Air Fryer Popcorn

5 from 203 votes

Just 3 ingredients and under 10 minutes, and you'll have a bowl full of crunchy puffy Air Fryer Popcorn perfect for snacking on!

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Make this Air Fryer Popcorn for a quick and easy snack that takes less than 10 minutes to make! It’s exactly the same as cooking it in the microwave or a popcorn maker, and it turns out just as fluffy and delicious. Plus, you can season it up how you like and try different flavors. Pop up some popcorn in the air fryer for movie nights or a quick snack ready in minutes.

Popcorn in an air fryer basket lined with foil after cooked to show popped kernals with a small dish of uncooked kernals and salt nearby.
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If you prefer not to use the microwave to make popcorn, you can actually make popcorn in an air fryer! It’s quick and full of possibilities! Just 3 ingredients and under 10 minutes, and you’ll have a bowl full of crunchy puffy popcorn that’s kid and adult friendly. Plus, popcorn is actually a healthy-ish snack by itself and great for munching on.

Why you’ll love Making Popcorn in the Air Fryer

  • Easy to make in the air fryer. An air fryer is a magical machine, and finding ways to utilize it more in your everyday cooking will do wonders for your recipe collection. It makes cooking that much easier.
  • Ready in just 10 minutes! With quick prep, this popcorn pops up in minutes with a few shakes along the way for even cooking.
  • Great for snacking. Kids love popcorn, and this quick air fryer recipe is a delicious way to make an easy snack. Plus, if you keep the seasonings simple, it’s actually a healthier option for munching on in moderation than a bag of chips.
  • So many seasoning possibilities. The best part about popping your own popcorn is adding whatever seasoning you like and avoiding things you don’t, like extra heavy salty butter you find in prepackaged kinds.

Ingredients to make Popcorn

  • Popcorn kernels: You can find a bag of popcorn kernels in the same area as boxed popcorn. I like to keep it stocked in my pantry for a quick snack.
  • Oil: Choose a neutral oil like avocado oil for a light and toasty popcorn. You can use coconut oil for another lighter option, but avoid regular butter as it will burn and smoke while cooking.
  • Salt: For flavor.
Ingredients for air fryer recipe: popcorn kernels, salt, and oil.

How to make Air Fryer Popcorn

  1. Preheat the air fryer and line the basket and its walls with aluminum foil. Add the popcorn kernels and oil into the basket, and use a spoon to toss gently.
  2. Once they’re coated with oil, spread out the kernels as much as possible in a single layer, so they are not touching each other.
  3. Air fry for a few minutes until you only hear a few kernels popping.
  4. Wait a moment before opening the basket to avoid a popping kernel, and then remove all the cooked popcorn and immediately sprinkle it with salt.
  5. Continue cooking the unpopped ones for a few more minutes.
  6. Season the rest with salt and add other toppings like melted butter or flavorings as desired.
6 image collage making recipe in a foil lined air fryer basket: 1- kernals added with oil, 2- spoon tossing the oil and kernals, 3- popcorn kernels spread evenly on bottom of basket, 4-halfway through popping to show some popped and some not, 5- popped kernals removed with partially cooked left behind, 6- spoon removing remaining popcorn after cooking.

Tips for making The best popcorn in the air fryer

  1. Make sure to line the entire basket with foil. That’s because the popcorn will likely fly all over the air fryer and get underneath the basket if not properly lined.
  2. Keep the number of kernels to a minimum. I think ¼ cup works out really well because it allows the air to circulate well around the kernels for the best popping. This will also depend on the size of your air fryer, as a smaller basket may be a tad less.
  3. Don’t worry if some kernels don’t pop. That’s bound to happen, just like with microwave popcorn. You can also remove the popped ones and try again or discard them if they just won’t pop.
  4. Let it sit for a few seconds before removing the basket. To avoid popping kernels from flying out, wait just a moment for the popcorn to finish.
  • Skip the oil. If you want to keep this oil-free, you can skip this part. It will still pop up nicely without it.
  • Add some flavor! Toss the popcorn in some of your favorite seasonings:
    • White cheddar or other premade popcorn seasonings
    • Salt and black pepper
    • Butter
    • Granulated sugar for a sweet crunch
  • Try it with some mix-ins. You can make this more of a trail mix addition and toss the popcorn with nuts, chocolate chips or candies, shredded coconut, and granola.

How to store air fried popcorn

Keep popcorn sealed in a bag or air-tight container on the counter.

How long will popcorn last on the counter?

Store leftover air-fried popcorn for 2-3 days for the best and freshest quality. This can vary depending on how often the bag has been opened, so once it starts to taste stale, it’s best to toss it.

Frequently asked questions

What temperature do I cook popcorn in an air fryer, and for how long?

Set the temperature to 400 degrees and cook between 5-8 minutes. After about 5 minutes, remove the popped ones and continue cooking the remaining kernels for a few more minutes.

Why did my popcorn burn?

This usually happens if you add too many kernels to the basket or they finish quicker. The trick is to limit the amount you add to the basket to about ¼ cup or less. Also, use your senses to time out the popcorn. Once you hear it stop popping for 2-3 seconds, go ahead and check them. Another is to smell it, as it’s hard to miss the smell of popcorn overcooking!

Can I use butter instead of oil for popping popcorn in the air fryer?

No! Unfortunately, butter would not be a good substitute for oil for coating the corn kernels before cooking because it will burn and smoke and leave an unpleasant burnt taste on the popcorn. You could use clarified butter, though! Or another neutral oil.

Popcorn in a serving bowl piled high with an air fryer behind it.

This popcorn recipe is fun to make in the air fryer and is a quick and easy snack that everyone can enjoy. Just take a few minutes to pop this fluffy crunchy popcorn as an after-school snack or to satisfy a quick craving.

More air fryer recipes:

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Air Fryer Popcorn

Just 3 ingredients and under 10 minutes, and you'll have a bowl full of crunchy puffy Air Fryer Popcorn perfect for snacking on!
5 from 203 votes
Servings 2 servings
Course Snack
Calories 97
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
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  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Line the air fryer basket and its walls with aluminum foil. Add the popcorn kernels and oil into the basket, and use a spoon to toss gently. Then spread out the kernels as much as possible in a single layer so they are not touching each other.
  • Air fry for 5 minutes and remove from the air fryer. If you notice any unpopped kernels, return them to the air fryer for 3 more minutes.
  • Season the popcorn with salt immediately and add any other toppings like melted butter or popcorn flavorings as desired.


Tip: Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket with popcorn kernels. 


Calories: 97kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 0.4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 56mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 0.2g, Calcium: 1mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Snack

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Recipe Rating


  1. LisaBe says:

    I was skeptical, but it turned out great. I did not use any oil at all, and I used foil to cover the base of the basket and the sides where the slits were. Best part? After I took out all the popcorn, ALL the unpopped kernels popped nicely in an additional 4 minutes. Will definitely be making this again

    1. Yumna says:

      So happy it turned out great for you!

    2. LisaBe says:

      Oops! That should read Almost All the unpopped kernels popped nicely in an additional 4 minutes

  2. Marsha says:

    Can I use coconut oil to make the popcorn?

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Hi Marsha, yes! You can use melted coconut oil. Hope you enjoy!

  3. Elena says:

    Hi, great idea! Can I replace aluminum foil with parchment paper?

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Hi Elena, great question! I would not use parchment paper for fear that it would shift too much during the popping process and could potentially catch on fire.

  4. Stacey says:

    Can you use olive oil?

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Hi Stacey, great question. You can use Extra-Light Olive Oil (not to be confused with EVOO), which has a higher smoke point like avocado oil.

  5. Teri says:

    My kitchen is now full of smoke and I don’t have popcorn.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Oh no! I am so sorry to hear that it didn’t work for you. I’d love to help you troubleshoot. Did you make sure to line your air fryer basket with foil, covering all the holes?

    2. Amanda says:

      I was nervous about this – do we know why it happened?

      1. Yumna J. says:

        I haven’t heard back yet from Teri. The two main reasons this would happen are the foil not being placed correctly or the use of an oil with a lower smoke point. As long as you use avocado oil and line your basket with foil completely, you should be good to go!

  6. Tasneem Basta says:


    1. Yumna J. says:

      Thanks, Tasneem!