This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Put your Instant Pot to use in a completely different way with this Instant Pot Popcorn. A fun way to make the best movie night snack ever!
Buttered, unbuttered, lightly seasoned or coated in cheese or caramel, I am completely and utterly in love with popcorn. Just hearing it pop, pop, POP away as it cooks can totally change my mood. It is my opinion that there’s nothing better than a big bowl full of the best crunchy snack on Earth for a fun movie night at home.
But, if I said I save popcorn for a special movie night, I’d be lying. As the folks who live in this house can attest, I cook up a batch at least a couple of times per week and any excuse will do.
When I discovered you can make popcorn in an Instant Pot, I had to try it. And, friends, it is fun!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with popping corn in your microwave or on the stove but using your Instant Pot is just a fun thing to try. And, you never know when it might come in handy. I want as many methods for creating my favorite snack at my disposal as possible!
- Popcorn kernels – Ever wondered what the difference is between yellow and white popcorn kernels? Yellow kernels typically pop up larger than white and is the variety that most movie theaters use for their popcorn. Both are great but if you prefer larger, sturdier popped corn, go with yellow.
- Oil – Neutral oils with a high smoke point like canola and vegetable oil work well. But my favorite choice is coconut oil. I had never made popcorn with coconut oil until I tested this recipe and I just love the subtle hint of coconut flavor it adds to the popped corn. It is one of the healthier fats with a moderately high smoke point.
- Salt – Add a little to the kernels before they pop and then season to taste later.
- Butter – You can add a little or a lot for that movie theater popcorn flavor.
How to Make Instant Pot Popcorn
- Press Sauté on your Instant Pot. When it reads HOT, add the coconut oil. Once it melts, add 3 popcorn kernels and cover with the lid.
- When the kernels pop (should take 2 to 5 minutes), add the remaining popcorn kernels.
- Add a ½ teaspoon salt and stir to coat the kernels with oil and salt.
- Cover with the lid and let it go until the popping slows to about 4 to 5 seconds between pops. Press Cancel and unplug the Instant Pot. There will be some steam and condensation on the bottom of the lid so remove it carefully, off to the side.
- Drizzle the melted butter over the popcorn, if using, and toss well.
- Taste and season with additional salt, to taste.
The Instant Pot Glass Lid
I have the Instant Pot tempered glass lid that can be used when cooking with the Sauté or Slow Cook function or just to keep food warm after cooking. If you have a tempered glass lid for another skillet or pot that happens to fit your Instant Pot, you can use that as well. One word of caution – steam builds up under the lid so wear oven mitts and use caution when lifting it at the end of the cooking time.
FAQ’s and Valerie’s Tips
According to my package of Bob’s Red Mill Yellow Popcorn, ¼ cup kernels will yield approximately 4 cups of popcorn. Do the math (and pop the corn) and you should end up with approximately 8 cups of popcorn from ½ cup of popcorn kernels.
Well, friends, this can vary a great deal depending on your appetite and your self control! For the purposes of the nutrition calculation on this recipe, I’ve decided that one serving is equal to 2 cups of popped corn. Congratulations if you can stop after eating only 2 cups. I find it impossible.
While I think popcorn is always at its best immediately after popping while still slightly warm and freshly seasoned with butter and salt (yum!), I find it is still delicious hours later if stored properly. Store popcorn in a sealable plastic storage bag, pressing out as much of the air as possible. If you’ve added butter, it should be consumed within 2 days.
Since it is so fun to eat, it’s easy to forget that popcorn is actually a whole grain food. It has a pretty decent nutrient profile and is also very high in fiber. This makes it a far more wholesome choice than most of the other things we might grab from the pantry while watching TV.
- To keep it at its nutritional best, try popping Instant Pot Popcorn with a healthier fat like coconut oil.
- If that butter flavor is important to you, start with 1 to 2 tablespoons and you just might find it’s enough.
- I have reduced the amount of salt we put on our popcorn significantly over time and we don’t miss it.
- Many healthy eaters enjoy sprinkling popcorn with nutritional yeast which has a nutty-cheesy flavor and adds additional nutrients and vitamins.
More Fun Movie Night Snacks
- Garlic Dill Snack Mix
- Cookies and Cream Popcorn
- Air Fryer Tortilla Chips
- Caramel Corn
- Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce
- No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Instant Pot Popcorn
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil corn, canola oil and vegetable oil work well too
- ½ cup popcorn kernels
- 1 teaspoon salt divided (or to taste)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter or to taste, optional
- Press SAUTÉ on your Instant Pot. When it reads HOT, add the coconut oil. Once it melts, add 3 popcorn kernels and cover with the lid. When the kernels pop (should take 2 to 5 minutes), add the remaining popcorn kernels and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir to coat the kernels with oil and salt. Cover with the lid and let it go until the popping slows to about 4 to 5 seconds between pops. Press CANCEL and unplug the Instant Pot. There will be some steam and condensation on the bottom of the lid so remove it carefully, off to the side.
- Drizzle the melted butter over the popcorn, if using, and toss well. Taste and season with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste.