Can You Make Popcorn in an Air Fryer?

Yes, you can make popcorn in an air fryer but you need to be a bit cautious.

Although making popcorn in an air fryer is possible, you need to be careful not to burn or damage the heating element or burn your popcorn.

Allow me to tell you all about making popcorn in an air fryer.

Let us first look at the benefits of using an air fryer for making popcorn.

Advantages of Using an Air Fryer for Making Popcorn

For a quick and healthy snack, popcorn wins hands down.

Nowadays microwave popcorn bags are also available that are quite convenient compared to cooking popcorn on stoves or popcorn machines. 

But they do contain a lot of butter and salt that can be unhealthy.

For healthy self-made popcorn at home, turn to your Airfryer. 

Listed below are some of the advantages of using an air fryer for making popcorn

  • For any traditional popping method, you need about 3 spoonfuls of oil. In an Airfryer, the oil consumption cuts down to one teaspoon. An Airfryer gives you a healthier option for popping corn.
  • Microwave popcorn bags contain diacetyl that is used for added flavor and smell of butter. This chemical is known to cause a lung disorder called popcorn lung. In an Airfryer, all you need is raw corn along with a teaspoon of any healthy oil like olive or avocado.
  • There is very little chance of overcooked popcorn. An Airfryer gives you consistent cooking with less mess to clean up later on.
  • An Airfryer will give you your low-calorie and delicious snack in minutes. Compared to the one-time purchase, popping corn in an Airfryer is quite economical and healthy in the long run.

Some Drawbacks of Using an Airfryer for Making Popcorn 

  • One of the biggest disadvantages of using an air fryer for making popcorn is its small size. For cooking in bulk, you will need to cook in badges. The small size is a limiting factor for big families and large gatherings.
  • Popcorns take a lot of time to cook in an Airfryer compared to microwaves and stovetops. 
  • Corn kernels can get stuck on the heating element. You need to bend, examine and clean it up properly after making popcorn.  

Things You Need for Making Popcorn in an Airfryer 

Let us move towards things you will need for making popcorn 

An Airfryer (Of course) 

Do not attempt to make popcorn in an instant pot with an Airfryer lid.

I haven’t tried and cannot guarantee it to be successful.  Choose a solid Airfryer for making popcorn.

The more compact, the better will be the results. 

Plain corn

You can buy any company corn you prefer.

An Airfryer can cook very well without prior seasoning of raw corn.

So unless you want it preseasoned, you can season up your popped corns after they have been made in the air fryer. 

Oil and seasoning 

You can choose to cook your corn with oil for the perfect crunch. Use just a teaspoon. You can also completely skip oil if you do not want to add it.

Choose an oil that can withstand high temperatures without smoking like olive oil or avocado oil.  This is because popcorn needs a high temperature of about 400 F. 

It is best to season your popcorn after cooking. You can season your corn with melted butter, grated cheese, or chocolate chip. 

Seasonings taste delicious with corn and help to bind salt. You can also try sprinkling your favorite topping halfway into cooking.

Just be careful about the popping of corns as soon as open your Airfryer basket tray. 

Aluminum foil 

As most Airfryer baskets have small holes, an aluminum foil acts as a base to place the kernels of corn.

If you are using a big version of Airfryer that has a rotating basket, skip the foil. 

Next, let us proceed towards how to make popcorn in an Airfryer

How to Make Popcorn in an Air Fryer?

An Airfryer has vents and a heating element coil on top.

The kernels may get stuck there.

So you to be careful while cooking popcorns in an Airfryer and follow the technique below

  1. Preheat your Airfryer for five to ten minutes. 
  2. Take aluminum foil and line the bottom of your basket with it. This will prevent them from the corn falling and damaging your inner drawer. Make a small border along the edge of the aluminum sheet so the corns don’t fall from the side holes. You can also make it into a nice semi bowl shape for a good airflow all around the basket 

As your basket will be hot, you can also shape the liner outside and lift and place it inside the basket. Watch the video below to find out what I am talking about. 

  1. Add about ¼ cup popcorn and mix them with one teaspoon of oil in a bowl. For nutrient-rich oil, use olive, avocado, or coconut oil. In case you do not wish to add any oil, skip this step.
  2. Widely Spread the 1/4th cup of corn in your aluminum liner. Make sure it is spread as a single layer. 1/4th cup of corn will give you 3-4 cups of popped corn. 
  3. Close your Airfryer and set the temperature to high about 400F for eight minutes. 
  4. Keep an ear out to hear the popping. It will take approximately 3-4 minutes for the popping sound to begin. In case your popping sounds come after five minutes, prolong the cooking time by five minutes. 
  5. Once the popping sounds slow down, open a crack to peak and shake the basket up a bit. 
  6. When you hear no sounds, it’s time to take your popcorn out into a bowl. It doesn’t matter if there is still some time left on the display.
  7. Don’t be disheartened if you see a lot of unpopped kernels. You can always cook them again by lightly coating them a second time or placing a fresh batch of corn again for popping. 

Precautions to Take While Making Popcorn in Airfryer

Stay close to the Airfryer while your corns are popping.

If you suddenly hear the fan stop or see smoke coming out or a burning smell, immediately switch the air fryer off. 

There are high chances of popcorn getting struck either on the heating element or getting lodged inside the fan. 

If you continue cooking, the electronic components of your Airfryer including your fan and heating element can get damaged. 

Tips for Seasoning your Popcorn 

Once your popcorn is out, sprinkle it with Savory toppings and enjoy your popcorn! 

Here are some tips to add variety to your seasonings 

  • Shredded cheese or cheese powder 
  • Salt and lemon 
  • Ranch dressing mix 
  • Pepper and salt 
  • Pepper and lime 
  • Italian herbs mix
  • Taco seasoning 
  • Melted butter and chili flakes 
  • Caramelize the popped corn with honey or chocolate
  • Olive oil and sea salt
  • Peanut butter 

Shake the seasoning well for a thick coating on the corn. 

Final Thoughts 

Popcorn is the lowest on the calorie chart with one cup of popcorn giving you 30 calories.

For the health-conscious, using an air fryer for making popcorn is like a cherry on top of the cake. 

You get to skip greasing the corn kernels in a lot of oil. All you need is one tablespoon of oil with ¼ cup of popcorn. 

Air frying is a hassle-free and easy technique for cooking popcorn. All you need is a bit of practice and you will become an expert in no time! 

 Try different seasonings for different flavors for a delicious healthy bowl every time. Let me know how it went for you and your favorite seasonings. 

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