Can I Make Popcorn in an Air Fryer? (Explained For Beginners)

Popcorn is one of the most popular snacks, well-known for its excellent taste and how filling it is. The good thing is that it is easy to prepare and does not require sophisticated skills for you to get the perfect serving of this snack. You can use several cooking equipments to prepare it.

Talking of what to use in preparing the maize kernels, you may ask, can I make popcorn in an air fryer? Yes, it is possible and one of the best ways to get a nice bowl of popcorns.

If you do not know, the air fryer is a compact cooking device, gaining much popularity as it does not require oil for meal preparation. Its cooking process takes heed from the Maillard reaction, where it uses the foods residual fats, if any, to achieve the perfect browning and consistency in taste.

Let us have a look at how to use an air fryer to make popcorn.

Steps on Making Popcorn in an Air Fryer

Here are some of the ingredients you need to prepare this snack.

  • A quarter cup of kernels.
  • Two tablespoons of butter or olive oil.
  • Aluminum foil (optional)
  • Some flavoring such as brown sugar, salt, or caramel.
  • Toppings such as chilies, garlic, chocolate syrup, and lime juice.


  1. Start by putting the kernels in the pan. You can use the aluminum foil as a base for the popcorns to prevent the air fryer from getting messy. Before you use the cooker, ensure it is clean to prevent avoidable diseases. Cook the popcorns for around 7-9 minutes at 400-degrees Fahrenheit until the popping recedes.
  2. You now remove the popcorn put them in a tray, and let them cool off for about five minutes; meanwhile, make arrangements of the toppings.
  3. Prepare the spread for your popcorns. Butter spread is the most common toppings and is also easy to prepare. Heat the two tablespoons of butter on moderate heat until it is completely melted. Add a pinch of salt and a tablespoonful of brown sugar and whisk it until you achieve a perfect consistency. You may be creative and add some lime juice and chilies if you want a tangy taste.
  4. Evenly spread the toppings on the popcorn, making sure each part gets a decent serving. The popcorn is now ready for the table.

Points to Note

When it comes to the toppings, it is a matter of taste, and instead of the butter spread, you can opt for caramel or chocolate syrup. Do not use too much topping as it may make the popcorn soggy.

While the air fryer does not need oil to cook your popcorns, you may add a dash of olive oil on the kernels followed by a tablespoonful of salt and pepper for taste. Be near the kitchen when cooking to avoid the popcorns getting burnt. Burnt popcorn has a bad taste and aroma.

Learn More: How to Cook Frozen Pizza in Air Fryer

When you use an aluminum foil lining when preparing popcorn, you stop popped kernels from escaping into the fryer’s basket.

Advantages of Cooking Popcorns with An Air Fryer

  • Cooking in an air fryer is less messy, where you have minimal chance of getting popcorn on the floor and other areas due to spills. If you use an aluminum foil base, then you maintain the cleanliness of the cooker.
  • Air fried popcorn has an excellent taste with fantastic consistency. Oil-less cooking is responsible for the taste.
  • When using an air fryer, there is less chance of overcooking, though you should be keen on your snack not to reach these levels as it may char.
  • The air fryer is the best option when you want to make a small serving.

Disadvantages of Cooking Popcorn in An Air Fryer

  • Longer cooking times, especially when you compare it to cookers such as the microwave, which takes around five minutes to get it ready.
  • The kernels may get stuck in the heating element or escape to the basket if you have no lining.
  • It only prepares a small portion of popcorns at a time; hence, it is not suitable for large servings.
  • The popcorns may also overcrowd in the cooking chamber, particularly if you did not get the right kernel measurements.

Is Cooking Popcorn on An Air Fryer Safe?

The issue of safety is one to pay close attention to if you want to avoid accidents in the cooking area. The air fryer is one of the safest cooking implements, assuring you of almost risk-free kitchen experience.

However, you need to be keen on several key areas to guarantee your safety. Here are some of the things to understand about safety when preparing your popcorns.

  • Check on The Aluminum Lining

The aluminum foil comes in handy to prevent the air fryer from getting messy. When you decide to use it when cooking popcorn, there are things you need to keep in mind for safety.

Understand that aluminum foil conducts electricity; hence, it can cause electric faults if it is not correctly set. Make sure there are no sticking edges, which can contact the heating element and cause short-circuiting.

There is the issue of aluminum leaching that can cause an increment in this metal’s levels in the body. Increased aluminum levels in the body make you susceptible to conditions like infertility and Alzheimer’s disease. When cooking popcorn, the leaching issue is rare as it mostly comes if the food has some acidic content.

  • Cleanliness of The Air Fryer

Before using the air fryer, it should be clean. Cleaning the cooking utility might be problematic due to its design. However, for your healthy being, it is advisable to clean it after every cooking session.

A dirty cooker can affect your popcorn’s taste and aroma, making it less appealing and stomach upsets may come your way in severe situations.

  • Can Cooking Popcorns in The Air Fryer Cause Cancer?

Cancer is a severe medical condition, and its treatment is very challenging. Electrical cooking utilities are under the radar due to purported carcinogenic properties.

Can the air fryer cause cancer? This cooker is safe, and the chances of causing this medical condition are low. One area of concern may be acrylamide production, a byproduct of starchy foods on exposure to high temperatures.

Acrylamide is carcinogenic, meaning it can cause cancer. The good thing is that the air fryer operates under moderate temperature thus, this byproduct cannot come by. There is a high chance the popcorn will burn and won’t be edible in case of high heat levels.

  • The State of The Food and Condiments

The kernels should be fresh and ready to go to the cooker. If the grains are bad, the popcorns won’t have their signature taste and aroma. You should check the state of the corns before putting them on the pan.

Check the package for the expiry date, and inspect it for any anomalies in smell, color among many other attributes. If there is anything that seems abnormal, discard it to curb health complications like stomach upsets.

Learn More: Air Fryer vs. Microwave: What Is the Difference?

The condiments should also be fresh and not past their expiry date.

Other Popcorn Cooking Methods

Aside from the air fryer, there are several methods to prepare popcorns. Here are different ways of preparing this sumptuous snack.

1. Microwave

The microwave boasts of having the most efficient method of preparing your popcorns. It is easy to use with some ovens coming with dedicated keys for cooking this snack. Preparing the popcorns is very fast when using the microwave, taking roughly 5 minutes to be ready.

You can also prepare large servings of popcorns when using the microwave as they are spacious. This oven is the top competitor to the air fryer, majoring on attributes such as cooking time. It is also less messy, as you can easily clean it in case of any spills.

2. Stove

Using a stove is another common way to prepare popcorns. It is a simple procedure, where you put the kernels on a saucepan, add some oil, and put it on your stove on moderate heat. It may take longer to get the snack ready, as compared to the air fryer and microwave. If you are not keen when using the stove, you may get burnt up popcorns or spills if the lid is not secured correctly.

3. Popcorn Maker

The popcorn maker takes the top spot when it comes to ease of use. It is more prominent in commercial settings where you want to prepare large servings. Its use is simple, where you put the right settings, and you have your snack ready in a few.


The air fryer is one of the best utilities to bank on when cooking popcorns due to its oil-less cooking nature. It is suitable if you are watching your weight, ensuring you consume minimal fats.

Highlighted are the steps to make popcorns using the air fryer, which gives you a hint of its simplicity. It is easy to pull through, though you have to keep up hygiene standards when using the fryer for your healthy being. Bank on the air fryer and get the best popcorns full of taste and aroma!

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