zippy Pop comes in two sizes, 4-quart and 5.5-quart, both made from responsive 1.5mm pressed aluminum. The interior is coated with Xylan-Plus by Whitford, a high quality non-stick coating. The exterior of Zippy Pop is coated in a colorful, high heat tolerant paint, and has a riveted stainless steel handle over-molded with a high-density “Soft-Touch” plastic grip.
While the pan construction is solid, the truly innovative design comes with the patented tumbling mechanism and vented, tempered glass lid. This mechanism features a unique stationary baffle and propeller arms to ensure even cooking, and to coat each kernel with seasoning or mix.
The vent holes in the lid allow steam to escape so that the popcorn is fluffy and drier, but there is also a silicone covered flavor port in the lid. This feature allows you to add flavors and seasonings during and after the initial popping phase.
I started out my tests of the 4-quart Zippy Pop by making simple popcorn, using recipe included in the short manual that contains a few additional recipes (more can be found on their website).
I was amazed at how quickly the pan heated up and how easy it was to turn the crank handle. The first time I turned the handle, I used way too much effort as it turns with the touch of a finger.
We made two batches of basic popcorn in 6 minutes 50 seconds; this time was measured from cold pan to completion of the second batch. This speedy effort included measuring out the ingredients between batches.
Afterward, we experimented with Old Bay seasoned popcorn, understandably something more desirable for those of us from the Maryland Chesapeake Bay region, but the results were wonderful.
Our next experiment was an attempt at kettle corn, a true addiction for my wife and me; if Zippy Pop could create a good version, I would be a happy camper indeed.
We started with the basic Zippy popcorn recipe but when the corn kernels were added to the heated oil, I added a tablespoon of granulated sugar. We experimented with two tablespoons of sugar but preferred one. As with any recipe or creation, you will need to vary the measurements to suit your personal preference.
The kettle corn experiment included a decision on when to add salt – at same time as the sugar, or immediately after the popcorn was finished and in the bowl. We settled on adding the salt after popping was complete.
You do need to stir the popcorn by hand or with a spatula after it comes out of the popper to keep it from sticking together. This stirring also allows for a more even distribution of the salt.
Our homemade kettle corn was a huge success, and at this point in the testing, we were very pleased with how well Zippy Pop worked and the power it gave us to recreate our favorite popcorn snacks.
The types of snacks you can make are quite literally limited only by your imagination and willingness to experiment. In addition to perfect fluffy popcorn, you can create sweet or savory roasted nuts and party mix snacks (think Chex™ Mix).
The aforementioned stirring tumbler mechanism allows you to add seasoning and ingredients that you never could in other stovetop poppers: chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, cheese, and more.
If you are adding these more inventive snack enhancers, remove the pan from heat after the corn has popped, add the desired ingredients through the silicone covered flavor port in the lid, and turn the crank to stir. Inside the pan, the baffles remain stationary while propeller blades lift the popcorn up and push it against the baffles to create an even distribution of your added ingredients.
The Whitford nonstick coating prevents anything from sticking to the inside of the pan, no matter how gooey it may be.
Another unexpected benefit for us was the lack of an oily popcorn smell when we were all done. We have a small galley kitchen and even with the vent fan on, making popcorn left a smell, but not with Zippy Pop. If you didn’t know we had made popcorn, you couldn’t tell by your nose a couple of hours later.
If you are using sugar or other sticky ingredients, I recommend that you rinse the lid/tumbler mechanism immediately after you are done making your snack. A quick rinse under hot running water will go a long way to make final clean up easy. And for those who must, Zippy Pop is dishwasher safe, but a hot soapy sponge is all I have ever needed to clean it.
They are available in black, blue, red, green and a black marble online and at national retailers including Bed Bath and Beyond, WayFair.com, Amazon, Sears, Target and Sur La Table.
There is one more model sold at Sur La Table and Amazon, a 5.5-quart all stainless steel model which retails for $79. It has the same lid configuration and tumbler, but is all stainless steel construction with an impact bonded base capsule.
Zippy Pop sold like hotcakes on QVC and is catching fire wherever people see what it can do, demonstrated by their international distribution in Japan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and UK. And soon, they will be available in Germany, France and Israel.
Zippy Pop is working on a cookbook but as mentioned, you can browse their website for a nice starter set of snack recipes.
If you love popcorn and making snacks at home, Zippy Pop is the product for you. It is super fast, light weight, easy to handle and clean up is a breeze.
So yeah, if you hadn’t noticed, I kinda like it.
Disclosure: Links to Zippy Pop provide no compensation to this website, nor its owners.