The Secret to Perfect Movie Theater Popcorn at Home

stackable 85oz popcorn bucket

Making movie theater popcorn at home is easier said than done if you don’t know the secrets movie theater owners have been using for years to lure us into their seats. Going to the movies is about more than just the movie. It’s about the whole experience…the surround sound, the Ultra High Def picture, the seating, and of course, the popcorn! In fact, some of us venture out to the theater just for the fantastic, buttery popcorn.

Of course these days we can watch high def movies in the comfort of our own home, so why not learn how to make the best tasting popcorn at a fraction of the cost of movie theater popcorn. So here are the three secrets movie theater owners have kept under their hats to keep us coming back for more.

Buttery Popcorn Oil

Most of us grew up using vegetable or canola oil in our popcorn popper. These oils have very bland and light tastes to them, which makes a flavorless popcorn most of the time. The theaters use coconut oil because it has a buttery taste without adding butter. Use the popcorn oil and you’ll get the yellow coloring of traditional movie theater popcorn too, but the secret to making healthy popcorn is to get the kind with beta carotene for the coloring. Beta carotene is the natural compound found in carrots that give them their bright color. The same is true for natural popcorn oil – a mix of coconut oil and beta carotene. Coconut oil is solid in normal temperatures and only turns to a liquid after warmed. Mix a scoop of this coconut oil with our next secret ingredient and you’ll have perfect popcorn every time.

Popcorn Salt


Those stainless steel salt shakers we’ve all used at the theater concession stand pour on what seems like the best salt ever, but no one has ever seen it. When you go home and use your own salt, it all falls to the bottom of the bowl and doesn’t quite taste the same. The reason is simple…popcorn salt! Popcorn salt are flakes of salt instead of granules, so it sticks to the kernel better than traditional salt. It is ultra fine and dissolves faster than regular salt, so you never feel the salt on the popcorn, you only taste it. And lastly, popcorn salt makers remove the trace minerals usually found in table salt and sea salt, so you end up with a less bitter tasting flavor. All of these features combine to make the ultimate salt for popcorn!

Flavacol is a well kept theater secret. It is salt and flavorings, but when combined in your Stir Crazy popper with the coconut oil, your house will smell like the concession stand at the local movie theater!

Butter Flavored Topping

When you ask for extra butter at the concession stand, the movie theaters use a topping, not real butter. So if you want your popcorn to turn out the same, you’ll want to use the popcorn butter toppings. Since those toppings have artificial flavoring and colors, I like to stick with butter (pun intended). Even though butter will lighten the popcorn up a bit, the health problems associated with artificial flavors and colors tip the scales for me. That’s the beauty of making popcorn at home – you can choose whichever way you like.

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