Popcorn machine not popping? You have all the reasons to get mad! No more poppy snacks as you watch your favorite movie. But you can resolve the issue.
Popcorn kernels require a specific moisture level to pop successfully. When heated, the water contained within the kernel transforms into steam, exerting pressure until it causes the kernel to burst open. The ideal moisture content for proper popping is approximately 14%. To determine if a kernel is ready to pop, perform a simple test. If you can easily dent the kernel with your fingernail, it has excessive moisture. Conversely, if the kernel is hard and unyielding when pressed, it lacks sufficient moisture and may not pop as desired.
There are more causes for this disappointment!
1. Stale/Dry Kernels
Some kernels fail to pop because of blemishes and staleness. If they have cracks, pressure cannot build in the core of your grain, so the steam leaks and the seed doesn’t pop. The kernels remain intact or can split open without popping. You can’t do anything to improve stale kernels. Just count your losses and buy fresh ones.
For dry kernels (that are not stale), you can enhance popping by refrigerating them for two hours before popping. They absorb moisture and soften the dry hull. That way, heat exposure creates steam and pressure, thus enhancing popping.
To prevent your fresh kernels from drying, do not store them in the refrigerator. Always get fresh supplies from the store.
2. Insufficient Heat
The reason your popcorn machine is not popping could be insufficient heat. Your kernels are not getting enough heat to heat the moisture and build pressure to pop. Is your machine’s heating element faulty? Or are the plug and cord intact?
If not, your machine will not heat up to the right temperature for popping your kernels. The popper should at least have a heat range of 400 F-460 F. Check the temperature on display before embarking on a full examination. If the temperature is not going up, then there is an issue, and that is causing no or uneven heating.
- Heating Element
The heating element is the main unit that emits heat to pop your kernels. You will locate it in the internals of your machine, so it is enclosed—a heater is easier and cheaper to replace than buying the entire unit. Check all possible external issues. Your electrician will trace the power source and examine the plug, cord, and wiring before descending onto the element.
- Faulty Plug
The element gets its power from the wall source hence a need to check the plug and cord. Before engaging an electrician, you can physically examine the plug and cord. Remove from the wall source and check out for twisted or open wires. The plug fuse can also blow and leave your gadget disconnected. That’s easy to replace as you must unscrew the head and fix a new fuse.
- Faulty Temperature Knob
The temperature knob regulates your popping machine. For the best chewy popcorn snack, the temperature should range between 400 F and 460 F. Above 460F is disastrous as the heat scorches your popcorn. Also, below the 400 F, your popcorn won’t pop. If you have tried to adjust the machine, but there is no temperature rise, the knob or thermostat may be down. Report the matter to your tech.
- Failed Preheating Feature
The preheating feature is unique to most cooking gadgets. It sets the machines ready to begin the cooking process. If your popcorn machine comes with a preheat setting, ensure you use it to enhance quick and complete popping.
3. No Power
You can’t pop your kernels with a broken machine. If your popcorn machine has various issues, you will experience disappointments. The whole batch may not pop. It happens when you always put your kernels in the machine absentmindedly. When you return, not a single grain has popped. Check the power source for disconnects.
Also, you may not have plugged in your popper. Check before concluding that your machine is faulty. You can use a tester or ammeter or plug in another gadget, such as your microwave, and test if it works. If not, there is no power. It’s not your fault. Wait.
4. Overloaded Popcorn Popper
Stuffing kernels in your popcorn popper may be an easier way to get enough snacks. But it doesn’t do you good, as the machine won’t work with the kernel heap. Some grains won’t get enough heat to pop. Why don’t you do several batches? Besides, popping several bowls of crunchy and chewy popcorn will take a few minutes.
5. Substituting Oil With Water
Misinformation cause errors in cookery. If you overheard that adding water to your popcorn hastens the popping process, you’re mistaken. You may want to reduce oil usage to stay healthy, but it doesn’t work in popcorn. Try other recipes like the air fryer ones. But with popcorn, there is no shorter route. Stay healthy by using healthy oils such as peanuts, sesame, coconut, and vegetable.
Your kernels need oil to evenly heat the hull and cause sufficient steam and pressure to pop the grains. Skipping the oil part will get you intact or half-popped corn. You could also end up with burnt kernels. Follow your popcorn package specifications on cooking the snack.
6. Depending On The Popcorn Popper Timer
Another possibility your popcorn machine is not working is using the timer setting. This feature can mislead you since popcorn kernels and recipes vary. To get good results, you must follow instructions from the popcorn packager. Some kernels may take longer to pop than others. Consequently, machines vary, so some may take longer than others to see results.
7. Broken Popping Machine
A mechanical breakdown isn’t going to allow you to pop your kernels. Though I highlighted the cause of insufficient power as mainly electrical, you must examine your machine. There could be other breakages that you aren’t aware of, so you can engage your manufacturer.
Another route will be to call your tech to advise you on the most exact route. The gadget could be experiencing a major breakdown whose repairs costs exceed acquiring a new unit. Act wisely.
Popcorn In Non-Rotating Microwave!
Admittedly, using a non-rotating microwave for the first time is a challenge, especially if you are popping kernels. But with a few tips here and there, you should find the process flawless. First, the non-rotating microwave, also flatbed, is an innovation that doesn’t have a turntable.
Once you place your cups of popcorn in the oven, you turn it on and wait for the unit to work for you. No humming or rotation in the oven. The non-rotating microwave uses a rotating antennae-like device beneath the base. This feature emits microwaves that bounce around the oven’s cavity and at varied angles to cook your food.
The heat is intense and cooks your food evenly without leaving cold patches. Making your popcorn in a non-rotating microwave should not be difficult.
All you need is to;
- Set the right temperature (400 – 460 F) or HIGH for four minutes.
- Flip your popcorn to expose all the grains to even heating.
- Follow the package directions
- Do not use the popcorn feature on the microwave.
- Empty popcorn in a bow before popping. Using the popcorn bag may not work in a microwave.
- Place the bowl in the center of the microwave for effective popping.
- Closely monitor your popcorn until they are ready. That includes observing and listening throughout the popping time.
- Stop your microwave when popping begins to slow to 2 seconds between the pops. That prevents overcooking and scorching.
- Never use a plastic packaging bag for popping your kernels in the microwave.
- Use microwave-friendly bowls, preferably glass ones, where you can observe your popcorn as they cook.
Convection Microwave Won’t Cook Popcorn!
A convection microwave is extra versatile. The machine will roast your ham, bake pies, muffins, cookies, and bread, and even cook your casseroles without losing moisture. An outstanding feature that excites most users is popping kernels. That means you do not need a standalone popcorn popper machine!
Nevertheless, gadgets are not without disappointments. Sometimes your convection microwave won’t cook popcorn. What causes this hit back?
- A Faulty Machine
It could be your convection microwave is faulty. Have you checked its vitals? By vitals, I mean the turntable, diode, magnetron, capacitor, and electric wiring. These functions are detailed and require a tech to fork out the problem. Call your repair center for assistance.
- Low Wattage
Generally, low voltage in your home’s power system leads to insufficient power flow in your gadget. The low wattage in your microwave may not be enough to pop your kernels. Check whether other high-voltage gadgets, such as your blender and washer, function. If not, it’s a low-wattage issue and will soon improve once there is power normalcy.
- Bad Kernels
Those year-old kernels you forgot in your store will not do you favor in your convection microwave, so do not blame the machine. The hulls are dry and won’t pop. Discard them and get fresh popcorn.
- Using The Preset Function
The popcorn feature on your high-tech convection microwave is not a quick fix to a mouthwatering fluffy caramel popcorn! It doesn’t work. Disregard the feature and follow the popcorn cooking directions on the package.
- Improper Utensils
Are you using the right utensils for popping your microwave? A microwave-safe glass bowl, popper bowl, or collapsible popcorn popper is good enough to pop your corn. Your convection oven can sense unsafe packaging bags, metalware (which can badly arc your oven), and other unsafe materials, so ditch them.