How do I butter popcorn without making it soggy?

Brian Ortiz
  • How do I butter popcorn without making it soggy? Brian Ortiz

    I've tried buttering my popcorn in the past, and it always turns out inconsistent. A few pieces will be soaked with butter, and others have no butter on them at all.

    Perhaps there is a way to get the butter flavoring without drizzling butter on after popping the kernels?

  • The first thing that comes to mind is powdered butter. I'm not sure what it will taste like though.

  • It's time-consuming, but I use a melon baller to swirl and drizzle the butter one (tiny) scoop at a time. The key is the tiny hole at the bottom.
    The fine droplets that fall tend not to over-saturate any individual kernels.

    I also toss the popcorn between shots of butter, just to make sure it's well-distributed.

  • The basic solution is to reduce the amount of popcorn you are buttering at any one time, rather than trying to do an entire batch at once. This can be done by putting some into an oversize bowl, so you can stir it up while drizzling. Then transfer to the serving bowl(s).

  • I'll bet you could make your own powdered butter using melted butter and tapioca maltodextrin (Ab-Zorbit or N-Zorbit). Just mix the butter with the powder until it is absorbed and a very light 'solid' consistency, then rub through a fine sieve over the popcorn whilst you toss it.

    I think this would work really well as the stabiliser is quite sweet anyway, which might be good and you could flavour the butter before powdering it.

    You could also make peanut butter or nutella popcorn this way.

    This also has the advantage that the pop corn would not be getting wet, and the butter would return to butter in your mouth.

  • Another option is to make your popcorn in a pot using butter as the oil for the bottom. I find that if you toast the unpopped popcorn kernels in the butter, it gives a bit of a butter flavor to the entire pot -- less than if you were to put butter on the top, but plenty for me.

  • I make my butter for my popcorn in the same pan. Make the popcorn in the usual manner, then turn the heat off on the pan. I then toss in the amount of butter I desire to apply. The leftover heat melts the butter pretty fast (actually it slightly browns but that is desired by me). The butter is hot enough to be thin so it gets applied in smaller amounts at a time. I then drizzle it over an overly large bowl with the popcorn in it while I toss the popcorn. It took just a little practice, but it results in a pretty good coating without over saturation for me.

    Some keys:

    • Fully melted butter (pretty hot)
    • Overly large bowl
    • just a small amount of butter at a time (per drizzle, hot so it comes out in smaller amounts over the pan rim)
    • Use a light weight bowl such as plastic so you can toss with one hand while dripping the butter (not too close) with the other hand.
    • toss it several times for each bit of butter dropped on the popcorn - this tends to distribute the butter over several pieces as they contact each other.

  • Ok, here is the solution...

    Use real butter and render it before you put in the popcorn kernels.


    • Allow butter to boil in a pan on the stovetop and a white foam to build up on the top of the melted butter
    • Remove from heat and scrape the foam off with a spoon
    • Put the butter back on the heat, but be careful not to burn it. (You might want to keep the heat on medium and remove the pan once in a while and then put it back.)
    • Remove the rest of the foam (try to get rid of almost all of it)

    Now you have removed the liquids from your butter; it is now rendered.

    Buttering the popcorn:

    • Place the kernels in the pan with the butter and cover it. I like to be patient and use low heat; the popcorn will get to the desired temperature, even in low heat.

    • When the popcorn starts popping you need to let the steam out, so open the lid on the side that is away from your face while keeping the side closest to you closed to protect you from the popping corn.

    A little complicated? May sound like it, but it isn't really... I guarantee you will have your perfect popcorn :) in about 5 minutes.

  • 1) Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter (more if you're a butter-head).

    2) Fill a clean paper lunch bag half-way with your popped popcorn.

    3) Drizzle your melted butter along the sides of the half-filled bag, fold over the top, and shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds.

    4) Repeat as necessary until all your popcorn is well-buttered (and unsoggy).

  • I preheat 1-2 tsp. of vegetable oil in my pan over high heat until one kernel pops. Then I add 1/2 cup of popcorn and 1 Tbsp. of butter to the pan and pop until the pops are 2-3 seconds apart.. Very simple and I get nice butter flavor all through the batch without being greasy.

    Another alternatively that I haven't tried, but I think would work is to put some clarified butter in an atomizer and mist your popcorn while tossing.

  • Melt the butter carefully in a microwave using a pyrex measuring cup with a spout that can allow for more controlled drizzling. Overheating/frying can cause for more oily separation.

    Using an extra-large spherical bowl without handles, spin the bowl with one hand while drizzling 1/2-1/3 the butter as thinly as possible with the other. Toss. Add salt/pepper/etc before drizzling and tossing again until all butter is incorporated.

    The number of repetitions can be very effectively reduced to a single application by using an upright air popping machine as the bowl may be spun and butter drizzled while the popcorn is being ejected from the machine!

  • Use a pot to cook your popcorn in... I use a whirlypop pot with the little crank thingy. Heat up a combination of organic virgin coconut oil (trader joes carries it in jars) and clarified butter. Toss in kernals and pop as usual. Then salt it to taste afterwards. It will smell and taste EXACTLY like (or better than) movie theater popcorn without being soggy/chewy.

  • Put half the popcorn in a metal bowl. Hold a small pot of melted butter over the bowl. Spin the bowl as you slowly drip the butter. Start the drip from the outside and work your way into the center of the bowl. The trick is to spin the bowl of popcorn to disperse the butter, not the other way around. If you swirl the pot of butter as you pour, you will most likely cause a wave of butter to fly out and soak a clump of popcorn. The only movement the pot of butter should have is the slow lateral slide from the outside of the bowl to the center. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and add the other half of the popcorn. Repeat the bowl spin technique described above and put a final sprinkle of salt on top. The end. Easy with no special tools or ingredients.

  • My method is to melt the butter then pour it into a large empty bowl and roll the bowl around to spread over the surface. Then dump the hot popped popcorn in, and use a spoon to stir it and mix it up well.

    Each popcorn will pick up just a bit of butter on each one, and none will be soggy. Works well for me.

butter popcorn
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