The Popcorn Secret That No One is Telling You

Secret ingredient no one is telling you about for perfect popcorn revealed.

If you knew this secret already, shame on you for not sharing it sooner. Everyone should have access to wonderful popcorn at home.

My love for popcorn began at the movies. My sister’s and I love to go to the movies. As you know, we don’t live close to each other. When we do get together, we almost always go to the movies at least one time, if not more.

Once, we decided to see how many movies we could see in one day. We got out the newspaper (that is how people used to find movie times before the internet. Anybody remember the TV Guide?), and mapped out showtimes and locations. We calculated which movie to see first, how long the movie was and how long it would take to travel to the next location. We quickly realized in order to meet our goal of six movies, we were going to have to see one or two movies we weren’t really interested in, and we needed to see two movies at one location, then go to another location and watch two movies and back to the original location. It took something like one tank of gas and 3 or 4 movie theaters to make it work. But we did it, starting at 10 am.

We were a little bleary eyed, and after eating movie popcorn all day in lieu of anything that resembled a meal (like we had time for that), we became movie popcorn connoisseurs. I don’t know if it is just nostalgia, but it seems like movie popcorn used to taste more fresh and natural.

I have been on the hunt to make popcorn that tasted as good as what I remembered as a kid for years. I finally happened on it when I found Farrell Family Living Journal’s article about movie theater popcorn. After reading about tons of methods and tons of ingredients, I found they were using one I wasn’t aware of. And it made all the difference! Simple, fresh tasting popcorn that was just like I remembered it.  So what’s the secret?The real secret to perfect homemade popcorn that no one is telling you...until now.Morton Popcorn Salt. One local grocery store used to sell it, but I haven’t been able to find it there for over a year. Now I can only find it at Walmart, Target, or online. Stock up and be prepared, because once you use this to make popcorn for your family, you will be making it all the time. My family likes this way better than movie popcorn.

What is so different? Salt is salt, right? Wrong. This salt is super fine. It sticks to the popcorn so instead of all the big granules of salt sinking to the bottom of the bowl, this salt sticks like more of a powder to the popcorn.

So instead of going out, rent a flick, stay home and enjoy. Not only will you save money skipping the theater, but the popcorn is way less expensive too. And you can see way more movies in one day at home. Go ahead and beat our record. I dare you. Just make sure you have enough popcorn on hand, or it won’t be an authentic movie experience!

The Popcorn Secret That No One is Telling You
  • ½ cup popcorn - Orville Redenbacher Original is our favorite
  • 2 Tablespoons oil - peanut, vegetable, coconut, canola - whatever your preference
  • 2 Tablespoons butter - the real stuff
  • Morton's Popcorn Salt
  1. Put oil and butter in a large heavy bottom pot over medium heat until oil is heated and butter is melted.
  2. Add popcorn and cover with a lid, leaving an opening for steam. I use an oversized lid so the steam can escape, but the pot is covered.
  3. As the kernels begin to pop shake the pan slightly. When the popping slows down, remove from heat. I let mine sit for a bit in case there are any kernels that are still popping.
  4. I pour a third of the popcorn into the bowl, salt to taste, and then repeat with the remaining popcorn.

How about a sweet treat to go with your salty popcorn? Try these!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheerio Chunks

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheerios Chunks. Super easy to make and your kids will love them!Ritz Rolo Sandwich Cookies Ritz Rolo Sandwich Cookies. Two ingredients. Five minutes!Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownie TrufflesChocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownie Truffles. My newest favorite addiction!

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  1. Hi Sherri – As a cancer survivor, we boycott microwave popcorn as it has way too many chemicals in it. We make homemade popcorn on the stove all of the time as it is much healthier. I had no idea about the secret ingredient salt. Like you said… salt is salt right? I will have to look for the special Morton’s popcorn salt next time I am at the store. Thank you for letting me in on your secret! Hugs, Holly

    • Congrats on your good health, Holly. Especially if you like homemade popcorn, you will enjoy the difference the salt makes. Glad to have you in on the secret.

    • What about Skinny Pop ? I love it, it is all natural, no artificial anything. I would like the recipe. I get it at Costco.

      • I would try using sunflower oil to replace the butter and oil in this recipe. I have not tried Skinny Pop before because we make our own popcorn now. So much healthier that way. I would love to hear from you if you try sunflower oil and see if it tastes the same as Skinny Pop. Good luck!

    • It doesn’t have to be Morten, but popcorn salt for sure. I worked at a theater in the early 70s. Theaters made their own popcorn back then. not too long later companies started making the popcorn and selling to the theaters.

      I have always used popcorn salt. the brand I have is Flav-or-nol or something like that. but yes. Popcorn is my favorite snack.

  2. I’ll be 40 in a week…this is the ONLY way we had popcorn until I was about 13 or 14. I don’t think this is a secret this was a necessity back in the day. Everyone has just gotten lazy or purchased gadgets instead.

    • No one taught me about popcorn salt, that’s for sure! When I have people over and make it for them, we have had several say things like, “I make homemade popcorn, but it doesn’t taste like this!”. No one I have told about it has been familiar with this little gem of info that used common knowledge. I hope others will find it useful. I sure have!

  3. if you can’t find popcorn salt, just put regular salt in your food processor and whirl until fine

  4. great idea, just wondering do you have the recipe for Skinny Pop ??? I just love it & it’s low fat, guilt free, zero trans fat cholesterol free & only 39 calories per cup.

  5. If you can’t find popcorn salt in your area, it’s simple to make it at home by pulsing kosher salt in a food processor until it is fine. We like to put a little in the oil as it heats. The salt melts right in and gets started on seasoning the popcorn right away. Yum!

    • I just tried it and liked it. I like the convenience of and consistency of Morton’s a smidge better, but this is so great when I have run out! Thanks.

  6. Ah, didn’t notice your comment there, Chris. I guess great minds think alike!

  7. I didn’t read all of the omments, so, I might repeat what someone else has already commented on….sorry! Here goes! ALWAYS use REAL butter! NEVER EVER use container fake butter!! There’s too much water in it and it will make your popcorn shrink up and get soggy. Yech! Also, I have run out of the popcorn salt, and in a pinch blended some salt in my processor to make it fine =) Happy movie night ya’ll!!

    • I am a real fan of butter, but I did not know that Tori. Good to know. I had heard about grinding the salt, and it is a good alternative. I don’t like it quite as well as Morton’s, but it is great when you are run out. I need to order more Morton’s right now! Thanks for commenting. I hope we will see you here again!

  8. i have 2 coffee grinders…one for coffee beans and one for dried herbs, spices and salt (gets wiped out between each). the salt is very fine like espresso powder after about 25 seconds. My food processor just didn’t get it fine enough.

    • Hmmm…maybe that is why I like Morton’s best. It is really fine and I don’t have to grind or clean up. I do have a coffee grinder, so this will be great back up info for when I run out! Thanks, Sandy!

  9. Christina says:

    As a kid (15+yrs ago), we had an air popper and ALWAYS used Mortons Popcorn salt. Ah… those were the days! ;) I totally forgot about having it on hand. thanks for reminding me!

  10. Fascinating! I would never have thought of the salt, and yet, it makes so much sense! I will try your recipe and instructions, but I will pass on trying to see how many movies I can see in one day, although it sounds like you and your sisters made a day to remember, though.

  11. Ronya Ervin says:

    Thanks Sherri! Popcorn is my all-time favorite snack. My mom always made it just as you describe except that we always have melted the butter afterwards. I never thought of melting it at the same time as heating the oil. I’m looking forward to trying it soon! Thanks for sharing!! :)

  12. I don’t know where I heard the trick about super fine salt for popcorn, but we just zip sea salt through the coffee grinder and use that since my HH makes the popcorn on told school on thestove top. It works great! Just keep it in a separate shaker.

    • What a GREAT tip! Thanks Anne! P.S. I love your middle name. My middle name is Anne with an “E” just like Anne of Green Gables!

  13. I found Morton Popcorn salt at Smart and Final today, $1.39!!! Whhoo hoo, it was in next to the regal salt, which I thought was dumb. I would put it next to the POPCORN!

    • At my grocery store it is near the popcorn. What are they thinkin! Too funny. Enjoy the best homemade popcorn you have ever had!

  14. Orville Redenbacher — GMO popcorn folks. Jolly time is GMO free!!!!! Just thought you might want to know, as I have friends who get migraines linked to corn that is GMO loaded.
    Otherwise, yummers!!

  15. I would also recommend using coconut oil (as is on your list). I find the popcorn is bigger and fluffier, and has a good “movie” flavor to it, as well as the special salt. Unsurprisingly, this is because the movie theaters use coconut oil (colored yellow)to pop their corn.

  16. Thanks for the salt tip. I’ll share my guilty pleasure with you…between steps 1 & 2 add sugar. Allow the sugar to heat before adding the popcorn. Your popcorn will taste like kettle corn from the fair!

  17. I think there are 2 more secrets to great popcorn like we had way back in the day. Movie theaters used coconut oil and it was the real unrefined kind and it does not make your popcorn taste like coconut but it does make a huge difference. The other thing I have learned after trying all kinds of poppers is that the StirCrazy ones make the best tasting popcorn and can also make kettle corn. It also pops all but maybe 3 or 4 duds. Jolly Time is way bigger and fluffier and no GMOS.

    • Thanks Vicki! I keep hearing about coconut oil. I am going to give that a try. Thanks for some great tips! I love hearing from readers.

  18. Andrea K. says:

    I have never heard of popcorn salt before, and have never seen it sold anywhere. But after reading this post, I just used a small coffee grinder (never used for coffee, I use it for grains occasionally) and buzzed a spoonful of sea salt until it was fine and powdery. Easy, and same effect! The fine, powdery salt stuck to the popcorn much better! By the way, we make popcorn without oil by using a brown paper lunch bag, and 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels from the bulk store. 2 minutes in the microwave, and you have a nice fresh bag of popcorn, no oil, and no chemical flavourings!

  19. Using a hot air popper or a microwave popcorn bowl (no prebagged chemicals tyvm) is a great oil-free way to pop, then butter can be added with abandon! Since I use Half Salt, grinding it down to a powder is a great idea for next time. Thanks for the tip! :)

  20. I grew up making popcorn on the stove top. Introduced my in-law’s and now husband to this method, can’t believe they hadn’t had it. We love the Morton’s salt but we also use season salt (Lawry’s or other ‘off’ brands). this gives a little more flavor with the Morton’s salt! The only way to eat popcorn is in the Whirly popcorn pan on the stove top!

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