To clarify, I'm not asking how to make popcorn that tastes like movie theater popcorn (which typically comes from a popper), I want to know how to make the bad pre-popped popcorn that small theaters sometimes sell.

It's hard to describe the flavor, but it was almost this hint-of-mustard salty taste with semi-stale, but large and uncannily round kernels. The closest I've found (and it is close) is the plain popcorn that comes in those tins. My guess is that there's a preservative used that's imparting a taste.

Any ideas?

  • 1
    I'm not familiar with popcorn in tins, are the ingredients listed on the tin so you can see what likely candidates might be?
    – Spagirl
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 11:17
  • You might try experimenting with different butter flavored popcorn oils. Maybe start with the cheapest one you can find that contains coconut oil. In my opinion, that makes popcorn taste a lot more like the pre-popped stuff. Don't forget to add a generous amount of salt.
    – mrog
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 20:54
  • Also: Fake butter flavouring, based on artificial/isolated diacetyl - which is a hazardous substance in undiluted form btw :) Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 19:36

1 Answer 1


There's a different variety of popcorn used for pre-made popcorn, as it comes out more spherical and thus less prone to breakage once it dries out. I've always seen it called 'mushroom popcorn'.

I've never made it specifically, so I don't know if the flavor is something to do with the variety of popcorn used, or if it's something added to the popcorn before storage.

  • 1
    I've also seen it called mushroom popcorn, I recently saw it in an online store specializing in popcorn varieties - so it is available here and there, if one looks.
    – Megha
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 6:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.