A dadcraft Favorite: The Whirley Pop

  by Andrew Wolgemuth

One of the trends that both cracks me up and sometimes causes me to roll my eyes is that of super-specialized kitchen products. There’s the device that’s designed for cooking pizza and … that’s it. And the s’more maker. The quesadilla maker. The hot dog cooker / hot dog bun toaster combo machine. The corn dog maker.

Our phones are crammed with rapidly increasing capabilities while our kitchen items can do less and less. We seem to be moving in the wrong direction here, but when that kitchen item’s specific function is both effective and truly delicious … maybe it’s worth it.

I humbly submit that the Whirley Pop fulfills this double whammy. A simple contraption that includes a crank handle which turns a mixing arm at the bottom of a pot, the Whirley Pop makes one thing: popcorn. Delicious popcorn. It’s essentially the manual version of the popcorn maker that movie theaters rely on. Yes, it takes a little longer and a little more effort than the microwave variety, but – just as a good cup of coffee takes more work than mixing Nescafe with hot water – good popped corn is worth the (slight) additional effort. My family loves it. If it’s a movie night, we’re using the Whirley Pop.

The basic recipe is one-third cup popcorn kernels and two tablespoons oil. Simply Recipes explains my favorite cooking process (just substitute “crank your Whirley Pop” for their “gently shake the pan”; also, note that they suggest using three tablespoons oil). Dash a little salt, seasoning, or sriracha* on the batch (or individual bowls) for some variety.

And for a sweeter variation, the Whirley Pop can make kettle corn – just reduce the oil to one tablespoon and add three tablespoons (or so) of sugar when you add the bulk of the popcorn kernels to the heat. Your pot will need a little extra clean-up, but it’s well worth it!

For a non-kettle batch of popcorn, clean-up only entails a quick wipe-down to soak up the excess oil and brush out the kernel-flakes and corn remains. Simple.

And Whirley-popped corn is much healthier (or significantly less unhealthy?) than the typical microwaved variety. Win-win-win.

* Seriously – squirt a little sriracha right on the popped kernels, add a bit of salt, shake, and consume.


Not all foods are as easy to consume / feed kids as popcorn; brush up on your kid-feeding skills here.

Popcorn can’t save the day every time … sometimes we fall short as dads.

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Picture by Alex Munsell; Used via Unsplash license. Amazon links are affiliate links.