Have you ever walked into a movie theater and instantly smelled that delicious, butter-covered popcorn? It is irresistible. Eating movie theater popcorn or any movie theater snack may be the best part about going to see a movie. That buttery, movie theater taste is classic and pure popcorn perfection.
But what happens when you are craving movie theater-style popcorn but don’t really want to go to the movies? You can actually make movie theater-buttered popcorn at home. We want to tell you all about how to make that delicious popcorn so you can satisfy your craving without ever leaving your house.
What’s in Movie Theater Butter?
It may come as a surprise to learn that movie theater popcorn doesn’t actually have any real butter. This is one reason why that “buttery” flavor is so unique. Movie theater butter is actually made with an oil that mimics the butter flavor and also the consistency of butter. The oil is made from hydrogenated soybean oil and then flavored to get the tasty butter taste that you know and love.
The butter-flavored topping gets its flavor from something called Flavacol. Flavacol is a type of popcorn salt that is made with an artificial butter flavor. This is the main thing you will taste when you bite into a handful of movie theater popcorn. Flavacol plus soybean oil is the magic mix that makes movie theater butter. It’s not exactly real butter, but we still love it.
Is Movie Theater Butter Bad for Your Health?
Movie theater butter tastes so good that it makes us wonder if it's bad for our health. Something this delicious can’t possibly be healthy. And, the truth is, it really is not something you want to eat every day.
Most movie theater butter is made with hydrogenated soybean oil which is trans fat. Trans fats have been shown to raise your cholesterol levels which can harm your health. Higher cholesterol is also a main cause of heart disease.
Movie theater butter is also high in calories. In fact, it has more calories than real butter. You can see why it is something you may want to enjoy in moderation.
However, when you make your own movie theater butter popcorn at home, you can adjust your ingredients to make the popcorn flavoring a little healthier. One trick is to use coconut oil in place of soybean oil which has a great taste but zero trans fats. Alternatives like this will help you create a tasty buttered popcorn that you can feel good about eating.
Top 3 Movie Theater Butter Brands
You can buy pre-made movie theater butter popcorn toppings to help you create your homemade popcorn with the perfect flavor. These all work great if you want crispy, buttery popcorn kernels for your next movie night. Here are our favorite butter flavoring brands.
1. Franklin’s Gourmet Popcorn Butter Flavored Coconut Oil
We love Franklins Gourmet for quite a few reasons. First, it uses coconut oil rather than soybean oil or real butter. This gives the popcorn flavoring a great consistency and taste but without the dairy or the trans fats. There are also no added sugars. In fact, the flavored coconut oil only contains three total ingredients. We love simplicity.
Franklin’s Gourmet is made with Beta Carotene, a natural additive that turns the coconut oil a yellow color. It makes the oil actually look like movie theater butter in a natural, safe way. Use this delicious oil in conjunction with Franklin’s Popcorn Salt for the ultimate, gourmet movie theater popcorn experience.
2. Snappy Butter Burst Popcorn Oil
Snappy Butter Burst Popcorn Oil is the best seller on Amazon and comes in big, one-gallon jugs. This is a fantastic option for extreme popcorn lovers who use a lot of flavoring or for anyone looking for a good deal. It's always a good idea to buy in bulk.
This popcorn oil doesn’t need to be refrigerated and has a very easy-to-pour spout. You can quickly and easily get the buttery flavor you are looking for. Add your favorite popcorn seasoning or popcorn salt and you will have a perfect bowl of movie theater-style popcorn in no time.
3. Kernel Season’s Movie Theater Butter
If you're making movie theater popcorn at home for the first time, a small bottle of Kernel Season’s might be just what you need. The bottle has a convenient pour spout that will help you get just the right ratio of oil to popcorn.
We love that Kernel Season’s is made with three types of vegetable oils, including canola oil. No soybean oil in this bottle. It is great for anyone with a soybean allergy or those looking for a cleaner type of popcorn oil. Pour some Kernel Season’s movie theater butter over your popcorn, add your favorite popcorn seasonings (the brand makes a nacho cheddar seasoning that is fantastic), and then enjoy.
How to Make Your Own Movie Theater Butter
Rather than go to the movie theater or buy pre-made popcorn oils, you can try your hand at making your own movie theater butter. This will be healthier than the stuff you get at the movies but taste just as good. Homemade movie theater butter is best on top of freshly popped stovetop popcorn or air-popped popcorn. You can use microwave popcorn in a pinch, but air-popped and stovetop popcorn kernels tend to have the best crunch.
To make movie theater-style butter, you can start with real butter or clarified butter. Clarified butter is made by melting regular butter and then skimming off the top, foamy layer. This leaves very clear, oil-like butter that has the silky texture of movie theater-style butter.
Pour the melted butter or clarified butter over your popcorn and sprinkle with some sea salt right away. If you use salted butter, you can skip the extra salt and just eat the butter-drizzled popcorn right away. It is going to be delicious.
Movie Theater Butter Takeaways
You do not need to trek all the way to the movie theater just to enjoy movie theater style buttered popcorn. You can make it at home using a pre-made butter flavored oil or you can make your own melted clarified butter to add to your popcorn bowl. These alternatives are typically healthier and just as delicious.