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The Kitchn: Go retro with popcorn salad

Laura Manzano, on

Popcorn salad is a star at picnics and barbecues all across the Midwest. Undeniably curious in both title and texture, popcorn salad is a surprisingly delicious retro side dish whose satisfying crunch will keep you going back for more.

How to make popcorn salad

Popcorn salad is as easy as tossing a handful of ingredients together in a bowl. Be sure to use a bigger mixing bowl than you’d think, though — popcorn is light and will shift around easily. Give yourself lots of room to make sure everything is fully combined.

How far in advance can I make popcorn salad?

Popcorn salad encourages us to live in the moment, because it should be eaten immediately after it is prepared. You can make the dressing, cook the bacon, and prep the veggies ahead of time, but only toss it all together with the popcorn right before you’re about to enjoy it. Unsurprisingly, popcorn will absorb the dressing and soften quickly.

Can I use bagged popcorn for this salad?


We recommend using freshly popped popcorn — either kernels or microwaveable bags are fine, as long as they are unsalted and not buttery! Save those for your next movie instead. Bagged popcorn in the chip aisle doesn’t taste quite as fresh as when you make it yourself but if you’re really in a pinch, go ahead and use it. Just be sure to spring for unflavored popcorn because seasoned popcorn might make the salad too salty.

Popcorn Salad

Serves 6 to 8

1/4 cup neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable


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