The first thing that greets you every time you walk into a movie theater is that delicious, mouthwatering aroma of buttery popcorn. Let’s be real: eating a bucket of this stuff is the best part about going to see a movie. That signature movie theater taste is just pure popcorn perfection.
Now what if we told you that you don’t need to visit the cinema to enjoy movie theater-style popcorn? It’s actually possible to make buttery popcorn at home that tastes exactly like the kind you’re craving. We share the secrets of recreating movie theater popcorn right here:
What’s in Movie Theater Butter?
This might come as no surprise to you, but movie theater popcorn doesn’t have any real butter. It owes its flavor to the magic combo of hydrogenated soybean oil and a popcorn salt called Flavacol.
The soybean oil mimics the consistency of butter and is flavored to get the familiar butter taste you know and love. Flavacol, on the other hand, is made with an artificial butter flavor. It’s the main thing you taste when you bite into a handful of movie theater popcorn.
Is Movie Theater Butter Bad for Your Health?
We know movie theater popcorn is hard to resist, but the truth is, it’s really not something anyone should eat every day.
Hydrogenated soybean oil contains trans fat. Trans fat can raise your cholesterol levels, putting you at risk of heart disease. Then, there’s the fact that movie theater butter also has a lot of calories. It has even more calories than real butter.
You see why it’s something to enjoy in moderation, even though it’s tempting to have a whole tub to yourself?
The good news is that making your own movie theater butter popcorn at home is healthier. That’s because you have total control over ingredients and quantities. For example, you can swap soybean oil for coconut oil. Coconut oil naturally has a rich buttery flavor and texture so you end up adding less seasoning.
Alternatives like this will help you make buttery popcorn you’ll feel better about eating.
Read More: Is Popcorn Healthy? Here's the 411
Top 4 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 for yournext movie night. Here are our favorite butter flavoring products:
1. Franklin’s Gourmet Popcorn Butter Flavored Coconut Oil
We love this flavored oil for a number of reasons. First, it uses coconut oil instead of soybean oil or real butter. This gives the popcorn flavoring a great consistency and taste. It also doesn’t contain added sugars. It only has three ingredients. We love the simplicity.
Franklin’s coconut oil is made with beta-carotene, a natural additive that turns coconut oil yellow. It makes the oil actually look like movie theater butter in a natural, safe way. Use this delicious oil along with Franklin’s Popcorn Salt for a knockout combination.
2. Snappy Butter Burst Popcorn Oil
With over 10,000 reviews on Amazon, there’s no doubt Snappy Butter Burst Popcorn Oil is a popular choice for movie theater butter goodness. It comes in huge one-gallon jugs, making it perfect for extreme popcorn lovers or anyone who appreciates a good deal.
This popcorn oil doesn’t need to be refrigerated and has an easy-to-pour spout for quick access. Add your favorite popcorn seasoning or popcorn salt and you’ll have a perfect bowl of movie theater-style popcorn in no time.
3. Kernel Season’s Movie Theater Butter
Image from Kernel Season's
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 and is made with three types of vegetable oils, including canola oil. You won’t find any soybean oil here, so it’s 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 mean nacho cheddar seasoning), and enjoy.
4. Popsmith Oh Sooo Buttery Popcorn
Last but not least is our take on movie theater popcorn. And sorry for the spoiler, but it’s a total game-changer if you’re looking for something both convenient and packed with flavor.
Each Oh Sooo Buttery Popcorn kit comes with pre-measured kernels, coconut oil, and buttery salt to help you make a perfect bowl of popcorn every time. We recommend pairing it with our modern stovetop popcorn popper for the ultimate at-home movie night experience. You can grab our Movie Night Bundle here.
How to Make Your Own Movie Theater Butter
If you want, you can also try making homemade movie theater butter.
This will be healthier than the stuff you get at the movies but just as delicious. It’s best on top of freshly popped stovetop popcorn. You can use microwave popcorn when you’re in a pinch, but stovetop popcorn tends to have the best crunch.
To make it, 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 you with a clear, oil-like butter that has the silky texture of movie theater-style butter.
Pour the melted or clarified butter over your popcorn and sprinkle with some sea salt. If you use salted butter, you can skip the extra salt and just eat the butter-drizzled popcorn right away. It’s going to taste amazing!
Movie Theater Butter Takeaways
You don’t need to travel all the way to your local cinema just to enjoy movie theater-style buttery popcorn. You can make it at home with melted clarified butter or using a pre-made butter-flavored oil. These alternatives are typically healthier and just as delicious.