The Secret To Making Movie Theater Popcorn At Home

My favorite snack is popcorn. 🍿 The smell and sound of popping corn is festive and exciting. It reminds me of date nights, friends, and the promise of being transported for an hour or two. Popcorn of all kinds, even the salty garbage peddled at baseball games, gives me great pleasure, but movie theater popcorn is the best. Like so many popcorn lovers before me, I have spent decades trying to recreate movie theater popcorn at home.

I always thought that they key to movie theater popcorn is the “butter topping.” I was half right.

First, let me talk about fat. Movie theater “butter topping” is made out of coconut oil and delicious chemicals. That discovery blew my mind, but it makes a ton of sense. Per tablespoon, coconut oil has more than 11 grams of saturated fat. Compare that to butter, which has only 7 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon. This gives coconut oil that incredible, silky mouth feel that you really do not find anywhere else.

NOTE: I am not a dietician, and I will be the first to say that the state of health and dietary science has my head spinning. Saturated fat can raise your bad cholesterol, but it is less prone to rancidity, which causes dangerous free radicals. ☠️ Having had my food pyramid turned upside down in my lifetime, my motto is just to eat everything in moderation.

To replicate that movie theater butter texture and taste, I pop my popcorn over the stove in a large wok with a lid using 50% coconut oil and 50% ghee, or clarified butter. That’s the first half of the secret to movie theater popcorn at home.

The other half of the secret is ultra, super duper fine salt because that is the only kind of salt that will properly adhere to the irregular sides of your popcorn. You can buy fine grained salt on Amazon and some grocery stores, but the best popcorn salt is the texture of powdered sugar and, for that, you need to make yours at home.

Luckily, that is VERY easy. All you need is salt and a small blender cup. Blend your salt on high until it is the texture of powdered sugar and store it in a shaker with grains of rice. Rice will help prevent your salt from gumming up with moisture.

Movie theater butter popcorn made on your own stove and spiked with your favorite flavors!
The holy trinity: herbed popcorn, chili popcorn, and curry popcorn.

Movie Theater Buttered Popcorn

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1/3 cup of 50% coconut oil and 50% ghee

ultra, super duper fine popcorn salt (see above for instructions on making popcorn salt)

In a large wok, heat popcorn and oil on high heat. Cover with a lid. Cook on high until popcorn is done popping. It is done when you can count to three between pops. Remove from heat.

Salt to taste.

My Favorite Tasty Variations

Herbed Popcorn: pop popcorn with sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme. Pick crispy herb leafs off of the stems when popcorn is done popping. Crush with your fingers and add crushed herbs back to your popcorn.

Chili Popcorn: Sprinkle chili powder over finished popcorn

Cheesy Popcorn: Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over finished popcorn.

Curry Popcorn: Sprinkle curry powder over finished popcorn.

Old Bay Popcorn: Sprinkle old bay over finished popcorn.

As always, here is a pin 📌 for you to save this recipe for your next movie night!

Recipe for movie theater-style buttered popcorn with ideas for how to add your favorite flavors to this satisfying snack.
Pin me 📌

3 thoughts on “The Secret To Making Movie Theater Popcorn At Home

  1. GENIUS! We have an air popper and started using coconut oil a while ago, but I had NO IDEA that’s what they use on movie popcorn! Such a wonderful snack.


    1. Yes! That’s what makes it even more buttery than butter! I use half coconut oil and half ghee so I can get the taste and texture of movie theater butter without the artificial flavors.


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