Why, yes, you can make Instant Pot popcorn! It’s a thing, and it’s also incredibly easy to make. Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks, and is relatively healthy, to boot. Unfortunately, a lot of folks have had trouble making popcorn in their Instant Pots. So I’m going to show you exactly how I make mine in hopes you’ll get the same yummy results.
UPDATE: I just ran a side by side popcorn test of my 6 quart Instant Pot Ultra and Duo. The Ultra, as usual, made it just fine, but the Duo failed to get a single kernel to pop…in two tests. So, if you have a Duo model — and I suspect this applies to the Lux, as well — it looks like the heating element just doesn’t have enough oomph to make popcorn consistently, if at all. This is likely why so many people have had popcorn fails. Much sadness! 😢 I’ll be posting a video of the experiment soon…
- 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or any high heat oil – not butter!)
- 1/4 cup (heaping) popcorn kernels
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar (optional; if used, I recommend only 1/4 tsp salt)
While I most often use America’s Best White Popcorn Kernels, any good brand should work fine. Just make sure the kernels are fresh, though: old popcorn is often too pooped to pop!
- Set your Instant Pot to Sauté > High and wait for the display to read “Hot.” Then wait another two minutes. Why? Because we want this sucker to be as hot as it can get!
- Add in the oil and wait another two minutes or until it starts to smoke.
- If you want to test if the oil’s ready, toss in a couple kernels and wait until they pop. I don’t happen to do this, because I’ve gotten to know when it’s ready.
- Add the kernels. Either swish them around with a wooden spoon or pick up the pot and swirl it around a bit. You want that popcorn coated well with that super hot oil.
- Put the lid on, canted slightly to let the steam escape (but not the popping popcorn). I prefer to use the Instant Pot Glass Lid so I can see what’s going on in there. But you can use the regular lid, a lid from another to or pan, or even a dinner plate. Just make sure you don’t seal the lid on. Leave a gap for steam to escape.
- After a minute or two, the popcorn should start popping. If you’re adding sugar for kettle corn style, sprinkle it over the kernels now, and give them a good swirling/stir to coat. Have a bit of patience here. Since the Instant Pot doesn’t get as hot as a true popcorn popper, it’ll take a bit longer to cook.
- About a minute after the popcorn peaks, the popping should be down to a few random kernels going off. Wait until a few seconds go by between pops. That’ll be about time to turn off the Instant Pot.
- Sprinkle the salt over the popcorn, then stir well, ducking any last kernels that pop! If you like, drizzle a bit of melted butter and stir it in.
- Using your Instant Pot Mini Mitts or heat resistant gloves, remove the pot, pour your yummy popcorn into a bowl, and enjoy!