Popcorn what?!? While I’ll do my best to describe, this popcorn salad recipe is one you’ll have to taste to believe.

Popcorn salad: Popcorn takes the place of pasta in this picnic and potluck-loving salad.

If you’re looking for a truly unique salad to bring to a picnic, potluck or summer grill-out, you have to try this popcorn salad.

It’ll get people talking.

What Does Popcorn Salad Taste Like?

The base of this salad is popcorn, but the rest of the ingredients add flavor and texture. Think of this as a good summer pasta salad recipe – with bacon, cheese, green onions, celery, water chestnuts, and a rich mayonnaise-based dressing – except instead of pasta, it’s popcorn.

The popcorn doesn’t add a lot of flavor, but rather texture and crunch.

It’s not dissimilar from a cornbread salad.

The best way to find out what this salad tastes like? Make it yourself!

Ingredients needed to make popcorn salad: Click through for detailed recipe!

What You’ll Need To Make This Salad

  • Popcorn: I recommend buying bagged popcorn to ensure it’s crunchy and crispy (sometimes homemade popcorn gets soggy)
  • Bacon: Fry yourself or purchase off the grocery store salad bar
  • Cheese: Shredded cheddar is the perfect choice for this salad
  • Water chestnuts: Add a nice crunch
  • Green onions: Add some bite and freshness
  • Mayo-based sauce: Mayonnaise, garlic, sugar, nutritional yeast (the secret ingredient!), apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper make up this simple dressing

Popcorn salad: Don't knock it until you try it! Click through for recipe.

Serving Suggestions

Treat this salad like you would a good summer pasta salad. Serve:

Popcorn is delicious, versatile, and budget-friendly. It’s about time it took center stage!

Popcorn salad: Popcorn is the base, then you add bacon, onions, cheese, and other yummy ingredients!

But Really… Is Popcorn Salad Any Good?

I’m glad you asked! 

People have strong opinions about this salad. Many are in the “yuck this is gross” category.

But for me, growing up in small town Minnesota where you’d see just about anything at a church potluck, this isn’t necessarily an odd dish for me. I’m quite open minded culinarily when it comes to rural Midwestern cuisine. 

If you’re in the same camp, if you want to get your friends and family talking, or simply if you’re curious – you should give this salad a try. It’s crunchy and full of all sorts of yummy ingredients. Although it’s not considered a pantry staple, I would definitely recommend adding the nutritional yeast (see recipe below) because when combined with popcorn, it does something magical.

This is my last plug: Just make it. You might hate it, but you might love it and then you’ll have another new, cheap recipe to add to your repertoire. Enjoy!

Popcorn salad: Popcorn takes the place of pasta in this picnic and potluck-loving salad.

Popcorn Salad

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This salad is best served immediately after mixing up. If you wait too long, the popcorn can get soggy.


  • 5.5 ounce bag popped popcorn
  • 3 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped

For dressing

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Reserve some of the ingredients (bacon, cheese & green onion) for topping the salad (optional).
  2. Whisk dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  3. Place remaining popcorn, celery, water chestnuts, bacon, cheese, and green onions in a large mixing bowl. Add dressing and mix well to ensure all the popcorn is coated.
  4. Top with reserved toppings. Serve immediately.

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