My Great Northern Popcorn Machine

Years ago, our in-laws gifted us with a popcorn machine for our movie room. Everyone close to me knows that movie theater popcorn is one of my favorite foods! In our early days of dating, we would sometimes stop at a theater to get popcorn and take it home to watch Twin Peaks or The Office.

So, the Christmas when my father-in-law presented us with a giant home Great Northern popcorn machine, it was truly one of my favorite gifts of all time!

For years, we kept the machine in a closet, bringing it out occasionally for parties. When we moved to our current home that has a theater room, we decided to decorate it with a movie theme and keep the popcorn machine here.

Since having it in a more accessible location, we are using it much more often and it’s become a special tradition with our little girls. We make popcorn for a family movie night often on Sunday evenings.

I receive so many questions about what popcorn maker we use, so I decided to do a full review with all the information in one place.

popcorn machine making popcorn

This is the popcorn machine we have. We painted the red part white a while ago when I was going through my “all-white everything” phase.

To make popcorn, we use half a stick of butter, a cup of popcorn, and a half teaspoon of Flavacol (which makes it taste exactly like movie theater popcorn).

If you prefer, you can also use oil instead of butter or salt instead of Flavacol. Here’s a movie theater popcorn kit.

woman making popcorn

Tips for making popcorn in a great northern popcorn machine:

popcorn machine in movie room

Click here to see our 10 favorite movies of all time.


How much oil do you use? And what type?

For an 8-ounce popcorn machine, you’ll use 1/3 cup of oil. Coconut oil (the butter flavored kind) is what most movie theaters use. We always keep avocado oil on hand and I’ve used that a lot of times—it doesn’t have a strong flavor.

How much is a Great Northern popcorn machine?

This machine retails for around $200. They have bigger and smaller versions available. We have found this to be a great size for our family of four, and we use it anytime we have guests. If it was for a big party, we could easily just do a couple of extra batches. Each batch takes around 10 minutes to pop.

How do you clean a popcorn machine?

The ingredients (kernels and butter) go in the stainless steel part inside of the machine, and the popcorn spills out as it pops. After the popcorn is done and has had time to cool, you can unplug and remove the stainless steel basket. I hand wash it and once it is dry it easily pops back in and is ready for next time. For the rest of the machine, I normally clean it with water wipes. Overall, it is not difficult to use or clean.

How long does it take to make popcorn?

Once you add all ingredients to the stainless steel basket and turn it on, it begins to heat up and pop. I have never timed it, but I would say it takes around 10 minutes for the popcorn to pop. I have never had my popcorn burn, and the machine is very easy to use.

great northern popcorn machine

What accessories does it come with/do you need?

More of my home:


Pros – Since using our popcorn machine, we have the most delicious popcorn that is the closest possible thing to my beloved movie theater popcorn.

I love how it fills our home with the smell of fresh popcorn, and it quickly became a joyful family tradition that we look forward to. To me, it is absolutely worth going the extra mile for!

Cons – Making popcorn in a machine takes more time and requires more clean up than microwave popcorn. I would also note that we didn’t use ours regularly until we had a good place to keep it in our living space.

If it’s going in a closet or basement where it might be forgotten about for years on end, it might not be worth it to you.

I hope this post has been helpful! I think a popcorn machine makes an incredible gift. It’s not often that more than five years later you are still using something regularly that you received as a surprise Christmas gift.

For that reason, I give it two thumbs up! Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions. xx- Elsie

  • I have owned one of the great northern poppers for about 11 or 12 years now, and my family loves it, and everyone else who has come here loves it also. But my problem is that the great northern company is really hard to get any information from, I’ve been trying to find a way to get a new popping kettle for my machine, but everything that I have found is different from mine and they won’t work for me. So if anyone else knows where I can get an 8oz. Popping kettle for a 40048 Paducah popper, that’s a few years old , I’d like to have the information. But the machines are really the best ones that I’ve ever seen, and everyone else who has ever tasted the popcorn that they make loves it too !

  • I have one of these too that my grandparents had in their basement for years growing up. It’s so delicious! However, I also have a whirly pop that makes *almost* as delicious popcorn and is a little easier to clean and use.

  • I have trouble cleaning mine. I didn’t think the steel basket could be submerged in water since it has electrical connections.

  • I bought the popcorn machine on the stand and it is in my kitchen. I always pop extra and have a gallon jug I put it in and munch on it for a couple days. I love my machine

  • I love it! We got the same popcorn machine about a year ago for our movie room and use it ALL THE TIME. Our friends love it. In addition to the flavacol- we got this stuff called “ODells Super-Kist Buttery Popcorn oil” (from amazon) which comes in a big gross white industrial jug which we decant into an oil poorer bottle and it is EXACTLY the movie theatre popcorn butter. We also use plastic tablecraft baskets + a piece of checkered deli basket liner for serving. Really reduces any mess because the baskets don’t get dirty. It’s truly our favorite addition to our movie room of last year!

    • Thanks for the inspo! I have heard that ghee is much closer to movie theatre butter than regular butter is.

  • I bought one of these for myself for my birthday a few years ago and have never regretted it. Mine is on a stand and sits out all the time, I agree when it’s more accessible it gets more use and is absolutely worth it! I haven’t tried making it with the ingredients you listed, I look forward to doing that!

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