How to Make Popcorn That Tastes Like the Movie Theatre

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No matter how expensive it is, microwave popcorn never quite tastes like the popcorn you get in the movie theater. The secret lies in the way you pop it--air poppers and microwaves don't work as well--and in the particular ingredients you need to use. You may need to experiment to get the mixture just right, but the basic process is quite simple, and can help make your movie night a little more memorable as a result.

Things You'll Need

  • Hydrogenated coconut oil
  • Powdered salt
  • Gourmet popcorn kernels
  • Artificial butter-flavored topping
  • Popcorn cups
  • Covered pan
  • Pour a thin layer of hydrogenated coconut oil onto the surface of a metal pan. You can use a wide variety of different oils to pop popcorn, but the coconut oil is what makes popcorn taste like it does at the movies.

  • Heat the oil on medium heat. Put three kernels in the pan. When they pop, cover the bottom of the pan with kernels. Don't put more than one layer or you'll get a lot of old maids, or unpopped kernels); you can always pop more popcorn when you're finished with the first batch.

  • Cover the pan, but leave the cover open a crack. Shake the pan back and forth, gently but steadily as the oil heats up. The shaking is necessary to properly pop the popcorn.

  • Continue shaking the pan as the popcorn begins to pop. Listen to the sounds of popping until they start to slow: the batch is ready when you here one pop every two or three seconds.

  • Remove the pan from the heat and carefully uncover it. Fill a popcorn cup halfway with the popcorn, then sprinkle it with powdered salt and butter-flavored topping. Fill the remainder of the cup with popcorn, then sprinkle more salt and butter on the top.

  • Prepare one cup for each person in your group, and eat it hot in front of your favorite blockbuster.

Tips & Warnings

  • While you can serve movie theater popcorn any way you like, you can add a touch of authenticity by using movie theater popcorn cups. You can buy them at any party store, or at online sites such as Popcorn Popper and Home Theater Express.
  • When looking for butter flavoring, find a brand that consists of hydrogenated soybean oil. It contains beta-carotene, which is key to providing that movie theater taste.
  • Coconut oil tastes so good in part because it contains a lot of saturated fat, as does the butter topping. If you're watching your weight, consider eschewing the butter and cooking the popcorn with olive oil instead of coconut oil. You won't get the movie theater taste, but the popcorn with be healthier.

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