Instant Pot Popcorn

The do-it-all magic of the Instant Pot is easy to harness for this simple, incredibly snackable treat that requires just three pantry-friendly ingredients.

Instant pot popcorn scattered on parchment paper and in a bowl.


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How to make popcorn in an Instant Pot

Popcorn is one of those ultra-craveable snacks that just about everyone loves. While you might be used to tossing a bag in the microwave when you need a light snack or something to munch on while watching a movie, it’s far cheaper, nearly as quick, and even more delicious to pop it yourself.

And the process is easier than ever, thanks to an increasingly common kitchen appliance — the Instant Pot. 

Instant pots are so versatile – you can pop popcorn in them 

If you own an Instant Pot, you likely already know how many incredible things it can do. These devices are perfect for making soups and stews, ideally cooked rice, fork-tender meat, and a vast selection of other sides, main courses, desserts, sauces, and more. Some of our favorites include Instant Pot mac and cheese, Instant Pot roast beef, and best-ever Instant Pot beef stew.

But you may not have considered that their versatility allows them to make perfect popcorn, too. They work just like an old-school popcorn popper but save you space by combining the functionality with the Instant Pot’s many other functions. 

Instant pot popcorn in a bowl and scattered beside it.

Why you’ll have fun trying this recipe

Popping your own popcorn can be a lot of fun, especially when it’s as easy and fast as it is in the Instant Pot. Popping popcorn in the Instant Pot also allows you to vary the quantity you’re making. That means you can make a smaller snack if you’re not that hungry or easily experiment with various flavor profiles without wasting popcorn.

Plus, few things are as much fun as saving money, and there’s no doubt this Instant Pot recipe is far cheaper than buying those microwave bags at the grocery store.

So make pressure cooker popcorn for an easy snack or your next movie night.

Ingredients you’ll need

For the basics of Instant Pot popcorn, you’ll only need these three ingredients:

  • Extra virgin coconut oil
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Seasoned/popcorn salt

Be sure to use fresh popcorn kernels because old popcorn kernels won’t pop as well.

Instant pot popcorn ingredients in bowls.

How to make it 

Making Instant Pot popcorn is nearly as easy as microwave popcorn, but far better in quality:

  1. Turn on the Instant Pot, and start the saute setting on High. 
  2. Allow the Instant Pot to heat for two to three minutes.
  3. Add the coconut oil and allow it to melt. Then, add the popcorn kernels and seasoned salt.
  4. Stir to make sure each kernel is thoroughly coated.
  5. Replace the lid and let the corn kernels pop. 
  6. Turn off the Instant Pot when about two-thirds of the popcorn has popped, and allow it to finish popping naturally.
  7. Pour the popcorn into a large bowl and enjoy! Drizzle melted butter over it if desired.
Collage of making instant pot popcorn.

It’s worth noting that this recipe is best when prepared using the glass lid available with the Instant Pot. However, those who only have the standard Instant Pot lid can swap it out for any clear lid from other kitchen pots that fits. 

5 tips for popping popcorn in your Instant Pot 

  1. If you’re looking for popcorn flavor just like you find at movie theaters, stadiums, and similar venues, grab some seasoning from the Flavacol brand. 
  2. While coconut oil is best for its high smoke point and subtle flavor, those who don’t have any on hand can substitute vegetable oil or canola oil in the same quantity. Do not use olive oil.
  3. Carefully keep an eye on your popcorn as it pops. You should make an effort not to let it run too long, as this can burn the bottom pieces, leading to an unpleasant taste and smell.
  4. Give the Instant Pot a shake occasionally while it’s popping. This can help redistribute unpopped kernels, which should sink to the bottom and be exposed to the heat.  
  5. Get creative with your flavorings. If you’re looking for a change from traditional popcorn flavor, try an Italian spice blend, Old Bay, chili powder, or cajun seasoning. Sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese for a cheesy touch. You can even make it a sweet treat by drizzling the popcorn with caramel sauce or melted chocolate. 

How to store popped popcorn

If you’ve got some popcorn left over after popping a big batch, the good news is that it’s as easy to store as it is to make. Once you’ve allowed the popcorn to cool to room temperature, store it in an airtight container or plastic bag. It’ll keep one to two weeks before going stale — if you can avoid snacking on it for that long!

Instant pot popcorn in a bowl and scattered beside it.

Be sure to check out my latest Instant Pot recipes

Use Instant Pot Popcorn for these recipes

Be sure to check out all my easy Instant Pot recipes and the best homemade snacks.

Instant pot popcorn scattered on parchment paper and in a bowl.

How to Make Popcorn in an Instant Pot

You can use your Instant Pot to make popcorn. 
4.79 from 19 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Instant Pot Recipes
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 65kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn
  • 1/2 teaspoon popcorn seasoned salt

Instructions

  • Turn on the Instant Pot, push the saute button, and then the adjust button, this should set your Instant Pot to a higher saute setting. Wait for 2 to 3 minutes until the pot heats up. Add the coconut oil, and when it melts add the popcorn. Add seasoned salt, and stir around to make sure the popcorn is coated with oil and salt. Put a lid on the pot, and once it 2/3rd’s of the popcorn turn off the Instant Pot.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 65kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 290mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Kim

    5 stars
    I have the small Instant Pot. I cut the recipe in half using reasonably old Kroger popcorn kernels and canola oil. I used a metal pot lid upside down. It took a little longer than my old popcorn maker, but it popped more kernels. No burning of oil. I could probably try the whole recipe, but it would be a very full pot.

  2. Kaitlin Johnson

    To those of you having problems I can relate and think I have sorted it out. I would use an olive oil or coconut oil as it has a higher burning points and I found that using vegetable oil I didn’t work as well as the kernels need a significant amount of oil to get hot enough to burn in the vegetable oil seemed to burn off too quickly so it was only popping a little bit. If I went back and added more oil more with pop so on and so forth. So try using an olive oil and coconut oil and possibly adding even a little bit extra as it burns up quickly in the instant pot.

  3. Bonnye M.

    1 star
    Tried this twice. Both times I followed instructions to the tee, neither time did more than 15-20 kernels pop and then it just stopped…I thought maybe it was still heating so I let it go for a little longer and it just burnt the kernels…Can you give me more ideas of what might have gone wrong…It would have been great if it had worked…

    • Meghan

      No matter what I did, had the same issue. This recipe is consistent every time. Perfect popcorn and hardly any unpopped kernels

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bO1WgcjF8SA

    • S. Chapman

      Sane for me, Bonnye. Used coconut oil and hot about 1/3 of the corn popped. Made a batch with the same oil and corn on the stove and it turned out great. 🤔

  4. Bonnie Eschbach

    Stephanie,

    Could I use butter in place of the oil? I love lots of butter on my popcorn. If so, how much butter will I be able to use? Thank you. Keep the great recipes flowing.

  5. Caroline

    I looked up the Favacol you suggested and discovered in contains salt, artificial flavor, FD&C Yellow #5, Lake (E108) and FD&C #6 Lake (E110).
    No, I do not want to put all this artificial flavor and colorings on food that me and my family will eat!
    I did sprinkle a little Sari Foods Nutriitional Yeast flakes on the popcorn and it was great; gluten Free and Dairy Free! I have no affiliation with the company, just like the product.

  6. Kit

    I tried to do this once before with a lid from a pot and it was an epic fail. I recently purchased a glass lid made for the IP and gave it another try. It was a success (even though my kernels were expired). Started popping before I got the lid on, really fast method. Thank you!

  7. Stephanie G

    Can it be made without oil? I’m super sensitive to oils but LOVE popcorn. I’ve been using the brown bag method for years but not loving the results and waisted unpopped kernels.

  8. Paula Tamburro

    I love to find different uses for my IP. I have made quite a selection from pot roast to cheesecake. I’m seeing a few different posts about success here. I think I will stick with my method of 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels in a paper lunch bag and stick in microwave for about 2 minutes. This is a non fat way to make popcorn and works really well.

  9. Allison

    I don’t think my slow cook feature gets hot enough to bring the food to a safe temperature, and maybe sauté isn’t suitable for popcorn either?.

    • Stephanie

      You need to use the saute feature but you need to make sure you reset it from it’s default setting to high. Is it the most ideal way to make popcorn? no. Is it fun to try? Yes.

  10. mark

    I must be doing something wrong !? I tried this TWO times; the first time exactly per directions & less than HALF of the kernels popped. Second attempt I followed the popcorn vendors directions & increased the oil to 3 tablespoons, this time I got about ⅔ popped max. The popcorn is Orville’s finest & has a best-by date of nearly 10 more months. Pls lmk if theres another setting I can try – it seems to take forever for the corn to pop …..thanks!

    • Ilend

      I tried it also and was g successful. Perhaps this is a ploy to entice people that might not otherwise have an instant pot, to purchase one. My hot air popper does a much better job. I add a mild flavored olive oil, for the health benefits. And easy on the salt but do use sea salt and sometimes other seasonings depending on my mood. It’s no fail and much friendlier than the movie popcorn.

      • Stephanie

        Thank you for your comment. This wasn’t a ploy to make people purchase an Instant Pot. Rather, for me, it was a way to demonstrate its diversity. Some people who use these don’t have kitchens, are truckers, and what not. So for them, it is a good way for them to make popcorn. I understand for you your way is far superior, and I am glad you have found a method of making healthy popcorn for you. I hope others have learned from you and the way you make popcorn.

  11. Anne

    The popcorn started to pop for me, but quit before it finished. We waited, but nothing happened and we turned the stove on and made it the good old fashioned quick way. I did not wait for the oil to melt, would that have been the problem? This is only the third time Inhave used my instant pot, so new at this game. Appreciate yiur thoughts.

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