[FULL GUIDE] How To Make Popcorn In Instant Pot

Popcorn has been a favorite snack for centuries, loved and enjoyed by people of all ages. The mere mention of the word evokes feelings of fun movie nights, exciting games, and family gatherings. Making popcorn at home using an Instant Pot is not only simple and convenient, but it also allows you to customize the flavors and ensure a healthy option without the additives found in many store-bought popcorn varieties. This comprehensive guide will take you through the entire process, from selecting the right ingredients and equipment to the step-by-step instructions for perfect Instant Pot popcorn.

Quick Answer: How Long To Make Popcorn In Instant Pot

Cooking popcorn in an Instant Pot is a quick and easy process. The actual cooking time for popcorn in an Instant Pot is approximately 5 minutes, making it a convenient and efficient way to enjoy this classic snack.


Popcorn Kernels

When making popcorn in an Instant Pot, it’s essential to select the right type of popcorn kernels. Look for high-quality kernels specifically labeled for popping. While any variety will work, there are specific types – such as butterfly or mushroom popcorn – that are best suited for popping. Butterfly popcorn tends to produce larger, fluffier pieces, while mushroom popcorn is ideal for caramel or chocolate-coated popcorn due to its round, compact shape.


In addition to popcorn kernels, you will also need an oil with a high smoke point, such as coconut oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil. These oils can withstand the high heat required for popping the kernels without burning or imparting undesirable flavors.


Finally, consider the seasonings and toppings you plan to use to flavor your popcorn. While traditional options like salt and butter are always popular, other flavors such as cheese, caramel, or even spice blends can add a unique twist to your homemade popcorn. Be sure to have these on hand when preparing to make popcorn in your Instant Pot.


Before you start making popcorn in your Instant Pot, it’s essential to prepare the kernels and the Instant Pot itself.

Instant Pot Preparation

Begin by ensuring that the Instant Pot is clean and completely dry. Any residual water or moisture may cause the oil to splatter when it comes into contact with the hot surface, leading to a messy and potentially dangerous situation. Additionally, check that the sealing ring and all other components are in place and functioning properly to ensure a tight seal during the cooking process.

Preparing The Popcorn Kernels

Measure out the desired quantity of popcorn kernels based on the size of the Instant Pot and the amount of popcorn you wish to make. As a general guideline, 1/4 to 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels is suitable for a standard-sized Instant Pot. This quantity will yield a generous serving of popcorn.

Instant Pot Cooking Times For Popcorn

Understanding the cooking times for popcorn in an Instant Pot is crucial to achieving perfectly popped kernels without burning or undercooking. The following cooking times are recommended for various Instant Pot models:

  • Standard Cooking Time: 3 to 5 minutes
  • Natural Pressure Release: 2 to 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 minutes (including pressurization and depressurization)

How To Make Popcorn In Instant Pot

Now that you have your ingredients and your Instant Pot is prepared, follow these step-by-step instructions to make delicious popcorn in your Instant Pot.

Step 1: Preheat The Instant Pot

Begin by preheating the Instant Pot in its "Saute" mode. This will warm up the pot and ensure that the oil reaches the ideal temperature quickly once it’s added. To preheat, set the Instant Pot to "Saute" and wait for a couple of minutes until it’s adequately hot.

Step 2: Add The Oil

Once the Instant Pot is preheated, add the chosen oil to the pot. The amount of oil needed will depend on the size of the Instant Pot and the quantity of popcorn being made. As a general rule, add enough oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pot, typically around 1 to 2 tablespoons for a standard-sized Instant Pot.

Step 3: Add The Popcorn Kernels

Once the oil is heated, carefully add the measured popcorn kernels to the Instant Pot. Use a spatula or a spoon to swirl the kernels around, ensuring they are evenly coated with the oil. This step helps in even heating and popping of the kernels.

Step 4: Seal The Instant Pot

After adding the kernels, it’s crucial to secure the lid on the Instant Pot, ensuring that the pressure release valve is set to the "Sealing" position. This will allow pressure to build up within the pot, which is necessary for popping the kernels.

Step 5: Start Cooking

Once the Instant Pot is sealed, switch the setting from "Saute" to "Manual" or "Pressure Cook", depending on the model. Set the cooking time to 3 to 5 minutes. The actual time may vary slightly depending on the specific Instant Pot model, but in general, 3 minutes is sufficient for smaller quantities of popcorn, while 5 minutes may be needed for larger batches.

Step 6: Allow Natural Pressure Release

After the cooking time is complete, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release pressure for 2 to 3 minutes. This can be done by leaving the Instant Pot undisturbed after the cooking cycle is finished. Natural pressure release helps ensure that any remaining kernels pop fully and evenly without burning.

Step 7: Open The Instant Pot

Once the natural pressure release is completed, carefully open the Instant Pot. Be cautious, as residual steam may escape. Use oven mitts or a kitchen towel to protect your hands from the hot steam.

Step 8: Transfer And Season

Transfer the popped popcorn to a large bowl and season it according to your preferences. Add melted butter, salt, cheese, or any other desired toppings, and toss the popcorn to ensure even coating. Enjoy your freshly made Instant Pot popcorn!

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Troubleshooting Common Issues

While making popcorn in an Instant Pot is relatively straightforward, some issues may arise. Here’s how to address common problems:

Unpopped Kernels

If you notice a significant number of unpopped kernels in your batch of popcorn, next time, consider increasing the cooking time slightly or agitating the pot more frequently to ensure even heating. Additionally, make sure your popcorn kernels are fresh and of high quality, as older kernels may not pop as effectively.

Burnt Popcorn

Burnt popcorn can result from excessive heat or extended cooking times. To prevent this, use an appropriate amount of oil to coat the bottom of the pot and reduce the cooking time if you notice burning. Alternatively, you can try lowering the Saute temperature if the pot gets too hot.

Unevenly Cooked Popcorn

To ensure that all kernels pop evenly, gently shake the Instant Pot during the cooking process to keep the kernels in motion and distribute the heat evenly. This will help achieve a more consistent result.

Making popcorn in an Instant Pot is a convenient and efficient way to enjoy this classic snack. With the right selection of popcorn kernels, oil, and seasonings, as well as proper preparation and cooking techniques, you can consistently produce delicious, freshly popped popcorn from your Instant Pot. By following this comprehensive guide, you are well on your way to becoming a popcorn connoisseur, ready to enjoy movie nights, family gatherings, and snack time with your perfectly popped creation.

Achieving Perfect Texture

Popcorn is a beloved snack that can be enjoyed in various settings, whether it’s a movie night at home or a gathering with friends. While there are different methods to make popcorn, using an Instant Pot can take your popcorn game to the next level. The Instant Pot is a multi-cooker that can pressure cook, slow cook, sauté, and much more. With a few simple steps, you can achieve perfectly popped popcorn with added flavors and aromas that will elevate your snacking experience.

One of the key factors in making popcorn is achieving the perfect texture – light, fluffy, and crispy. The Instant Pot can help achieve this by using the built-in pressure cooking function. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making popcorn with the perfect texture in the Instant Pot:

  1. Start by selecting the "Sauté" function on your Instant Pot and heat up some oil. You can use coconut oil, vegetable oil, or any other oil with a high smoke point. Make sure to use enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot evenly.

  2. Once the oil is heated, add the popcorn kernels to the pot. The amount of kernels will depend on how much popcorn you want to make. A general rule of thumb is to use ¼ cup of popcorn kernels for every 1-2 servings.

  3. Stir the kernels in the oil to ensure they are evenly coated. This will help prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.

  4. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and ensure it is in the "Sealing" position. Cancel the "Sauté" function and select the "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" function, depending on your Instant Pot model.

  5. Set the cooking time to 2-3 minutes on high pressure. The exact time may vary based on your Instant Pot model, so refer to the user manual for specific instructions.

  6. Once the cooking time is set, the Instant Pot will take a couple of minutes to come to pressure. During this time, you may hear occasional pops as the kernels start to heat up.

  7. Once the cooking time is complete, carefully release the pressure manually by turning the steam release handle from "Sealing" to "Venting." Be cautious of the hot steam.

  8. Once the pressure has been released completely, open the Instant Pot and give the popcorn a quick stir to ensure all the kernels have popped and are evenly coated with oil and seasoning.

By using the Instant Pot’s pressure cooking function, you can achieve evenly popped kernels with a perfect texture. It allows for quick and efficient cooking, resulting in light and fluffy popcorn without any burnt or undercooked pieces.

Flavor Infusion

One of the best things about making popcorn in the Instant Pot is the ability to infuse it with delicious flavors. Here are a few seasoning ideas to elevate the taste of your popcorn:

  1. Classic Butter and Salt: Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a separate bowl and drizzle it over the freshly popped popcorn. Sprinkle some salt to taste and toss the popcorn to ensure even distribution.

  2. Cheese Popcorn: For a cheesy twist, combine grated Parmesan or cheddar cheese with some melted butter. Toss the popcorn in the cheese mixture until it is evenly coated.

  3. Spicy Popcorn: Add some heat to your popcorn by mixing cayenne pepper, paprika, and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the popcorn and toss to ensure even coating.

  4. Caramel Popcorn: Create a delectable sweet treat by making caramel popcorn. In a separate saucepan, melt butter and mix it with brown sugar, corn syrup, and a pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, and pour it over the freshly popped popcorn. Toss to coat the popcorn evenly and let it cool before enjoying.

These are just a few examples, but the possibilities are endless when it comes to flavoring your popcorn in the Instant Pot. Get creative and experiment with different herbs, spices, and seasonings to satisfy your taste buds.


The Instant Pot not only allows you to achieve the perfect texture and flavor but also infuses your popcorn with delightful aromas. The pressure cooking method traps the aroma inside the pot, resulting in tantalizing scents that can fill your kitchen. Here are a few suggestions to add aromatic twists to your popcorn:

  1. Garlic and Herb: Sauté minced garlic and herbs like rosemary, thyme, or basil in the Instant Pot before adding the popcorn kernels. The heat will release the natural oils from the garlic and herbs, infusing the popcorn with a savory aroma.

  2. Truffle Oil: Truffle oil is known for its earthy and luxurious aroma. Drizzle a small amount of truffle oil over the popcorn after it is popped to add a rich and enticing scent.

  3. Smoky Paprika: Add a pinch of smoked paprika to the oil before adding the popcorn kernels. As the paprika heats up, it will release its smoky aroma and impart a subtle depth of flavor to the popcorn.

  4. Cinnamon Sugar: Mix a tablespoon of ground cinnamon with two tablespoons of granulated sugar. After the popcorn is popped, sprinkle this mixture over the top and toss gently to coat the popcorn. The warm and inviting aroma of cinnamon will permeate the air.

These aroma-infused popcorn variations will not only make your taste buds dance but also make your kitchen smell heavenly.

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Other Instant Pot Cooking Methods For Popcorn

While the pressure cooking method is the most popular for making popcorn in the Instant Pot, there are a few other cooking methods you can try:

  1. The "Sauté" Method: Instead of using the pressure cooking function, you can make popcorn using the "Sauté" function on your Instant Pot. Heat the oil in the pot, add the popcorn kernels, and cover with a glass lid. Shake the pot occasionally to prevent burning, and remove from heat once the popping slows down. This method allows you to have more control over the cooking process and is great for those who prefer softer popcorn.

  2. Foil Pouch Method: This method is ideal for those who want to add seasonings and flavors to their popcorn while preventing direct contact with the pot’s surface. Take a square piece of aluminum foil and place the popcorn kernels and desired seasonings in the center. Fold the foil to create a sealed pouch, leaving a small opening for steam to escape. Place the pouch on a trivet inside the Instant Pot, close the lid, and set the pressure cooking function. This method ensures a well-seasoned popcorn with minimal cleanup.

  3. Steamer Basket Method: If you prefer to keep your popcorn away from direct heat, you can use a steamer basket inside the Instant Pot. Place a heatproof bowl or plate at the bottom of the pot, add the popcorn kernels and any desired seasonings to the steamer basket, and place it inside the Instant Pot. Close the lid and set the pressure cooking function. The steam from the pot will cook the popcorn, resulting in a fluffy and delicious snack.

These alternative cooking methods provide versatility and flexibility when making popcorn in the Instant Pot. Experiment with each method to find your preferred technique.

Tips For Making Popcorn In Instant Pot

To ensure a successful popcorn-making experience using your Instant Pot, consider the following tips:

  1. Use the right oil: Opt for oils with a high smoke point, such as coconut oil or vegetable oil. These oils can withstand higher heat without burning and impart a neutral flavor.

  2. Avoid overcrowding: Be mindful not to overcrowd the pot with too many popcorn kernels. This can prevent even heat distribution and result in unevenly popped popcorn.

  3. Shake the pot: If using the sauté or foil pouch method, give the pot a gentle shake occasionally to prevent any kernels from sticking or burning.

  4. Seasoning after popping: While adding seasoning before popping can sometimes result in burnt or unevenly flavored popcorn, it’s advisable to add seasonings and flavors after the popcorn is popped. This allows for better control over the distribution and intensity of the flavors.

  5. Cleaning the Instant Pot: After making popcorn in your Instant Pot, it’s important to clean it thoroughly to remove any lingering oil or seasoning residue. The inner pot, lid, and sealing ring can be washed with warm, soapy water. Make sure to clean any crevices and the steam release handle as well.

By following these tips, you can ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable popcorn-making experience with your Instant Pot.

Creative Instant Pot Popcorn Recipes And Variations

Ready to take your popcorn game to the next level? Here are a few creative recipes and variations to try with your Instant Pot:

  1. Chocolate-Dipped Popcorn: Melt some chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and drizzle it over the freshly popped popcorn. Sprinkle some crushed pretzels or nuts for added crunch and let the chocolate set before serving.

  2. Popcorn Trail Mix: Mix popcorn, dried fruits, nuts, and chocolate chips in a bowl to create a nutritious and flavorful trail mix. You can customize it based on your preferences and dietary needs.

  3. Buffalo Ranch Popcorn: Toss the freshly popped popcorn with buffalo sauce and a sprinkle of ranch seasoning for a tangy and savory twist. Add some crumbled blue cheese for an extra punch of flavor.

  4. Matcha Popcorn: Combine matcha powder with powdered sugar and sprinkle it over the popcorn. Toss gently to ensure even coating. This unique variation is perfect for tea lovers.

  5. Taco Popcorn: Mix taco seasoning with melted butter and drizzle it over the popcorn. Toss until the popcorn is evenly coated with the zesty taco flavor.

These creative popcorn recipes and variations will impress your guests and make snacking an enjoyable experience.


Using an Instant Pot to make popcorn allows you to achieve the perfect texture, infuse flavors, and enjoy enticing aromas. Whether you opt for the pressure cooking method or explore other techniques like sautéing, using a foil pouch, or a steamer basket, the Instant Pot provides versatility and convenience for popcorn enthusiasts. With the right oil, seasoning choices, and proper cleaning, your popcorn creations can reach new heights. So next time you crave a bowl of popcorn, reach for your Instant Pot and elevate your snacking experience with mouthwatering flavors and textures.


Can I Use Regular Popcorn Kernels In An Instant Pot?

Yes, you can use regular popcorn kernels in an instant pot. However, there are a few extra steps you will need to take to get the best results.

What Is The Recommended Amount Of Kernels To Use When Making Popcorn In An Instant Pot?

It is recommended to use 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels for a 6 quart instant pot, and 1/3 cup for an 8 quart instant pot. This will ensure that the kernels have enough space to pop evenly and prevent burning.

Do I Need To Add Oil When Making Popcorn In An Instant Pot?

No, unlike traditional stovetop popcorn, you do not need to add oil when making popcorn in an instant pot. The steam created by the pot will be enough to pop the kernels.

Will The Popcorn Be As Crispy As Stovetop Popcorn When Made In An Instant Pot?

The texture of the popcorn in an instant pot may be slightly different from stovetop popcorn, but it will still be crispy and delicious. It may also depend on the amount of time you let the popcorn sit in the pot after it is done cooking.

Can I Add Seasonings Or Toppings To My Popcorn In The Instant Pot?

Yes, you can add seasonings or toppings to your popcorn in the instant pot. Simply add them after the popcorn is done cooking and mix well. It is recommended to add any toppings or seasonings in small batches to ensure they are evenly distributed.