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How to Pop Popcorn without Oil

How to Pop Popcorn without Oil

Last Updated on 17th July 2023 by

Healthier Alternative: Popping Popcorn without Oi

A lot of homemade recipes for popcorn call for oil and cooking on the stovetop. This works fine and makes beautiful, tasty popcorn, but what if you want your popcorn to be healthier? You can make this snack in a way that doesn’t use a lot of oil, or any oil, for that matter.

I want to share with you my method for how to pop popcorn without oil. You can make healthy, fluffy popcorn and keep the oil completely out of it.

Why Choose Oil-Free Popcorn

There is no better party time snack than popcorn, and that’s partly because it is so easy and quick to make. You can go from having corn kernels to fresh popcorn in minutes, without a lot of hard work. It’s a treat that most everyone loves, and you can dress up and flavor the popcorn in a lot of different ways.

Topping Choices for a Healthy Snack

One of my favorite ways to make popcorn at home is to top it with caramel syrup, but I am also a sucker for chocolate sauce covered popcorn, cinnamon popcorn and popcorn topped with real butter. How do you like yours topped? Some people keep it simple and just use a little salt and black pepper, and there is an endless number of ways that you can season and flavor your popcorn.

Once you know how to pop popcorn in microwave without oil, you can make it up however you like, seasoning it to make a unique snack and a special flavor or following a recipe that is tried and tested.

If you know a good method for how to pop popcorn on the stove without oil, then you can make popcorn that is big and fluffy and light. Once you learn the method and know how to make sure it doesn’t overcook or undercook, you will not be wasting any kernels and you will get popcorn that is airy rather than burnt.

How to Pop Raw Popcorn without Oil

Preparing Your Nonstick Pan

The secret tot making great popcorn on the stovetop without using any oil is… are you ready for this?… to use a nonstick pan! That’s the big secret, and you can cook your kernels up with no oil at all this way.

Make sure you get a high quality nonstick pan that still retains its nonstick qualities. Some of the lower quality ones will not be nonstick after a while. You use them for a few months or a year or so and they become like a regular pan and you have to use oil in them no matter what you are cooking.

So, you definitely want to watch for that. Make sure that the pan you use is nonstick so that there is no need for any oil to be used. A nonstick pot or a pan can be used.

Popcorn Cooking Procedure

You can store leftover popcorn in an airtight container for up to a week.

Just preheat a pot or pan that is nonstick, heating on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Keep a lid on it while it heats and make sure the lid is a tight fit.

Then, you can add in a few drops of water to test the heat level. If they start sizzling right away, then your pan is hot enough for the kernels to be added.

Add in the popcorn kernels and close the lid back tightly. Reduce the heat to low immediately.

To keep the kernels from not cooking evenly and well, you need to shake the pot every few seconds. Shake it gently and listen for kernel popping. They should start popping after about a minute or two and then keep popping until they are done cooking.

How do you know when the kernels are done cooking? Listen for the popping sound, and if there is more than three seconds between pops, then the corn is done cooking. Don’t let it cook or any longer than that, as you can burn your cooked popcorn.

Take the popcorn out of the pan and turn off the heat and then season and serve immediately.

Alternative Methods for Popping Popcorn without Oil

Using a Microwave to Pop Popcorn without Oil

You can do this in the microwave as well. I want to share with you a method for how to air pop popcorn at home without oil in microwave. You can simply put your kernels into a microwave safe bowl or container with a cover. Make sure the cover snaps on tightly.

Pour your kernels into the container to a point where there is still some room between the kernels for them to cook and expand. Cook the kernels for 3-5 minutes on high, listening for the sound of the popping. You obviously won’t be able to shake the container as it cooks in the microwave, so this method is a bit different from cooking the kernels on the stovetop to make popcorn.

Listen for the popping sounds, and when you hear more than two seconds between each pop, it is time to take the popcorn out of the microwave.

How to Pop Instant Pot Popcorn without Oil

You can use the Instant Pot to make popcorn as well, and here is how you do it. Just set the Instant Pot to High Pressure and put the kernels in with enough space for them to pop and expand. Cook for about four minutes, listening out for the popping sounds. When there are about three seconds or more between each pop, you know they are done cooking.

A lot of Instant Pot recipes will call for you to use oil, and you can do it that way as well, using the sauté setting, but if you want an oil-free method, then just follow the directions I gave you.

Closing Thoughts

You can make popcorn that is healthy and tasty without having to use any oil. I have given you a few different methods you can use to do that, and I hope you are able to do one of these and get your popcorn to turn out fabulous.

Choosing Fresh Ingredients for Best Results

If you have popcorn that isn’t coming out right when you use one of these methods, then it is probably older kernels you are using and they may not be fresh. Just try to use fresh kernels if at all possible and not ones that have been in storage for a very long time. The resulting popcorn is likely to taste very fresh and have the right texture.

Adjusting to the Taste of Oil-Free Popcorn

If you are wanting to eat healthier, you don’t have to give up your favourite foods. There are ways to make most of the foods you enjoy in a healthy way, but you just have to be creative and do some searching, like with these popcorn recipes for example.

You can make the popcorn come out beautifully each time and not have to use any oil. You just have to know the right method for cooking the kernels so that they pop without having to cook in any oil.

You might find the taste to be a bit different from the popcorn that you are used to, but I think you can get used to it pretty quickly and you will probably like it if you give it a fair shake. If you find the popcorn a bit bland, just remember to add some seasoning or at least add a little salt to help bring out the flavour.


What equipment do I need to pop popcorn without oil?

You have a few options for popping popcorn without oil. One of the most common is to use an air popper, which uses hot air to pop the kernels. If you don’t have an air popper, you can also pop popcorn in the microwave using a microwave-safe bowl and a microwave-safe plate or microwave popcorn popper.

Will the popcorn taste different if it’s popped without oil?

Yes, popcorn popped without oil will have a slightly different taste and texture than popcorn popped with oil. It tends to be lighter and less crunchy, and it won’t have the same richness that oil provides. However, this makes it a perfect blank canvas for adding your own seasonings and flavors.

Can I add any flavors or spices to my oil-free popcorn after it’s popped?

Absolutely! You can add all sorts of flavors and spices to your popped popcorn. For a simple, low-calorie option, try sprinkling it with a little salt or a salt-free seasoning blend. If you like sweet popcorn, you could dust it with a little cinnamon and sugar. For savory popcorn, try adding some grated Parmesan cheese or a sprinkle of chili powder. Just keep in mind that without the oil, seasonings may not stick to the popcorn as well, so something like a spritz of cooking spray or a bit of melted butter can help if needed.

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Pauline Loughlin
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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!

Kritika Panase

Saturday 5th of June 2021

Popcorns are such a healthy and delicious snacks. Making it without oil has just added to the health benefits of this snack which is a hit among all ages! Thanks for sharing the recipe of popping healthy popcorns sans oil in three different methods. I also went and checked a video on this site of making homemade cola. However, was not able to learn the ingredients added to the beverage. It would be nice if the ingredients are mentioned while adding or voice it in the video. Would be great help. In love of your food blog!  All the recipes looks irresistibly yummy and thoughtfully put.