If you love homemade popcorn this Instant Pot popcorn recipe will become a favorite! It's a healthy snack made with simple ingredients and tastes better than stove top popcorn!
Instant Pot Popcorn is a recipe the whole family will love! Making your own popcorn is an affordable snack too.
Pressure cooker popcorn is not actually pressure cooked; it's cooked IN the pressure cooker. This easy method makes perfect popcorn. The kernels are big and delicious.
Pass on movie theatre popcorn and make this at home for movie night. It's easy to add your favorite seasonings to make different flavors too.
What makes this skinny?
This method does not decrease the calories in popcorn, in fact it adds a bit from the oil. But it tastes so much better and has such a pleasing texture you'll love.
I'm a die hard air popper popcorn maker however the popcorn typically pops smaller and is drier. It just doesn't taste as good.
Microwave popcorn has loads of added ingredients to make it work too. This method just has two ingredients.
Popcorn is a great skinny snack choice. It adds fiber to your diet and is low in calories. It makes you feel fuller than eating the same volume of another snack like potato chips for instance (and for far fewer calories).
Why make Instant Pot popcorn?
It's very easy. There are only a few steps to turn your Instant Pot into a popcorn popper.
No need for a dedicated popcorn popper if you have an Instant Pot already
The popcorn has a fluffier texture and tastes better. The kernels pop large and fluffy.
What you'll need
Popcorn. Make sure to use fresh popcorn. Popcorn past the expiration date (should be on the package) doesn't pop as well and you'll have lots of excess unpopped kernels. You'll need ½ cup of popcorn kernels.
Refined coconut oil. You'll need two tablespoons of coconut oil. 'Refined' is key because it has a higher smoke point. It will not make your popcorn taste like coconut (in case you wondered). Ghee (clarified butter) also works. You'll need an oil that can withstand high heat. More on that below. Also make sure the oil has not expired.
Instant Pot. We use a 6 quart Instant Pot Duo but any size will work.
Instant Pot glass lid. This is an accessory for the Instant Pot that allow you to see through to the inside and has a venting hole. We've heard from others who have used a clear glass lid from other post that fit their Instant Pot but we personally have not tested it. You will not use the Instant Pot lid for pressure cooking.
Using a high smoke point oil
The kind of oil used is a make or break for homemade Instant Pot popcorn. The smoke point of oil is the temperature at which is begins to breakdown smoke and burn. This recipe uses the Instant Pot in the SAUTE 'more' setting. This setting corresponds with 347 degrees to 410 degrees F.
That means you need an oil that will perform well to those higher temperatures. The smoke point is usually listed on the label of the oil. The temperature (or temperature range) will be noted on the oil lable and usually whether it's intended for low, medium or high smoke point cooking.
Refined coconut oil meets this range as does ghee. Refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point than unrefined coconut oil (and a milder flavor). Refined avocado oil (remember 'refined' needs to be in the label along with a smoke point) supposedly works well too (we have not personally tested it).
We did test extra virgin olive oil and regular vegetable oil which is in the smoke point range but were not happy with the results. The popped kernels weren't are big or fluffy and there were too many unpopped kernels for our standards. Lower smoke point oil will result in burnt kernels
How to make Instant Pot Popcorn - Step-by-Step
STEP 1. Heat the Instant Pot
Turn on the Instant Pot and select the SAUTE mode and 'more' temperature setting (photos 1-2). Your Instant Pot will default to the normal setting. NOTE: in our testing the popcorn did not pop when left on the 'normal' temperature setting.
To change it with new models you should be able to press the SAUTE button to change the setting between low medium and more.
With older models immediately after selecting SAUTE, select ADJUST button and change to 'more'. This has to be done within 10 seconds of selecting the SAUTE setting.
STEP 2. Add the oil and popcorn
When the reading on the Instant Pot says 'hot' (photo 2) add the oil and allow it to melt.
Next pour in the popcorn and stir to coat it with the melted oil (photos 3-4). Try to spread it into a single layer. Place the glass lid on top.
The popcorn will begin to pop within a few minutes and will take 5-6 minutes to pop fully. NOTE: you will have some unpopped kernels left in the Instant Pot.
When the popping subsides, turn off the Instant Pot and allow it to sit for 1-2 minutes with the lid on for any straggler kernels to pop (they will even with the heat off).
STEP 3. Serve!
Remove the popped corn from the Instant Pot and discard remaining kernels. You can serve the popcorn as is (it will have more natural flavor) or add seasonings as desired.
There are great popcorn seasonings available that allow flavors without loads of extra calories. Weight Watchers sells a popcorn kit and you can find seasonings at the grocery store or online too.
You can even make movie popcorn (a better tasting version than actual movie theater popcorn)!There are loads of different ways to change up the flavor.
To get salt or other seasonings to stick you'll have to add something for the seasoning to stick to the popcorn. I tend to spritz lightly with olive oil spray (or avocado spray). Something like 'I can't believe it's not butter' spray will also work.
In our testing we found these three things ALL were key to making delicious Instant Pot popcorn:
- Use fresh popcorn kernels and oil (not past their listed expiration date)
- Use refined coconut oil (our recommendation), ghee or a high smoke point oil like refined avocado oil
- SAUTE mode must be on MORE temperature setting
Perfect Instant Pot Popcorn Cheatsheet
Making popcorn in the Instant Pot is easy BUT there are specific things you need to do and ingredients you need to use to avoid an epic fail (believe us we've testing them all)! This easy downloadable cheatsheet will guide you to make delicious popcorn every time.
Frequently Asked Questions
We recommend that because it's designed to work with the Instant Pot (and you'll find more uses for it than this). I have not tried the glass lids of my cooking pan but have been told that also works.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
We did a lot of testing using different oil and popcorn. We found when not using high smoking point oil, expired popcorn or smaller kernel gourmet blend popcorn the kernels did not pop well. There will be some leftover kernels but if you use refined coconut oil and fresh popcorn kernels you shouldn't have a problem.
We have not tested that nor found information about it. Our instinct is that without oil there may be a burn warning triggered if the kernels heat and burn before they pop. It may also damage the Instant Pot liner.