The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of additive and non-additive genes on the efficiency of nitrogen (N) use and N responsiveness in inbred popcorn lines. The parents, hybrids and reciprocal crosses were evaluated in a 10x10 triple lattice design at two sites and two levels of N availability. To establish different N levels in the two experiments, fertilization was carried out at sowing, according to soil analysis reports. However, for the experiments with ideal nitrogen availability, N was sidedressed according to the crop requirement, whereas for the N-poor experiments sidedressing consisted of 30% of that applied in the N-rich environment. Two indices were evaluated, the Harmonic Mean of the Relative Performance (HMRP) and Agronomic Efficiency under Low Nitrogen Availability (AELN), both based on grain yield at both N levels. Both additive and non-additive gene effects were important for selection for N-use efficiency. Moreover, there was allelic complementarity between the lines and a reciprocal effect for N-use efficiency, indicating the importance of the choice of the parents used as male or female. The best hybrids were obtained from inbred popcorn lines with contrasting N-use efficiency and N responsiveness.