The Real Reason You Should Never Make Popcorn In Your Air Fryer

If you're someone who likes to keep their kitchen stocked up with plenty of cooking appliances, it's likely that you've got an air fryer sitting on the counter. They've soared in popularity over the past few years, and there are so many hacks for using an air fryer. These cooking devices are more versatile than you might initially think, and they can make potatoes nice and crispy. Other benefits of air fryers include being able to cut down on oil while cooking, and they're a great way to reheat leftovers without making them soggy. 

Although these appliances have a lot of handy uses and benefits, there are some things that you simply should never cook in an air fryer. Some of these items are more straightforward, like foods with wet batter that should really be deep-fried, but other foods might come as more of a surprise, like popcorn. Here's why that's a bad idea.

Air fryers can't heat up to the temperature needed to make popcorn

Wondering why exactly air fryers can't make a quality popcorn? David Jarvis, executive chef for air fryer brand NuWave, explained why exactly popcorn shouldn't go in an air fryer, saying to Mashed, "You have to get up to 400 degrees for popcorn to pop, and most air fryers don't get that high of heat. That's one we're just not able to do." 

While you're likely to find plenty of recipes online that explain how to make popcorn in an air fryer, they might not always be successful. One person asked on Reddit if their air fryer wasn't powerful enough to make popcorn after finding largely unpopped kernels in their device. Besides the issue of heat, a commenter responded that air fryers weren't ideal for popcorn because "popcorn kernels can easily become lodged inside the heating element, causing your air fryer to short (and creating a fire hazard)." They also noted, "Air fryer popcorn takes A. LOT. of trial and error to get right." 

At the end of the day, you'll be better off making popcorn in the microwave or your stovetop. If you haven't made popcorn on your stove before, here are some tips and tricks for success.

How to make perfect popcorn on your stove

If you've got your own popcorn maker or a bag of popcorn you can put in the microwave, you should choose one of these methods instead of trying to put corn kernels in the air fryer. But if you've got a bunch of popcorn kernels and want to make popcorn on the stove, The Pioneer Woman has a tip for you. Ree Drummond says the oil should get hot, so she recommends using oils like canola and coconut oil or corn, avocado, and grapeseed oil since these have high smoke points.

Another trick to making the best popcorn is choosing the right type of pot to use for popcorn-making. First, make sure you've got a lid to cover your pot, and second, you want to pull out a pot that has a heavy bottom because it'll distribute heat more evenly and prevent burnt kernels. As long as your pot meets these requirements, the exact material isn't too important.

There's a lot more you can add to popcorn besides butter, and here are some of our favorite popcorn toppings. And you can gear up for fall and ring in the season with this caramel apple popcorn recipe.