Movie Theatre Butter Popcorn

No movie night is complete without Movie Theatre Butter Popcorn made with real butter. Before you start your next movie marathon, pop popcorn that’s better than the kind you get in theatres. 

movie theatre butter popcorn spilling out of a popcorn bag

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Movie Theatre Butter Popcorn recipe

When we go to the movies, there is often debate about what flick we’ll see, which theatre we’ll go to, which time slot is best and so on. 

But there’s one thing that my husband and I never question: whether or not we’ll get popcorn. There will always be popcorn. Always.

We are popcorn people. For two people working from home, it’s the easiest afternoon snack. It’s wonderful for movie night and Oscars view parties (or any kind of party for that matter). 

We make Pizza PopcornBourbon Caramel Popcorn and even Cookies and Cream Popcorn.

But my favorite by far is the buttery, salty deliciousness like you get at the movie theatre. It is so easy to make at home!

movie theatre butter popcorn in a popcorn bag

What is movie theatre butter popcorn?

This is popcorn like you get at the movies! However, it’s often made with oil and artificial coloring. 

And for me, popcorn at the movie theatre is often hit or miss. Sometimes it is too flavorless, too salty or too greasy. But the sentiment is there — it’s that buttery flavor we all want.

So why not make it the right way at home? With real butter, of course!  

Why you’ll love this recipe

Years ago, though, I stopped buying the pre-packaged movie theatre butter popcorn that comes in a bag you heat in the microwave and began trying other ways to make it. 

  • A jar of popcorn kernels is about the same price as a box of six popcorn bags, and yet you can make so much popcorn from it. 
  • It’s made with real butter and salt! No artificial flavoring or chemicals here.
  • Bring on the butter! You can make it as buttery as you like.

How to make popcorn for buttered popcorn

You can use any method to make plain popcorn and butter it yourself. You can even buy plain popcorn at the grocery store.

My own journey to find the perfect method for popcorn began with the paper bag method (too greasy) and then the stovetop method (too burnt). I even contemplated getting an air popper machine (too much cabinet space).

And then I found this magical microwave popcorn maker. I love it because you can cook popcorn without oil, it doesn’t burn as easily and the silicone bowl collapses for easy storage when you’re not using it. Oh, and it’s easy to clean too! 

kernels of movie theatre butter on a white background

How to make popcorn in a silicone bowl

All you need to do is throw your popcorn kernels in, add the lid and zap it in the microwave. 

One thing you need to know about this popcorn cooker: It takes a little time to figure out. But I promise, it’s magic. 

If I cook 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels, 3 minutes is just right for us in our microwave, but it took a while to perfect the cook time.

What’s the right amount of time in mine might not be the same as yours. Prepare for a few burnt kernels in this process.  

a bowl of movie theater butter popcorn
movie theatre butter popcorn spilling out of a popcorn bag
movie theatre butter popcorn spilling out of a popcorn bag

How much butter for popcorn

This is the best buttered popcorn recipe. I love this recipe because it uses real butter, plus no oil or artificial coloring. This is how I eat popcorn most of the time. Sometimes it’s called butter lover’s popcorn, which is appropriate!

Because… (Try not to balk, okay?) This popcorn is made with almost a whole stick of butter. 

You’ll be sharing it, right? (It’s okay, you don’t have to share!) And, honestly, it’s fine if you use the whole stick of butter. Because movie theatre butter popcorn is why we’re all here. 

movie theatre butter popcorn spilling out of a popcorn bag

How to make movie theatre butter popcorn

Simply start with your popped popcorn, then pour over 6 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle on salt. 

But the trick to the best movie theater butter popcorn is to do it in layers. Drizzle on a little butter, sprinkle the salt, then stir. Repeat four or five times. 

The result is buttery, salty popcorn that’s made to your liking, with real ingredients. 

You can add it to your DIY popcorn tins to give at the holidays, alongside your other favorite flavors.

movie theatre butter popcorn in a popcorn bag next to a bowl of popcorn

More popcorn recipes

There are lots of ways to enjoy popcorn! This butter popcorn recipe is a great one to start with, but you can always add more toppings.

Cover the popcorn with cheese powder to make a tasty bowl of cheddar cheese popcorn.

If you like things hot, try chipotle lime popcorn. Keep it mild or make it spicy.

For a sweet tooth, strawberry popcorn, a sweet and salty bowl of deliciousness made with strawberry candy melts and freeze-dried strawberries. Or you can make caramel corn.

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

movie theatre butter popcorn in a popcorn bag

Movie Theatre Butter Popcorn

Yield: 15 cups popped popcorn
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 11 minutes
Movie night isn't the same without movie theatre popcorn you can make at home, with real butter!
4.95 from 58 votes
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  • ½ cup uncooked popcorn kernels around 15 cups popped popcorn
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt to taste


  • Cook your popcorn kernels your preferred way. If using a silicone popcorn bowl, cook kernels in the microwave with the lid on for about 3 minutes on high, or until popping slows to 8 seconds between pops.
  • While popcorn is cooling slightly, melt butter in the microwave (around 45 seconds to 1 minute).
  • Pour popcorn into a mixing bowl. Drizzle a third of the butter over popcorn, then sprinkle with salt to taste. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon. Repeat two more times with the remaining butter and your preferred amount of salt. Enjoy!

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nutrition information

Yield: 15 cups popped popcorn

amount per serving:

Serving: 1cup Calories: 61kcal Carbohydrates: 4g Protein: 1g Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 3g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0.2g Cholesterol: 12mg Sodium: 191mg Potassium: 16mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 0.1g Vitamin A: 140IU Calcium: 2mg Iron: 0.2mg
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