If your main goal at the movie theater is to get the largest bucket of popcorn available, this post is for you! We’ve tried all the methods and recipes and tips and tricks to best replicate movie theater popcorn at home. Good news…. it’s simple and easy!
Movie Theater popcorn gets its classic flavor from three things:
- Butter-Flavored Oil
- Yellow Popcorn Kernels
- Flavored Salt
The perfect ratio of these three ingredients yields popcorn that best replicates the movie theater experience. Luckily for us, manufacturers know that measuring all these ingredients is labor intensive and time consuming, with lots of room for error, so they make perfectly portioned packets ready to add to the popcorn machine kettle. We’ve been enjoying this popcorn for decades, but had never attempted to use these packets at home. This has been a game changer!
Instead of using a commercial popcorn machine, we used the packets in a stovetop popcorn popper! The high-heat and swirling arm successfully replicated a machine! The result was a perfectly popped movie-theater style treat. Yum. We found the packets designed for the 4oz popcorn popper to be the perfect size for at-home use. It’s a great amount for one large bucket or 6 small buckets of popcorn.
Here’s how to do it:
1. HEAT THE PAN
Get a heavy-bottomed pot. We highly recommend a stovetop popper, but any stainless steel or enameled cast iron pot will do the job. Heat the pot over medium-high heat. You want the pan hot!!!
2. ADD THE OIL
Cut the corner off the oil pouch and pour into the pan. Do this as the pan is heating. The oil in the packets is a blend of coconut oil and butter flavoring. If your home is warm, the oil will be a runny liquid. If your home is cool (below 76 degrees ish) the oil will harden. This is totally normal and the oil can be added to the pot in this state.
3. ADD A FEW TESTER KERNELS
While the oil is heating, cut the popcorn kernel packet open. Pull out 2-3 kernels and drop them into the pot. Stir them around with the arm on the stovetop popper or gently shake the pot a few times to coat them in oil. Close the lid and listen for them to pop. When they do, you’ll know the oil is ready to go.
4. ADD THE POPCORN KERNELS + SALT
Now, remove the lid and add the remaining popcorn kernels and salt from the kit. Close the lid and stir or shake to adequately coat all the popcorn with oil. The kernels include a delicious amount of flavored salt, but if you’re wanting to make popcorn with less salt, cut a tiny corner in the packet first and remove the desired amount of salt before adding to the pot.
5. POP THE POPCORN
Continue to stir or shake every 20 or so seconds to keep things moving. When the popcorn begins to pop, turn the heat down to medium or medium-low heat to prevent it from burning. Resist the urge to open the lid as this lets the heat escape, affecting the quality of the popped corn. If you’re looking, your popcorn is not cooking.
6. LISTEN CAREFULLY
Knowing when the popcorn is done takes a bit of practice. We aim for 3-4 seconds between pops to determine when to remove from the heat. So, listen carefully and definitely don’t walk away while making the popcorn.
7. REMOVE FROM PAN
When the popcorn is done, dump it into a bucket or bowl or bag to stop the cooking process. If you leave the popcorn in the pot, you’ll find the bottom layer may burn, so work quickly to preserve the batch. We love these reusable buckets with the seed separators. The unpopped seeds fall into the separator allowing you to eat handfuls of popped corn, worry free! We love popcorn bags for parties and gatherings and little hands who want to hold their own popcorn.
Now for the best part – eat the popcorn! If you want the true theater experience, add a drizzle of extra butter. If you’re looking for an easy way to spice things up, try a shakeable topping. Available in 6 flavors, there’s something for every craving. Last, if you want another use for the stovetop popper, glazed popcorn and kettle corn are phenomenal when made on the stove – nothing better!
Preheat a heavy-bottomed stock pot or stovetop popcorn popper over medium-high heat. While heating, pour the oil into the pot. Add 2-3 kernels to the pot and cover with a lid. When those kernels pop, add the rest of the popcorn kernels and salt in the packet. Stir or shake the pot to evenly coat the kernels in oil. Cover with a lid and continue to stir or shake at least every 20 seconds. When the popcorn begins to pop, lower the heat to medium or medium-low to prevent burning. Listen carefully to the popcorn. When the kernels slow to 3-4 seconds between pops, remove from the heat source and dump into a bowl or bucket. Enjoy!
Movie Theater Popcorn
Preheat a heavy-bottomed stock pot or stovetop popcorn popper over medium-high heat.
While heating, pour the oil into the pot.
Add 2-3 kernels to the pot and cover with a lid.
When those kernels pop, add the rest of the popcorn kernels and salt in the packet. Stir or shake the pot to evenly coat the kernels in oil.
Cover with a lid and continue to stir or shake at least every 20 seconds.
When the popcorn begins to pop, lower the heat to medium or medium-low to prevent burning.
Listen carefully to the popcorn. When the kernels slow to 3-4 seconds between pops, remove from the heat source and dump into a bowl or bucket.
AlbertinaSeptember 3, 2020 at 1:11 am
This looks fabulous! I have never used coconut oil to make popcorn but I will definitely try it. Thank you for posting!
Wally GatorMarch 6, 2021 at 12:31 pm
I cook my popcorn in a Whirley Pop. I also use Ghee or clarified butter to cook the popcorn. It tastes amazing. I then top it off with popcorn salt, seasoned salt, or cinnamon sugar
KaesieMarch 16, 2021 at 4:17 pm
That sounds delicious! What a great suggestion using the ghee too 🙂