This retro recipe is sure to be the talk of the potluck, because, yes, it does include popped popcorn! Popcorn salad is a fun twist on a simple side salad.
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Table of Contents
- About Popcorn Salad
- What’s in popcorn salad?
- Wait… there’s actually popped popcorn in this salad?
- What type of popcorn should you use?
- Can you make this salad in advance?
- Can you save the leftovers of this salad?
- Notes & tips for this popcorn salad recipe
- More Retro Recipes
- How do you make popcorn salad?
- Recipe Details
About Popcorn Salad
I have a soft spot for retro recipes, and this popcorn salad definitely fits the bill.
Not only is it a rare find at parties and potlucks, it’s also one of those dishes that surprise you. The ingredients may seem a little odd, but for whatever reason, they just work together.
Once you’ve tried it, I promise this is one of the recipes you’ll want to make again and again.
What’s in popcorn salad?
The ingredients in this salad are not that uncommon (except for one popped and crunchy difference, of course) but that’s also what makes this dish so classically good:
- Mayonnaise – This gives this salad its creamy base.
- Celery, carrots, and chives – Fresh veggies for more salad cred.
- Bacon and cheese – Because c’mon, what dish isn’t made better by bacon and cheese?
- Water chestnuts – These add a delicate crunch.
- Freshly popped popcorn – The namesake of this recipe, it add texture and a slightly salty flavor.
Wait… there’s actually popped popcorn in this salad?
Yes! I know it’s a little outside-the-box, but trust me, once you’ve tasted this salad, you’ll find yourself wondering what else you can add popcorn to.
We all have weird flavor combinations that we love, and I guarantee that this popcorn salad will be a new one to add to your list.
What type of popcorn should you use?
For best results, use regular unflavored popcorn kernels and pop them using whatever method you prefer (such as on the stovetop or a popcorn popper). If you need to use any liquid for popping, use only unflavored oil (extra-virgin olive oil, vegetable oil, etc) and no salt.
You can also use the bags of microwave popcorn, but I would recommend getting one with no butter or light butter flavoring. Using this type of popcorn will likely include additional salt, so keep that in mind when mixing your ingredients. You could try to compensate for any saltiness by reducing the amount of bacon in the salad.
TIP: Before adding all of the popcorn to the other ingredients, take one popped kernel of popcorn and taste test it with a small spoonful of the other ingredients, then make adjustments as needed.
Can you make this salad in advance?
You can make this salad in advance, but I do not recommend mixing in the popcorn until you’re ready to serve the salad.
So if making this to serve at a later time, mix together all of the fresh ingredients (mayonnaise, veggies, bacon, cheese, etc) and store them in separate sealed containers from the popcorn. If it’s going to be more than an hour before serving, be sure to refrigerate the container with the mayonnaise until it’s time. When ready to serve, mix in the popcorn with the rest of the ingredients and get ready to share this retro classic with everyone.
Can you save the leftovers of this salad?
I wish I had better news here, but no, this salad does not make for good leftovers. Because of the airy-nature of the popcorn, the clock starts ticking the minute it touches the mayonnaise mixture. You should serve it as soon as you can.
For best results, this salad should be eaten within 2-4 hours of being mixed. I know that might not seem like very long, but thankfully, this tends to be a dish that’s eaten just as quickly.
Notes & tips for this popcorn salad recipe
- For this recipe, I used pre-cooked bacon to make preparation easier, but you can totally use freshly cooked bacon instead.
- Whenever I’m working with popcorn, I like to use an extra large mixing bowl. This 13 quart mixing bowl is my favorite.
More Retro Recipes
How do you make popcorn salad?
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – Add mayonnaise, celery, cheddar cheese, water chestnuts, carrots, and chives in a large bowl, then mix ingredients thoroughly.
Step 2 – Add popcorn to an extra large mixing bowl, then add mayonnaise mixture.
Step 3 – Use a spatula to gently mix all of the ingredients together.
Step 4 – Add to a serving bowl of your choice, then garnish with more cheddar cheese, bacon, and celery.
Step 5 – Serve and enjoy!
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup diced celery, plus more for garnish (optional)
- 1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 8 ounces water chestnuts, sliced or chopped
- 3/4 cup pre-cooked bacon bits, divided
- 1/4 cup shredded carrots
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced chives
- 6 cups popped popcorn
- In a large bowl, add mayonnaize, celery, 1 cup cheddar cheese, water chestnuts, 1/2 cup bacon, carrots, and chives. Use a spatula to mix well.3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 cup diced celery, 1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, 8 ounces water chestnuts, 3/4 cup pre-cooked bacon bits, 1/4 cup shredded carrots, 2 tablespoons fresh minced chives
- In a 13 quart mixing bowl add popped popcorn. Add mayonnaise mixture on top and use the spatula to gently stir together until popcorn is coated.6 cups popped popcorn
- Spoon salad into a serving bowl of your choice, then sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup bacon, and any additional celery on top.3/4 cup pre-cooked bacon bits, 1/4 cup shredded carrots, 1 cup diced celery
- Serve popcorn salad immediately. Because of the popcorn, this salad does not make good leftovers, so be sure to eat up while you can!
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.