Critical factors in microwave expansion of starchy snacks

R.G.M. van der Sman*, J.R. Bows

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Popping of starchy pellets in a domestic microwave oven has proven difficult compared to pellets expanded in frying oil, and even to microwave expanded popcorn. These pellets encounter problems like uneven popping, burning and the absence of an audible cue for the end of popping. The lack of a moisture barrier, like the pericarp of popcorn, leads to the development of an inverse temperature gradient in the pellets and a significant moisture loss before and after expansion. In this paper we review the hypotheses and solutions for the criticality of microwave popping of starchy pellets, as discussed in scientific and patent literature. We have found a large collection of critical factors and their associated hypotheses, which have been structured via linking them to specific steps in the physical expansion process. We conclude with a list of hypotheses that we view valuable for further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-84
JournalJournal of Food Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Expanded snacks
  • Microwave
  • Popcorn
  • Starch

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