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Best movie theatre butter topping?

My wife loves... LOVES... movie theatre popcorn. We try to duplicate it using real butter, store bought topping, and any mixture/concoction that we can think of. All fall short. I've been thinking about purchasing from a restaurant wholesaler, but I don't need 12 gallons of topping.

My question: does anyone have a good recipe for THEATRE style butter topping? Or does anyone have a brand suggestion for what type I should buy?

Thanks in advance.


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  1. do you have Kernels brand where you live? They make bottles of that liquid psuedo-butter topping stuff that could be what you are looking for. They also make loads of different powdered toppings (I like to mix the sour cream and onion and nacho together, lol). If you are also near Bulk Barn, they sell a hickory bacon one that is good, as well as the ranch and dill pickle.

    i LOVE theatre popcorn too....one of the best things about going to the theatre.

    1. try to eat more of this topping than you breath

      1. Have you treid clarifying the butter?

        1 Reply
        1. re: miss_bennet

          When I worked at an upscale Landmark theater years ago, we used the clarified butter that restaurants use for lobster. Also, we popped in coconut oil. Not something you should necessarily have on hand for everyday consumption, however.

        2. Years ago, at a bed bath and beyond, they sold a complete package of "movie theatre" popcorn to make at home. I'm guessing that it had coconut oil, kernels and "butter" and instructions on how to cook on the stovetop and when to add the various pieces. Definitely tasted like i was at a theatre and I would guess they still sell that product or you can find it somewhere online.

          Edit: Something like this. Not sure if this was the brand I tried.


          1. Try the artificial spray butter in the dairy aisle. Tastes like liquid salt.

            1. I've tried that spray liquid that you can get at the store (I think it was Orville), but it really didn't taste very good. Kinda like greasy oil. We like to air pop our popcorn, then add toppings, but I definitely think I'm going to try the coconut oil and see if that adds flavor. And clarified butter sounds yummy too, so I'm going to give that a try. Thanks for your opinions.


              1. I think the key to creating popcorn at home that tastes like movie theater popcorn is the oil you pop in -- and the best tasting movie theater popcorn is still popped in coconut oil.

                Then, I would season clarified butter with a little salt, and you should be pretty close to movie theater style.

                1 Reply
                1. re: DanaB

                  I agree that it's the oil it's popped in more than the topping. Our theatres all offer the choice between butter and topping. I always get the real butter and it's still much better than what I make at home.

                2. I always thought that the butter was really a butter flavored oil, but look at this site:


                  It seems there are alternatives.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: danhole

                    I worked in a driven-in theatre in Jr/Sr high in the late 70's, 1970's not 1870's, and although I don't remember the exact ingredients of the "butter", I can assure you there was no butter involved. It was nasty stuff, but the customers loved it. We didn't eat it, we had our pick of the fresh popcorn, not the bagged up stuff after a slow night. There was nothing better than the semi-popped, hot, old maids from a fresh batch.

                  2. Have you tried it yet? (Coconut oil, clarified butter?)

                    1. Hi,
                      I love movie theatre popcorn, too. I buy the Orville Reddinbacher brand topping. You can pop the corn in it or drizzle on top (like I do). I have hunted high and low to find other brands, but to no avail. It tastes great!
                      I hope this helped.

                      1. We have one of those stove-top popcorn thingies. We use 100% coconut oil to pop the corn, and drizzle melted butter to serve: this is truly the buttered popcorn you remember from your childhood.
                        You can try this: http://www.popcornpopper.com/popcorn-...
                        I cannot personally vouch for the butter flavored topping, but the popping oils are straight on.

                        1. flavacol is what the theatres use and basically they use clarified butter in the theatres im hearing and its the same as with lobster.coconot oil and butter flavored hydrgenated oil is pretty much it im reading.the whirly poppers are great at getting the popcorn popped evenly and without moisture.movie butters loaded with salt but im not sure what type.try different types of salts and youll get something close i think.jollytimes the undeniable best popcorn ever ive heard of out there in the marketplace period.act 2 butter lovers is superb as is orvilles.i luv pop secrets too heck all are good but some are more buttery and flavorful.the best is jollytime movie theatre butter and thats my opinion.for its buttery flavor and loads of butter.but as for popcorn only then ill have to settle on orvilles.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ghostlyboy

                            flavacol is clarified butter? i got some oily butter-flavored junk at ruby tuesday's for dipping my lobster. it was yucky. i asked if this was real butter, and the server said "yes." but i think it was butter flavored oil.

                            maybe the stick of butter trotted past the oil as it was being flavored and heated.

                          2. I absolutely love the Orville Pour-Over Movie Theatre Butter variety of popcorn. Each bag comes with its own packet of butter-like substance to pour over after popping. It may not contain any real butter, but it's delicious.

                            1. Naks Paks are pre-measured Weaver popcorn (the brand used by many movie theaters), coconut oil (they have sunflower too but coconut is the movie theater standard) and Flavacol seasoning salt in 6, 8 or 12 oz portions. Just follow their stove top popping instructions and you will get movie theater-grade popcorn at home. To put it over the top drizzle the finished product with Odell's Original Popcorn Butter.