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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 than chips, 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 than buying those microwave popcorn bags, (which are horrible for your health by the way) and you can flavour the popcorn however you like!

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

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!

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.

What’s The Best Oil To Use When Making Popcorn At Home?

Especially when made at home, popcorn can be a healthy snack 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 much faster than 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 EASIER.

So Which Oil Is Best For Making Instant Pot popcorn?

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

Extra virgin coconut oil also has a very high smoke point ensuring that it won’t 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!

Ingredients

Before getting started make sure you have:

  • 1/2 cup Dry Popcorn Kernels
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Special Equipment

  • A large pot lid, large enough to cover the Instant Pot, or the official Instant Pot Glass Lid
  • An Oven Mit or dry towel
  • A large mixing bowl
  • An Instant Pot

You can purchase an official Instant Pot Glass Lid (Affiliate Link) to make this recipe, but 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.

That said, I don’t have one, and used a run of the mill glass lid I already had in the cupboard.

Instructions

1.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. 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.

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.

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

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.

2. 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. 

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.

3. 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 but they have varying smoke points and may heat differently. This results 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. Their 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

Instant Pot Official Support Team

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.

Instant Pot Popcorn + 6 Popular Flavorings

Chef Markus Mueller
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!
4.43 from 19 votes
Prep Time 4 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 9 mins
Course Snack Food
Cuisine Canadian
Servings 4 portions
Calories 887.9 kcal

Equipment

  • An Instant Pot
  • Tight Fitting Glass Instant Pot Lid or Other Lid
  • Oven Mits

Ingredients
  

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. 
    coconut oil and popcorn kernels in an instant pot, ready to be popped.
  • Place a glass lid over the Instant Pot. An official Instant Pot Lid is available though not required. Any Large lid will do.
    A glass lid covering an instant pot containing popcorn kernels.
  • 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!)

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.
Keyword can you cook popcorn in a pressure cooker?, how do you cook popcorn in the 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.

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. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

For more information please read our affiliate disclosure.

95 Comments

  1. My fav popcorn mixers are : a knock off of Trader Joe’s South African Spice mix: paprika (a bit smoked, a bit sweet, some hot or cayenne), garlic powder, basil and S&P, and the other is weird but: heat butter to melting, add a tablespoon or more of soy sauce or Bragg’s. Stir, and pour over fresh popcorn, sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Yum!! Gonna try this method tomorrow- my glass topped stove doesn’t like the oil that condenses around the edges of my pot lid when I take it off… I hope I have the right model to make this work!

    • Hey Christine! I hope it worked out for you, I have never heard of mixing the soy with butter as a topping, but it’s salty..so I can see the appeal! I’ll have to try it!

      • Make sure your readers use a glass lid without the little hole in it as the hole let’s out too much heat. Led to unpopped kernels. Switched to a lid without a hole and it was perfect. Also to prevent burning if using vegetable oils, double the tbls spoons from 2 to 4.

  2. andrea collins

    Didnt work for me, made in my regular pot and popped with three minutes.

  3. Silvia Wilson

    1 star
    tried it twice. One at medium heat and one at high heat. both times only about 10 popped . So I took out my trusty cast iron pan and I did exactly the same, I wanted to check if my kernels were good. in 2 min. every kernel in the pot had popped. I have a big instant pot and might not be the best for this recipe. I will not longer use it for pop corn.

    • Hi Silvia, sorry to hear the popcorn didn’t pop in your IP. If the popcorn did pop in a regular pan, then the only other issue would be inconsistent heating from your IP, resulting in the oil not getting hot enough to pop the kernels. Of course, it’s hard to tell what the issue truly is, but as you can plainly see the method is identical whether it is done in the IP or on the stovetop. Since the IP is better suited to pressure cooking anyway, this is more of a novelty recipe for those wishing to see what other things the IP can do.

  4. Janyce Perry

    Can you use the liquid coconut oil instead of the solid?

  5. To make a second batch right after the first one, would the pot need cleaning first?

  6. 5 stars
    Hey! Just wanted to say thank you for the recipe. I followed the steps exactly as they are an I got wonderful popcorn. Very few kernels, really like 5. I used Nutiva Coconut Oil.

  7. 5 stars
    Wow! Thanks for sharing your method. I used avocado oil and it worked perfectly for me. I have a nice big bowl of popcorn right now. I followed your directions to a tee and I had no issues.

  8. 1 star
    Useless. It’s much easier to make popcorn in a conventional wok pan (with glass lid) on a stove top. Done within 5 minutes and a wok pan is much easier to clean.

    • Hi Kitty, Thanks for your comment. I would argue it isn’t useless just because you find another method easier. Keep in mind some folks might not have a wok or are just learning to cook. It’s a novel recipe that showcases the very basic method of popping corn, and that even something as simple as popcorn can be made in the Instant Pot.

      Cheers, Chef Markus

  9. 5 stars
    I will definitely make this again! I used canola
    oil and it worked perfectly! Thanks!

  10. 2 stars
    I have tried this 3 times now. The popcorn always taste good. It just never pops well. I’m going back to popping it on the stove in a pan. Sure this is easier and doesn’t take much time. Yet, if I go to the trouble to make popcorn. I plan on having a batch of popcorn!

    • Fair enough Ann. I have yet to have an issue making this, but after doing some research and talking with family and friends who made this..I believe that different models heat differently (have different temp ranges) which causes differences in results.

  11. Shortly after posting my last comment, I replicated the recipe on my stove in a heavy dutch oven with a glass top. Within about 2 minutes I had a huge pot full of popcorn.

    • Hey again Kathleen! Glad to hear it worked for you after all, even if not in an IP. As I am sure you noticed, it is virtually the same method, except your doing it on the stove and not in an ‘electric pan’. Enjoy!

  12. My Instant Pot 6 in 1 Duo has an adjustable temp button for saute and I have it set on the highest heat, but only a fraction of the kernels popped after 20 minutes. The front of the pot kept switching from Hot to On. I can only assume this means the pot is not keeping constant heat to it and the temp adjusts down until it corrects it up again. I was using freshly purchased popcorn and extra virgin coconut oil from Trader Joe’s.

    • Hi Kathleen, from what you are describing I would guess that your instant pot isn’t keeping the temperature hot enough to pop the popcorn. All the kernels should be popped withing at the very least 5 minutes. Make sure you cover the instant pot with a lid to seal in any steam which will also help raise the temperature.

  13. Another win for the Instant pot!

  14. Do you have to use a tight fitting glass lid? Or can you just use the lid the IP came with?

    • Hey Sarah, by tight-fitting I simply mean a lid that will completely cover the IP you don’t want any popcorn kernels jumping out as the popcorn pops! You could use the IP lid that comes with the pot, the downside is it locks and you can’t see through it. Give it a try though and see how it goes!

  15. Sarah Kelly

    I learned years ago to put popcorn in a sealed container with a damp paper towel for a few days. This will gradually add back needed moisture.

  16. Yvonne Williams

    I’ve tried 4 times to make popcorn in my instant pot, following different recipes. I bought a glass instant pot lid and still no luck! A few (up to 20) kernels start popping then they stop. My instant pot does not have an “adjust” button but it will say ‘hot’ and I’ve kept it on for up to 15 minutes. Any other suggestions? Like how can I make it get a little hotter without the ‘adjust’ button? Thanks!

    • Hi Yvonne, it’s very difficult to troubleshoot this without knowing your Instant Pot model. If your IP doesn’t have an ‘adjust’ button, you likely can’t adjust the temperature setting. Note that adjusting the temperature is only possible when using the ‘saute’ mode anyway. I would refer to your manual to see if your particular model supports this function. It’s also worth noting that making popcorn in the IP on the ‘saute’ setting as is described in the recipe above, is virtually identical to doing it in a pot on the stove. So if you are having issues with kernels not popping, it is most likely the popcorn itself that is old, or as you mentioned your pot doesn’t heat hot enough. I would suggest trying this on a stovetop to see if it is a heat issue or your kernels are old.

      Best of luck, Chef Markus

  17. I used to make kettle corn on my coil burner stove but since getting a new flat top, I haven’t been able to. I just got an IP so I’m going to try kettle corn!
    BTW, the butter is NOT unhealthy. The saturated fats in coconut oil are NOT unhealthy. For more info, check out “The Obesity Code” by Dr Jason Fung, or any other the other doctors that write about nutrition, like Dr Davis, Dr Eades, Dr Berry, Dr Sinatra, Dr Westman, Dr Eenfeldt among others. Saturated fats and cholesterol are essential for brain health 🙂

    • Hi Tracy, glad to hear you’re gonna try the recipe! I hope you love it!

      As for the butter being ‘unhealthy’ I guess it depends on what kind of diet you are following. I personally eat butter at home and will avoid margarine at all costs…everything in moderation eh! I do agree that some fat is an essential part of a healthy diet though!

  18. First batch made with coconut oil was awful. Slimy with a very sour spoiled taste. So switched out to Canola oil and the family loved it. Going to be a regular way to pop corn now, and we go through a 50 lb bag every 6 months around here.

  19. Have you tried avocado oil? Has a high cook temp and healthy!

  20. 5 stars
    Try adding dried fruit, like blueberries or crasins, in with the basic butter or cinnamon sugar variations for a sweet addition. If you really want to get your sweet tooth on, add mini chocolate chips to the hot popcorn. You can also do crumbled toffee or peanut brittle, any of your favorite candy really. The bite-size licorice is a fun add-in, unless there’s that one joker that cherry picks. Lol You can really go wild at Halloween and bag “ghost food” made with Halloween candy. You can change it for any holiday and make it special.

  21. DAVID WEBB

    Have you ever thought about using ghee for the popcorn it has a high burn temp and will give the butter flavor without the fat i know it is a little expensive but the flavor would be good

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