Making popcorn in an air fryer is easy, fun, and gives extraordinary results. Microwaving is also another common and fastest way to make popcorn. But, can you put microwave popcorn in an air fryer?
The answer is yes. Unfortunately, you may not get the best results unless you use a suitable microwave popcorn bag. If you do so, there’s a higher chance of burning or overcooking your popcorn.
This article is going to help you make microwave popcorn in an air fryer. So, keep reading to discover more!
How To Make Popcorn In An Air Fryer
An air fryer is a machine that heats food by rapidly circulating hot air.
It retains the food’s taste and lowers the chances of burning or overcooking them.
For this reason, many people opt to use air fryers to make popcorn.
While it may not be the fastest way to get the job done, it’s an excellent option.
Key Ingredients for Air Fryer Popcorn
Here are the essential ingredients you need to make popcorn in an air fryer:
- Oil (olive oil or coconut oil)
- Popcorn kernels
- Salt (optional)
How to Make Popcorn in an Air Fryer
Follow these easy steps to make tasty and remarkable popcorn in your air fryer.
Start by preheating your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about three minutes.
Meanwhile, put the popcorn kernels in a suitable bowl. Then spray the popcorn kernels with olive or coconut cooking spray oil.
Shake the bowl well to coat all the popcorn kernels with oil. You can as well add seasoning in this step.
Add a little salt for seasoning. You can add other flavors or sugar only after cooking.
Now put the popcorn kernels in your air fryer. Cover the air fryer with a lid to prevent the popcorn kernels from popping out and sticking onto the heating unit.
Drop the temperature of the air fryer to about 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Then set your air fryer timer to about 8 minutes to allow the kernels to pop fully.
Shake the basket with the kernels halfway through for even cooking. In this stage, don’t detach the lid.
If you notice the kernels continue to pop at the end of cooking time, leave the air fryer’s basket until the popping reduces.
What if you don’t have a large air fryer and you want to make plenty of popcorn?
Well, replace the cooking basket with a new one and repeat the steps above till you have the amount of popped popcorn you desire.
At the end of popping, remove the popcorn out of the air fryer’s basket. You can sprinkle some sugar, butter, or other seasonings to add taste.
Store your freshly made air-fried popcorn in an airtight container to keep it fresh and crunchy.
Can You Cook Microwave Popcorn Any Other Way?
It is not always a good idea to cook microwave popcorn in an air fryer. But the question now is, can you cook microwave popcorn using any other way?
The answer is yes! Nothing is so special with microwave popcorn that makes it different from regular popcorn.
It simply comprises popcorn, oil, and various seasonings like salt, butter flavor, and more.
So, you can grab your microwave popcorn and pop the popcorn in a pot on top of a stove. You may also use a popcorn machine or a toaster oven, or just the regular oven.
What’s the difference between Air Popped Popcorn and Microwave Popcorn?
The method of heating the popcorn kernels is the main differentiator between air-popped popcorn and microwave popcorn.
An air popper often relies on hot air to cook the popcorn kernels. On the other hand, the microwave sends radio wave elements through the popcorn kernels. These kernels are inside a bag to help strap heat which makes the popcorn pop.
An air-popped popcorn doesn’t need any extra oil or seasonings.
As for microwave popcorn, you’ll find it with additional ingredients like oil, salt, butter, and other chemical flavors to enhance the taste.
It is more time-consuming to make air fryer popcorn than microwaving. But, it’s less messy than cooking in the microwave if you use aluminum foil to restrict the kernels from flying out while popping.
Air fryer popcorn is also cheaper and easier to make than the microwave version.
In addition, microwave popcorn bags also have perfluorinated compounds that prevent the oil from draining through the container.
These chemicals regrettably may find their way into your popped popcorn resulting in many concerns on whether the microwave popcorn is safe for your health.
Can You Put A Bag Of Popcorn in An Air Fryer?
The answer is yes, but you should look for an all-natural microwave popcorn bag without PFC compounds.
Upon heating, these chemicals might melt and find their way into your popcorn. And this could affect your health in the long run.
How to Make Microwave Popcorn in an Air Fryer
You won’t like it getting unsatisfactory results by air frying microwave popcorn. So, these steps should help you make nice and tasty microwave popcorn in an air fryer:
Put the air fryer at 350°F (177°C) for about 10 minutes.
Add a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil to the air fryer.
Put the microwave popcorn bag into the air fryer and allow the kernels inside to pop.
And that’s it.
Wrap a paper towel around your hand and open up the bag of microwave popcorn.
You can serve your air-fried popcorn plain. Or, add seasonings like melted butter, salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
Pros of Making Popcorn in an Air Fryer
There are many benefits of using an air fryer to make popcorn. Some of the main pros include:
Popcorn made in the air fryer is cheaper than microwave popcorn (in terms of money and calories). That’s because they don’t contain lots of seasonings.
- Less Oil
The air fryer uses less oil than a conventional oven. In most cases, two tablespoons of oil are sufficient to make tasty and crunchy popcorn.
So, no worries about consuming plenty of unhealthy unsaturated oils.
- Easier Cleanup
All you have to do is; wipe the inner surface of your air fryer with a damp cloth. There’s no lengthy cleanup process needed like the one in your conventional oven.
- Reduced Calorie intake
Many people like using an air fryer to make popcorn as their calorie intake will gradually reduce. The air fryer uses less oil. So the calorie intake is less. Unlike microwave popcorn, you control how much oil you add to the process.
This way, you can make sure that your calorie intake stays within a reasonable range every day. The lower calories will lead to a healthier lifestyle and subsequently better healthy living.
Cons of Making Popcorn in an Air Fryer
There are also some disadvantages of making popcorn with an air fryer. Here are some things that you might not like about it.
- Doesn’t Make Gourmet Popcorn
As mentioned earlier, the taste of air-fried popcorn is not as good as those prepared on a stovetop or the microwave. The taste is very bland. And the smell of the oil it comes with would turn you off.
- Quite Expensive
Most air fryers have higher price tags than other methods like using an oven or a stove. However, its advantages and many features make it a worthwhile investment.
- Takes Longer Time to Make Popcorn
Because air fryers use hot air for cooking, the time needed to make popcorn can be longer, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Limited Capacity
Air fryers have limited capacities, meaning that you can’t use them to make popcorn for a big family. This is unlike the traditional methods of cooking where you can use a large pot.
Not all air fryers can cook for more than three people at a time. The most common capacity is 2-4 servings.
Is Air Popped Popcorn Healthy?
Yes. Air-popped popcorn is healthy. It has few seasonings, making it a healthy snack.
Besides, it is high-fiber whole grains that help reduce the risk of diabetes. It may also limit certain cancers, heart diseases, and other health issues.
Unlike microwave popcorn, air-popped popcorn doesn’t have concerns about harmful PFC chemicals seeping into your popcorn. Therefore, it’s safe for your health.
Can You Make Microwave Popcorn Without Microwave?
Yes! You can use a stovetop, a popcorn machine, or an oven (toaster oven).
Just take the contents inside the microwave popcorn bag and use any of the above methods to cook your microwave popcorn.
You can also use an air fryer. Though, you’ll need to use a suitable and safe microwave popcorn bag or aluminum foil inside the air popper.
That’s because the microwave popcorn comes with oil and other seasonings, which may be dangerous to place straight into your air fryer.
So, can you make microwave popcorn in an air fryer? The answer remains the same; YES! But, pop the kernels inside the air fryer but in a suitable microwave popcorn bag.
You can also create an aluminum foil pouch to help keep your popcorn kernels inside the air fryer.
Make sure you pop them under regular temperature to prevent overcooking. The popcorn may cook for a longer time, but you’ll get remarkable and clean results.