How To Make Movie Theater Popcorn

It yields about ten cups of popcorn.Do you want to know how to make movie theater popcorn at home? Give in to the temptation of fresh buttered popcorn without the concession stand price. This article will show you how. Most people try to replicate movie-style popcorn by using a microwave, popcorn maker, or air popper. However, it is best to make popcorn the old-fashioned way—using a heavy pot on the stove.

This recipe for movie theater popcorn takes ten minutes from start to finish. It yields about ten cups of popcorn. 

To make theater popcorn at home, you need the following items:

  • a heavy pot with a lid
  • one-half cup of popcorn kernels
  • three tablespoons of cooking oil (coconut or canola)
  • three tablespoons of clarified butter
  • and one teaspoon of powdered salt


  1. Place a heavy pot on the stove, and pour three tablespoons of cooking oil into the pot. Although some theaters use healthier canola oil, most use coconut oil. Relatively easy to find, coconut oil is solid at room temperature but melts quickly and gives popcorn that great movie theater taste.
  2. Melt the oil over low heat. Add one or two popcorn kernels to the oil. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the kernels (one-half cup) and spread them evenly across the bottom of the pot. Most theaters use yellow or white kernels, and connoisseurs prefer the more flavorful white ones.
  3. Cover the pot with the lid cocked to allow steam to escape. This helps to keep the popcorn crunchy. Increase the heat to medium.
  4. Gently shake the pot back and forth constantly to keep the kernels in motion. This prevents the popcorn from burning. The kernels should stop popping in three to four minutes.
  5. When all the kernels have popped, turn off the heat, remove the lid, and cool the popcorn for a minute or two. This prevents the popcorn from getting soggy.
  6. Transfer the cooked popcorn to a large bowl.
  7. Prepare the topping. Movie theaters use butter-flavored, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, but you can get the same effect with clarified butter (butter with less water content). Simply melt regular butter until it separates, then skim the pure butter off the top.
  8. Prepare the seasoning. The key to great seasoning is the type of salt used. Movie theaters use powdered salt. To make this at home, run ordinary table salt through a blender or coffee grinder.
  9. Drizzle the melted clarified butter over the popcorn, and then sprinkle with powdered salt. Use two large spoons to toss the popcorn for an even coating of butter and salt.
  10. Serve your movie-style popcorn immediately, and enjoy!


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