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Heard about air fryer popcorn and wonder if popcorn in air fryer will work. Then let Chef Dom show you the pros and cons and then you can decide whether you want to air fry popcorn for your next movie night.
Plus, we also have a full step by step air fryer popcorn video for you with outtakes so you can go behind the scenes for air frying popcorn.
This air fryer popcorn recipe was originally shared with you back in 2020. We have since updated air fryers and created an even better recipe for you.
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Popcorn In Air Fryer
I got an email from one of my newsletter subscribers recently (you can subscribe here) and it had the subject line “can you make popcorn in the air fryer”.
She had replied to a message I had sent her and the rest of our subscribers, asking what questions they would like answering for the air fryer.
She mentioned that she had watched a You Tube Video of it being done, had tried it at home and it didn’t turn out like the video.
Also, that the video missed off quite a bit, so kind of didn’t look like the whole thing had been cooked in the air fryer.
Frightened that the popcorn would go into the air fryer vents or that it wouldn’t pop, I mentioned this to Dominic who has worked for many years as a professional chef.
He told me straight away to go and grab a bag of corn and I watched him test it there and then.
Three rounds later of testing and practicing and we have air fryer popcorn, not just for your lady via emails, but for everyone else too.
Are You New To The Air Fryer?
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Can You Make Popcorn In An Air Fryer?
I emailed her back and was delighted to say was YES you can make popcorn in an air fryer.
Then there was a BUT.
But it is not the easiest of air fryer recipes. Air fryer popcorn even though it can be done, it not what I would consider to be an air fryer beginner recipe. It would never feature in our 101 air fryer recipes for beginners.
Instead there is a lot of basket shaking, preheating, stuck popcorn at the end of cooking and having to make sure you don’t put in too much corn for your size of air fryer.
BUT I would make air fryer popcorn again and again and it did pop nearly almost all the corn.
Popcorn In Air Fryer Chef Tips
I imagine if you are wanting to try popcorn in the air fryer for the first time, that you would like some chef tips. I watched Dominic make air fryer popcorn 3 times, asked him questions as he made it and observed him.
No point asking him afterwards, because these chefs do it in their head and then can never remember cook times!!!
- Popcorn In Air Fryer Without Oil – Never do it! You see popcorn needs the hot oil to be able to start popping. If you do popcorn without any oil at all, you will not have a good success rate of popped corn.
- Air Fryer Butter Popcorn – Melt the butter in the air fryer baking pan first, like we do in our air fryer brownies. This will then also create a preheat, then remove the butter, do the popcorn, and toss the popcorn in the butter afterwards.
- Best Air Fryer For Popcorn – We used the Philips Air Fryer XL, but you can use any air fryer. The best thing to note is that if you don’t have a decent sized air fryer basket you need to reduce the amount of corn.
- Preheat Is Essential – The air fryer needs to get hot so that once the corn goes in, it will pop as soon as possible. If not, you will end up with lots of burnt corn and not much popcorn. And read here all about preheating the air fryer.
- Shaking Technique – You need to regularly shake the basket, but only with opening it very slightly. This will make sure corn at the bottom is getting cooked but open it too much and your popcorn will pop out of the air fryer.
- Single Layer Corn – It is also incredibly important that you spread out your corn and that it is one single layer. Add more popcorn than this and it won’t evenly pop.
Can You Air Fry Popcorn Bags
No, you can’t air fry popcorn bags and the same rule applies to any food in the air fryer in a paper bag.
I have experimented with this myself and found that it was very dangerous and the paper bag was on the verge of setting on fire.
Can You Pop Popcorn In An Air Fryer Without Oil?
No, you can’t pop popcorn in an air fryer without oil.
I know it is tempting to want to air fry popcorn without oil, but you need the hot oil for the popcorn to pop. Plus its thanks to that amazing oil that your popcorn tastes good and has that crispy texture.
What About Air Fryer Caramel Popcorn?
Yes, you can use the air fryer to make caramel popcorn. Simply follow our air fryer popcorn recipe and then at the end of the recipe, shake the popcorn in some caramel sauce.
Air fryer caramel popcorn is delicious, and I am sure you will go back for seconds.
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Air Fry Popcorn Ingredients
Corn – Note that those kernels of popcorn expand in size when you make popcorn in air fryer, so you really don’t need much. In fact, ½ cup of kernels will easily fill two giant popcorn boxes.
Oil – You will need a little extra virgin olive oil. This is to toss your corn kernels in and what helps make them crispy and pop in the air fryer.
Seasoning – Then your favourite seasoning. For example, sea salt for salted popcorn and maybe some brown sugar for sweet popcorn depending on how you like it.
Then for the kitchen gadgets that we have used in this popcorn in an air fryer recipe it has just been our Philips air fryer. We have this one and its wonderful for many types of air fryer recipes.
Plus, we recommend you head over to our air fryer recipes category as we have more than 500 tried and tested air fryer recipes and have been air frying for 10 years.
How To Make Popcorn In Air Fryer?
- Preheat. Start by preheating the air fryer to 200c/400f as you need a hot air fryer for getting the air fryer to pop the kernels.
- Toss. Whilst the air fryer is doing its preheat toss the corn kernels in extra virgin olive oil in a bowl.
- Spread. Next use your hands to spread a thin layer of corn kernels in your air fryer basket.
- Air Fry. Then air fry for 7-8 minutes at 200c/400f opening and shaking the air fryer basket every 2 minutes. Or stop once the air fryer has finished popping the corn.
And I am sure you can see now how to make popcorn in air fryer.
How Long To Air Fry Popcorn?
For an air fryer popcorn cooking time you need to go with an estimate. This is because some air fryers are more powerful than others and its not set in stone.
We are using a Philips Air Fryer XL and did a total of 7 minutes. But the guide really needs to be, when your popcorn stops popping, its time to finish the cook time.
We recommend setting the cook time to 9 minutes and keeping an eye on your popcorn in the air fryer, then if it stops after 7 minutes for example, that you end the cooking time then.
The ideal air fryer popcorn temperature is 200c/400f. Any lower and the popcorn will not pop, and you want to achieve the most popcorn popped as possible.
The TRUTH About Air Fried Popcorn
What I wanted to do, was share with you, what the air fryer looks like after making air fryer popcorn. I didn’t want to show you a finished bowl of popcorn and then not mention what the air fryer was like afterwards.
Let’s start with the air fryer basket. It was nearly all popped into popcorn and only a few pieces of corn were leftover:
Then there is the top of the inside of the air fryer where the corn has stuck during the popping process:
This was easy to wipe clean, but still annoying as I don’t have any other air fryer recipe that I follow that does this.
Listen To Air fryer Popcorn
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Popcorn Air Fryer Video
We also made a step by step popcorn air fryer video for you and you can click below to watch it via our You Tube channel.
We don’t skip from air frying the corn kernels to perfectly cooked popcorn. Instead you get to watch over our shoulders as we make it.
Easy Air Fryer Snacks
Here are a few easier air fryer snacks for you to try next:
- Air Fryer Frozen Onion Rings
- Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Wings
- Air Fryer Roasted Chickpeas
- Air Fryer Kale Chips
- Air Fryer Apple Chips
Your popcorn in the air fryer recipe is below, note you can print it out with or without photos, adjust servings, or click between metric and imperial depending on where you are in the world.
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Air Fryer Popcorn
- Make sure you measure the corn, as too much and you will end up with not enough room for it all to pop.
- In a bowl add your corn and your extra virgin olive oil. Toss so that the corn is well coated in the oil. To save time, as you toss your oil, give the air fryer a 1 minute preheat at 200c/400f.
- Add your corn to the air fryer basket and create a big layer that is spread out. You don’t want some corn to pop and others to be stuck together.
- Air fry for 7 minutes at 200c/400f. Shake at 2 minute intervals by opening the basket slightly so that the pop wont escape from the air fryer.
- When it stops popping, toss in favourite popcorn seasoning or in butter or brown sugar, load into popcorn boxes or bowls and enjoy!