How Many Carbs are in Popcorn? Air-popped, Oil-popped or Microwave?

We all love popcorn, don’t we?

It’s one of the healthiest snacks out there, it is a mandatory thing to eat when you are at the movies and it is, therefore, the ultimate movie companion. But, things have changed over time.

Back in the day, no one cared about carbs or fats or anything found in popcorn. Today, we do. It’s important to know exactly what you take into your body because we are what we eat.

But is popcorn fine when you’re on a keto diet?

Keto diets have become popular recently because they are efficient. The goal of these diets is to reduce carb intake as much as possible.

So, can you eat popcorn on a keto diet?

Is it a good keto snack?

Let’s find out!

About popcorn

popcorn on egg

We started growing corn some 10,000 years ago. It is believed that first corn fields spurred up in what is today called Mexico. Corn is a staple food and it still is the most widely cultivated grain crop in the Americas.

The total production reaches a staggering amount of over 400 million metric tons per year. There are various types of corn. We have flint corn, dent corn, pod corn, flour corn, sweet corn and popcorn. Since we are talking about popcorn in this article, we’ll focus only on that type.

The popcorn you ate last time probably comes from one of the two most common strains of corn. Those are called Zea mazs and Zea mays everta. Popcorn became extremely popular during the Great Depression as it was an inexpensive snack.

On top of that, when other business failed, the popcorn business thrived and popcorn production became a good business for struggling farmers. In short, that’s the story of popcorn.

Popcorn nutrition facts

Let’s take a look at some stats concerning this popular snack. Did you know that a single cup of air-popped popcorn weighing about 8 grams has:

  • 30 calories
  • Approximately 5 net grams of carbs
  • 1 gram of dietary fiber
  • 1 gram of protein

One cup of stovetop popcorn cooked with coconut oil has:

  • 45 calories
  • 2-3 grams of fat
  • 5 grams of net carbs
  • 1 gram of fiber
  • 1 gram of protein

A five-cup serving of air-popped popcorn has:

  • 100-150 calories
  • 25 grams of net carbs
  • 5 grams of dietary fiber
  • 5 five grams of protein

And a five-cup serving of stovetop popcorn cooked in coconut oil has:

  • 225 calories
  • 10 grams of fat
  • 25 grams of net carbs
  • 5 grams of dietary fiber
  • 5 grams of protein

You should also bear in mind that air-popped popcorn has a low glycemic index of 55. Popcorn is also rich in fiber and it has high volume. That’s why it fills you up quite nicely contrary to most snack foods. That’s why it’s not difficult to control your portions when you’re eating popcorn.

Just remember to avoid microwave popcorn since it has unhealthy refined oils which usually bring with them omega-6 fatty acids. It is recommended that you eat non-GMO or organic popcorn. That is the healthiest type of popcorn you can eat.

Carbs and popcorn

carbs in popcorn

Seeing that you’re probably here because you follow a keto diet or you’re planning on doing so, you’re probably interested in carbs in popcorn. Of course, the amount of carbs depends on the type of popcorn you’re eating and how you’re eating it.

One huge bucket of popcorn at the movies will have a lot more carbs than a bag of microwave popcorn. Fortunately for us, USDA has provided stats for a few types of popcorn focusing on carbs. The stats are not brand-specific, you should know that before you read the stats below:

When it comes to net carbs in popcorn, let’s just say that in order to calculate the net carbs in popcorn one has to subtract total fiber from total carbs. That’s just a reminder.

Let’s take a look at those figures.

Of course, we’re talking about the mentioned types of popcorn.

  • Air-Popped popcorn has 63.28 net carbs per 100 grams and 5.02 net carbs in one cup.
  • Microwave popcorn has 47.26 net carbs per 100 grams and 3.72 net carbs in one cup.
  • Oil-Popped popcorn has 48.10 net carbs per 100 grams and 3.85 net carbs in one cup.

Popcorn on a keto diet? Yay or nay?

popcorn carbs

Could you fit popcorn into your keto diet?

Is there a thing called keto popcorn?

Well, fortunately for everyone, there is. Due to the fact that there is low-carb popcorn, you should be able to add it to your diet and still remain in ketosis.

However, it has to be about a cup of popcorn per day. Not more than that. This may be good news for people that have difficulties cutting popcorn out of their life.

When you’re adjusting to ketosis you crave foods and feel a dip in your energy. All of that makes you want to eat even more. Luckily for you, you don’t have to be stingy when popcorn are in question.

You can have a single cup of oil-popped popcorn and satisfy your snack cravings. It has some 5 grams of net carbs and 2 to 3 grams of healthy fats. It will fill you and satisfy your carb snack craving without getting you out of ketosis.

Be careful though!

There are times when you should avoid popcorn on a keto diet. With popcorn it’s easy to forget about the suggested portion and eat more than you should. Self-discipline around food is not an easy feat, especially when popcorn is in question.

If you find it difficult to control your popcorn cravings, don’t make it a daily snack. It’s easy to step over the line and eat more than you should. Even if it’s not much, it can get you out of ketosis.

If you’re having troubles with overeating, failing to lose weight and other similar stuff, you should avoid popcorn on keto altogether.

Why make your life harder than it already is?

If you can control yourself and add popcorn to your diet seamlessly, then use the stove-top method or an air-popper instead of microwave popcorn. This way you’ll control what oils and toppings go into your popcorn and you will also avoid unnecessary artificial flavors and unhealthy ingredients. Use coconut oil, butter or olive oil to cook popcorn on the stove.

That’s the healthy way!

Also, remember that even if you’re on a strict keto diet, popcorn will not be the only source of net carbs. Don’t forget to remember all other carb sources when you track your daily carb intake. Forgetting about the other carb sources will easily become the gravest mistake of yours since you’ll jump out of ketosis in no time.


Popcorn is tasty, popcorn is hard to say goodbye to and now you know you don’t have to say goodbye. It’s all about the self-discipline and healthy ways of making popcorn.

You have the stats, figures and everything you need to know before you add popcorn into your diet. Popcorn can be keto-friendly and now you know how you can make it keto-friendly.

Of course, carb intake amount isn’t the same for every person out there so you should bear in mind that some folks can get away with a full five-cup serving while others cannot. That’s just the way it is. Popcorn is a treat and that’s how you need to look at things.