Instant Pot Popcorn for One

One of our favorite snacks is popcorn! Did you know that you can have your own freshly-popped popcorn in just a few minutes by using your Instant Pot? Making popcorn in an Instant Pot is super easy and quick. This method mimics making popcorn on your stove top but is a great alternative if you don’t have access to a full kitchen. 

The aroma of freshly-popped corn is so inviting! This “recipe” yields about three cups of popped corn – enough for one person for a single serving. If you want to make more or less than that, simply adjust the number of kernels accordingly. We have more tips on that below!

instant pot popcorn

ingredients needed


This is a non-recipe so you really need just a few simple ingredients to make this easy snack:

  • Popcorn Kernels – Yellow or White Corn
  • Neutral Oil – We like using avocado oil for this recipe because it has a very high smoke point
  • Butter (Optional) – For a more buttery tasting popcorn)


Any sort of popcorn kernels will work for this recipe! You can use red or blue popping corn if you like those flavors better than standard yellow or white popping corn.

If you want a more buttery flavor to your popcorn mix 1 tablespoon of butter into your cooking oil on saute mode before adding your popcorn.

You can use any neutral-tasting oil in this recipe such as canola oil, vegetable oil, avocado oil, or olive oil.

equipment needed

You just need an instant pot or a pressure cooker to make this recipe with an instant pot glass lid! We are using the 6-quart Instant Pot which is perfect for the solo cook. You could also make this in a 3-quart Instant Pot, just watch your popping time so your kernels don’t spill over.

You’ll also need a large bowl to hold your popcorn when you are ready to eat.

Equipment You’ll Need

  • Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker – 6 Quart
  • Clear Glass Lid
  • Glass Bowl
  • Spatula

Tools You’ll Need

Instant Pot Duo Plus, 6-Quart Whisper Quiet 9-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Slow Rice Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker, Warmer & Sterilizer, Free App with 800+ Recipes, Stainless Steel

Instant Pot Tempered Glass Lid, 9.1-In, 6-Qt, Cooking Pot Lid, Stainless Steel Handle and Rim, Clear
Winona Pure Popcorn Butter Theater Style, 5 Ounces (2 Pack)
Kernel Season's Mini Savory Popcorn Seasoning Variety Pack, 0.9 Ounce (Pack of 8)

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What if I want to make more or less popcorn?

Luckily this is very scalable non-recipe! Follow our popcorn ratio chart:

1/8 cupabout 4 cups poppedabout 1 serving
1/4 cupabout 8 cups poppedabout 2 servings
1/2 cupabout 16 cups poppedabout 4 servings

Use this handy guide from to figure out your unpopped to popped kernel measurements.

There are only about 117 calories and 9 grams of fiber in 1/4th of a cup of unpopped popcorn kernels. For us we like a voluminous snack just for one so we air on more popcorn than less. Since all bodies are different the serving size is up to you so use this chart to size your portion up or down!

How do you make Instant Pot Popcorn?

It’s so easy to make Instant Pot Popcorn! Just set your Instant Pot on the saute function, add a little oil, some kernels, your lid, and press start. In just a few minutes, you’ll be enjoying hot, fresh popcorn with no mess left over.


Step 1: Set your pot on saute mode using the saute button and immediately place the oil inside your instant pot.


Step 2: Allow the oil to heat up for about 2 minutes, or until your instant pot displays the word “hot” before placing your popcorn kernels in the pot.


Step 3: Add your popcorn kernels into your pot in a single layer.


Step 4: Stir for about 1 minute before putting a lid on top of your instant pot.


Step 5: In about 2-3 minutes of heating while covered, you will start to hear the popcorn kernels popping.


Step 6: Let the kernels pop for about 5 minutes or until most of the kernels have popped into popcorn. 


Step 7: Serve and enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

One issue you might run into while making Pressure Cooker Popcorn is that the popcorn won’t pop in your Instant Pot. The reason for this is that you could be using old popcorn kernels.

Old kernels mean that the hulls are weak and they won’t expand in the pressure cooker. You’ll want to use fresh kernels for this recipe so your popcorn will pop! Don’t forget to keep the Instant Pot temperature just right during the popping process.

Yes, you will need to use cooking oil with this recipe. However, the amount of oil needed varies depending on your preference. You can add a few teaspoons if you want a light coating or add more for a nice thick layer of flavor.

For sweet recipes, try using unrefined coconut oil instead of olive oil for a special treat.

The cooking time depends on how crispy you would like your popcorn. For a light and fluffy texture, you’ll want less cooking time.

For a traditional crunchy taste, wait two minutes after the popping has stopped before removing it from the pressure cooker. If you enjoy your popcorn on the smoky side, give it an extra 30 seconds or so after ending the popping cycle.

This recipe is best served right after cooking so your popcorn is hot and fresh, but if you do have some leftovers, be sure to store them in an airtight container.

Cooked popcorn will stay fresh for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. It’s best to use it within a day or two if possible, but you can store it at room temperature for one night if necessary.

Yes, you can add different flavors to your popcorn before popping it in your instant pot or pressure cooker. This is an excellent option when making sweet snacks.

For each ½ cup of kernels, add 2 teaspoons of sugar in addition to the cooking oil. Shake in melted butter if you want a more decadent treat or sprinkle on Parmesan cheese for some added zest. One of our favorite variations is to make kettle corn popcorn.

You can also try adding any of your favorite seasonings that are sweet or savory ingredients after your popcorn is popped. Examples include cinnamon, chili powder, lemon zest, and curry powder. Remember to use a spray cooking oil when adding extra flavor or toppings to this recipe for delicious results and to make sure your flavors stick.

Let’s get Popping Homemade Pressure Cooker Popcorn

Making Instant Pot Popcorn is a fun and easy way to enjoy a tasty snack. You can make it sweet or savory, but either way, popping your own corn is a delicious and healthy snack idea. It’s also a great way to get in a little extra fiber to your diet and is a budget-friendly snack. You can make Instant Pot Popcorn in just minutes when you feel a little snacky. Be sure to try out this recipe for delicious and healthy popcorn for your next movie night.

Did you make this? We want to see how it turned out! Tag us in your social media posts @thesolospoon and use #thesolospoon when you share!

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A bowl of popcorn at home.

Instant Pot Popcorn for One

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  • Author: The Solo Spoon
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 1
  • Category: Snacks
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Snacks


Skip the stove and whip up a quick bowl of popcorn in minutes, using your instant pot! Easy, less mess, and easier to contain than a pot. Delicious and perfect popcorn every time.


  • 1/4 cup Popcorn Kernels
  • 1 tablespoon Neutral Oil (avocado oil)


  1. Set your pot on saute and immediately place the oil inside your instant pot.
  2. Allow the oil to heat up for about 2 minutes, or until your instant pot displays the word “hot” before placing your popcorn kernels in the pot.
  3. Stir for about 1 minute before putting a lid on the top you can see through.
  4. In about 2-3 minutes of heating, while covered, you will start to hear the popcorn kernels popping.
  5. Let it pop for about 5 minutes or until most of the kernels have popped. Serve and enjoy!


  • You’ll want to be able to see your popcorn kernels to ensure they’re not burning after a couple of minutes of popping. If you don’t have a glass lid, you’ll want to check every once in a while, under the lid.
  • If your popcorn kernels are older, they may not seem stale to you, but older kernels will not pop well, if at all, in the instant pot. Use fresh kernels.
  • We used avocado oil, which resulted in some luscious popcorn. However, you can use any oil you have on hand.
  • To get a more even pop, after every minute of popping, stir the popcorn or shake your instant pot to move around the popcorn. Unpopped kernels like to sometimes rest on already popped popcorn, which results in them not getting enough heat to pop. Moving the popcorn around helps these unpopped kernels get better heat.
  • If you want buttery popcorn, you can add 1 tablespoon of butter with the oil. Once it’s melted, you can add your popcorn kernels.
Instant Pot Popcorn

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