Here's What's Actually in the "Butter" from Movie Theater Popcorn - Food News

From The Kitchn - November 8, 2017

Hot buttered movie theater popcorn is one of life's deepest pleasures. It's pure, greasy nostalgia. When my parents took my sister and I to the movies when we were children, they never, ever let us buy snacks at the theater. Now that I am an adult, I hit the concession stand every single time, even though I am well aware of the financial irresponsibility of overindulging in movie theater snacks.

The best part about movie theater popcorn was always the butter. It tasted so rich and indulgent and forbidden. I even had the concession stand fill the popcorn bucket halfway, add butter, and then fill it the rest of the way and add more butter on top of that. That way I'd never have to worry about getting dry, unbuttered popcorn halfway through the movie.

It turns out I should probably have worried less about getting a butter-less piece of popcorn and more about what was in that "butter," because it turns out it's not actually butter at all.

According to Extra Crispy's Stacey Ballis, who has manned a movie theater concession stand and knows exactly how movie theater popcorn is made, movie popcorn is actually made with Flavacol and "Butter Flavored Topping." Flavacol is the yellow powder that's tossed over the popcorn while it pops, to make it salty and yellow. Flavacol is apparently just super-fine salt and yellow food coloring. It's not powdered butter at all. I am shocked. My whole life, I would have sworn on a stack of Bibles that the yellow powder on movie theater popcorn tasted just like butter. But really, it's just salt and food coloring, with no other flavorings at all.


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