I Tried a Retro Popcorn Machine and Now Movie Nights Are 100% Better
Bring the movie theater experience to your living room.
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Growing up, I loved going to the movies. My parents and I regularly visited the local theater to catch the latest kid-friendly flick; my grandma frequently treated me to a matinee show at the mall after a fun day of shopping; and my high school friends and I occasionally saw the latest action movie in the fancy seats at the big theater chain. And no matter which theater I was at or what time of day it was, I always ordered popcorn.
Movie theater popcorn is the best. And while our Test Kitchen found the best popcorn makers for the average household, there’s something altogether different (and extra) about a movie theater-style popcorn machine. For the last month I’ve been popping corn in my Nostalgia Vintage Popcorn Cart for everyone who’s stopped by, eager to show off this popcorn-producing wonder.
What Is the Nostalgia Popcorn Machine?
Emily Parulski/Taste of Home
The Nostalgia popcorn machine is a vintage-style professional popcorn cart. It adds the perfect ambience to home movie theaters or outdoor movie nights. If you crave movie theater-style popcorn, then you’ll love this popcorn cart.
Unlike traditional popcorn makers, this machine can make up to 32 cups of popcorn at a time. That’s great for families with a lot of kiddos or for people who like to entertain. Why just have a snack when you can have an experience?
How We Tested It
The popcorn machine comes in a large box and assembly is required. Setting up the cart wasn’t too difficult, but it did take a few hours to get all the pieces in the right places. After wiping down the kettle and inside the unit, I was ready for my inaugural pop.
After making a few batches, I quickly got the hang of it. Pro tip from my husband, who worked at Marcus Theatres during high school: make sure to flip the kettle immediately after turning it off to prevent the popcorn from burning. Thank you, March 2004 Employee of the Month!
Once I felt comfortable operating the machine, I invited friends and family over so I could share this whimsical popcorn experience with them.
Nostalgia Popcorn Machine Product Features
Emily Parulski/Taste of Home
The Nostalgia Vintage Popcorn Cart stands 53 inches tall. For such a large machine, I was pleasantly surprised at how narrow it is. It doesn’t take up as much room in my basement as I thought it would. It conveniently tucks into the corner near the outlet, yet is still accessible for making delicious popcorn whenever I like.
Its 8-ounce kettle can pop up to 32 cups of popcorn in just a few minutes. Any kernels that don’t pop fall into a removable tray underneath the unit. The kettle can be removed for easy cleaning, too. Simply pop it off the supporting brackets and wipe it down or soak in hot, soapy water.
There is a storage compartment below the unit, which is great for storing all the popcorn supplies like the popcorn scooper and two measuring cups that came with it. Just one more thing I love about this machine!
Part of the retro look is the wheels—and they’re not just for show. If you need to move your cart to the other side of the room, simply grab the handle and wheel it on over. Speaking of transportation: the top unit is removable, so you can set it on a counter somewhere else and use it that way, too. I haven’t tried that yet, but I’m tempted to bring it over to my parents’ house for a traveling popcorn party.
Last thing: Make sure to turn on the light while it’s running! This creates a nice ambience, and it makes it easier to see your snack.
What we liked about the Nostalgia Popcorn Machine:
- Makes delicious movie theater-style popcorn
- Retro looks adds a nice ambience to a home movie theater room or wherever you keep it
- Can pop up to 32 cups of popcorn at a time—great for large families or parties
- Easy to move around the room, thanks to its wheels
- Top unit is removable and can be used on a countertop
What to consider before buying the Nostalgia Popcorn Machine:
- Takes up a lot of space
- Pricier than a traditional popcorn maker
- Not practical for small households
Emily Parulski/Taste of Home
What kind of popcorn can you use?
This machine works with any regular or premium brand of popcorn kernels. You can use any popcorn cooking oil, though the brand recommends coconut oil for best results.
To keep things simple for testing, I ordered the brand’s popcorn packs, which include pre-measured kernels, oil and seasoning for 16 cups of popcorn.
Can you make flavored popcorn?
Yes! Besides the classic butter and salt combo, you can make a variety of flavored popcorn recipes. The instruction manual also includes recipes for vintage popcorn balls, chunky monkey popcorn snack mix and popcorn peppermint bark.
How do you clean the machine?
After each use, you should give the machine a light cleaning. After letting it cool down completely, wipe down the inside and outside of the kettle, and inside of the unit. Then, empty the tray of any unpopped kernels. This usually takes me five minutes and hasn’t felt like too much of a hassle.
For a deeper clean, remove the kettle and wash in hot, soapy water. This will remove grease that has built up over multiple uses.
What Other Reviews Had to Say
With 4.6 stars and over 5,000 ratings, it’s clear other customers love this machine as much as I do.
One 5-star reviewer, crazycakes, says, “I purchased this back in December as a Christmas present for our media room. I was really hesitant to get it as I was afraid it would be kind of gimmicky and more novelty, less functional. After looking at several different models and reading reviews I went with this one. My family loves it! We use it several times a week and I am happy to say it makes great popcorn.”
Another 5-star reviewer, K. White, says that “firing this baby up is guaranteed to turn around the bleakest of days or enhance any movie. The best part is that it’s just the right size, is easy to assemble (took only one person), looks genuinely cute, and functions perfectly after heavy use.”
As for the taste? People are pleased. According to Amazon reviewer Kelly, “I use mine at least 4-5 times a week. My boys and I love it…To me it tastes way better than microwave popcorn…”
Does the average person need this popcorn maker? Probably not. But large families, people who love to entertain or movie buffs who can’t get enough popcorn would be very happy with this purchase. It’s a splurge, sure, but it’s super fun and makes tasty popcorn—lots of it!
Where to Buy the Nostalgia Popcorn Machine
You can purchase the Nostalgia Popcorn Maker Professional Cart on Amazon and the brand’s website. It is also available at Walmart, Wayfair and Home Depot, though it is currently out of stock at those retailers.
Bonus: The Best Popcorn Accessories
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