Air fryer popcorn is a healthy and delicious snack with just ONE ingredient required. Popcorn kernels is ALL you need for a crunchy, tasty treat that’s guilt free and completely satisfying.
No butter or oil required, of course unless you want to add some. But I’m happy to report that this recipe works well without it. So if you’re watching your calorie and fat intake, this is a GREAT snack option.
Why air fry popcorn?
Homemade popcorn from kernels is always a healthier choice then buttery movie theater popcorn.
Making your own air fryer popcorn means you can control the ingredients and avoid, or at least limit the butter, oil and/or salt.
It’s a fun way to prepare a delicious snack in a hands off appliance, and although it’s not as fast as microwave popcorn, it does pop fairly quickly.
How to make it
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
All you’ll need is an air fryer and some popcorn kernels. Make sure to preheat your fryer for 5 minutes first.
Make a foil pocket with the sides slightly lifted around the edges and place your kernels inside, no need to spread them, just dump. (photo 1)
Close the lid and cook. You’ll hear it start popping after about 5 minutes or so, and once popping slows down or stops, lift the lid carefully. (photo 2)
Transfer your air fryer popcorn to a bowl and enjoy plain, or with melted butter, olive oil, salt and pepper, a spray of white vinegar, or any other flavour combination you’d like.
This is a loaded question and always depends what you’re comparing it to. But if we’re talking snacks, it’s definitely a healthier choice. When air popped and lightly seasoned (or plain) it’s a low calorie, low fat, healthy snack.
Yes, in it’s natural form, popcorn is vegan. Just make sure to get plain, unpopped kernels for this recipe. If you are buying already popped corn, always read the ingredients.
We use and love a Ninja Foodi 8qt and our popcorn is ready in 7-8 minutes. However, since different models will operate at different speeds, just listen for the popping and once it slows down, check on your popcorn.
Recipe Notes + Tips
Don’t forget the aluminum foil. Although it may shift or move around from the fan, it will prevent many of the kernels from falling through the small holes at the bottom of your basket before they get a chance to pop.
Like any method of making popcorn, you will be left with some un-popped kernels when the popping stops, just discard them.
Your popcorn will keep in a zip top bag at room temperature for 3-4 days. Push out as much air as possible when sealing it, so your popcorn stays fresh.
More air fried recipes
- Air Fried Hash Browns From Scratch
- Healthy Air Fried Mushrooms
- Air Fried Spaghetti Squash [Healthy+Low Cal]
- Air Fried Tofu
- Healthy Air Fried Eggplant
- Air Fried Zucchini w/ Lemon
- Air Fried Corn on the Cob
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- 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
- melted butter or oil
- white vinegar
- salt + pepper
- or your favourite seasoning blends
- Preheat your fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes.
- Then place a sheet of aluminum foil with the sides folded up slightly, on the bottom of your basket. Dump the kernels on top, no need to spread and close the lid. (See process photos above for a visual.)
- Air fry for about 7-8 minutes, or until the popping slows down. It should start popping around 4-5 minutes in. Note that different models will operate at different speeds, so carefully check on the popcorn by lifting the lid just enough to peak through.
- Transfer the popcorn to a bowl and top as desired, or enjoy plain.