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Popcorn Machine
Frequently Asked Questions

Home » Popcorn Machines and Concessions » Popcorn Machines & Carts » Popcorn Machine FAQ

What size popper do I need?

Each popcorn machine has a rating called quarts/hour. This tells the maximum amount of popcorn that it will produce if you were to continually pop corn for a full hour. You should determine the maximum amount of popcorn that you will need in any hour and use this table (keep in mind that our popcorn poppers hold approximately 45 quarts of popped corn):

Less than 85 quarts = 4 ounce popper
      (makes about 5 quarts per cycle)
86-126 quarts = 6 ounce popper
      (makes about 7.5 quarts per cycle)
127-170 quarts = 8 ounce popper
      (makes about 10 quarts per cycle)

What is the warranty on our popcorn poppers?

All Benchmark and Paragon poppers carry an industry leading three year parts warranty. Contact us for more detailed information.

What makes theater popcorn taste so much better than microwave popcorn?

The taste and flavor of popcorn is determined by the type of oil and seasoning salt that is used in the cooking process. Most theaters use a specially formulated cooking oil that is partially absorbed by the popcorn as it pops. This is what gives the popcorn its flavor. Most microwaveable popcorn is oil-less and comes out dry and flavor-less.

Why does popcorn “Pop”?

Quality popcorn has a moisture content of 13-14% inside the hull. When the popcorn is heated the moisture turns to steam and expands. Eventually the pressure from the expanding steam causes the hull to explode. Storing popcorn in a sealed container at room temperature or less will keep the moisture content consistent and the popcorn fresh. Avoid storing popcorn in extremely warm and dry conditions which will cause the moisture content in the popcorn to reduce. A loss of as little as 3% moisture can cause the kernel to become un-poppable (an old maid).

Does a popcorn machine require much maintenance?

The only maintenance required on our popcorn machines is to keep them clean. Routine cleaning only requires that the excess oil is wiped off the kettle after you finish popping (a damp cloth will do the trick). You will want to do a thorough cleaning occasionally by removing the stainless steel trays (clean in a sink or dishwasher) and cleaning the glass panels with a standard glass cleaner. Any carbon build-up on the kettle that results from the failure to remove the excess oil can be cleaned with our “Kettle Cleaning Kit” - contact the CinemaShop™ for details.

What is recommended for our popcorn popper's oil and popcorn?

You can use Coconut, Sunflower, or Canola oil, as they taste great and can take the heat well without scorching our commercial popper kettles. While Coconut has been used for years in theaters for its flavor, the fat content is a bit high and with butter, it is a less healthy combination. For healthier oil options that are more "heart friendly" and lower in fat, please use Sunflower, or Canola oil. For 4 oz. poppers, buy a 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup stainless steel measuring cup and use the 1/4 for oil and the 1/2 for popcorn portions.

Experiment with the popcorn you use, as there's no special popcorn needed for commercial poppers. We've used organic gourmet popcorn with great results ($$$), but have also liked Orville Redenbacher's® White Gourmet ($$), as it pops bigger, is crispy, yet tastes a little lighter not quite as oily. We've even had good results with dependable and affordable Jolly Time® popcorn ($) - it's just a little more chewy then the others, but very good flavor when using with just oil alone. Don't be afraid to try different popcorn until you find your own favorite brand.

To get even better popcorn flavor, yet keep the fat content down, we recommend shake-on popcorn seasonings, as each person can use their own favorite topping on each individual serving. Butter, Caramel, Kettle, Ranch, Barbeque, Cajun, Jalapeno, Nacho & White Cheddar and even Chocolate Marshmallow popcorn flavor shaker are available from a company such as "Kernal Seasonings" - our favorite brand. Using these seasonings, along with either Sunflower, or Canola oil will make for a healthier, yet flavor-packed popcorn experience.

Here's a handy chart for measuring the oil and popcorn used in our commercial popcorn popper products:


Size - 4 Ounce Kettle Size - 6 Ounce Kettle Size - 8 Ounce Kettle
Oil 1/4 Cup 1/4 Cup 1/3 Cup
Popcorn 1/2 Cup 3/4 Cup 1 Cup