If you’re in a pinch or just want a healthier popcorn, you may wonder if you can make some without oil. Popcorn is a popular snack in the U.S., but the added oil, butter, and salt give popcorn a reputation for being an unhealthy snack. Can you really make popcorn without oil?

You can make popcorn with no oil. In fact, it’s a quick and easy way to lower the calorie count on this snack. The use of oil adds unnecessary fat, something most people would rather avoid. 

Continue reading below to learn how to make popcorn without oil and how to do so with a few different methods. This article will also briefly cover other healthy popcorn tips.

What Are Ways To Pop Popcorn Without Oil? 

The common methods of popping popcorn without oil include: 

  • Microwave your own popcorn in a bag
  • Use an air fryer
  • Use a pressure cooker
  • Try an air popper
  • The stovetop in a pan with a tight-fitting lid

With so many methods to choose from, you are guaranteed to find one that will work for you.

Can You Pop Popcorn In The Microwave Without Oil?

You can pop popcorn in the microwave without oil, but you will need a microwave-safe container with an airtight lid or a brown paper lunch bag. All you do is place the popcorn kernels the container and use the popcorn setting on your microwave.

Here are more detailed instructions:

  1. Place ⅓ cup (76 g) of kernels in the microwave-safe container, or a paper bag that you fold closed
  2. Cook the kernels on high for 2:30-3:30 minutes(depending on your microwave)
  3. Remove the popcorn when you no longer hear popping to prevent burning

Can You Pop Popcorn In An Air Fryer Without Oil?

Popping popcorn in the air fryer without oil is possible. Air fryers have a heating mechanism and fan in the top section. Food is placed in a basket, similar to a fryer basket, and it cooks by blowing hot air down and all around the food. This circulation crisps the food. 

Air fryers have been growing in popularity in recent years. As of July 2020, almost 40% of homes in the U.S owned an air fryer, and for a good reason. 

The air fryer can be best summed up like a convection oven on your countertop.

If you’re a part of the population that doesn’t own an air fryer, the Ninja Foodi is a good choice, because not only does it have an air fryer function, but it also can cook any food you want in it. A multi-purpose device is always a good thing in your kitchen.

Cooking popcorn in the air fryer is a relatively straightforward process, although it may produce a slightly different flavor. This method also takes the longest, which is something to keep in mind when popping popcorn in the air fryer. 

Here are the steps to do it:

  1. Preheat your air fryer for 5 minutes
  2. Line the air fryer basket with aluminum foil. Fold the foil up to make a bowl-like shape
  3. Add the popcorn kernels, close, and cook
  4. Slowly remove the basket once the popping slows

Can You Pop Popcorn In A Pressure Cooker Without Oil?

Not only can you pop popcorn in a pressure cooker but pressure cooker popcorn tastes the most similar to movie theatre popcorn. Many online recipes list oil, but it’s not necessary. In just a few simple steps, you can have a large batch of popcorn. 

The pressure cooker has certainly dipped in popularity since the 1950s stovetop versions, but there is a small surge of pressure cooker sales and usage since Instant Pot debuted its electric programmable version. Despite its subtle removal from the average kitchen, this handy appliance is exceptionally versatile. 

The Instant Pot Duo Plus (available on Amazon.com) is a best seller and rightfully so, as it has several functions, including: 

  • Pressure cook
  • Slow cook
  • Rice cooker
  • Steamer
  • Sauté
  • Yogurt maker

It does it all very well, including making popcorn. 

Popping popcorn in the air fryer with oil is done with the sauté function. But to make the healthier version, you’ll want to follow these steps.

  1. Turn the pressure cooker on and set it to high pressure
  2. Heat the pressure cooker
  3. Add a single layer of popcorn kernels to the pressure cooker pot
  4. Cook for approximately four minutes

How Do You Pop Popcorn In An Air Popper?

You can pop popcorn in the air popper (it doesn’t take oil) and it is one of the easiest ways. 

It just requires one small appliance: the air popper. Fortunately, air poppers are relatively low-cost and don’t take up a great amount of space. Air poppers use hot air rather than oil for popping the popcorn. 

An added benefit is that it leaves little to no unpopped kernels.

I recommend the Presto Poplite (available on Amazon.com), as you’ll have popcorn in just 2 to 3 minutes.

Here’s how to pop popcorn in an air popper:

  1. Measure the kernels (The Presto Poplite comes with its own measuring cup!)
  2. Add kernels to the chamber and secure the lid
  3. If you choose, you can add butter to the butter melter
  4. Turn on the machine
  5. Place a bowl below the chute to catch the popcorn

How Can You Pop Popcorn On The Stovetop Without Oil?

You can also pop popcorn on the stovetop without oil. 

If you’re not into appliances and gadgets taking up space on your countertops and inside your cabinets, look no further than your stovetop. Popping popcorn on the stove is very much possible without oil. Simply swap the oil for water. 

Here’s how to pop popcorn on the stovetop without oil:

  1. Apply a single layer of kernels to the bottom of a pan
  2. Completely cover the kernels with water
  3. Place a well-fitting lid on the pan
  4. Turn the burner on medium-high heat
  5. Shake vigorously throughout to prevent sticking and burning

Popping popcorn without oil is certainly possible. Skipping the oil will make this popular treat a much healthier option for you. Fortunately, there are a variety of methods to make popcorn without oil. 

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