Air Fryer Popcorn Recipe

Air fryers are everywhere, and their popularity doesn't seem to be slowing down. People have been flocking to buy the latest and greatest of air fryer technology, which they then proudly display on their countertops. Of course, having purchased such a pricey gadget, you're going to want to put it to good use, right? While an air fryer really can't replace every other appliance in the kitchen (it does a lousy job of crushing ice, for one thing), it is fun to experiment with new ways to use it. One thing you may not have thought to do with your air fryer is to using it to make popcorn — and as it turns out, it does do a pretty good job with that.

"The texture and taste is similar to popcorn made in the microwave," recipe developer Eric Ngo says. While Ngo is pretty partial to the classic pot and lid method of cooking popcorn, there is an undeniable convenience to cooking it in an air fryer. "Some households only have an air-fryer and no microwave," he acknowledges, and for those households, this recipe is for you! If you want some classic, easy to make, no-frills popcorn, then this air fryer recipe will definitely do the trick. 

Assemble your ingredients for air fryer popcorn

There is really only one ingredient that is absolutely necessary for making popcorn in the air fryer, and that is the popping corn itself. You can also use some oil to coat the kernels, as Ngo does, and you may also wish to season your popcorn with melted butter and salt once it has popped. "Adding a type of fat, such as oil or butter will contribute to the flavour profile of the popcorn," Ngo explains.

Prep the air fryer and the popcorn

The first thing you'll need to do is to preheat your air fryer to 400 F. The next step in your prep work may be to measure out the kernels into a bowl and then drizzle them with oil, stirring so each kernel is oil-coated. Ngo does say, though, that "the healthy option would be to just pop the kernel by themselves," but who doesn't love a little extra flavor with their popcorn?

Air fry the popcorn

Once your popcorn is oil-coated (or not), place it on the air fryer rack. Cook it for about 4 minutes, then shake it up and cook it for another 4 minutes — the total cooking time is 8 minutes. Ngo does say that once your popcorn is done cooking, you may have some kernels that fail to pop. In order to reduce the number of these, he tells us, "I recommend air frying a small amount of kernels at a [time]," and adds that "this is one of the few advantages of using an air fryer to make popcorn."

Season the popcorn as desired

Once your popcorn is cooked, remove it from the air fryer and pour it into a bowl. You can then drizzle the popcorn with melted butter and sprinkle it with salt, if you like. You may also wish to explore other seasonings — Ngo suggests "garlic salt, chili lime seasoning, cheddar powder, [or] cinnamon sugar." He does say that "you can choose to infuse flavor in the oil [or] butter," but if you don't want to put in too much extra work, sprinkling on some flavor afterwards will work perfectly fine!

Air Fryer Popcorn Recipe
5 from 29 ratings
If you're looking for an efficient and easy way to make popcorn, put your air fryer to use with this simple recipe!
Prep Time
Cook Time
Bowl of popcorn on plank
Total time: 13 minutes
  • ½ cup popcorn kernels
Optional Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400 F.
  2. Coat the kernels with vegetable oil in a bowl.
  3. Place a layer of corn kernels on the air fryer rack.
  4. Air fry the popcorn for 8 minutes, shaking them halfway through.
  5. Drizzle melted butter and salt over the popcorn, if desired, mixing evenly to coat.
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