Air Fryer Popcorn


5 from 541 votes
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Learn how to make popcorn in the air fryer with no added oil, fat, or sugar! Ready in under 10 minutes, it’s the perfect quick and easy snack with plenty of flavor options!

air fryer popcorn

If there is a way to air fry something, I’d do it. 

I will admit I use my air fryer at least once a day. I often use it to crisp up some protein or veggies as part of my dinner. Recently, I’ve been using it to make one of my favorite snacks- Popcorn!

Can you make popcorn in the air fryer? 

No longer is popcorn reserved for the stovetop or the microwave. You can enjoy piping hot and fresh popcorn straight from the air fryer. 

Why this air fryer popcorn recipe will be a game changer-

  • Ready in under 10 minutes. From prep to serving bowl, this popcorn takes less than 10 minutes to make!
  • Healthier than microwaving. There is no butter or oil needed, and much better than using a microwave to cook the kernels! 
  • Easy to customize. Popcorn is a blank canvas, to keep it simple with some salt and butter or, be creative with a ton of flavor ideas listed below! 
  • No mess or clean up required. Because we add a layer of tinfoil to the base of the air fryer, there is NO mess afterwards! 

When that post-dinner snack cravings hit or you want something to enjoy while you watch a movie, switch on the air fryer and cook up some popcorn! 

How to cook popcorn in the air fryer

The Ingredients

  • Popcorn kernels– Easy to find in your local supermarket. 
  • Salt– To toss through the popcorn once the popcorn has been cooked. 
  • Flavorings– Optional, but there are tons of flavor options depending on your taste! 

The Instructions

Start by lining the base of the air fryer basket with tin foil, allowing around half an inch around the sides. Next, add the popcorn kernels into it, ensuring they are in a single layer.

Now, place the air fryer basket into the air fryer and cook for 8-9 minutes. Once the timer goes off, keep the air fryer basket in place for 20-30 seconds, for any extra kernels to continue popping.

Finally, remove the air fryer basket from the air fryer and transfer the popcorn into a large mixing bowl. Toss with salt and any flavorings you enjoy, and serve immediately. 

popcorn kernels in the air fryer

Tips to make the recipe

  • Only cover the base of the basket with tin foil, NOT the entire basket. The vents/air holes help with popping the kernels. 
  • Do not overcrowd the air fryer basket with kernels, as this can actually burn the hinges of the air fryer. If you’d like to make a larger portion of popcorn, prepare it in batches. 
  • Don’t add any flavorings or oil to the kernels before popping. This can and must be done after they have been popped. 

Flavor ideas

While this popcorn tastes delicious on its own, here are some flavor ideas for some fun and variety!

  • Butter– Add 2 tablespoons of melted butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil into a bowl and whisk together. Transfer it into a food spritzer bottle and spray over the salted popcorn. 
  • White cheddar– Spritz the popcorn with cooking spray, then toss through popcorn cheese flavoring or nutritional yeast. 
  • Kettle corn– Spritz the popcorn with cooking spray and toss through 2 tablespoons of any granulated sweetener (sugar or sugar substitute) and salt. 
  • Chocolate chip– Toss through 2 tablespoons of mini chocolate chips. 
  • Spicy– Drizzle sriracha or hot sauce over the popcorn. 

Storing and freezing instructions

  • To store: Leftover popcorn can be stored at room temperature, in a sealable container or ziplock bag. It will remain fresh for up to 1 week. 
  • To freeze: Do not freeze popcorn, as it will become soft and soggy. 
air fried popcorn

More air fryer recipes to try

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add butter or oil to my kernels before adding it to the air fryer?

Yes, if you’d like your popcorn to be be extra fresh and buttery, you can do so. Simply mix the butter/oil with the kernels before adding them to the air fryer.

Can I add seasonings or spices to the kernels before adding it to the air fryer?

Do not add salt or seasonings to the un-popped kernels. Only add it once the popcorn is cooked, or else it can interfere with the air frying process.

Can I put microwave popcorn in an air fryer?

No, it is not recommended to add pre-flavored and oiled microwave popcorn packets to the air fryer. It will burn the popcorn and leave many kernels up-popped.

Air fryer popcorn calories

Per one cup of popcorn cooked as instructed, there are just 20 calories.

air fryer popcorn recipe

Air Fryer Popcorn

5 from 541 votes
Learn how to make popcorn in your air fryer without oil, butter, or sugar! Ready in under 10 minutes, it makes the perfect healthy snack!
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 8 minutes
Total: 9 minutes


  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon salt to serve * See notes


  • Preheat the air fryer at 200C/400F for 5 minutes.
  • Line the base of the air fryer basket with tin foil. Place the popcorn kernels in a single layer on top of it.
  • Place the air fryer basket in the air fryer and cook for 8 minutes. Let the popcorn sit in the air fryer for a further 30 seconds, to allow excess popping.
  • Remove the air fryer basket and place the popcorn into a mixing bowl. Toss with salt and your favorite seasonings and enjoy immediately.


* Flavor options included in the body of the post.
TO STORE: Like microwave or stovetop popcorn, air fryer popcorn can be stored at room temperature in a sealed container. The popcorn will remain fresh for up to 1 week. 


Serving: 1servingCalories: 77kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSodium: 583mgPotassium: 56mgFiber: 3gCalcium: 1mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 12g
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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5 from 541 votes (537 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    Thanks! I don’t have an oven, and my microwave just died while I was making popcorn in a brown bag. I had popcorn tonight after all!

  2. 5 stars
    Wonderful, fluffy popcorn. How do you keep the popcorn from getting stuck and burning to the heat coil in the lid? What setting do you use?
    I have a newer model Ninja Foodi cooker with the all in one lid. The popcorn was wonderful, but it popped up into the heat coil.
    Thank you