Buttery air fryer popcorn gives you a salty, crunchy, delicious snack in under 15 minutes! Popping your own kernels lets you control the amount of butter and seasoning you use, for an easy healthy snack that’s totally new every time you make it.
An Important Note About Air Fryer Popcorn
Air fryer popcorn takes A. LOT. of trial and error to get right. When you do get it right, it’s a great alternative to the stove or the microwave when you just can’t use those methods.
The downside, though, is that air fryer popcorn can actually destroy your air fryer. See, the air fryer isn’t closed inside. The fan and vents are directly above the basket, which allows the air to circulate. That also means it’s really easy to blow small or lightweight foods – you know, like popcorn kernels – all over the place. When that happens, popcorn kernels can easily become lodged inside the heating element, causing your air fryer to short (and creating a fire hazard).
For that reason, we don’t really recommend using an air fryer for your popcorn. You’ll likely have an easier time and much better results by using the stovetop or a microwave. That being said, it can be done, and if you want to know how, we’re here to tell you!
Key Ingredients for Air Fryer Popcorn
Popcorn Kernels – From a bag or from a jar, it doesn’t matter what kind of kernels you use, so long as they’re unpopped!
Oil – You can use 1/4 tablespoon oil to coat your kernels, or you can spray a little air-fryer-safe spray oil on them instead. Any oil will work – avocado, olive oil, even coconut oil if you like!
- It can be hard to get all the kernels to pop at the same time. That’s why we’re working in batches and removing the popped popcorn every few minutes. If you leave the basket in until all the kernels pop then the ones that popped early on will burn. And believe me, no one likes burnt popcorn.
- As with any appliance, air fryers can vary dramatically from one unit to the next. I have two and they don’t always act the same! There’s definitely a lot of trial and error to this method. You may have better luck with a shorter or longer cook time, or you could try picking out the popped kernels more frequently. Your air fryer may do better with the foil laid flat on the bottom of the basket, and some may do better with the foil bowl almost completely closed at the top. The method outlined below is the one that gave me the fluffiest, best tasting popcorn after lots of testing.
- Just like when you pop popcorn in the microwave, you’re going to end up with some unpopped kernels at the end of your cook time. I think there’s some law of nature that prevents all of the kernels from popping completely no matter what method you use. Okay, maybe not, but it seems like it. You can increase your odds of popping every kernel by lowering the amount of kernels you start out with.
What Do We Mean By “Healthy?”
Our recipes focus on real ingredients and homemade elements. We try to avoid processed flour and sugar, like white flour or white sugar. Our recipes often swap less healthy options (like a commercial, deep-fried tostada) for an easy homemade version.
Our recipes are not necessarily low fat or low calorie, and we aren’t afraid of fat or carbs! Some of our recipes will be “skinny,” low carb, keto, paleo, dairy free, grain free, gluten free, Whole30, or vegan, and they will be labeled when they qualify for any of these diets. All our recipes are easy and family friendly!
More Air Fryer Recipes
- Air Fryer Mushrooms
- Air Fryer Fried Pickles
- Sausage in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Zucchini Chips
- Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks
- 30 Keto Air Fryer Recipes
Air Fryer Popcorn
- Air Fryer
- Aluminum foil
- Microwave-safe bowl
- Large bowl
- ¼ cup popcorn kernels
- ¼ tablespoon oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- salt to taste
- Preheat air fryer to 400° Fahrenheit.
- Line air fryer basket with foil in shape of basket or bowl.
- Toss popcorn kernels with ¼ tablespoon oil. Arrange in single layer on top of foil.
- Return basket to air fryer. Cook 5 minutes.
- While popcorn cooks, melt butter in microwave.
- Remove air fryer basket. Pick out popped popcorn and set aside in large bowl. Return basket with unpopped kernels to air fryer.
- Cook 3 minutes, then remove basket. Pick out popped popcorn and add to large bowl. Discard any remaining unpopped kernels.
- Pour melted butter over popcorn in bowl and add salt to taste. Cover bowl and toss to coat popcorn evenly. Serve and enjoy!
- This method for making popcorn is pretty finicky and will probably take some trial and error to get right with your specific air fryer. It is unlikely all the kernels will pop at the same time.