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Popcorn Salad

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Get ready to make a unique and easy recipe – Popcorn Salad. This recipe combines the goodness of popcorn with a medley of savory ingredients for a flavor explosion like no other. 

Main image for Popcorn Salad

Have you heard of popcorn salad? It may seem a little different, but it really is a perfect salad. 

Recently a video clip of food network star Molly Yeh on an episode of her show Girl Meets Farm has been circling the internet calling salad with popcorn one of those classic midwestern dishes. 

I put this in the category of pasta salad or potato salads when you think of classic potluck side dishes. Whether you are familiar with this popcorn variety salad or not, this is one you have to try.

There is no sour cream, dijon mustard, or sugar snap peas in my recipe for salad with popcorn. We just use a heaping cup cheddar cheese for real cheese goodness and a fresh crumbled cup bacon all mixed with fresh popped popcorn kernels to give you a perfect mix of popcorn you can serve as a side dish any time.

It may seem an odd dish, but this kind of salad makes for a great conversation piece at the dinner table. And you will be surprised how many people come back for more!

All ingredients laid out on counter, ready to assemble

What is Popcorn Salad?

Savory Popcorn Salad is an unexpected twist on a classic snack. It’s a mixture of freshly popped popcorn, crispy bacon, cheesy mayonnaise dressing, and crunchy veggies. That gives you a salad with a perfect contrast of textures and flavors.

All ingredients except for popcorn are in a bowl , unmixed

What Ingredients are in Popcorn Salad?

  • Popped Corn: any type of popcorn is great so long as it is freshly popped and not sweet!
  • Bacon Crumbles: Infuses smoky, savory notes.
  • Mayonnaise: Creates a luscious base for the salad.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese: Adds a rich, tangy flavor.
  • Celery: Provides a refreshing, crisp element.
  • Yellow Onion: Introduces a hint of sharpness.
  • Sliced Water Chestnuts: Deliver an extra layer of crunch.

Pro Tip: Use freshly popped plain popcorn for the best texture. Old popcorn won’t give the right texture to this retro recipe.

Mixing ingredients in bowl before popcorn is added

How to Make Popcorn Salad:

  1. Mix all the ingredients (except the popcorn) in a large bowl, and chill the mayonnaise mixture if needed. 
  2. Add the freshly popped popcorn in a large serving bowl and mix well.
  3. Serve immediately.

Pro Tip: Crumble the bacon just before adding it for maximum crispiness.

fresh popped popcorn added to salad

Can you use microwave popcorn to make Popcorn Salad?

Yes you can use microwave popcorn to make salad with popcorn! Just be aware that any flavorings in your popcorn bag will affect the end flavor of the salad.

I prefer to use plain popcorn kernels and pop them in a brown paper bag in the microwave. Just add 1/3 cup of corn to a brown paper bag, fold it over 3 times and cook on high for 3 minutes.

Perfectly fresh popped corn without oil or butter or any other flavor additions.

Pro Tip: Do not use kettle corn unless you like a sweeter mayo salad. I also do not like butter lovers because the strong buttery smell overpowers the cheese in the dish.

How Long Does Popcorn Salad Last?

This Salad is best enjoyed fresh. You will be surprised how fast it goes. But you can store leftovers of this salad in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

How to Store Popcorn Salad:

Store popcorn salad covered in an airtight container in the fridge. You want to keep this cold and covered to maintain its texture and flavor.

top side view of popcorn salad in a bowl ready to dish up

Can You Freeze Popcorn Salad?

No, you cannot freeze this popcorn salad recipe. The texture of the popcorn and consistency of the dressing completely changes when you freeze it and then thaw it.

Is Salad with Popcorn a Fast Dish?

Yes, popcorn salad is a perfect dish when you need something fast and last minute. With just a few simple steps, you can whip up this salad in no time. And other than the popcorn, no cooking is required.

Can You Make Popcorn Salad Ahead of Time?

Yes you can make this salad recipe ahead of time! Prep the mayo-based dressing with all the ingredients a few hours in advance or even the day before, and let it chill in the fridge until the next day.

Wait to add the popcorn until just before serving to keep it perfectly crunchy.

top view looking down of salad with popcorn in serving bowl

Is Popcorn Salad Gluten Free?

Yes, microwave popcorn salad is gluten free! Every ingredient in this dish is naturally gluten free. That makes it one of those perfect salad recipes you can serve to almost anyone.

What to Serve with Popcorn Salad:

You can serve almost anything with vegetable salad with popcorn.

I think this salad pairs wonderfully with grilled chicken, burgers, or hot dogs. It’s also a fantastic side for picnics and barbecues.

When to Serve Popcorn Salad:

This salad can be enjoyed year-round. It’s ideal for summer gatherings, family dinners, and even as a unique addition to your Thanksgiving or Christmas table.

My favorite place to serve this iconic midwestern dish is at potlucks or themed parties where a popcorn salad will be an interesting talking point.

zoomed in top view looking down at salad in a bowl

Additional Salad Recipes You’ll Love…

Whether you need a fast easy side dish or something no one else will bring, this popcorn salad is a great dish for any occasion!

Yield: 6 Servings

Popcorn Salad

top side view of popcorn salad in a bowl ready to dish up

Satisfy your cravings with Popcorn Salad, a one-of-a-kind dish that's both crunchy and creamy. Perfect for any occasion!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes


  1. In a bowl, mix all ingredients except the popcorn.
  2. Add popcorn and serve immediately.
  3. Serve cold.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 451Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 671mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 14g

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Allyson Zea

Wednesday 31st of January 2024

I have never heard of this but it looks very interesting....can't wait to try it out!

Beti Micevska

Tuesday 30th of January 2024

This is such a fun and delicious salad!! My family loved it and I can't wait to make it again!

Katerina Petrovska

Tuesday 30th of January 2024

This popcorn salad is a unique dish where freshly popped popcorn is mixed with a creamy dressing. I topped it with herbs and cheese. It's a different kind of salad, fun and tasty with a mix of flavors and textures.

Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert

Tuesday 30th of January 2024

Such a great recipe! I made this yesterday and everyone loves it!


Monday 29th of January 2024

At first I was hesitant to make this recipe but I'm glad I tried it! It was amazing! And everyone in my family enjoyed it!

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