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a black bowl of popped popcorn made in an instant pot.

Instant Pot Popcorn + 6 Popular Seasonings

Who doesn’t love snacking on popcorn? A surprisingly healthy and addicting snack, popcorn is much better for you then chips, doritos or any other kind of convenience snack available. The best part of all this? Making instant pot popcorn is probably the easiest ‘from scratch snack’ you’ll ever make at home, and you can make as much, (or as little) as you want

Most folks may not know it, but homemade popcorn is a surprisingly cheap snack to make. It’s even cheaper then buying those microwave popcorn bags, (which are horrible for your health by the way) and you can flavor the popcorn however you like!

In the recipe below, I’ll walk you through making your own popcorn in an Instant Pot, and six popular seasonings to keep things interesting!

If you don’t have an Instant Pot I’ll be including instructions for stove top popping in the recipe card at the bottom.a black bowl of popped popcorn made in an instant pot.

This post contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated if a purchase is made through the links provided. For more information please read my affiliate disclosure.

Whats the best oil to use when making popcorn at home?

Especially when made at home, popcorn can be a healthy for you, (or your kids)…..if you don’t slather it in butter of course.

That being said you do need to use some type of oil or fat to ‘cook’ the popcorn kernels in. The oil ensures that the kernels are all heated evenly and start to pop at roughly the same time. Without some kind of oil, the corn kernels would burn before popping.

While many people advocate for using olive oil because of its higher level of monounsaturated fat(the good fat), it unfortunately has a relatively low smoking point. This means it will burn faster then other oils.

Butter has an even lower smoking point and I do not recommend using it to pop popcorn.It’s better to drizzle melted butter over the popped corn as flavoring after the corn is cooked to prevent burnt tasting bits.

Update: DO NOT USE VEGETABLE OIL SUCH AS CORN OR OLIVE OIL AS THEY HAVE LOW SMOKE POINTS AND WILL BURN.

So which oil is best for making instant pot popcorn?

I personally prefer using extra virgin coconut oil. While it does have more saturated fats per gram then other oils, it is still a healthier option then corn or peanut oil which are highly processed.

Extra virgin coconut oil also has a very high smoke point ensuring that it wont burn, and as a bonus all the kernels will pop much more evenly! Melissa and Danielle did extensive testing to find out which oil produces the best results, and Extra Virgin Coconut Oil took first place!

If you have a hard time finding coconut oil locally, I have found Amazon to be a reliable and cheap place to order it!

Instant Pot Popcorn Recipe

To follow these instructions you will obviously need an Instant Pot. If you don’t already have one, I suggest you get on the band wagon! The instant pot is great for making recipes which would normally take over an hour to cook. Things like Instant Pot Onion Soup, or Chicken Stock are just a few of the things you can make in it!

Before getting started make sure you have:

  • 1/2 cup Dry Popcorn Kernels
  • 2 Tbsp refined Extra Virgin Coconut Oil 
  • A large pot lid, large enough to cover the Instant Pot
  • An Oven Mit or dry towel
  • A large mixing bowl
  • An Instant Pot

Start by plugging in the Instant Pot and pressing ‘saute’. Turn up the temperature by pressing ‘adjust’ until the red light moves to the ‘more’ sign, and then press ‘saute’ again to start the program. The display should now read ‘ON’ and the Instant Pot will start heating up.

Once it is ready to go, the display will say ‘HOT’. This can take between two and four minutes depending on the size of your Instant Pot.

Once it is pre-heated, add the extra virgin coconut oil to the pot and let it melt completely. As I mentioned above, the coconut oil has a high smoking point, so you don’t need to worry about it burning on you.

coconut oil and popcorn kernels in an instant pot, ready to be popped.

Add the 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels to the Instant Pot and using a wooden spoon stir the kernels around to evenly coat them in the oil.

The popcorn won’t start popping right away, and you have about two minutes before anything will start to happen. In this time, give the kernels a few more stirs, (you will hear them sizzling) and make sure they are evenly spread out over the bottom of the pot.

Many recipes will tell you to add butter to the corn kernels at this point, but I found that it can burn and create of tastes in the finished popcorn. It’s better to melt the butter separately and drizzle it over the popcorn once its popped. – Chef Markus

Cover the Instant Pot with a large tight fitting lid, (glass is ideal so you can see when the popcorn stops popping). It can be any large lid you have, as long as it covers the Instant Pot completely.

You can purchase an official Instant Pot Glass Lid (Affiliate Link), but this is not really necessary. The official lid is tempered, dishwasher and oven safe, and is available in various sizes to fit different Instant Pot models. I don’t have one, and used a run of the mill glass lid I already had in the cupboard.

A glass lid covering an instant pot containing popcorn kernels.

Now for the fun part! You’ll see the popcorn start popping! At first it will start fairly slowly, but the speed at which the kernels pop will pick up until most of the kernels have been cooked.

When the popping starts to slow down and you can count 15 seconds in between pops, pick up the pot by the handles and give it a little shake. This will let any un-popped kernels drop to the bottom and increase the chance of not having any uncooked kernels in the pot.

Remove the lid, and using an oven mit or dry towel, remove the Instant Pot insert and pour the freshly popped popcorn into the mixing bowl. Be careful doing this, the steel insert is hot( though the lid will not be), and you may burn yourself if you’re not careful.

Freshly popped Instant pot popcorn in a black bowl

Troubleshooting

Having problems with burnt kernels? Let’s figure it out together! Leave a comment below with what went wrong and I’ll leave some tips for you! In the mean time here are some reasons your popcorn may not be popping.

  • Oils such as canola, peanut, corn, or olive oil may all be used as well, but they have varying smoke points and may heat differently, resulting in less evenly popped corn, or burnt kernels.  If you find the kernels to burn without popping, try the recipe on a lower heat setting.

Another reason the kernels may not be popping could be that the popcorn kernels are dried out and old.

  • Popcorn pops because the moisture trapped inside heats up creating pressure. When the pressure becomes to much for the hard skin….POP….the kernels pop. Old kernels or ones which have been stored to long and have dried out will not pop. Avoid buying kernels in bulk as they may not have been stored in airtight conditions resulting in moisture loss. Also check the expiry date, and choose the ‘freshest’ kernels at the store.

Update: I reached out directly to Instant Pot Support for advice on having kernels burn before popping as I simply can not replicate this issue in my IP-Lux 80 I thought it may be a heating issue. There response:

It could be recommended that readers soak their kernels for a short time (10 minutes or so), patting them very dry and then cooking them per your recipe. Our Instant Pot sauté function reaches temperatures of 180 to 190°F on Less, 190 to 200°F on Normal, and 200 to 210°F on the More heat setting. These temperatures all have a tolerance of +/- 5 degrees which may be having an impact for your readers. -Instant Pot Support

Popular Popcorn Seasonings

Once the popcorn is finished popping, you can season your homemade Instant Pot popcorn. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try new spice mixes!

Old Fashioned Butter

Classic butter flavored popcorn is my personal favorite, so I have to mention it! I love loading mine with freshly melted butter, and while it may turn a somewhat healthy snack into an ‘un-healthy snack’, there’s nothing better while watching a movie with friends or family!

You can even make brown butter popcorn by letting the butter brown in a pot on the stove and then tossing it with freshly popped corn!

Cheddar Popcorn

Who would have thought mixing cheese and popcorn would be so delicious!? Well it is, and you can find a super cheesy recipe over at Peppers & Pennies! Grated cheddar is a good choice, but using Parmesan and a little truffle oil works wonders as well!

Caramel Corn

We’ve all seen caramel corn for sale at fairs, the movie theater and other events. Did you know you can easily make your own at home? Simply pop the corn as in the recipe above and then follow these instructions for making caramel sauce, and mixing the two! Caramel corn is a wonderful treat during the holidays and makes a great edible gift!

Cinnamon Popcorn

Mix 1/4 cup icing sugar and 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon, then sprinkle the mixture over the hot freshly popped corn. Toss immediately to evenly coat the popcorn. YUM!

Garlic & Herb

While not as common, this flavor combo is awesome and a great savory twist on traditional Popcorn. Mix 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, and 1 teaspoon of your favorite herb. Sprinkle and toss over the popped corn then toss. The smell alone will get your taste buds going!

Whats your favorite flavor?? Comment & Rate the Recipe below, then take a picture and tag me on Facebook & Instagram: @earthfoodandfire . For more from scratch recipes follow me on Instagram & Pinterest

a black bowl of popped popcorn made in an instant pot.
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5 from 7 votes

Instant Pot Popcorn + 6 Popular Flavorings

Make popcorn in your Instant Pot at home. Fast, easy and best of all cheap! A fun and (somewhat) healthy snack to make on the fly!
Course Snack Food
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword can you cook popcorn in a pressure cooker?, how do you cook popcorn in the instant pot?
Prep Time 4 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 9 minutes
Servings 4 portions
Calories 887.9kcal
Author Chef Markus Mueller

Ingredients

Equipment

  • A Large Lid
  • An Instant Pot
  • Oven Mits or Dry Towel

Popcorn Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernals
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

Instructions

Instant Pot Popcorn Instructions

  • Turn on the Instant pot and press 'saute'. Hit 'adjust' to turn up the heat to 'more'. Let the pot pre-heat until the display reads 'HOT'
  • Add 2 tbsp of extra virgin coconut oil to the pot and let it melt.
  • Add half a cup of popcorn kernels and stir them around with a wooden spoon. 
  • Stir and evenly spread the kernels over the bottom of the Instant pot for about a minute. You will hear them start to sizzle. 
  • Place a glass lid over the Instant Pot. An official Instant Pot Lid is available though not required. Any Large lid will do.
  • It can take around two minutes for the corn to start popping as it heats. Larger Instant pots may heat faster then smaller models.
  • Let the popcorn pop for about 5 minutes. When the popping slows to one pop every 15 seconds, shake the pot and let any uncooked kernels pop.
  • Remove the lid and using an oven mit or dry towel, pour the freshly popped popcorn into a serving bowl.
  • Season the Instant Pot popcorn with melted butter or your favorite seasoning blend. (See the post for 6 popular flavor combinations!)

Stove Top Popcorn

  • Place a thick bottomed pot on the stove and melt the coconut oil on high heat.
  • Add 2 or 3 individual kernels of corn in the pot and cover them with a lid. Once they are popped you know the oil is hot and ready to go.
  • Add the rest of the popcorn kernels and recover the pot. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the popping slows down. Remove the pot from the heat and shake occasionally until popping has stopped.
  • Remove the popcorn from the pot and season then serve in a bowl!

Video

Notes

Trouble Shooting:
  • Oils such as canola, peanut, corn, or olive oil may all be used as well, but they have varying smoke points and may heat differently, resulting in less evenly popped corn, or burnt kernels.
Another reason the kernels may not be popping popping is that :
  1. your instant pot heats higher then mine (try doing this on a lower temperature setting)
  2. you have old popcorn kernels.
Popcorn pops because the moisture trapped inside heats, and when the pressure becomes to much, POP, the kernel pops. Old kernels or ones which have been stored to long and have dried out will not pop.

This post contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated if a purchase is made through the links provided. For more information please read my affiliate disclosure.

Related Posts

Make popcorn in your Instant Pot at home. Fast, easy and best of all cheap! A fun and (somewhat) healthy snack to make on the fly! #popcorn #instantpot #glutenfree #snack

Please note : We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

30 Comments

  1. What oil can be used other than coconut? I do not like the flavor and my daughter has a nut allergy.

  2. My husband loves popcorn nachos, melted butter, shredded cheddar cheese, and sliced jalapenos!

  3. “…It’s better to melt the butter desperately and drizzle it over the popcorn once its popped.” Given the high price of butter, I suppose I must be desperate to use it. ????

  4. NoOilVegan

    Can you do it without oil? Coconut oil is so high in saturated fat, I’d be scared to use it. I like my arteries clear. LOL. Oils in general are so bad for you, I’d like to do it without oil.

    • Unfortunately no you will need to use some kind of fat to cook the popcorn in otherwise the kernels will just burn. While coconut oil is a saturated fat, it’s high smoke point makes it ideal for this application. Since your probably not eating a whole bowl of popcorn by yourself, you wouldn’t even be consuming the whole 2 tbsp of oil this recipe calls for. Everything in moderation is the key!

  5. That is so neat how you can make popcorn in the instant pot! All your seasonings sound great too.

  6. I NEED to drop what I am doing and go get me some garlic herb popcorn!! So serious!! That’s genius!! I need it!

  7. Wow – so many things you can make in the Instant Pot. I definitely need to get one now!

  8. My husband just got me an IP, and popcorn is my favourite snack ever. I can’t wait to try this!

  9. I am starting to wonder if there’s anything that cannot be made in the instant pot! This popcorn looks amazing – I need an IP pronto!

  10. can the recipe be doubled and still work?

    • Hi Kristen, In theory yes it can be doubled. The problem is the Instant Pot is only so big, and especially if you have a smaller sized unit, it may not end up heating all the kernels properly once they start popping. There is a higher chance of burning the popcorn before all kernels have popped.

      Chef Markus

  11. Lacy McClain

    Super easy! Came out perfect the first time. Thank you!

  12. Have you tested this recipe with grape seed oil?

    • Hi Carol, I have not personally tried making Instant Pot popcorn with grapeseed oil. The main reason, it’s expensive and I find better suited to use as a salad oil. When cooked it can take on a quite bitter taste that may no be palatable. From a cooking point of view, it has nearly the same smoke point as coconut oil or canola oil, and as such should work much the same way.

  13. I get only a couple kennels to pop. The rest of them just burn. No clue what I’m doing incorrectly

    • Are you letting the Instant Pot heat up properly before adding the oil and the kernels? The only reason popcorn doesn’t pop is that it is old and doesn’t contain any more moisture in it. I would suggest purchasing some new popcorn kernels and giving it another shot! I just made a batch myself!

  14. About 20 popped and the rest burned. We just made it in the stove with this container so I’m sure the kernels are not old.

  15. I tried making this last night two different times and same results both times. Only some kernels popped, the rest just burned. Followed the directions exactly. My kernels were brand new from the store. I love my Insant Pot but I think I’m going to have to buy another air popper to make popcorn.

    • Hi Jenna, I’m sorry to hear that. What model Instant Pot do you have? I have found that some tend to heat to high to fast, causing burn issues. Can I ask you to try it one more time but on a low saute heat setting?

  16. Hi Chef! I was wondering if you have any experience with other “pots” I have a Faberware one that doesn’t have heat settings. I love using it (almost every nite!) but I always have to guess and wonder if the temps are high enough when cooking other than the basics listed on my pot. Any suggestions? Thank you! Judy

    • Hi Judy, I don’t have experience with other brand models unfortunately. Theoretically as long as you have a ‘heat’ or ‘saute’ function that lets you use the pot as a frying pan will let you make popcorn in it. The brand of popcorn you use is important, so don’t cheap out, because it may burn otherwise. What model do you have? I can do some research for you if you like.

      Chef Markus

  17. I’m having a hard time with the popcorn kernels not popping. We bought new popcorn. I don’t know how fresh it is. Do you have a certain brand that you like?

    • I don’t no…Do you let the Instant pot heat up all the way first before putting in the coconut oil (canola or vegetable oil will not work), and then adding the kernels? If the kernels are burning before they start to pop I would try doing this on saute > normal which has a temperature range of 190F -200F. I reached out to Instant Pot directly about this issue and they suggested that soaking the kernals for about 10 minutes in water, and then patting them very very dry before cooking.,

  18. I like chipotle seasoning with white cheddar cheese.

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