can you use cooking spray on popcorn?

Popcorn is a widely loved snack that has been around for centuries. This tasty treat has become popular because of its versatility, ease of preparation, and affordability. While there are various methods of preparing popcorn, many people have been curious about whether they can use cooking spray to make it. In this article, we will explore if using cooking spray on popcorn is safe and effective.

What is Cooking Spray?

Cooking sprays have become increasingly popular in recent years as a healthier alternative to oils, butter, and other fats used in cooking. A cooking spray typically consists of a combination of oils and other ingredients like lecithin that allow it to be sprayed easily onto surfaces without sticking.

Types of Cooking Sprays

There are different types of cooking sprays in the market today, depending on the type of oil used in making them. Some popular varieties include olive oil spray, coconut oil spray, and grapeseed oil spray.

How to Make Popcorn with Cooking Spray

Using cooking spray for making popcorn is relatively similar across the board regardless of the method used – stovetop, microwave or air popper.

Stovetop Method

When using stovetop method with cooking spray:

  1. Heat a pot over medium-high heat
  2. Spray an appropriate amount into the pot where you intend to put your popping kernels
  3. Add your kernels (ideally ¼ cup at a time)
  4. Cover with lid
  5. Shake pot occasionally until all or most kernels have popped
  6. Once done, seasoned as desired!

Microwave Method

When using microwave method with cooking spray:

  1. Pour ¼ cup popping kernels into a microwave-safe bowl
  2. Spray an appropriate amount of cooking oil onto the kernels
  3. Tightly cover with plastic wrap
  4. Pierce some small holes in the wrap for ventilation before putting it into the microwave
  5. Cook (typically: 2-3 minutes for full popping. Times may vary)
  6. Once done, enjoy!

Air Popper Method

When using air popper method with cooking spray:

  1. Preheat your air popper according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  2. Spray an appropriate amount of oil over the kernels before pouring them into the machine hopper
  3. Let the kernels pop
  4. Once done, remove any unpopped kernels and add seasoning as desired

Benefits of Using Cooking Spray on Popcorn

Cooking spray has several advantages when used on popcorn.

Low-fat Option

As compared to traditional butter or oil methods of preparing popcorn which add unnecessary calories and fat, using a minimal amount of cooking spray on popcorn gets you a treat that is considerably lower in calories, saturated fats, cholesterol-free trans fats and sodium.

Crisp Texture

Cooking spray helps create crispy popcorns with little-to-no added oils or flavors.

Affordability and Availability

Cooking sprays are easily accessible in supermarkets at affordable prices, so it should be easy to find their suitable variety for your dietary needs.

Alternatives to Cooking Spray on Popcorn

If you have reservations concerning the use of cooking sprays in making your favorite snack, we’ve listed some healthy alternatives below:

Vinegar or Hot Sauce

Adding vinegar or hot sauce brings a tangy flavor punch while offering little to no additional calorie content.

Nutritional Yeast

This powder available in health stores has a nutty flavor similar to parmesan cheese without any dairy connotations. It can be sprinkled onto popcorns for an extra layer of savory crunchiness.

Potential Concerns Regarding the Usage of Cooking Spray on Popcorn

While using cooking spray on popcorn seems safe and straightforward, some potential concerns arise regarding its usage. Below are two important information points for consideration:

Avoid Spraying Directly into Mouth

Cooking sprays are not intended for spraying directly into the mouth or face masks. This is because inhaling them directly could cause respiratory problems and other health issues.


Cooking sprays, as with other edible products, could contain ingredients that trigger allergies in some individuals. Though the risk is relatively low, it’s important to check the label of your cooking spray before purchasing if you’re prone to allergies.


The question, “Can you use cooking spray on popcorn?” has been answered with a resounding yes! Cooking spray is a safe and effective way of making delicious low-fat popcorn without added calories. It’s also versatile and can be used on various preparation methods conveniently. However, there are potential concerns regarding its usage (allergy risks and manufacturer warnings against direct ingestion), but these should not discount the positive nutritional properties and strength as an additive suitable for most dietary needs. As always, it’s essential to make informed decisions when it comes to our health by reading labels before purchase or usage – this goes for every edible and food-related product we consume.


  1. Q: Is it safe to use cooking spray on popcorn? A: Yes, it is safe to use cooking spray on popcorn as long as it’s food-grade and labeled for usage with high heat.
  2. Q: Can using cooking spray on popcorn affect its taste? A: It depends on the type of cooking spray you use. Flavored/scented varieties may change the taste of your popcorn, whereas unflavored ones won’t.
  3. Q: How do I apply cooking spray to popcorn without making a mess? A: To avoid making a greasy mess, lightly mist your air-popped or microwave popcorn with cooking spray in a well-ventilated area or outdoors.
  4. Q: Does using cooking oil instead of cooking spray make a difference when making popcorn at home? A: Using cooking oil instead of cooking spray can be messier and add more calories, but both are viable options for making movie-style popcorn at home!

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