'Popcorn salad' is the internet's new least-favorite food — but is it really as 'gross' as everyone says?

Dillon Thompson
·3-min read

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Is the viral popcorn salad recipe really as gross as everyone says?

After Food Network star Molly Yeh shared the recipe on her cooking show, Girl Meets Farm, the internet fell into disarray. Mainly, social media users seemed freaked out by the amount of mayo in the popcorn-based snack — not to mention the vegetables.  

Yeh, however, swore by the recipe as a delicious Midwestern staple. So, where’s the disconnect? To find out, we decided to try it ourselves — thanks to our handy Presto PopLite Air-Popper.

Shop: Presto PopLite Hot Air 4-ounce Countertop Popcorn Machine, $27.13

Credit: Presto/Home Depot
Credit: Presto/Home Depot

Thanks to our air-popper, which can easily pop a full bowl of popcorn in less than five minutes, we were able to whip up some popcorn salad in no time. 

So, was it as gross as expected? Or, as is often the case, were social media users exaggerating a bit? To see what happened, watch the video above or keep reading for our full review. 

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How to make the viral popcorn salad recipe

First up, it’s worth noting that we are not accomplished, professional chefs here at In The Know. We are, however, willing to try anything once. Point being, if you want an in-depth breakdown, be sure to check out Yeh’s original recipe video, which is available on Facebook

Below is our best attempt at replicating the popcorn salad recipe (mayo haters, you may want to skip ahead). Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ⅓ cup popcorn kernels

  • White cheddar popcorn seasoning

  • ½ cup mayo

  • ¼ cup sour cream

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard

  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 cups sugar snap peas

  • 1 cup shredded carrot

  • 1 cup celery AND ½ cup tender inner celery leaves

  • 1 bunch watercress (which we replaced with arugula)

First up, pop the kernels in your air-popper (or wherever you’d normally pop them), then top the finished product with white cheddar seasoning, to taste. In a separate bowl, combine mayo, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, mustard and the shallot. 

Then, top your popcorn with all of your veggies, minus the celery leaves. Next, mix in the mayo dressing and stir it all together. Finally, toss your celery leaves on top — just so no one forgets it’s a salad!

Our review: Why the popcorn salad recipe is better than you think

We decided to test this recipe in a crucial, specific context: If you saw this at a potluck, would you eat it?

On presentation, it might be a tough sell. This dish looks bizarre — it’s creamy, lumpy and clearly has plenty of ingredients we aren’t used to seeing together. That said…

When it came to taste, we were blown away. Popcorn salad isn’t the best thing we’ve had (or even the best way to serve popcorn, frankly) but it is way, way better than the internet backlash would have you think. 

This is definitely worth making at least once — if only to challenge your popcorn prejudices. Justice for popcorn salad! 

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