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Can you cook microwave popcorn in an air fryer? Easy Recipe

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Hello there, fellow popcorn lovers! Have you ever wondered: "Can you cook microwave popcorn in an air fryer?" I get this question a lot and, today, I want to share some interesting insights with you. If you have an air fryer and are curious about different ways to use it beyond frying, or if you're simply a popcorn enthusiast looking for a healthier and more delicious snack, this blog post is for you! Let's delve into the magical world of air-popped popcorn.

Can you cook microwave popcorn in an air fryer: text and popcorn

The Popcorn Debate: Microwave vs Air Fryer

There are several traditional methods to pop popcorn, from the stovetop method to the convenient microwave popcorn bag. Yet, the air fryer has emerged as a great alternative, mainly due to less oil usage, more uniform heating, and potentially better results. When you use an air fryer, the hot air circulation ensures that the plain popcorn kernels pop uniformly, which is not always the case with microwave popcorn.

An air fryer uses a heating element to circulate hot air, popping the kernels in much the same way an air popper does. The popcorn comes out a little oilier than air-popped popcorn, but much less oily than popcorn made using a lot of oil on the stove or in a popcorn machine. This makes air fryer popcorn a healthy snack, which can be further customized with your favorite seasonings.

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While it's possible to cook a microwave popcorn bag in an air fryer, it is not the recommended method. The bag may not have enough room to expand, leading to unpopped kernels, and could also pose a fire hazard. Instead, try popping plain kernels in the air fryer for the best results.

A Step-by-Step Air Fryer Popcorn Recipe

Ready to give it a shot? Here’s an easy air fryer popcorn recipe that you can whip up for your next movie night.


  • 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels
  • 1-2 tablespoons of oil (olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil work well)
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a small bowl, mix the popcorn kernels with the oil until they're evenly coated.
  2. Place the kernels in a single layer at the bottom of the air fryer basket.
  3. Set the air fryer to 400°F and set the cooking time for 10-15 minutes. The exact cooking time might vary depending on the model of your air fryer.
  4. After a few minutes, you should start to hear the popcorn pop. Once the popping slows down, carefully remove the basket from the air fryer.
  5. Let the popcorn cool to room temperature before adding your favorite seasonings. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts: Air Fryer Popcorn

Air fryer popcorn is a great snack because it is a whole grain, high in fiber, and low in calories, especially when made with little oil. A serving of homemade popcorn (about 3 cups popped) contains roughly:

  • Calories: 90
  • Fat: 1g
  • Sodium: 2mg
  • Carbohydrates: 19g
  • Fiber: 3.5g
  • Protein: 3g

Remember, adding toppings will alter these nutritional values.

Top 10 Recommended Air Fryers for Perfect Popcorn

  1. Ninja Max XL Air Fryer
  2. Philips Premium Airfryer XXL
  3. Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Toaster Oven Airfryer
  4. Instant Vortex Plus 7-in-1 Air Fryer
  5. Cosori Smart WiFi Air Fryer
  6. GoWISE USA 5.8-Quart Programmable 8-in-1 Air Fryer XL
  7. Breville BOV900BSS Convection and Air Fry Smart Oven
  8. Chefman TurboFry 3.6 Quart Air Fryer
  9. Ultrean 4.2 Quart Air Fryer
  10. Dash Compact Air Fryer

Popcorn Toppings: Adding Flavor to Your Popcorn

Popcorn can be as versatile as your imagination. While it's delicious on its own, a little salt and melted butter can elevate the flavor. But don't stop there! Try adding different flavors like garlic powder, black pepper, or parmesan cheese for a savory twist, or cinnamon and sugar for a sweet treat. For an extra kick, sprinkle on some chili powder or cayenne pepper.


Q: Can I cook a microwave popcorn bag in the air fryer?
A: While it's technically possible, it's not the best option. There are potential hazards, and the results may not be as good as popping plain kernels.

Q: How much oil should I use in the air fryer for popcorn?
A: A couple of tablespoons of oil will do. You need just enough to lightly coat the kernels.

Q: Can I use other types of oil besides olive oil or coconut oil for popcorn in the air fryer?
A: Absolutely! Avocado oil, canola oil, and even peanut oil can be used. Each will give your popcorn a different subtle flavor.

Q: Is there a fastest way to pop popcorn in an air fryer?
A: Unfortunately, no. Popping popcorn in an air fryer takes roughly the same amount of time as other methods.

Key Takeaways

  1. An air fryer can be a great way to pop popcorn, requiring less oil than traditional methods and resulting in a healthier snack.
  2. While you can technically cook a microwave popcorn bag in an air fryer, it's not recommended due to potential hazards and subpar results.
  3. Experimenting with different flavors and seasonings can make your air fryer popcorn even more delicious.
  4. Popping popcorn in an air fryer might take a bit of practice, but it's worth it for the fluffy, crispy results.

Air Fryer Recipes: More Than Just Popcorn

Air fryers are a fantastic kitchen gadget. While we're talking about popcorn today, don't forget that there are plenty of other air fryer recipes to try. From fries to chicken to even desserts, your air fryer can do it all. It's worth exploring these recipes, especially if you're looking for healthier, easy snack options.

Making the Most Out of Your Air Fryer: Cooking Process and Tips

It’s crucial to understand the cooking process to achieve the best popcorn and, indeed, any dish you whip up in your air fryer. The air fryer works by circulating hot air around the food at high temperatures, which is much like a convection oven. This mechanism ensures uniform cooking, less time spent, and less oil used compared to the traditional method.

Placing an aluminum foil pouch or aluminium foil at the base of the air fryer basket can make cleanup easier. However, do ensure that it doesn't cover the entire bottom of the basket or block the heating element; otherwise, it will interfere with the hot air circulation.

When popping popcorn, the aim is to fill your basket with fluffy popcorn while minimizing the number of unpopped kernels. This is best achieved by not overfilling the basket and popping in small batches instead. Try a 1/2 cup of kernels for best results.

If you're after movie theater popcorn style, using a little oil and adding a good dash of butter post-popping can get you closer to that savory flavor. Some popcorn lovers swear by melting the butter and drizzling it over, while others prefer to use a butter spray for even distribution.

Storing Your Popcorn: Say No to Stale Popcorn

If you've popped a large batch and find yourself with leftovers, you might be wondering about the best way to store popcorn. Storing your popcorn in an airtight container will help keep it fresh and prevent it from becoming stale. A brown paper bag is another great, environmentally friendly option. Simply transfer your popcorn to the bag, fold the top down, and you have yourself a quick snack ready for the next day.

Can You Pop a Bag of Popcorn in an Air Fryer?

You might be wondering if it's a good idea to pop a bag of popcorn in an air fryer. The answer is still no. Microwave popcorn bags are not designed to handle the high heat of an air fryer. Moreover, the size and model of the air fryer could restrict the bag from fully expanding, leading to poorly popped or burnt popcorn. Your best bet is to buy actual popcorn kernels from your local grocery store.

A Final Word

It's clear that using an air fryer is a great way to cook popcorn. It allows for high temperatures and quick cooking times, leaving you with delicious, fluffy popcorn. With a sprinkle of garlic salt, it makes for an amazing quick snack. However, it's essential to know your appliance – understanding the base of the air fryer basket and your specific model of the air fryer can lead to better results and less mess.

To clean up after, a paper towel or a simple rinse will usually do the trick. If you've used aluminium foil or a tin foil pouch, just remove it and your air fryer basket is as good as new.

Remember, popping popcorn in an air fryer is not just about substituting the conventional oven or microwave method, but also about exploring the versatility of cooking popcorn with different flavors and oils. Now that you've mastered popcorn, why not try out other air fryer recipes? The possibilities are endless! Enjoy your cooking journey.

In conclusion, if you're looking for a healthier, easy-to-make snack for movie nights or anytime munching, give air fryer popcorn a try. It's a great alternative to the traditional microwave popcorn bag method and it gives you the chance to experiment with different flavors. Once you've mastered popping popcorn in the air fryer, it'll be your new favorite snack. Enjoy popping!

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