Crunchy, salty, healthy Instant Pot Popcorn. Popcorn in a pressure cooker? Not even kidding right now. You will never buy or microwave popcorn again after you try this. Get ready to amaze all your Instant Pot lovin' friends!
Before Instant Pot Popcorn I could count on one hand how many times I'd eaten it in the past year. No longer. It is a weekly (daily?) occurrence around here now and I get excited to make it every time. Kind of like Instant Pot Yogurt, it just never gets old.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE INSTANT POT POPCORN
- Crunchy, salty, and addicting in an, “Oh my gosh, where has all my self-control gone and why is this bowl empty?” kind of way
- Just as fun to make the first time as it is the 84th (trust me, I know)
- Portable . . . as in the Instant Pot is portable . . . as in you can make popcorn in a camper, at the park, in the bathroom . . . if there's a plug, you're in business
- Popcorn is whole grain, high in fiber, and GOOD for you, even the chocolate and vanilla version below! If you douse yours in caramel though, consider this last bullet to be completely inapplicable
HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT POPCORN
So EASY! So FUN! Here we go . . .
- Melt the ghee or unrefined coconut oil
- Press Saute then Adjust to More
- When Instant Pot says HOT, add salt to pot, swirl, then add 3 popcorn kernels; swirl
- Wait for kernels to pop . . .
- Dump in the rest of your kernels . . .
- Wait for the magic to happen
- Listen to that happy popping music
- Voila! Popcorn so heavenly it looks like it has a halo here
SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR DETAILED COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST POPCORN EVER
I tried and TRIED to make this recipe without oil or butter and all I got was a pile of burnt kernels. I even tried water . . . shocker – that didn't work. A fat with a high smoke point is a must here and my two winners were Ghee and UNREFINED Coconut Oil.
Season the Oil
Add salt to the melted oil or ghee and your popcorn will be flavored while it pops! Plus, you won't need to add more fat after it's popped to make the salt stick to the popcorn.
Use the Best Kernels
All the kernels I tested from the grocery store were okay, but small, and resulted in more unpopped kernels than I liked. This Wabash Valley Farms brand however popped up big with only a teaspoon or 2 of kernels left. I love the Big & Yellow Popcorn and the Extra Large Mushroom Popcorn (however there are more hulls in the mushroom one, if that bothers you).
Crack that Lid
Can't say I'm sure why this makes such a difference, but if you crack the lid a bit to let the steam out right after you add your kernels, it works better.
For this recipe, I wanted to make a healthy, sweet, kettle corn like popcorn. Oddly enough, I found my answer in a protein powder.
Bobs' Red Mill sent me their Chocolate and Vanilla Protein Powders to try and I was very pleased with the ingredient list on the back of the package. My sister Cami swears this is the best protein powder you will ever use (she's tried many), but since I specialize in Instant Pot-ery, I'm using it to make you a yummy snack.
A couple of tablespoons sprinkled on fresh hot popcorn turns it into a salty-sweet snack that is so addicting, I had to make it when my kid's friends were over so I didn't polish off 4 batches of it.
FYI: My kids and their friends went crazy over it! One even said, “Usually we just eat healthy snacks here. This one is awesome!” Yep, I'm that mom. Little did she know that her bowl of popcorn was also rocking the healthy train.
Bonus: Bob's Red Mill Protein Powder will not only give your popcorn a protein boost, but extra fiber, probiotics, and iron as well. It's also vegan, gluten, soy, and dairy free and sweetened with monk fruit. Now that's a serious bowl of popcorn.
There are many, many more ways to flavor up a batch of Instant Pot Popcorn. Here's an awesome list of 50 unique flavors of popcorn. I've got at least 10 of these on a list to try (salt and vinegar! Buffalo!).
If you needed any more reasons to get more popcorn in your life, popcorn really is considered to be one of the healthiest snacks you can consume as long as it's prepared in a nutritious way.
Thankfully, if you've got an Instant Pot and 10 minutes, you can make your own and control all the ingredients you put into it. Popcorn is a whole grain that is loaded with fiber and protein all on its own and I proudly serve it at mealtimes for this reason.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH HOMEMADE POPCORN
- Infused Water: Fizzy Raspberry Peach Lemon Infused Water and a bowl of popcorn. I need nothing else this summer.
- Veggie Lovers Tomato Basil Soup: Don't knock it til' you try it! Toss your fresh cooked popcorn with parmesan or nutritional yeast and throw it on top of your soup. It's better than crackers or croutons!
OTHER EASY INSTANT POT SNACK RECIPES:
TOOLS/INGREDIENTS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT POPCORN
- Instant Pot
- Unrefined Coconut Oil
- Big & Yellow Popcorn
- Extra Large Mushroom Popcorn
- Bob's Red Mill Chocolate Protein Powder
- Bob's Red Mill Vanilla Protein Powder (I've also found these powders in my local grocery store)
Instant Pot Popcorn plus Healthy Vanilla and Chocolate Versions!
One of the funnest things you'll ever make in your Instant Pot – POPCORN! Plus some tips on how to turn it into a healthy sweet and salty snack you can feel good about munching on.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 8 - 10 cups 1x
- Category: Snacks
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
- 2 tablespoons ghee or unrefined coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup popcorn kernels (see note)
Optional for a healthy sweet and salty healthy treat:
- Press “Saute” on the Instant Pot, then press “Adjust” until the light is on “More”. Add 2 tablespoons of ghee and cover the pot (preferably with a see-through lid).
- When Instant Pot says hot and ghee is melted, add salt and stir or swirl the pot to mix it in well with the ghee (the pot isn't very hot at this point so I simply lift the pot out and swirl it to combine).
- Add 3 popcorn kernels. When at least 2 of them have popped, add ½ cup of popcorn kernels and place lid on top.
- Lift inner pot out and swirl the kernels for 30 seconds to coat them with the salt and butter and to warm them up.
- Return pot to the base. Adjust lid so there is a small space for steam to escape. Popcorn will start popping after 3 – 4 minutes and will continue to pop for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the liner (I use a hand towel if it's too hot) and shake the pot from side to side once during this time so the kernels don’t burn. Once the popping has slowed down and there is about 5 seconds between each pop, unplug the Instant Pot and allow it to sit covered for about 2 minutes to cool.
- Lift pot from the base, swirl and toss with the lid on. Remove the lid and DEVOUR.
- If using Bob's Red Mill Chocolate or Vanilla Protein Powder, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the powder over the popcorn, put lid on pot and shake and swirl to coat the popcorn. Healthy Sweet and Salty Popcorn! Yum!
- Use a fat with a high smoke point like ghee or unrefined coconut oil
- Season the oil or ghee with salt before adding the kernels. This will flavor your popcorn as it pops, eliminating the need to add more butter after it's popped to make the salt or other seasonings stick
- This Wabash Valley Farms brand of popcorn pops up so well! I love the Big & Yellow Popcorn and the Extra Large Mushroom Popcorn
- It's important to add the Bob's Red Mill protein powder or any other seasonings right after the popcorn has finished popping. The popcorn is still warm and moist so the powder and seasonings will stick to it
- Other potential seasonings include cinnamon, parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, peanut butter powder, cajun seasoning, etc.
Keywords: instant pot, popcorn, healthy snacks