How To Cook Popcorn That Tastes Like It Does At The Movies



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movie popcorn

When it comes to movie popcorn, people have strong opinions.

Some think it’s the best popcorn they’ve ever had, while others find it too salty or artificially flavored. But what makes movie popcorn taste the way it does? And how can you create your own at home that tastes just as good? Keep scrolling to get your popcorn movie groove on.

What Gives Movie Popcorn Its Flavor?

The key that gives movie popcorn its flavor is flavacol. The product was launched by a company called Gold Medal. Gold Medal has a long history, established in 1931 by David C. Evans.

The first product bearing the Gold Medal label was a drink mix, but in the years after that, the company expanded to include a complete range of snack equipment and supplies such as popcorn and cotton candy. They also sell their own yellow popcorn oil and sell organic popcorn kernels along with popcorn machines.

Flavacol is the major ingredient in cinema popcorn, giving it that unique buttery salty taste we all know. The product comprises salt, food dyes Yellow 5 Lake, and FD&C Yellow 6, which provide a yellowish orange hue that covers the popcorn with a buttery texture. Because the salt is refined and flaked, it also clings to the popcorn better.

How Do Movie Theatres Make Their Popcorn So Good?

The smell and taste of popcorn are undeniably one of the best parts of going to the movies. Popcorn is an irresistible psychologically-driven snack because it is constantly paired with positive emotions and memories.

A few factors contribute to the unique flavor of movie theatre popcorn:

The oil used to cook popcorn is one of them; coconut oil and canola oil are popular choices. Coconut oil has a sweet, nutty taste that pairs well with popcorn, while canola oil has a milder taste.

Another important factor is the type of popcorn kernel that’s used. Movie theatres typically use butterfly or mushroom popcorn kernels.

Commercial popcorn machines play a significant role in the taste and production of movie theatre popcorn.

The popping process creates a lot of steam, which gives movie theatre popcorn its unique irresistible aroma. Popcorn machines also utilize a butter-flavoring flavacol sprayed on the popcorn as it pops. This flavoring helps to give the popcorn its salty and buttery taste.

How to Make Movie-Style Popcorn at Home


  • 1/2 cup organic mushroom popcorn kernels
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil or canola oil (or any other oil of your choice)
  • 2-4 teaspoons flavacol
  • Flavacol to finsh (optional)
  • Clarified Butter or ghee to finish (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot. You want the oil to be hot enough so that the popcorn will pop quickly but not so hot that it burns.
  2. Add the popcorn kernels and flavacol and cover with a lid. Cook until the popping slows down and there are only 2 or 3 seconds between pops. Remove from heat.
  3. If desired, sprinkle with extra flavacol flavoring. And for that extra buttery boost, drizzle clarified butter or ghee overtop. Serve immediately with a good movie.

There are various ways to prepare popcorn. If you’re throwing a party, try an air popper, an electric popping machine, or the microwave.

What Oil Do Movie Theatres Use For Popcorn?

Movie theatres use a variety of oils to pop their popcorn. The most popular types of oil used are coconut oil, canola oil, and soybean oil.

Each oil has unique properties that affect the final taste and texture of the popcorn.

  • Coconut oil is known for its unique flavor and rich saturated fat content. This makes the popcorn taste richer and creamier than with other oils. However, this also means that coconut oil is not as healthy as other oils and may not be appropriate for everyone.
  • Canola oil is a type of vegetable oil low in saturated fat. This makes it a healthier option than coconut oil but doesn’t add as much flavor to the popcorn. As a result, canola oil popcorn typically pops up a bit drier than coconut or soybean oil popcorn.
  • Soybean oil is another popular option for popping popcorn. It has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, meaning it can be heated to a high temperature without burning. This makes soybean oil a good choice for popping popcorn, as it results in relatively low levels of acrylamide formation.

What Kind Of Popcorn Do They Use At Movie Theatres?

Traditional yellow kernel popcorn is the type of popcorn that is commonly used in movie theatres. This variety of popcorn is also known as butterfly or mushroom popcorn because it pops into a shape that resembles a butterfly or mushroom.

Because of their tiny size, the kernels need less oil to pop and pop faster than other forms of popcorn. This makes them an awesome choice for making large quantities of popcorn.

Weaver Popcorn delivers popcorn to Vistar, a logistics company that distributes massive bags of popcorn to movie theatres like AMC.

The best way to replicate the taste of movie theatre popcorn at home is to use high-quality organic mushroom popcorn and add flavacol.

What Popcorn Butter Does AMC Use?

AMC Theatres use coconut oil and canola oil to pop their popcorn. This blend helps to create a buttery flavor without too much saturated fat.

In addition, AMC Theatres uses flavacol seasoning. Other movie theatre chains, such as Regal Cinemas, also use this seasoning.

Parting Words On Movie Style Popcorn

Now that you know how to make movie-style popcorn at home, it’s time to get popping!

Remember to use high-quality organic mushroom popcorn and the oil of your choice. You can also experiment with different seasonings or flavacol to find the perfect taste for your popcorn.

And don’t forget to enjoy your popcorn with a good movie.

Check out what goes good with popcorn next.


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