You've likely been avoiding bags of microwave popcorn for quite some time. After all, popping your own kernels is a delicious way to make a flavorful snack you can't get anywhere else and without all the worries over chemicals and not-so-healthy additives. But pulling out a Dutch oven—or even an air-pop machine—when you're in a hurry or when you're at work just isn't always possible. Sure, popping your own in a paper bag is a possibility, but we'd suggest buying one of these poppers to keep at home or at the office. Both are designed for the microwave; one is meant for you, and the other is designed for sharing.
OXO's Microwave Popcorn Popper ($25, Amazon.com) is ideal for your family's next movie night. Add kernels to the bottom (red part), and pop. When the popping slows, remove the maker, shake, and then flip the maker over. Pull off the bottom (red), and your popcorn is ready to eat. Add flavorings if you want, pop the bottom back on, and shake to coat each kernel. A honeycomb design on the handles keeps hands protected from heat, and the base and bowl nest for compact storage. If you're making this to impress a crowd, you don't even need to bring out another bowl. The clear bowl is entirely presentation worthy.
Joseph Joseph M-Cuisine Microwave Single-Serve Popcorn Makers ($15/set of 2, Surlatable.com) are handy to keep at the office. Instead of popping a large bowl—even too much of a good thing like popcorn is too much—you can make a single-serve 1-ounce portion in these petite containers. You don't need oil or butter. Just pour kernels in, and shut the lid to speed up popping; it'll open when the popcorn pushes against it. Microwave until the popping slows. The heat-resistant silicone cups have integrated measuring guides so you don't pour in too many kernels and create a mess all in the microwave. If you want, sprinkle on herbs or spices, shake, and enjoy a right-sized snack for one.